A Plea to LC-MS Pastors

Editor’s Note:  This article was prompted by this picture and the conversation taking place here.

God forbids women to speak the lessons in church.  1 Timothy 2:11-15 and 1 Corinthians 14:34-38. Those who say that God doesn’t forbid women to speak the lessons in church (or read the readings, as people today say) appeal to current theologians in our synod to say that this is an open question or adiaphoron.  I don’t need to appeal to all the true Christian men and women until the 20th Century who support my position to refute them.  I appeal to the Scriptures alone, which the LC-MS in the 2nd Article of her constitution makes the sole rule and norm and source of our doctrine.

They argue against the clear Scriptures who say that it is not clear whether God forbids women to speak the lessons in Church.  Here are a few of their arguments.  1. That God’s prohibition for women to teach and his command that they remain silent and learn in quietness and all submission refers only to preaching, or only to the pastoral office itself. To this they add that the Church has had laymen speak the lessons to prove that it is not essential to the pastoral office.  2. That women singing in Church or girls reciting Scripture at a Christmas pageant means they are also allowed to speak the lessons in Church. To this some add the boys in the early Lutheran schools learning to speak the lessons at Matins and Vespers.  3. That letting women speak the lessons in Church helps them get involved and gives them an opportunity to serve their Lord.  4. The Synod has declared, pursuant to a CTCR document, that the Scripture is not clear and that this issue ought to be decided by the congregations.  5. Our condemning women lectors is divisive and asserting personal opinions as the Word of God.

 

  1. That God’s prohibition for women to teach and his command that they remain silent and learn in quietness and all submission refers only to preaching, or only to the pastoral office itself. To this they add that the Church has had laymen speak the lessons to prove that it is not essential to the pastoral office.

 

This denies the authority and clarity of the Word of God.  The lessons that are spoken to the whole congregation are what is taught.  It is not just a part of the teaching.  It is the foundation of all the teaching the pastor does.

God’s Word is clear that women are to be silent in the churches.  No such prohibition is given to men.  While most confessional Lutherans consider laymen speaking the lessons to be unwise and confusing these days, having laymen speak the lessons is not sinful and not forbidden, and in fact reinforces the teaching of Scripture that men are the head of their homes and as fathers are specifically told to teach their children. The early Lutherans were free to train young men to lead devotions in their homes, as seminaries are free to have students read the lessons before they are ordained. (Ephesians 6:4)

 

  1. That women singing in Church or girls reciting Scripture at a Christmas pageant means they are also allowed to speak the lessons in Church.

 

This argument does violence to the Scriptures.  Paul would not tell Mary not to sing her Magnificat, or forbid Hannah and Deborah theirs songs of praise, or exhort Miriam to stop singing with Moses.  Paul would not tell parents to stop teaching their children Scripture, as Moses commanded parents to do in Deuteronomy 6:6-9. Paul’s words that women are to be silent and not teach, but learn in quietness and all submission, do not do away with Scripture.

God’s Word is clear and it is only ignorance of the Scriptures that would confuse this issue.

 

  1. That letting women speak the lessons in Church helps them get involved and gives them an opportunity to serve their Lord.

 

This illustrates the exact problem very well.  Women should be involved in their homes teaching God’s Word, with the husband leading the devotions, as we see in Ephesians 6:4.  Having the women read the lessons publicly contradicts this very order of creation that God has established.

We should not listen to those who tell us that this is a good way to make a woman feel welcome or to get her involved.  It is not a good way because God tells women to learn quietly and in all submission.  A woman speaking the lessons is not learning quietly and in all submission.  We have to repeat this Word of God to them.  We have to speak God’s Word in 1 Tim. 2 and 1 Cor. 14 out loud and not be ashamed of it.  We need to say not ashamedly, but clearly, with gravity, and with fear of God.  We dare not explain God’s Word away.  You cannot hurt Christ’s Lamb by speaking Jesus’ Word.  Christ’s sheep hear His voice and follow him.  (John 10:27-28)

Look, brothers, at the flock over which the Holy Spirit has made us overseers.  We all see it. The broken families.  Children denying the faith in droves.  The husbands apathetic to the Word of God.  The pious wives struggling to teach their children with lazy husbands who gladly obey the feminist goddess who tells them not to rule over their wives with the love and mercy with which Christ rules over us. (Eph. 5:25-28; 1 Pet. 3:7) They need men to speak the lessons at home!

