Friday, May 12, 2017

Until you get the answer you want. . . studying the ordination of women in the Lutheran Church in Australia

I love the scene in the movie Moonstruck in which the character played by Olympia Dukakis keeps asking her question until she gets the answer she thinks is correct.  In her case the question is why men chase women (personal since her husband is having an affair).  Her almost son-in-law finally blurts out "Because they are afraid of death!"  "That's it!" she insists.  Her almost son-in-law is not so sure but she is.  It is the one answer she thought correct and she had waited for someone finally to confirm it.

We do exactly the same thing in so many different ways.  Children ask the same question to both parents in search for different answers, one of which will be the one they want to hear.  It happens in politics and it happens in church.  We study things until end up with the conclusions that confirm what we entered the study to find.  In other words, we are less interested in the fruits of our study and where it might lead that confirming the presupposition with which we began this study. We study ourselves into the answers we want.

Conservative Christians are usually accused of doing this.  Because we give weight to tradition, we study things with a view toward maintaining the position of Scripture and tradition and it takes a great deal to convince us that we got Scripture wrong or that tradition erred.  The masters of the idea of studying something until you get the answer you want, however, are on the other side.  Those in favor of the ordination of women study and study and study until they find something that supports their initial position in favor of the ordination of women.  Those in favor of same sex marriage keep reviewing the old passages and perspectives of the Judeo-Christian tradition until they come up with a different way of reading those passages that will justify their own acceptance of the GLBTQ agenda.  In my own Missourian circles, we have studied close(d) communion in this way, "lay" ministry, deacons doing Word and Sacrament ministry, and a host of other hot button issues -- usually looking for a way to calm things down if not settle them but few minds seem to be changed.

In the Lutheran Church in Australia, the issue of women's ordination (once settled before the merger that created that church body) has now become a hot button issue again and, sure enough, it is being studied and restudied in the pursuit of a different answer than the one settled on when that church body began.  In other words, the goal of the study is not to come to consensus but to find enough doubts and questions about the current position and enough support for changing to give cover to those who are intent upon foisting this upon the Lutheran Church in Australia.

In 1989 the LCA CTICR (Commission on Theology and Inter-Church Relations) established a subcommittee to study the issue of women's ordination. The deck was stacked already then.  Among the five members, only one upheld the teaching of Scripture and the church for the ordination of men only.  The study ended as so many designed for changing doctrine -- it was neither pro or anti the ordination of women but began the slide by suggesting that it was not such a big deal, perhaps not even church dividing but the arguments for the ordination of women were now fully introduced into that church body.  

It was followed later a more popular study booklet for the church as a whole and it was, of course, written by a proponent of women's ordination. In the year 2000, the first official vote took place and it did not prevail (not because there was not support for the ordination of women but because the threshold to make the change was high -- a 2/3 majority. 

While that might have signaled defeat, instead it only heralded a call for more -- you guessed it -- study.  Members of the CTICR went on the road throughout Australia holding seminars in every District -- under the guise of information, to be sure, but by failing to offer an opinion, the door was opened to considering the move to ordain women as a legitimate one.

So another vote came and went without the 2/3 majority but with the advance of the cause for the ordination of women simply by the fact that the voting tally narrowed considerably and encouraged those who believed that with more study (really an agenda pro the ordination of women), the next vote might well give the necessary majority approval to the introduction to a practice already settled when the church began  life.

A third vote taken last year -- encouraged by prayers that the LCA be led into the truth of the matter by the Holy Spirit -- still ended up shy.  So, again, you guessed it.  Another study was begun with even more overt direction to support the change and ordain women as pastors.  Another vote will be taken next year and another study booklet will try to prevent the Holy Spirit from coming up a few votes shy again.  In other words, the LCA must study this issue until they get it right (that is, until they change enough minds to support rejecting the position of Scripture and tradition.

It is happening in Australia among Lutherans but it happens everywhere.  The position of the enlightened is that enlightenment (generally heresy or at least diversion from Scripture and tradition) will come after study (study that masquerades as neutral but is, in reality, the most potent arguments in favor of the change that they changers can make!).

So the change moves from being wrong to not so clearly wrong to perhaps not even forbidden to it could be acceptable, to perhaps good to it must be right, god-pleasing, and we have no choice but to approve it. . . and the Spirit must be throwing his wings up in disgust!


Anonymous said...

Can you hear that? The Gates of Hell are battering the walls of the Church. The enemy continues to build its siegeworks ever higher.

Carl Vehse said...

At 1:10:00 in the October 28, 2015, Issues, Etc.interview with Pres. Harrison it was noted that the Lutheran Church of Australia recently and narrowly decided not to approve the ordination of women.

