Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Moving into parallel orbits. . .

The Mekane Yesus, 6.1M member Ethiopian Evangelical Church, has severed ties with the Church of Sweden and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and is working to solidify ties with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.  The recent sexuality decisions are triggers for this decision.    Not a bad bit of news for the Presentation of the Augsburg Confession day... today... as we see a church body renew its Lutheran identity and its commitment to the Scriptural pattern for us and our families....

Here is the first step and a sign of more to come:


Carl Vehse said...

It's amazing we can witness such a snowjob even near equatorial Africa.

We're told of a goal for 12,000 additional Mekane Yesus pastors trained in five years. But 2013:Today's Business states the goal as 10,000 pastors over a decade. The Mekane Jesus seminary currently has about 150 students.

Besides no mention in its name, the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) is no more Lutheran than the NALC, with whom the EECMY recently agreed to A&P Fellowship, both having pastrixes. In 2010 the EECMY seminary celebrated the tenth anniversary of ordaining pastrixes; it now has around 20 pastrixes. The EECMY Executive Secretary for the past four years, Rev. Dr. Berhanu Ofgaa, has actively promoted the ordaining of pastrixes, despite the fact that currently Rev. Berhanu Ofgaa is LCMS rostered ordained minister under the ecclesiastical supervision of the Ohio District President Terry Cripe! (So why demand Matthew Becker be expelled for promoting pastrixes, but then give Berhanu a free pass... and red carpet treatment at the purple palace?)

In 2010 the LCMS and EECMY signed a "partnership agreement" (selective fellowship?) for “mutual mission as church bodies.” In response to a request to see the text of that agreement between the two church bodies, Dr. Collver stated:

"LCMS legal counsel informed me that it is not wise to place these sorts of documents on the web as they are proprietary and privileged communications between the President of the LCMS and other church leaders. In fact, we cannot publicize the agreements between church bodies without permission of the church bodies.”

The text of the EECMY-NALC A&P fellowship agreement is readily available on the internet.

So now we might see in Ethiopia LCMS missionary Carl Rockrohr teaching sem students that women are not to be ordained pastors in one Mekane Yesus seminary classroom, and a NALC missionary or even EECMY Exec. Sec. and LCMS member Rev. Berhanu Ofgaa promoting pastrixes in the adjacent classroom.


Anonymous said...

Which "level of fellowship" do we have with EECMY?

Anonymous said...

Richard Strickert is well and truly a royal horse's patootie.

Fortunately, we do not have Strickert involved in any aspect of our Synod's work, or we would never bother to help any struggling church body until it reached a certain level of purity.

Get a grip, Strickert and find something else do with your time other than trolling Lutheran discussion sites.

William Tighe said...

Requiring NO to WO as a condition of fellowship doesn't strike me as an excessively high level of "purity." But, then, I'm not a Lutheran, so what do I know.

Carl Vehse said...

Anonymous #1: Which "level of fellowship" do we have with EECMY?
Dr. Collver has stated that it is NOT Altar and Pulpit fellowship. What (selective?) fellowship it is exactly is not clear.

Anonymous #2:
Paul, thanks for your ad hominem comments assuring me that you have nothing more cogent to say.

BTW, don't you have some more Superman Bible studies to publish?

Chris Jones said...

It's not every day that you will see me agreeing with Dr Strickert on anything; but today is one of those days. As Dr Tighe said, the rejection of the ordination of women shouldn't be too high a bar.

I'm certainly puzzled by the nature of the relationship between the LCMS and the EECMY. If (as I understand it) the standard for altar and pulpit fellowship is full agreement in the faith, and we do not have the level of agreement that would allow such fellowship, how can we send one of our missionaries to oversee their theological education? Whose faith will he be teaching: the fully Lutheran faith of the LCMS, or the (apparently) not fully Lutheran faith of the EECMY?

In that regard, while I am concerned about the EECMY's apparent embrace of women's ordination, I am at least as concerned about whether the EECMY has a firm commitment to the Lutheran Confessions as her doctrinal standard. And, given the fact that the dominant Church body in Ethiopia is a Miaphysite Church, I would be curious to know whether the EECMY is committed to a fully dyophysite and dyothelite orthodox theology, as defined at Chalcedon, Constantinople II, Constantinople III. After all, the only justification for a Church body such as the EECMY to exist at all is if it is providing a more orthodox proclamation of the Christian faith than is the national Church.