The carnage of lost souls alone must wake us from our stupor.  Now is not the time to politick.  Now is not the time to wait for the right people to gain leadership, and gradually lead people to accept God’s Word through power plays.  Now is the time to visit families and speak boldly what God says and trust that His Word will not return to him empty.  Now is not the time to trust in princes but in the Word of God. (Isaiah 55:10-11)  Remember, “In season and out of season!” (2 Tim. 4:2)

 

  1. The Synod has declared, pursuant to a CTCR document, that the Scripture is not clear and that this issue ought to be decided by the congregations.

 

The Word of God to which the Synod and all her pastors pledge undying loyalty cannot be changed.  The 2nd article of the LC-MS constitution says, “The Synod and every member of the Synod, accepts without reservation: 1. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the written Word of God and the only rule and norm of faith and of practice.

This Word of God is clear.  Women are not to teach, they are to be silent in the Churches and to learn in quietness and with all submission.  That is the Word of God that cannot be changed.  This is why this 2nd article of the Synod’s constitution cannot be changed.  God’s Word cannot be changed.

When people say that the Word of God is not clear here they are ignoring the pure Word of God and setting up man-made opinion in place of the Word of God.  It does no good to appeal to synodical theologians who disagree with the Word of God.  They are not allowed to teach as doctrines the commandments of men.  God forbids it. (Matthew 15:9)

 

  1. Our condemning women lectors is divisive and asserting personal opinions as the Word of God.

 

Pastors, you are not allowed to allow women to speak the lessons in Church.  It is not loving to allow them to speak the lessons.  It can be cowardice, pride, apathy, or wrong affections, but it is not love. Hurting their feelings will not hurt their faith because the Word of God cannot destroy the faith of God’s children.  That is impossible.  God telling wives to submit to their husbands doesn’t destroy their faith any more than God telling Eve that her husband should rule over destroyed her faith (Gen. 3:16), or any more than God telling husbands to love their wives destroys theirs.  God telling women to be silent in the church and not to usurp authority over men does not hurt their faith.  Neither does it destroy the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Eph. 4:3) The unity of the Spirit is created by the Word of God.  Destroying the unity of the Spirit happens when we disregard the Word of God, as when pastors do not obey their Lord when he tells them through His apostle that women are to be silent in the churches.

Those who have women teach and speak the lessons are causing division among us by setting up a practice contrary to the doctrine we learn in the Bible.  False doctrine and practice divides the Church.  In setting forth the above arguments, they are creating disputes and schisms that the Church has never entertained or been troubled by except by Montanists and other heretics.  And that raises the question, from where do these arguments come today?

They come from feminism, which denies that command which God gave to man when he spoke to woman, “Your husband shall rule over you.”  Some feminist theologians even argue that because the Son is subject to the Father when he submits all things to Him on the Last Day (1 Cor. 15:28), the word “submission” no longer means the willing service and obedience Sarah gave to Abraham when she called him her lord – 1 Peter 3:5-6), because this would apparently deny the equality of the Father and the Son.  But Christ Himself came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45)  In making this argument, feminism assaults the final obedience of Christ when he hands all things over to His Father (1 Cor. 15:24-28).  It assaults the lordship of Christ and the example he leaves for husbands and wives in how they ought to live with one another Eph. 5:22-33)

These are the lengths some go to in order to deny the order of creation. Feminists assault the Unity of the Godhead and the lordship of Christ all in order to avoid teaching the order of creation.  And we see all over our churches the results overturning this order has caused.

But there are people telling you that you need to be patient, as if patience means not teaching and continuing to ignore God telling women to be silent in the churches.  When God tells pastors to be patient, he tells them to be patient in teaching (2 Tim. 4:2).  When a pastor doesn’t teach that women should be silent and thus not read the lessons, he is not being patient.  He is letting the devil teach Christ’s sheep that women should not be silent in the churches, as we hear all around us today.

We live on every Word that comes from the mouth of God.  There is a final argument some make, namely that this issue is not something we should worry about while there are other greater issues at stake.  What other issues?  Closed Communion?  We practice Closed Communion to protect Christ’s flock from the evil leaven of false doctrine (Gal. 5:9; 1 Cor. 1:10; 5:6).  If we allow the evil leaven in we are not practicing Closed Communion.

What other issues?  Is it that we cannot speak this Word of God until we speak other words that are more important?  But Jesus teaches us to keep all things he commanded us (Matthew 28:20), and we not only do not keep Jesus’ word when we have women speak, we are teaching against his Word, and opposing Christ Himself. I beg you to think soberly on this.