Rev. Todd Wilken: "Had they decided to ordain women what would that have done to any hope of pursuing real fellowship—real unity—with that Australian Lutheran Church?"

President Matt Harrison: "It would be over!"

Now if instead of the 70,000-member LCA, Rev. Wilken had asked about a 5- million-member charismatic church body that had been 'ordaining' pastorettes for over 15 years with no hint they intend to stop, President Harrison's answer would be that the LCMS is currently holding formal fellowship talks with them.

Anonymous said...

Matters like this are "studied" until the desired result is obtained, at which point the whole thing is "settled" and can no longer be discussed. It is a one-way process moving to liberalism.


Anonymous said...

The burden/benefit of sola scriptura is constant study of how God speaks to us through his word into the current context. We can't give credence to tradition, so this path of constant reform is inevitable.

William Tighe said...

" God speaks to us through his word into the current context."

How do you know it's God?; the Devil can quote Scripture, too.

David Gray said...

Indeed the Devil has quoted scripture when Jesus was in the wilderness.

Mark Beitz said...

"We listened – and we are still listening" ( apparently doesn't apply to 1 Corinthians 14:33-36 and 1 Timothy 2:11-15.

Carl Vehse said...

Notice the phrasing used by LCA Lufauxran Bishop John Henderson,

"Conventions have voted on the ordination of women three times – in 2000, 2006 and 2015. Each time it has failed to reach the required two-thirds majority" [Emphasis added]

Rather than the Lutheran statement, "Each time Lutheran delegates have succeeded in preventing the required two-thirds majority."

What the Lutheran delegates should have demanded is that the Lufauxran delegates repent or leave the Church.

Anonymous said...

Everyone can quote scripture - including the devil, but it is through our actions (not our doctrine) that we are recognized by others as belonging to the Truth: "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another."
You'll understand my sorrow, then, at seeing such derogatory titles as "Lufauxran" thrown around on this page.

Carl Vehse said...

Lufauxran is a word that describe a person, group, or statement that claims to be Lutheran but actually is a proponent for and promotes nonLutheran or antiLutheran views or actions, such as the fakery of "ordination" of women to be pastorettes.

Claiming "Lufauxran" is "derogatory" and "thrown around" is congruent with claiming support for such nonLutheran or antiLutheran views or actions, and such a claim itself takes on the description of "Lufauxran."

Anonymous said...

I'm aware of what you think "Lufauxran" refers to. However, perhaps instead we should all use it to refer to those people who claim to profess Lutheranism and the doctrine of grace, but then fail to act in such a grace-ful way with their fellow Lutherans. Those who would place purity of doctrine above peace and unity and dialogue, seeking to sow dissension and discord without realising that this undermines the very core of the doctrine they claim to espouse.
But that would be ironic.

William Tighe said...

"Those who would place purity of doctrine above peace and unity and dialogue, seeking to sow dissension and discord without realising that this undermines the very core of the doctrine they claim to espouse."

Are you perhaps thinking of Martin Luther here? Certainly, he laced "purity of doctrine" above all else.

Carl Vehse said...

To Eramus, who had whined and complained about dissension and discord, Luther wrote the following in his Bondage of the Will, which just as well applies to Mr. "Anonymous":

"I see indeed, my friend Erasmus, that you complain in many books of these tumults, and of the loss of peace and concord; and you attempt many means whereby to afford a remedy, and (as I am inclined to believe) with a good intention. But this gouty foot laughs at your doctoring hands. For here, in truth, as you say, you sail against the tide; nay, you put out fire with straw. Cease from complaining, cease from doctoring; this tumult proceeds, and is carried on, from above, and will not cease until it shall make all the adversaries of the word as the dirt of the streets."

Anonymous said...

Is Christ to be divided? Was Luther crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Luther?

Amos (Mr Anonymous)

Carl Vehse said...

C.F.W. Walther responded to disparaging remarks similar to those of Amos, in an 1844 four-part Der Lutheraner article (1:1, pp.2-4; 1:2, pp.5; 1:3, pp.9-12; 1:4, pp.13-15):

“Of course, as we know full well, people are greatly offended because the Lutheran Church is named after Luther, that is, after a man. ‘Why?’ They cry out. Can’t you see by definition that this Church cannot be the true church of Christ but rather must be the human invention of a man, a sect? Yikes, they say, you Lutherans should read once again what St. Paul says about such names of men. In 1 Corinthians 1.11f it says: ‘It has come to our attention that there is division between you. It is said that among you some say: I am of Paul. A second: I am of Apollos. A third: I am of Cephas. A fourth: I am of Christ. So? Is Christ now divided? So was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

