Sunday, June 3, 2012

Joint Statement from ACNA and LCMS

You can read the full text of the statement here (and print it out).  The statement expresses joyful commonality and without reservation agreement in the core teachings (articles) of the Christian faith shared by our church bodies.  That just might be an understatement.  In reality, this common confession goes beyond what the LCMS was able to affirm with our own Lutheran cousins in the ELCA.  It is striking that we would find such a friendly reception with those decidedly outside the Lutheran framework of confession and history.

That said, there are elements of the discussion that must and will continue before the possibility of more common confession is possible.  Here included is the whole idea of a confessional tradition in addition to the creeds (a given for Lutherans and something more difficult for Anglicans), the ministerial office (both its three fold character and the possibility of women's ordination), the practice and discipline of the Lord's Table, and the liturgy (especially uniformity of the liturgy in the congregations).

As should be noted, this is but the first leg of the discussions and it is a cause for rejoicing that we have found such serious interest in theology and such surprising commonality with respect to the core of Christian faith and practice.

The key here is... more to come... to be sure.


Carl Vehse said...

Previously confessional Lutherans in the Missouri Synod had opposed the practice of selective felllowship with other church bodies, especially with ones that have women “ordained” as pastrixes. Now things apparantly have changed with the help of a nuance between "oecumenical" and "ecumenical."

Also, according to a WMLTBlog article, “LCMS-NALC Discussions,” LCMS representatives held meetings late last year with the North American Lutheran Church (NALC), another church body that has "ordained" women pastrixes.

Beside women priests, the ANCA contains a charismatic movement, like the LCMS worked to eliminate a couple of decades ago. Along with its dialogue partners, the ACNA is hardly the kind of church body for the LCMS to pursue selective fellowship.

What is with all these girlish giggles in the Purple Palace over any new ecumenical boy in town? Is it just because these boys won’t allow any of their ordained female pastorettes to be noncelebate lesbians? Or, as someone on another Lutheran list suggested, is it the “curly walking sticks and the funny hats”?

Anonymous said...

This is big joke and the joke is
on the laity of the LCMS.

Dr.D said...

I would suggest that the LCMS be some what wary regarding the ACNA. They still have not settled on what their theology is to be, particularly with regard to women's ordination. Traditional Continuing Anglicans look at ACNA with great question marks, unsure just what they are. They seem to eager to be tied to Canterbury to be willing to set themselves free for the Gospel of Christ.

Fr. D
Anglican Priest

Chris Jones said...

As a cradle Episcopalian, now LCMS Lutheran, I agree that the LCMS ought to approach ecumenical dialogue with ACNA very cautiously. However, I would add that the LCMS has a lot to offer ACNA, if we approach the dialogue with a serious commitment to our own Confessions. We can help ACNA to find a way to be faithful to the core truths of the Catholic faith while weaning themselves from the Reformed errors that Anglicanism has historically been tempted by.

The danger is that the LCMS might become too ACNA-like; the opportunity is that ACNA might become more Lutheran. That would not be a bad thing.

Chris said...

Don't the confessions of Lutheranism (i.e. Book of Concord) stipulate that all 7 ecumenical councils are regarded as authoritative? Why is there only explicit mention of the first four in this document? I was always taught that all seven councils are accepted because they "agree with Scripture."

Chris Jones said...

As far as I remember the Lutheran Confessions make no statement as to how many of the ecumenical councils are authoritative (I welcome correction from anyone who is more familiar with the Confessions than I am). There is only a general acceptance of what has been received from tradition and the claim that we reject only "some abuses which are new."

It is true that Lutherans are not iconoclasts, and I think most Lutherans would, if pressed, accept the teaching of the seventh council. But as far as I know it does not enjoy the explicit endorsement of the Confessions.

Carl Vehse said...

David Jay Webber compiled and edited "The Ecumenical Councils and the Lutheran Confessions: An Anthology"

Chris Jones said...

Thanks for this, Carl. Pr Webber's anthology confirms my recollection, that the Confessions evince a general respect for the ecumenical councils and for the ecumenical canons, without a specific recognition of any of them as being authoritative in the sense that Orthodox or Catholics recognize them.

Anonymous said...

It is better for the LCMS to dialog with church bodies that have an identity crisis rather than meet with bodies that have zero interest in learning about LCMS doctrine.

If the ACNA and the NALC are still trying to figure out who they are and what they want to be, then such discussions with the LCMS and its never-changing doctrines could only help.

I would love to see the LCMS eventually enter into altar and pulpit fellowship with the Malagasy Lutheran Church (Madagascar).

William Weedon said...

Seventh receives no explicit mention in the Symbols. However, it is fascinating to read both Andreae's and Chemntiz' varying assessments of it:

Andreae, we accept it goes too far in demanding the veneration of images.

Chemnitz, we reject it but...we certainly receive the use of images in our churches for their value in teaching along the lines of Gregory the Great.

Truthfully, I suspect both of them misunderstood the veneration based on their own experiences with contemporary Cathoicism. But as Lewis showed in That Hideous Strength, when a Christian is asked to DISHONOR an image such as a crucifix, it immediately becomes clear what venerate or honor means - and it doesn't mean worship. The Seventh's rather misappropriation of Basil's words (uttered in another context, but still true in this) come clear: the honor given to the image passes to the prototype (and likewise the dishonor).