Is there another issue?  What of the broken families I mentioned above?  This is in large part caused by the spirit whose denial of the order of creation leads to having women teach and speak the lessons.  What of the Biblical ignorance we see all around us?  This is caused so often by the Word of God being softened so that people learn to ignore it and think it irrelevant to their lives, as it is being softened and downright ignored in the issue of women speaking the lessons.  What of the worship wars, and our attempt to get people who have adopted the worship forms of sectarians to adopt any sort of traditional order for the sake of Christian discipline and good order (1 Cor. 14:40; Eptiome FC X.3-5)?  But it is precisely in the context of forbidding women to speak in the Church that Paul in 1 Cor. 14 tells us to do all things decently and in good order.  If we cannot get this right, what order do we have?

Or is the issue that we would lose members if we speak God’s Word on this?  Because we know, as the children of God, that the remnant that remains when the Mammon is gone, when our institutions have utterly collapsed, when the walls of Jerusalem have, as it were, fallen, this remnant will obey God, and out of love for women, children, and God himself, not allow women to read the lessons.  The remnant’s men will declare the works of God to the generation following, with their women and baptized children speaking beside them and blending with their voice in a harmony that the devil can’t divide because God’s Word cannot be broken.  (Isaiah 40:8; John 10:35)

As the feminists hate us when we say, “Man up!”, so I exhort you, “Be men!” (1 Cor. 16:13) Tell our seminaries that you require them to teach this to our future pastors.  This is not an open question.  This is not something up for each congregation to do what is right in its own eyes (Josh. 17:6)  This is not something we ask the CTCR to give an opinion on.  We know the answer.  God’s Word is clear.  Our unity is not based upon the decrees of men, but on the Word of God that has so often shown us our own errors and led us out of darkness into the light of the truth of the Gospel.

We must obey God rather than men.  We must learn to love as men who obey God, who rule over their wives as Christ does, with love, and therefore do not permit Christian women to rule over other wives’ husbands. Women are to be silent in the Churches.  God says this.  He forbids them from speaking the lessons in Church.  Excusing this by saying that it was a part in a dramatic reading or with good motives or whatever else the devil conjures up to sully the simplicity of our faith is not to be tolerated or defended in the Church which submits to Christ in everything.  (Eph. 5:24)

Preach the Word, and risk all for it.  All we have is the Word of God.  Suffer for it, and you will love Christ’s flock.   Do not reduce God’s Word to a false gospel that does not give you a delight in the Law of God.  You are pastors, and God commands you to speak His Word on penalty of death.  That’s a threat, and not from me. (Ezekiel 3:18)  But hear also His blessing, “Those who turn many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever.”  (Daniel 12:3)  Therefore, brethren, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven. (Matthew 5:16).

 

 

 


Comments

A Plea to LC-MS Pastors — 204 Comments

  1. There is also an argument that Paul was (in reading, not teaching) speaking against the women in that place (the Artemis clan, etc.). Scripture in context. Yes, yes…as Paul exhorts against women pastors (see Titus)…

  2. We also see Martha being rebuked by the Lord, and that is what you leave lady saints with, very often, when you forbid their speaking the lessons. Or, for that matter, voting in the Voters Assembly. They just do busy work and hope not to cross one of the men who are busy interpreting Scripture as narrowly as possible. (Evidently.)

    To me, lady saints reading Holy Writ and being taught to do so properly is them, sitting at the feet of Jesus. Like Mary. They are practicing and then repeating God’s Words. In my context, men and women lectors are taught to read with proper reverence, modulation, pitch, and volume. It is not “slam, bam, thank you ma’am” or whatever slap dash kind of pillory you think this is about.

    Move on. You spent too much time on this topic, brother. Ol’ Mary of Bethany did the right thing: what women weren’t supposed to be doing in Jesus’ day, sitting at a rabbi’s feet and learning Torah. But Jesus commended her. You could have been out of your office, commending a woman who is learning God’s Word and will soon vote in your Voters Assembly–yes, another “new” practice, but one that came about due to extreme exigencies. As in, men being dead-beat dads and absentee husbands.

    Sabbath was made for women, not women for the Sabbath of your narrow definition.

  3. @Abby #4
    Need to be extra careful here…in good order, she should not give out the host, since the pastor in good practice should, since he is in charge of the Sacrament…she “could” follow him” with the cup. In fact, even the laymen who assist, should not give out the host…not “good practice”. Yet, at the Church I serve, only the Pastors act at the Altar Rail, but we have one Deacon who does assist.

  4. @Joel Dieterichs #3

    Scripture is narrow at times, but that doesn’t give us the right to broaden it. It is narrow about the way to salvation; should we change that just because it’s a narrow definition? Let Scripture speak, and the clearest sections on women’s roles in the church do narrowly define men as the leaders in the church. The author is absolutely correct in diagnosing secular feminism as the main cause of this issue. The Word of God is clear on the matter. Paul appeals to the creation order and the fall into sin, both historical events that are not ambiguous, unless one wants to do away with other doctrines.

