LCMS on the Lutheran World Federation

Started by Dan Fienen, May 01, 2024, 01:53:36 PM

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MaddogLutheran

Quote from: John_Hannah on May 06, 2024, 10:02:41 AMWhile the General Council made subscription to the Lutheran Confessions required for membership, Walther established the Synodical Conference which required agreement in all things.

The Synodical Conference began with numerous synods beside the four that had remained by 1961. In fact after only a few years, the Conference fell apart from controversy, having failed to find agreement in all things, an impossible goal to begin with.
From my childhood in the 70's, learning that we weren't supposed to commune at my dad's cousin's Lutheran church in Glen Bernie, MD, because they were Missouri (whatever that meant)...the highlighted above is what has always confounded me about.

I never understood how that was supposed to be achieved.  Yes, I realize it's not unlike the corresponding assertion of biblical inerrancy.  But it struck me like the Monty Python sketch about the Argument Clinic:  a way to get to no, avoiding any chance of the possibilities of a yes.  That was back before the stuff which can legitimately be called church dividing.  What was disagreed about was so abstract, up to and including how one subscribed to the Confessions.  (Not that their Missouri hermeneutic of suspicion has not ultimately been proven correct, but I'm not sure you can claim victory a hundred+ years later.  Like economists predicting 9 of the last 5 recessions.)

I realize most Missouri people here would disagree about this.  Fully expect that.  My clinic is not open for business in the present day.
Sterling Spatz
ELCA pew-sitter

Dave Benke

Quote from: MaddogLutheran on May 06, 2024, 11:53:52 AM
Quote from: John_Hannah on May 06, 2024, 10:02:41 AMWhile the General Council made subscription to the Lutheran Confessions required for membership, Walther established the Synodical Conference which required agreement in all things.

The Synodical Conference began with numerous synods beside the four that had remained by 1961. In fact after only a few years, the Conference fell apart from controversy, having failed to find agreement in all things, an impossible goal to begin with.
From my childhood in the 70's, learning that we weren't supposed to commune at my dad's cousin's Lutheran church in Glen Bernie, MD, because they were Missouri (whatever that meant)...the highlighted above is what has always confounded me about.

I never understood how that was supposed to be achieved.  Yes, I realize it's not unlike the corresponding assertion of biblical inerrancy.  But it struck me like the Monty Python sketch about the Argument Clinic:  a way to get to no, avoiding any chance of the possibilities of a yes.  That was back before the stuff which can legitimately be called church dividing.  What was disagreed about was so abstract, up to and including how one subscribed to the Confessions.  (Not that their Missouri hermeneutic of suspicion has not ultimately been proven correct, but I'm not sure you can claim victory a hundred+ years later.  Like economists predicting 9 of the last 5 recessions.)

I realize most Missouri people here would disagree about this.  Fully expect that.  My clinic is not open for business in the present day.

The Argument Clinic - A+.  Here's a You Tube:  https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=the%20argument%20clinic%20monty%20python%20you%20tube%20videos&FORM=VIRE0&mid=805DA2F491DA577AB880805DA2F491DA577AB880&view=detail&ru=%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dthe%20argument%20clinic%20monty%20python%20you%20tube

Dave Benke
It's OK to Pray

John_Hannah

Quote from: MaddogLutheran on May 06, 2024, 11:53:52 AM
Quote from: John_Hannah on May 06, 2024, 10:02:41 AMWhile the General Council made subscription to the Lutheran Confessions required for membership, Walther established the Synodical Conference which required agreement in all things.

The Synodical Conference began with numerous synods beside the four that had remained by 1961. In fact after only a few years, the Conference fell apart from controversy, having failed to find agreement in all things, an impossible goal to begin with.
From my childhood in the 70's, learning that we weren't supposed to commune at my dad's cousin's Lutheran church in Glen Bernie, MD, because they were Missouri (whatever that meant)...the highlighted above is what has always confounded me about.

I never understood how that was supposed to be achieved.  Yes, I realize it's not unlike the corresponding assertion of biblical inerrancy.  But it struck me like the Monty Python sketch about the Argument Clinic:  a way to get to no, avoiding any chance of the possibilities of a yes.  That was back before the stuff which can legitimately be called church dividing.  What was disagreed about was so abstract, up to and including how one subscribed to the Confessions.  (Not that their Missouri hermeneutic of suspicion has not ultimately been proven correct, but I'm not sure you can claim victory a hundred+ years later.  Like economists predicting 9 of the last 5 recessions.)