Pastor Peters said...

While I am certainly not one to think that the ordination of women should be ignored or left for later in any real theological discussion between church bodies, I would note that this whole partnership is directed to theological training of the clergy. If for that reason only, I believe it is worth being a bit more charitable than the comments above. What better way to direct a church body that ordains woman to embrace the theological and historical standard of the ordination of men only than by assisting, dare I say, directing, the theological education of their clergy????

This is not a fellowship agreement or even a willingness to partner in some grand ecumenical endeavor. It is the request from Mekane Yesus for the Missouri Synod to assist in the training of their clergy, providing a dean of their theological school no less.

Remember the old saying about providing a fish or teaching them to fish? Are we not being asked to teach them to fish?

Carl Vehse said...

"Remember the old saying about providing a fish or teaching them to fish? Are we not being asked to teach them to fish?"

In the case of EECMY, they are asking the LCMS to teach them to fish, so that they can go fishing in their preferred trees.

Unlike in the Lutheran Church in Latvia, there has been NO hint in the EECMY that they or leaders in their church body (including a LCMS pastor) are seriously trying to end the practice of ordaining women as pastors. In fact, the indications are just the opposite.

Furthermore, the EECMY seems to refer to and embrace what is called "holistic theology," a phrase that appears to be connected to the writings of a EECMY former Executive Secretary Gudina Tumsa.

Carl Vehse said...

The EECMY is not the only partner which should concern the Missouri Synod.

In December 2010, President Harrison, per Bylaw, declared LCMS fellowship with the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELC). The 2013 Convention delegates will be asked to endorse this declaration (see Resolution 4-02, 2013: Today’s Business, pp. 85-7).

A May 4, 2013, Gottesdienst Online article, “A Lutheran bishop reflects on his ministry,” presents a newsletter article from Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELC) Bishop Vsevolod Lytkin, who will be a guest at the 2013 LCMS convention in July.

The SELC has an episcopal polity. However some of what Bishop Lytkin states appears to take that episcopal polity to an area outside of the Missouri Synod’s understanding of the Lutheran doctrine of church and ministry:

“Sometimes they ask me whether it is difficult to be a bishop. Is it easy? You know, perhaps, you would think that I’m boasting if I tell you that it is very hard. It is much harder than being simply a priest.”

“So this is my work. With it I feel myself like a fish in water. But being bishop is too hard. It seems on the surface that being bishop is not much different from being a priest. Glamorous color shirt, miter on the head and staff in the left hand. But you know, I almost died when exactly six years ago five bishops have laid their hands on me, and I am still dying (cf. 1 Cor. 15:31)."

“Every time I die when I ordain somebody as a priest. It seems that I physically sense how the power leaves me, and after that I want to fall down and lie without standing back on my feet. This is some kind of mysticism, you might say, and you would be right. Yes! It is mystical. If somebody told me this earlier, just six years earlier, I would not have believed it.”

This belief in a mysticism of ordination directly contradicts the Lutheran position in the Confessions as explained by C.F.W. Walther in Thesis VI, on the Ministry (Kirche und Amt).

The resolution to approve fellowship with SELC should be tabled until a verified clarification or correction to the SELC position on the doctrine of church and ministry is publicly presented and understood (No secret or confidential agreements among the heads of the respective church bodies).

Anonymous said...

I think the EECMY would be willing to give up Womens Ordination if it could tap into the expertise of the LCMS. Perhaps the LCMS can also send a CPH person to start an African Lutheran publishing house. Any takers?

CPH: Please ditch the corny Superman Bible Studies. To compare Jesus to a superhero is blasphemy. Superman sinned just like any human being. He had a romance (Lois Lane). He also had a weakness (kryptonite). Jesus has no weaknesses. It would be better to translate all of C.F.W Walther's materials into Amharic.

Carl Vehse said...

On its website, Christian-Muslim Relations Program, the EECMY, with the approval of its President and Executive Secretary (who is also a rostered LCMS member), declares among its objectives as a church -

"To strenghten ecumenical efforts and to promote the "Program for Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa" (ProCMuRA)."

And on another EECMY-CMR webpage, the EECMY lists among its Christian-Muslim Relations Program activities: "Training of ministers of both religions."

One wonders if EECMY Seminary School of Theology Dean (and LCMS missionary) Carl Rockrohr will oversee training islamoterrorist ministers in Sharia law and how to behead Christian infidels.