    What I would like to know is where the author stands on suffrage in the congregation, which seems to be a much bigger problem than reading Scripture in church. In most Lutheran congregations, all official business goes through the voters. How is this not “exercising authority” (1 Timothy 2:12)?

  5. Pastor Prentice-
    It most certainly is forbidden. The inspired apostle who wrote the sacred scriptures clearly says that women are not to have authority over men. There is no more authoritative work in the Church than Preaching and the Administration of the Blessed Sacrament.

  6. @Joel Dieterichs #3

    Joel, what a foolish and impious argument you have made. To give women to do what the Holy Spirit expressly forbids them to do so that they don’t resort to being busy Marthas who neglect the instruction of the Lord is such a disrespectful and demeaning tactic. As though women cannot learn to submit to Jesus unless they are submitted to from the lectern. How asinine! How about they be mothers? Are there not still such blessings as Mary found there? How about they uphold the motherhood of others as the opportunities arise? Or will they thus wallow in meddlesome ignorance if they follow the example of every widow and virgin that God has ever praised? How about they learn to rejoice in the blessings of the womb (or return to it!), entrusting the care for their children’s spiritual needs to their husbands even as they honor and respect him and encourage him to do the duty you would have them usurp? How about they bear the burden of barrenness or widowhood with the same quiet spirit that makes mothers beautiful in God’s sight? Or must they find their dignity only where God never offers it — where men have forsaken theirs by refusing to rule their wives with the love and kindness of Christ? Goodness, man! Did you even read the article?

    Your argument is disrespectful to women and disrespectful to the man you presume to talk that way to. Mark, your article was fantastic! Joel, you speak as an impudent child to a man even as you insult the fortitude and contentedness of every woman I love, each of whom deserves your silent attention. Or perhaps you should rather spend more time sitting at the feet of those who teach rather than presume to speak when you have nothing worth saying.

  7. So to be clear: You disagree with the 1989 resolution of the LCMS, res. 3-14, which specifically permits women lectors. In other words, again to be clear, you are specifically and publicly teaching contrary to the doctrinal position set forth by the Synod on this matter. Am I correct? Is that your position?

  8. @Joel Dieterichs #3

    Sorry, Pastor Dieterichs, you missed on the contexts. Mary was learning from Jesus, simply that. There’s no evidence whatsoever that the intention was that she’d then turn and teach others, for certain not in a formal way.

    Also, yes, she was at the feet of the Rabbi, but again, this was an “at home” situation.

    In terms of the “modulation, pitch, volume, etc.” argument — the issue has nothing whatsoever to do with speaking ability. Too often, the oft-abused word “gifts” is used as an excuse to justify women serving in roles they’re prohibited from.

    Your arguments are the same as the ones I’ve heard in my (unfortunately predominately not-so-confessional, to put it kindly) area — I’ve heard pastor after pastor say, “As long as I’m there, and I’m the one who’s vested, and I’m the one who pronounces the Absolution, the Words of Institution, etc., etc.,” then anyone can do the other functions. These are the same ones who cite the political-military leader Deborah or Lois and Eunice being grandmother and mother to Timothy as being justification for female Communion assistants. The excuse-making I’ve heard is about beyond belief.

    The women at the “old” LCMS congregation I serve (12 1/2 years thus far), which doesn’t even have women’s suffrage (nor is going to get it), learn from the Word and grow in it as any Christian, yet we do not have female lectors or Communion assistants (and, routinely, not even male lectors — I do the reading).

    Thank you, Pastor Mark Preus! Keep at it, brother. And keep reaching those college kids — they’re at that most vulnerable age and in that vulnerable situation.

  9. @Erik Herrmann #12

    Is the LCMS and are its resolutions infallible?

    In answer, keep in mind — the Synod has reversed its mistakes in the past. For instance — the 1969 entrance into altar and pulpit fellowship with the then-ALC, and reversing this twelve years later.

  10. @The Rev BT Ball #9
    Extra Note – in good order, the pastor gives and administers access to Body and Blood, no different than an Elder that works with a pastor. He should not hand out the host, only the pastor…followed by the Blood, taking the lead of the pastor in charge.

  11. @Erik Herrmann #12

    Erik, I was going to post a clever response to you along the lines of quoting God the Holy Spirit and asking whether you are disagreeing with him … just to be clear. But It wasn’t entirely fitting because you didn’t assert anything. I’d appreciate it if you joined the argument as a professor of assertions before you ask questions to help you determine our culpability before a human court.