I realize most Missouri people here would disagree about this.  Fully expect that.  My clinic is not open for business in the present day.

One might speculate that because Missouri became totally disconnected with the rest of Lutheranism it was easier to go off the rails. What if we had been connected, even in full communion? Could we have kept the ELCA considerably more moderate with the help of moderate ELCA  members?

Peace,JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Weedon

#78
"The rest of Lutheranism"

So much for these folks being Lutheran, I guess (not to mention WELS, ELS, etc.):
https://www.lcms.org/how-we-serve/international/partner-church-bodies

MaddogLutheran

#79
Quote from: John_Hannah on May 06, 2024, 12:12:00 PM
Quote from: MaddogLutheran on May 06, 2024, 11:53:52 AM
Quote from: John_Hannah on May 06, 2024, 10:02:41 AMWhile the General Council made subscription to the Lutheran Confessions required for membership, Walther established the Synodical Conference which required agreement in all things.

The Synodical Conference began with numerous synods beside the four that had remained by 1961. In fact after only a few years, the Conference fell apart from controversy, having failed to find agreement in all things, an impossible goal to begin with.
From my childhood in the 70's, learning that we weren't supposed to commune at my dad's cousin's Lutheran church in Glen Bernie, MD, because they were Missouri (whatever that meant)...the highlighted above is what has always confounded me about.

I never understood how that was supposed to be achieved.  Yes, I realize it's not unlike the corresponding assertion of biblical inerrancy.  But it struck me like the Monty Python sketch about the Argument Clinic:  a way to get to no, avoiding any chance of the possibilities of a yes.  That was back before the stuff which can legitimately be called church dividing.  What was disagreed about was so abstract, up to and including how one subscribed to the Confessions.  (Not that their Missouri hermeneutic of suspicion has not ultimately been proven correct, but I'm not sure you can claim victory a hundred+ years later.  Like economists predicting 9 of the last 5 recessions.)

I realize most Missouri people here would disagree about this.  Fully expect that.  My clinic is not open for business in the present day.

One might speculate that because Missouri became totally disconnected with the rest of Lutheranism it was easier to go off the rails. What if we had been connected, even in full communion? Could we have kept the ELCA considerably more moderate with the help of moderate ELCA members?

Peace,JOHN
Thank you for that addendum...I almost included that thought in my original.

I'm not suggesting a mega merger, trying to fulfill a version of Muhlenberg's vision.  I was thinking earlier, if it had more fully engaged with the predecessor bodies.  Realize it did late in the game with the ALC.  And it likely couldn't with the LCA, given its hierarchical DNA which was an anathema to a church body still recovering from a failed bishop.  But that's the kind of confessional conflating I continually reference:  disputes over adiaphora, being raised to confessional status.

I think the entire trajectory of North American Lutheranism could have been very different.  I realize Schmuckerism was a real issue in the 19th century--which hasn't actually gone away considering the ELCA's agreement with the Reformed.  People do actually deny what the Confessions clearly assert, for a reason.  Maybe ours is the only possible history given that.

(I don't consider the controversy over the Real Presence a Lutheran issue.  It's a small 'c' catholic thing.  Why I feel so strongly about it.  The Lutheran church used to have popes and bishops, until they became opponents of the Gospel.  We are the Church.  We've always been the Church.  Not exclusively so today, but nevertheless we are.)

For a long time I've thought describing one's subscription to the Lutheran Confessions besides the point.  What matters is specific examples whether you believe something clearly contrary to them, like our teaching on the Real Presence.  Although I acknowledge that could be construed as re-opening the clinic for business.
Sterling Spatz
ELCA pew-sitter

Weedon

Sterling,

I remember hearing Rast remark that Missouri disdained to join the General Council because it deemed the GC too lose in practice (though holding solidly to the same Confessions); and the irony is that now the LCMS has, for all intents and purposes, BECOME the General Council. Shoot, there's a reason that WE'RE the ones still publishing Krauth and at least reading Jacobs!

