Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Provocative or Public Offense?

This was from an article in THE LUTHERAN about couples living together and those choosing not:
...a University of Minnesota Lutheran campus-ministry counselor. “When I prepare [couples for marriage],” she was quoted, “I find it easier to talk to those who have lived together because they know what it takes to live with another human being. I see much more openness to sharing things that have been struggles.”

So.... a Lutheran campus Pastor (ELCA) finds it easier to talk marriage to those who have lived together.  Well, that settles it.  Lets just have all couples live together first because then we have something to talk about in premarital counseling.  Hmmmm.  By the same logic, lets have folks break all the commandments (in action and not in thought or word only) and then it will be easier to talk to them of forgiveness and repentance.  Have you ever heard such screwy talk?

I am not always a fan of some of the stuff in the national magazines of other Lutheran bodies, but it seems that in the ELCA their official journal seems to be intentionally provocative and needlessly so... unless, of course, they have an agenda which is at odds with the published positions of the church body they serve.  Ahhhh, could that be it?  That might explain why THE LUTHERAN has so often written positively of gay and lesbians and gay and lesbian clergy well before the 2009 vote of the CWA... or why they can speak positively of contemporary worship while the ELCA was introducing its new hymnal to the Church... or a thousand other things.

A million years ago I recall an article in the then LCA THE LUTHERAN which spoke in defense of those who have soccer or other family or sports activities on Sunday morning and therefore are not in Church.  A former LCA family that had joined our LCMS congregation brought it to me and asked "What do you think of that?"  This came after a family decided to leave our congregation because they said the expectation of catechism and worship attendance for their children was extreme and unreasonable.

The point I am making is that the journal of a church body is an organ of that body.  It has not journalistic independence from the church body it serves.  That does not mean that it lies or distributes propaganda but that it can and should be expected to reflect the positions of the church it represents in print.  When I open THE LUTHERAN WITNESS I do not expect articles which challenge the doctrinal position of the LCMS.  On the contrary, I expect articles which are consistent with the belief, teaching, and confession of this church body.  Why, then, does the ELCA seem to countenance and even encourage provocative articles which flaunt disagreement with their church body's position and public faith?  The only real reason I can come up with is that there is no public teaching in the ELCA, no doctrinal position, no confession, and no truth which cannot be questioned, disputed, and denied and the sources good standing in that church body be broken.
The conclusion may be flawed but it seems that from the very pages of the ELCA house organ thatg conclusion is supported.  Can someone give me another explanation?  If it is true that there is no public teaching and confession of the ELCA which members in good standing cannot deny or dispute or question, then the ELCA is in far bigger trouble than approving a lifestyle for lay and clergy which is in conflict with the Lutheran Confessions and the historic position of the Church from the get go.  Indeed, it may end up that believing in God at all is optional within the official parameters of the ELCA -- signalling its movement into the sphere of the UCC once and for all.


Anonymous said...

I was in the ELCA. It is full of unbelievers. By that I mean they just plain don't believe the Bible, nor that God has the authority to tell them what to do. There was a thin veneer of churchiness but when you discuss any topic, it quickly became apparent who was a believer and who was not. In the case of our church, there was an incident with the pastor and the youth about some discussions he was leading with them that caused many of the actual believers to leave. That is probably not unlike many parishes. The ELCA has purged itself of much of the true church that was there, leaving more space for and less resistance to those teaching unbelief, immorality and heresies.

Chris said...

Let the ELCA and TEC and other heretics continue to destroy themselves.

Anonymous said...

The ELCA is an apostate church
which has mocked God's Word on
so many issues. Co-habitation
is a sin according to Holy
Scriptures. We are not to do
anything as a church to encourage
this lifestyle.

Jon Bakker said...

It's funny, they're okay with breaking the commandments so that they may talk with experience about forgiveness and really understand it.

I wonder if they think people should break the laws of the land so that they may talk with experience about the justice system and really understand it?

Carl Vehse said...

Here is the appropriate magazine logo.

Mark said...

A five year old article?

In the subsequent years, the ELCA's 2009 statement on human sexuality--whatever else might be wrong with it--is clear that physical sexual intimacy is legitimate only in marriage.

There must be more recent things to find wrong with the ELCA. Lots more.

Anonymous said...

Okay, okay, we get it. The ELCA is bad, very bad. Horrible. Demonic. Anti-Christ. Etc. Etc. Got it. Really. Now, may we please move on? Or should this blog be renamed, "Pastoral Dead Horse Beating"?

Pastor Peters said...

FWIW my point here was not ELCA bashing (good sport that it might be). Rather, my point was that what has happened with the official periodical of a church body takes positions in opposition to the stated claims and confessions of that church body? How can the official house organ of a church become the opposition press? Can such an adversarial relationship with its own confession continue without destroying either the journal or the church that publishes it? Does not such impugnity with the stated confessions and beliefs of a church body mean that nothing is believed, confessed, and taught?

What does this mean? That was my point -- if however unclearly stated.

Ken McGuire said...

I am a recovering ex-member of the ELCA. I left basically because as you say, it had no doctrinal position - at least when I needed to be reminded of Christ. I got tired of being told how special and spiritual they were and that I should be. In the end, I had to cut myself off from that spiritual poison for my own survival. I am not a good enough "Christian" to not need the Gospel.

Any treatment of the ills of the ELCA that does not face this misses the point, IMHO