  12. @Erik Herrmann #12

    Dr. Herrmann,

    To be clear, do you publicly disagree with the express Word of God and His apostle Paul, which tells women to be silent in the churches and learn in quietness with all submission? You publicly teach that women can read the lessons to the assembly? Are you dissenting from the teaching of the Holy Christian Church on this matter?

    I pray you are not.

    Pr. Mark Preus

  13. @The Rev BT Ball #9
    Finally, read what I say, I replied about assisting…not women’s ordination, etc. Which I believe, only a male pastorate is all in line with the Scriptures and teachings. As for assisting in this narrow case, please as a teaching moment forward me to a Synodical writing that forbids a women from assisting the pastor.

  14. Dave-
    Instead of turning to the paper pope of synod resolutions, I’ll turn to you the institution narratives if the Holy Ministry, John 20, Mt. 28, Luke 24. The Apostolic writings of I Cor. 14 and the pastorals. The ordering of creation in Genesis 1 and 2. Etc. Let’s all read up and study those before be start looking at Missouri canon law. Reformation 500 and all.
    Fraternally, Ben

  15. Our Synod adopts doctrinal resolutions in convention. Further, our doctrinal resolutions are binding on all members of synod (this too was adopted in convention). This is the basis by which the “Brief Statement” and the “Statement on Scriptural and Confessional Principles” are binding on all members of synod. To pit article 2 of the constitution against synodical doctrinal resolutions so that only the former is binding and the latter are not is precisely the move of the theological liberals of the 1970s. I’m asking whether that is the distinction you are making. @Mark Preus #19

  16. I don’t think many people understand the authority of the Word of God, however much we say we acknowledge it. Our unity is created by the Holy Spirit alone and only through His Word. Unity is not created by compromises or resolutions of synod. A compromise of the Word cannot bring unity.

    The very fact that people are appealing not to the Word of God, not to the arguments set forth by me and all theologians of the Church catholic until the 20th Century, but to some resolution in 1989, demonstrates in what little esteem the only rule and norm is held among us.

    God tells all of us not to have women lectors. The Bible says so. The Bible is clear. The only arguments made so far since yesterday when this controversy began have been made not to clarify, but to muddle the Word of God and render it unclear. Think about that, you who believe and know that you live from every Word that comes from the mouth of God.

    We love our brothers by asserting what God says. It is a joy knowing God’s Word. It frees our consciences and teaches us what love and unity really are. God bless our seminaries in learning this, so that their joy in confessing the truth might become contagious and make for the kind of preaching the poor souls in our churches need.

  17. @Rev. Paul E. Gramit #15
    The question is not infallibility of the synod or its resolutions. The question has to do with what is required to be a member of the LCMS with respect to the doctrinal resolutions it makes. The synod has been quite clear on this matter as the 1971 and 1973 conventions demonstrate.

  18. Again, Mark, I am not talking about the authority of the Word of God here. I am talking about synodical membership and the role that synod’s doctrinal resolutions play in that membership. It is the basis on the latter that Matthew Becker was removed from membership of the synod. So the question still stands, are you really in disagreement with the doctrinal position of the LCMS with respect to resolution 3-14 adopted in the 1989 synodical convention? @Mark Preus #27

  19. I love it when people take a verse and overextend it beyond what the author originally intended.

    First of all, let’s put this in context. Paul is speaking in terms of a wife exerting authority over her husband in both 1 Timothy and in 1 Corinthians.

    If we go to 1 Timothy 2, the terms that Paul uses in Greek have dual meaning: ανδρος (which can be translated man or husband within this passage), and ϒυναικι (which can be similarly translated as woman or wife within this passage). The definition of the word has to be deduced from the context of the passage. Paul goes back to the Biblical account of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. The Hebrew accounts of the fall use words of similar double meaning. Notice though in Genesis 3, that the context is a husband and wife. The curse is given in light of Adam and Eve’s relational positions as husband and wife. This is affirmed where God tells Eve that her pains in childbirth will be greatly multiplied and that her husband will rule over her. Paul similarly talks about the wife’s role in bearing children, indicating his intention is pointing toward the husband and wife relationship. Jesus makes the same connection in Matthew 19 where he refers to Genesis 2. This is a husband and wife passage. Women are to submit to their husbands, not to any man who comes along. So to stretch this passage out of context to encompass submission to all men is outside the scope of what Paul is doing. He is affirming the spiritual headship of the husband over his wife, not men over women.