And speaking of Jacobs, that great man wrote near the end of his *Elements of Religion*:

Hezekiah had the courage when the brazen serpent became an object of idolatry to call it Nehustan and to break it in pieces. So in the Sixteenth Century, when the organization of the Church was diverted from its proper sphere of teaching the saving doctrines of the Gospel, and the diocesan bishops refused to ordain men for the ministry in the congregations that protested against the corrupt teaching, there was no other alternative than for the congregations to claim the power that belonged to them inherently and to repudiate the power that repudiated God's Word. But otherwise a break with the organization which had gradually grown through the centuries would have been wrong. A schism occurs wherever there is a disruption in the Church's organization for any reason than that of notorious impurity in the teaching that has prevailed and that has not been remedied after repeated and patient efforts to have it corrected. With all the emphasis we very properly place upon unity in the faith as subordinate to union in organization, we should not close our eyes to the sinfulness of schism, or attempt to justify divisions for any other cause than that of fidelity to our testimony to all the counsel of God. Christians are commanded to obey those who have the rule over them, and to submit themselves, Heb. 13:17, and thus there belongs to that government which provides for spiritual things the command to "submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake," 1 Peter 2:13. The problem of Church Union will be solved only by holding firmly to the pure faith of the Gospel, once delivered to the saints, and heartily uniting with all who upon the basis of this pure faith, and for the sake of advancing this pure faith, thankfully accept and appropriate everything developed in the Church's experience, that is not contrary to God's Word. With purity of teaching guaranteed in other respects, but rule applies: "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God." Eph. 5:21

Dave Benke

Quote from: Weedon on May 06, 2024, 12:29:20 PM"The rest of Lutheranism"

So much for these folks being Lutheran, I guess (not to mention WELS, ELS, etc.):
https://www.lcms.org/how-we-serve/international/partner-church-bodies

This is an important distinction, and one which plays into the totality of global Lutheranism.  Having just taken a stab at the math contained in LWF and ILC, the ratio is about 20 to 1 LWF over against ILC (77 million vs. 4 million excluding Malagasy).  If WELS/ELS are included even though not in altar/pulpit fellowship as per that definition of fellowship, then it's a little closer, but not much. 

Some of the partners are under duress in their own country/denomination (Nordic countries and some African groups).  So the LCMS/ILC serves as a house of refuge (Finland).  These are for the most part small groupings. 

For this reason, the Malagasy Lutheran Church is notable on the ILC list because it is the size of all the ILC memberships combined, doubling the total.  Also, Malagasy is NOT on the LCMS Partner Church list, although Latvia is.

"Narrow Path" fellowship (as opposed to the Wide Path leading to destruction) has its plusses, one of which is to serve as a house of refuge and a binding/banding of the narrow path people.  The disadvantage, to me, is that the strictures of the very narrow path being undertaken delimits the purposeful gathering of folks for the saving of souls at the heart of the mission of God and God's people, a cause two millenia deep.  And if it is posited that the LWF has lost that zeal and traded it in for human services, then it's possible to say that the narrow path has hindered the primary work of God's mission in the void caused by other global Lutherans forsaking that mission. 

Is this a valid concern for the ILC?  Is it a valid concern to ask the LWF whether its zeal for soul-saving mission is no longer at the center? 

A final question would be whether the stats are accurate.  Numbers like 10 million or 4 million seem vague.  And the tiny micro-denominations are accurate to the nth degree, being only 146 people in total, let's say.

Dave Benke
It's OK to Pray

John_Hannah

Quote from: Weedon on May 06, 2024, 01:13:03 PMSterling,

I remember hearing Rast remark that Missouri disdained to join the General Council because it deemed the GC too lose in practice (though holding solidly to the same Confessions); and the irony is that now the LCMS has, for all intents and purposes, BECOME the General Council. Shoot, there's a reason that WE'RE the ones still publishing Krauth and at least reading Jacobs!

And speaking of Jacobs, that great man wrote near the end of his *Elements of Religion*:

Hezekiah had the courage when the brazen serpent became an object of idolatry to call it Nehustan and to break it in pieces. So in the Sixteenth Century, when the organization of the Church was diverted from its proper sphere of teaching the saving doctrines of the Gospel, and the diocesan bishops refused to ordain men for the ministry in the congregations that protested against the corrupt teaching, there was no other alternative than for the congregations to claim the power that belonged to them inherently and to repudiate the power that repudiated God's Word. But otherwise a break with the organization which had gradually grown through the centuries would have been wrong. A schism occurs wherever there is a disruption in the Church's organization for any reason than that of notorious impurity in the teaching that has prevailed and that has not been remedied after repeated and patient efforts to have it corrected. With all the emphasis we very properly place upon unity in the faith as subordinate to union in organization, we should not close our eyes to the sinfulness of schism, or attempt to justify divisions for any other cause than that of fidelity to our testimony to all the counsel of God. Christians are commanded to obey those who have the rule over them, and to submit themselves, Heb. 13:17, and thus there belongs to that government which provides for spiritual things the command to "submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake," 1 Peter 2:13. The problem of Church Union will be solved only by holding firmly to the pure faith of the Gospel, once delivered to the saints, and heartily uniting with all who upon the basis of this pure faith, and for the sake of advancing this pure faith, thankfully accept and appropriate everything developed in the Church's experience, that is not contrary to God's Word. With purity of teaching guaranteed in other respects, but rule applies: "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God." Eph. 5:21

A hundred years later we in Missouri probably recognize that a uniformity of "correct practice"is an illusion. Try as we may we have not achieved that, as many complain.