“There are not a few rightly fashioned Christians who fall into no little consternation when they are confronted with this by our many opponents. But as impressive as this charge may be, if we would examine the matter a bit closer, it is soon revealed to be just as unfounded. First, it is an error to believe that Lutherans have given themselves that name. History tells us, much rather, that they were first called this by their enemies, because they wanted to belittle them with that name. Dr. Eck, who is famous for disputing Luther at Leipzig, was the first to call those who were then adhering to Luther’s doctrine ‘Lutherans.’ We see clearly what Luther himself thought of this reference in his writing published in 1522: Admonition to Protect Yourself from Rebellion, where he writes this, among other things: ‘I ask that people would not use my name, and not call themselves ‘Lutherans’ but ‘Christians.’ Who is Luther? The doctrine is not even mine. So also, I have not been crucified for anyone. St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 3.4-5 would not allow Christians to call themselves of Paul or of Peter, but rather Christians. So then how does it happen that children of God should be named by my common name when I am also just a poor stinking maggot sack? Dear friends, not so, let us put away this naming by party and be called Christians, for we possess his doctrine.

“So I pray you, think better of this. It’s true that you must not say on your body and soul: I am Lutheran or Papistic, for none of these have died for you or are your master, but rather only Christ, and you should confess yourself a Christian. But if you maintain that Luther’s doctrine is evangelical and the pope’s is not evangelical, then you must not so utterly discard Luther, for you would also then be without his doctrine, which you now acknowledge as Christ’s doctrine. So rather you must say: It doesn’t matter to me whether Luther is a fool or a saint, but his doctrine is not his own. It is from Christ himself. Then you will see that in this the tyrants don’t care about any Luther but want to remove his doctrine, and, for the sake of the doctrine, they are offended by you and ask you if you are called ‘Lutheran.’ Here truly you must not speak deceptively, but freely confess Christ, whether it was Luther, Claus, or George who preached him. Disregard the person, but you must confess the doctrine.”

Carl Vehse said...

The entire article can be seen in Rev. Joel Baseley's translation of Der Lutheraner Year One or in Mark Nispel's translatioin of Concerning the Name "Lutheran".

Anonymous said...

Interesting that you are quoting obscure historical references at me to justify your divisiveness.
Let me quote some obscure historical texts also:
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Outdo yourselves in honoring one another.
Now may the God of endurance and encouragement grant you harmony with one another in Christ Jesus, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring glory to God.
OR perhaps even Jesus instead of Luther?
A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so also you must love one another.

I have no issue with identifying myself or others as a Lutheran so that dialogue can occur and learning can be had, but to use this and other terms such as "Lufauxran" as weapons to discredit, ridicule and fracture clearly contradicts the word of God.

Amos (Mr Anon)

Carl Vehse said...


With the meanng previously given, "Lufauxran" is not a word the use of which contradicts the Word of God, rather Lufauxran distinguishes what is not God's Word and what contradicts the doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, drawn from Scripture and exposited in the Book of Concord of 1580.

But like those Lufauxrans who claim God's Word allows women to be ordained, you, in claiming "Lufauxran" contradicts God's Word, have misused and gone beyond God's Word and have asserted as the Word of God that which God has not spoken.

But God's Word does speak about identifying false doctrine and those who deny what God has said in his Word:

Matthew 24:24
Matthew 7:15-16
Matthew 7:21-23
Mark 13:14
John 8:44
Ephesians 6:10-18
Galatians 1:8 -9
1 Corinthians 14:33
2 Corinthians 11:10-15
Colossians 3:8
1 Timothy 3:1-16
2 Timothy 4:2-4
2 Peter 2:1-3
2 Peter 3:15-18
1 John 4:1
2 John 1:9-11
Deuteronomy 12:32
Deuteronomy 4:2
Isaiah 1:1-31
Revelation 22:18-19

David Gray said...

In a real sense I wouldn't worry too much about a made up word used exclusively by someone who is generally unknown and afraid to use his own name.

Carl Vehse said...

Scott Adams has an article identifying four teltale signs that a poster is suffering from cognitive dissonance. One sign, "The Psychic Psychiatrist Illusion," involves a person resorting to a supposed magical ability by which he can discern secret inner thoughts, feelings and motives of strangers from a distance, which they have neither said nor written.

David, you have demonstrated this cognitive dissonance malady with your ad hominem accusation against "someone" being "afraid to use his own name."

Unknown said...

But the devil always quoted out of context.

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Vasa said...

To be honest, I would never have thought that pastors could have such problems. They always seemed to me to be deeply religious people who are guided by a higher power. Such people should not doubt. They're not a designer from ramotion or a factory worker.