    Second, while Paul makes restrictions against women assuming offices of authority over their husbands such as elders, overseers, presbyters (who in the early church were essentially pastors and bishops), he affirms that women may hold other offices such as deacons. Lest one argue that women are not permitted to be appointed as deacons, I would refer you to Romans 16, where Phoebe is upheld as a deaconess of the church in Cenchraea, and is even sent with the authority to deliver Paul’s message to the Church and Rome. In this passage, Paul even urges the church in Rome, to support and lend Phoebe their assistance as one who comes bearing Paul’s authority to carry out a commissioned ministry.

    We also see other areas where Paul frequently commended what appear to be husband and wife ministry teams. Priscilla and Aquila for example are shown to have jointly instructed Apollos in the gospel as fulfilled by Christ (Acts 18:26). We also see several incidents both throughout the scriptures, and even as shown by Eusebius where women were held up as prophets. What does prophet mean? It comes from the word for “to proclaim.” Deborah, Miriam, Huldah, Anna, and others are all held up as prophets. Lastly, who was it that Matthew says was commanded to proclaim that Jesus had risen to the disciples? Mary Magdalene. It is interesting to see that the gospel, at least according to Matthew, was first proclaimed by a woman. Indeed, we even see what is most likely a husband and wife team in Romans 16:7 held up as remarkable or of note among the apostles.

    Last but not least, the appeal to Ephesians 5 is equally misguided. The author of this article conveniently left out the verse that frames the entire passage outlining the roles of husband and wife toward one another. In Ephesians 5:21, immediately preceding Paul’s command in 5:22 to submit to their own husbands as to the lord, we see the Paul instructs the body of believers to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. The entire context of Ephesians 5 is mutual submission to one another. So while Paul affirms spiritual headship of the husband, this is all under the auspice that the husband is a servant leader just as Christ was. Again, this article uses a sledgehammer to drive a point home that has much more nuance, and in doing so, he smashes Paul’s intended message.

    So contrary to the emotional plea provided in the article, when we look at the entire witness of scripture, not just Sola Scriptura, but Tota Scriptura, we see that just as the LCMS has declared, the issue is not so cut and dry.

    Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely affirm that there are limits to the authoritative roles that may be held by women within the church in the interest of upholding God’s intended order within the home. But to make so far of an extension and overreach as was provided in this article, such that women cannot even publicly read the word, is in error. I side with the synod’s recognition on this one. As you can see, there isn’t some insidious caving to the world behind their decision; it is a careful consideration of what the Bible says. All of it. Not just two verses.

  20. @Erik Herrmann #29

    Dr. Herrmann, if you are not talking about the authority of the Word of God, then what is your concern? I honestly don’t understand. You’re a Christian. You live by every Word from the mouth of God. God tells women to be silent in the churches and to learn with all quietiness and submission. You and I both live from this Word.

    I am disappointed in your understanding of history. Jack Preus argued from Scripture to suspend Tietjen. Are you saying that Tietjen was suspended because of a synodical resolution and not because of the Word of God?

  21. @Mark Preus #31
    Mark, of course the Statement is an argument from Scripture. But it is the on the basis of the Statement which synod adopted as its doctrinal position which was the basis of Tietjen’s suspension. Again, you don’t seem to be clear on what it means to be a member of this synod. It is Tietjen who argued that doctrinal resolutions were not binding on him but that he was bound only to the Word of God. You are making his argument and distinction almost as passionately as he.

  22. @John Preus #10 {Have I got the right writer here?}

    To give women to do what the Holy Spirit expressly forbids them to do so that they don’t resort to being busy Martha’s who neglect the instruction of the Lord is such a disrespectful and demeaning tactic.

    If your lesson last Sunday was the raising of Lazarus, you should have been reminded that Martha made a good confession of faith, perhaps better than Mary. [It is possible for some to have their ears open while they attend to dinner, apparently!]
    This topic was not raised to demean Martha, (or Mary, who was listening, not presuming to teach).

    @Erik Herrmann #29

    Mr. Herrmann, it is possible for Synod in convention to make colossal blunders! IMHO, they made one last summer when they resolved that pastors should keep the laity in the dark about the propriety of synodical actions. It immediately raised the red flags of the 70’s: “What have they got to hide?” and “How much damage to the Lutheran faith is being done while they hide it?”

    Until that resolution is rescinded, or so many pastors ignore it that they can’t get rid of them all, I have even less confidence in the bureaucracy than I had after 20 years of Jerry! [Yes, 20, I’m from Texas] Which, by now, is about “no confidence at all”

    Synod blundered in ’69 and again in ’89 and 2004. Especially 2004.
    (I may have missed a few.)

