Saturday, February 22, 2020

Code words. . .

We live in an age of code words that seem to imply noble intention and even encourage consensus but in reality most of those code words are just window dressing.  I am thinking of the thousand and one times when there is disagreement in the Church, usually between progressives and traditionalists, and someone crafts a press release to suggest that with study, prayer, discernment, pastoral care, and mutual respect it is hoped that consensus will be achieved.  What this really means is that the traditionalists will be given some time and then they will have to jump on the bandwagon and get with the program.

This has been the fog that has surrounded every church body that has wrestled with GLBTQ+ issues.  The progressive wing, usually in control of the seminaries, offices, and structures, realizes that they need the traditionalists (or, rather, they need their money) and so change comes incrementally until finally it is nearly a done deal.  At that point in time, the traditionalists are given a sort of olive branch.  Stay and change your mind, stay and shut up, or leave.  That is what happened in the ELCA in the wake of the move to approve same sex relationships that led to the full adoption of the GLBTQ+ agenda and it is what we see happening right now in the not so United Methodist Church.  Put up or shut up or leave.  What makes this so interesting and so frustrating is that in nearly every case, it is those advocating change, a departure from the teaching of the Scriptures, and the witness of tradition who are on the short end of the stick.  It shows at one and the same time how the control of power structures, the press of the media, and the difficulty in bucking cultural change can work against maintaining the catholic faith.

There is only one reason why people would study, pray, and discern an issue and that is to depart from the position or statement of faith they had and embrace a change.  It has happened time and time again.  In the Lutheran Church in Australia, after the issue of women's ordination failed over and over again, the path was not to let the Word of God, Lutheran Confessions, and tradition have the last word (no).  Instead, the progressives were able to get the church body to study the issue further in an attempt to discern the Lord's will.  Apparently that will was not sufficiently clear before.  But there was only one reason to study, discern, and pray.  And that is always to give the progressives time to change minds and votes to depart from the faith and historic practice of the Church.

So does that mean I am against studying an issue?  Of course not!  The Church always benefits from studying an issue but that study must not be open ended, in which the outcome is allowed to transgress the holy ground of Scripture and tradition.  It is good to study an issue from the sources of God's Word and the faithful witness of the catholic tradition but we are the students here and not the teachers.  We learn from the Scripture and the historic faith -- we do not teach the fathers or attempt to instruct God.  That always leads to the dead end of heresy and apostasy.  It always did in the past and it always will in the future.  The sooner we figure this out the better.

But Pastor Peters, you say, this is what you have said time and time again on this blog.  You are correct but when people are not listening or hearing, you must repeat yourself from time to time.

1 comment:

Carl Vehse said...

"GLBTQ+" is a code word.