To approve Krauth now is too little, too late.

In the meantime we have successfully sustained our isolation and division. The dominant LCMS voices of this forum never lament Lutheran division. I do. (Along with a few others.)

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Weedon

#83
John,

Do you really think that folks in the LCMS don't grieve over the divergences that have happened among Lutherans in our life-time? I know that I certainly do. I remember when you could use material from either Augsburg or Fortress or CPH and find good, solid Lutheran material. The Lutheran Church of St. Andrew had a book table that used to be set up once a month or so in the Narthex, and materials from all three publishing houses were featured. I picked up my first copy of *The Lutheran Liturgy* by Luther D. Reed from that table, a Fortress Publication. Also a copy of *Day by Day We Magnify Thee* (which I have used quite often since). Those days have passed us now, though. I can't pretend that the ELCA is the same church confessionally as the old LCA or ALC; Missouri, arguably, has changed the least in her theological positions (though there were changes). I find the fact that we continue to read and value the old theologians from the LCA / ALC's predecessor bodies to be significant; you seem to discount it. I wonder if that's because you would disagree with those theologians today? They certainly would not agree with the various stands taken in the ELCA today . And before Charles pipes in, yes, I know that you all value the evolution of doctrine. But when the doctrine develops BEYOND and in CONTRADICTION to the faith they professed, to a man they would tell you that what has happened is the intrusion of error into the Church. Krauth laid out the clear path such error always takes: demanding tolerance, then equality, and then finally moving to eradicate truth.

Dan Fienen

Quote from: John_Hannah on May 06, 2024, 12:12:00 PMOne might speculate that because Missouri became totally disconnected with the rest of Lutheranism it was easier to go off the rails. What if we had been connected, even in full communion? Could we have kept the ELCA considerably more moderate with the help of moderate ELCA  members?

Peace,JOHN
I understand that dissatisfaction with the current state of the LCMS leads to bemoaning of Missouri's disconnect from most of the rest of Lutheranism that in that opinion led to Missouri going "off the rails." It is the last sentence that bemuses me. To wish that Missouri could have kept the ELCA considerably more moderate implies that such an ELCA would be more desirable than the ELCA as it is today.

I doubt that many in the mainline ELCA, such as Pr. Austin or Pr. Stoffregen would agree that a more "moderate" ELCA that had not progressed as far into progressive/liberalism direction that the ELCA has developed would have been desirable. While nobody will like everything that the church body they belong to does or espouses, those stalwart ELCA seem satisfied with the directions in which the ELCA has progressed and if anything wish that the LCMS would join them where they are. Would a more "moderate" even be desired? Seems to me that for many in the ELCA, the current state of that body is the "moderate" that would be desired.

It is an unanswerable question whether that could have happened. At its formation, the ELCA was approximately twice the size of Missouri and the negotiations that brokered its formation, as I understand them, were much more about negotiating the varied polity forms between the LCA and ALC than differences in theological trends. Also, a Missouri that would have been a part of that merger would itself have been more "moderate" and amenable to the theological trajectory of the LCA/ALC than the Missouri that stood apart. Perhaps it would have been more likely that any opposition to that LCA/LCMS/ALC merger ending up where the ELCA is today would have been more of a speed bump than a deterrent. 