    Synodical resolutions should not contradict Scripture; if they do, they should be void because of that fact. If they are not, we haven’t got a synod, we’ve got an “infallible bureaucracy” throwing its undisciplined weight around.

    Which, without oversight from the congregations,(because their pastors are gagged) is pretty much where we are! 🙁

    Our pastors on ordination, vow to uphold Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions as listed in the Book of Concord.
    If all of them remembered that, we wouldn’t have these improper “resolutions”.

  23. Dear Dr. Herrmann,

    Dr. Tietjen’s sin was not that he appealed to Scripture.

  24. When a member of the Synod in such forums as “blogs, Facebook pages, and email pages publicly teaches and advocates that a doctrinal position of the Synod as stated in a resolution of the Synod is in error and does not use the Synod’s dissent procedures, he/she/it may no longer be honoring and upholding the Constitution, Bylaws, and resolutions of the Synod and could thereby be subject to a charge of false doctrine” (CCM Opinion 13-2665).

  25. @Rev. Daniel A. Hinton #34

    Daniel– you may not be familiar with the final shape of the argument between the Faculty majority and the synod president and convention. Tietjen and the faculty majority maintained that their ordination vows were to the Scriptures and Confessions only, not synodical resolutions like the Brief Statement. This is important because the Brief Statement stated that the Scriptures were inerrant. The Faculty majority argued that such doctrinal resolutions were fallible, human statements and therefore not binding upon them. Thus, they were free to question the notion of biblical inerrancy.

  26. @Erik Herrmann #32

    Dr. Herrmann,

    I don’t think you realize that you have adopted the mindset of Ralph Bohlmann, who thought that the suspension of Tietjen was a triumph of the synod’s power, whereas the faithful knew it was an application of the Word of God.

    I think you are forgetting what it means to be a Christian, as we all do in our battle with the flesh, the world, and the devil. God tells women not to read the lessons when he tells them to be quiet and learn in submission. This is clear. In my ordination vows in the LC-MS I promised to stay faithful to the Word of God. What exactly are you asking me to do?

    Sincerely,
    Pr. Mark Preus

  27. Erik, do you really think that the Church’s victory in the Battle for the Bible was due to a synodical resolution?

    You know that we don’t need a synodical resolution to assert the inerrancy and infallibility of the Scriptures. I don’t understand how you are thinking. I being sincere here. What exactly are you telling us?

  28. So, is the “canonicity” of Paul’s epistle to Timothy being questioned here?
    Has the Spirit breathed (pneuma) to Paul God’s will or was Paul just whistling Dixie and pointing to the Spirit as his personal inspiration?

  29. “When a member of the Synod in such forums as “blogs, Facebook pages, and email pages publicly teaches and advocates that a doctrinal position of the Synod as stated in a resolution of the Synod is in error and does not use the Synod’s dissent procedures, he/she/it may no longer be honoring and upholding the Constitution, Bylaws, and resolutions of the Synod and could thereby be subject to a charge of false doctrine” (CCM Opinion 13-2665).”

    This, then ans simply, ascends the LCMS Constitution, Bylaws and resolutions…as well as the opinion of the CCM…to biblical doctrine. Shame to you, LCMS.

  30. I am not talking about what it means to be a Christian. I am talking about what it means to be a member of synod. Tietjen was not excommunicated from the church. He was removed from synodical membership. If there is a conflict between what one believes to be Christian and biblical and what the synod has stated is Christian and biblical then, as a member of synod, one either convinces the synod to change its position through the synodical dispute process, or that person leaves the synodical membership. On the other hand, if one does neither, synod has the right to to seek that person’s removal. You are a member of synod. You need to be clear on what that means.

  31. I’m really not trying to be snarky or rude, but so far it seems that most people here are simply mistaken on synodical membership. And before one attempts to instruct synodical seminaries on what it ought to do regarding doctrine and practice, one should be more familiar with the synodical position that the seminaries must uphold. One should also be clear on what their own synodical membership obligations and responsibilities are. Please don’t complain about bylaws. You willingly signed the constitution and its bylaws.
    For example from Bylaw 1.6.2.b.7. on Doctrinal resolutions:
    “(7) Such adopted and ratified doctrinal statements shall be regarded as the position of the Synod and shall be “accepted and used as helpful expositions and explanations” (FC SD Rules and Norm 10). They shall be honored and upheld (“to abide by, act, and teach in accordance with” [1971 Res. 2-21]) until such time as the Synod amends or repeals them.”
    And on synodical member agreements: 1.7.1 “The Constitution, Bylaws, and all other rules and regulations of the Synod apply to all congregational and individual members of the Synod.

