Wednesday, May 31, 2017
The shape of ELCA ecumenism. . .
Previously Dr. Latini had been a professor at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota. She is currently a professor at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan. Dr. Latini is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA). She received her MDiv and PhD from Princeton.
In other words, ecumenism is not simply about who communes where, but about the training of the clergy with your ecumenical partners. Where this becomes a serious problem is when your ecumenical partners believe differently than (at least officially) you believe. Presbyterians hold to a different understanding of the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Everyone knows this and admits it. The ELCA has insisted that this diversity is not an impediment to unity -- in effect saying that believing different things about the presence of Christ in the Eucharist is either not a problem or that there is no one true confession at all.
What this also means is that those who are being prepared to serve the ELCA as pastors will eventually hold any and all beliefs about the Real Presence and the ELCA will have no public confession at all. It is the surest way for a church body to abandon its confession by allowing a diversity of viewpoints to stand. The end result is no confession at all. What happens at seminary matters. It matters for a generation of pastors and for the identity and future of the church.