At one of the watershed moments in 21st century ELCA history, the 2009 CWA, the vote in favor of accepting homosexuality was exceedingly close. Having a more moderate (than what LCMS actually is) yet perhaps on the whole more conservative than the membership from the LCA and ALC members derived from the LCMS could have tipped that vote. But, in the long run, would it have changed the inevitable outcome. Perhaps made the subsequent split larger and even more acrimonious?
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

John_Hannah

Quote from: Weedon on May 06, 2024, 02:22:55 PMJohn,

Do you really think that folks in the LCMS don't grieve over the divergences that have happened among Lutherans in our life-time? I know that I certainly do. I remember when you could use material from either Augsburg or Fortress or CPH and find good, solid Lutheran material. The Lutheran Church of St. Andrew had a book table that used to be set up once a month or so in the Narthex, and materials from all three publishing houses were featured. I picked up my first copy of *The Lutheran Liturgy* by Luther D. Reed from that table, a Fortress Publication. Those days have passed us now, though. I can't pretend that the ELCA is the same church confessionally as the old LCA or ALC; Missouri, arguably, has changed the least in her theological positions (though there were changes). I find the fact that we continue to read and value the old theologians from the LCA / ALC's predecessor bodies to be significant; you seem to discount it. I wonder if that's because you would disagree with those theologians today? They certainly would not agree with the various stands taken in the ELCA today . And before Charles pipes in, yes, I know that you all value the evolution of doctrine. But when the doctrine develops BEYOND and in CONTRADICTION to the faith they professed, to a man they would tell you that what has happened is the intrusion of error into the Church. Krauth laid out the clear path such error always takes: demanding tolerance, then equality, and then finally moving to eradicate truth.

Do folks in the LCMS grieve the division of American Lutheranism? Maybe. I just don't see it expressed on this forum, except by Dave and a very few.

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Weedon

#86
There is a difference between grieving the division of American Lutheranism and grieving that the LCMS didn't follow the ELCA's trajectory. I grieve the former; about the latter, I have no grief whatsoever.

John_Hannah

Quote from: Weedon on May 06, 2024, 02:41:21 PMThere is a difference between grieving the division of American Lutheranism and grieving that the LCMS didn't follow the ELCA's trajectory. I grieve the former; about the latter, I have no grief whatsoever.

OK. I believe you.  😀
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Jeremy_Loesch

How are we supposed to lament?  What are we supposed to lament?  And what lament would be acceptable? 

I think Will's distinction above is correct.  I wish the division in Lutheranism weren't so, but it is.  And my opinion is that the division had to happen.  The two church bodies are following their own paths and those path will not converge.  The ELCA will not allow it nor will Missouri. 

Will brought up something about books and how Augsburg, Fortress, and CPH used to be indistinguishable.  In 2000, a class on the gospel of Mark was offered at Trinity Seminary in Columbus OH, a class that was designed for clergy in the parish.  It was a six week course that cost $75.  Fresh out of seminary I was eager for that class, eager to be back in a classroom setting, eager to see what Trinity Seminary was like.  I registered in person and browsed the bookstore.  It was weird.  New perspectives on this, new perspectives on that, rethinking Paul, rethinking Peter, rethinking all the apostles.  It was 2000 and I knew I wasn't at CSL anymore.  And when I registered for the class I learned that a UMC pastor was going to be teaching the class.  That was something that I learned about ELCA seminaries.  The class was canceled because only two of us registered and six were needed.  I'm not entirely sorry that the class was canceled. 

The two church bodies are where they are.  I don't know what there is to lament at this time. 

Jeremy 

wmattsfield

Quote from: Jeremy_Loesch on May 06, 2024, 03:17:16 PMHow are we supposed to lament?  What are we supposed to lament?  And what lament would be acceptable? 

I think Will's distinction above is correct.  I wish the division in Lutheranism weren't so, but it is.  And my opinion is that the division had to happen.  The two church bodies are following their own paths and those path will not converge.  The ELCA will not allow it nor will Missouri. 

Will brought up something about books and how Augsburg, Fortress, and CPH used to be indistinguishable.  In 2000, a class on the gospel of Mark was offered at Trinity Seminary in Columbus OH, a class that was designed for clergy in the parish.  It was a six week course that cost $75.  Fresh out of seminary I was eager for that class, eager to be back in a classroom setting, eager to see what Trinity Seminary was like.  I registered in person and browsed the bookstore.  It was weird.  New perspectives on this, new perspectives on that, rethinking Paul, rethinking Peter, rethinking all the apostles.  It was 2000 and I knew I wasn't at CSL anymore.  And when I registered for the class I learned that a UMC pastor was going to be teaching the class.  That was something that I learned about ELCA seminaries.  The class was canceled because only two of us registered and six were needed.  I'm not entirely sorry that the class was canceled. 

The two church bodies are where they are.  I don't know what there is to lament at this time. 

Jeremy

Another thought as we lament division in American Lutheraniam - there has also been some healing. There has been a renewal of cordial relationships between the LCMS and WELS/ELS, repairing part of the damage from the rift in the 50's. I do think that is something to celebrate.

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