    1.7.2. “The Synod expects every member congregation of the Synod to respect its resolutions and to consider them of binding force if they are in accordance with the Word of God and if they appear applicable as far as the condition of the congregation is concerned. The Synod, being an advisory body, recognizes the right of a congregation to be the judge of the applicability of the resolution to its local condition. However, in exercising such judgment, a congregation must not act arbitrarily, but in accordance with the principles of Christian love and charity.”

    And on dissent:
    “While retaining the right of brotherly dissent, members of the Synod are expected as part of the life together within the fellowship of the Synod to honor and uphold the resolutions of the Synod.

    Dissent from doctrinal resolutions and statements is to be expressed first within the fellowship of peers and then brought to the attention of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations before finding expression as an overture to the convention calling for revision or recision. While the conscience of the dissenter shall be respected, the consciences of others, as well as the collective will of the Synod, shall also be respected.”

  32. Erik, you’ll be pleased to know that the CTCR, in their document “CTCR Review of 2005 Task Force Guidelines for the Service of Women in Congregational Offices”, acknowledged that “some members of the Synod may not agree fully with some of the previously adopted resolutions of the Synod summarized in these principles—e.g., resolutions that “permit women to vote in congregational assemblies (without any limitations on matters on which they may vote)” and/or resolutions that permit women “to read the Scriptures in public worship services” (cf. 1969 Res. 2‐17 and 1989 Res. 3‐14).”
    As you are undoubtedly aware, CTCR rulings regarding doctrine, especially in cases involving doctrinal discipline of members or disputes which are subject to synodical resolution, are binding. Since the CTCR has acknowledged that some disagree with the synod, but has stated that the best method for resolving such differences is “continuing discussion of these questions and concerns about the service of women in the church”, surely you must also acknowledge that the CTCR – whose rulings in these matters are binding – has declared that pastors/congregations may hold differing views on this matter – and still remain within the synodical fellowship. Pr. Preus is obviously just availing himself of that option. As an assistant to his Ecclesiastical Supervisor (who is tasked with overseeing his status on the roster of the synod) I can assure you that both myself and the District President are aware of his views. Personally, I find nothing in this essay of concern. It clearly falls within the “differences” acknowledged by the CTCR, and this is part of the discussion which they themselves have encouraged.
    I’m sure you’ll be happy to hear from a synod official, and someone who does serve and assist in the ecclesiastical supervision of Pr. Preus, that this essay conforms to the norms of our synodical polity and is within the bounds of the acceptable doctrine taught in our synod.
    Pastor Preus is a member in good standing of our synod, and this brief essay is a valuable contribution to the ongoing theological dialogue of the synod. There is no cause for alarm with anything he has written here, and you may return to serving the church in your designated calling, without further concern for the roster status of Pr. Preus .

    I feel dirty now.

  33. Erik, what’s your position? Who gave it to you? Who told you to believe it? Who told you to defend it? It marvels me that you are interested in the bylaws of the synod and have yet to show the slightest interest in what God says. Why don’t you express what you believe or why you agree with whoever told you to believe what you believe within the fellowship of your peers instead of reminding us of the parameters of our fellowship. We are confessing and defending the doctrine of the Bible. Are these parameters of fellowship so secondary that you would bore us with administrative concerns like these? You are a professor. Teach us where we err according to God’s word.

  34. Or is this how we must now defend the interpretive community of the Church? Is this how we must now defend the clarity of God’s word?

  35. It is astonishing that in the year in which we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the nailing of the 95 Theses to the door in Wittenberg that a bunch of Luther’s theological descendants are arguing on the basis of canon law and not the Word of God. We may yet witness the day in which God raises up sons of Luther from stones.

  36. Dr. Herrmann,

    You have been asked a theological question publicly by a pastor in Christ’s Church. You are a public teacher of the Church. It is your God-given duty to answer that question. The academic/ethical debate about synodical resolutions and synod membership can wait. Would you please, for the sake of your God-given office, answer the question? Do you disagree with the express Word of God that women must not read the lessons in the public assembly of the Church?

  37. @Erik Herrmann #43

    Dear Dr. Herrmann,

    Spare us the bylaw lecture. The last thing we need our doctors of the church to be is amateur canon lawyers. I’m complaining about the bylaws. The synod cannot supercede the authority of Scripture. The synodical position is contrary to the Word of God. If you want to follow the bylaws to the very letter, my district president is the Rev. John Hill.

    If you disagree, then make your case on the Word of God. If we’re bad theologians, convict us with the Word of God, not with the rules of men. Mark Preus cited Scripture; his opponents cite bylaws. As a professor of history, surely you see the analog with the sixteenth century here.

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