Just who should come to teach at our Seminaries?

July 30th, 2014 Post by

podiumSee the press release which mentions that Dr. Daisy Machado teaches at Union Theological Seminary, but fails to mention the fact that she is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  Click here for her biography courtesy of Union Theological Seminary.  Her biography also mentions that she is “co-editor of A Reader in Latina Feminist Theology: Religion and Justice” .  

From the PR piece on this:

“Christians are being challenged to rethink and to grapple with what we mean by the terms “missions” and “missio dei.” In this lecture, Dr. Machado will explore what this increasingly popular notion of “missions” might entail today and will address the question: What does “missions” look like as the church faces the Latino reality in the United States in the 21st century?”

To this I can offer this from the Word of God (1 Corinthians 14:33-38):

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.  As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.

Or was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only ones it has reached? If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.

This last sentence is most forceful about whether a person believing that women’s ordination should even be recognized.

 

Some questions to ponder (which I have asked the St Louis Seminary and had a very friendly conversation about):

Does lecturing at the seminary violate the above passage concerning women in the Church?

Why is an LCMS seminary promoting an ordained clergywoman and seminary professor to teach our people?

Were there no experts that would not bring the offense of the heresy of women’s ordination front and center?

How will our sister churches in Latin America receive news that an ordained woman and feminist theologian is teaching (even just once) at one of our seminaries?

 

I contacted our St. Louis seminary about these concerns and had a very good conversation with them.  The main discussion was on the established tradition of letting others of even erring church bodies come and lecture at time on selected topics.  The seminary was pretty good in describing their case and that having someone come does not endorse them in total.  They have also in this case talked to Dr. Machado concerning our adherence to the Scriptures concerning men and the pastoral office.  Here are some further discussion questions that have come to my mind since then:

Can a pastor be divorced from being a pastor when publicly teaching or lecturing at a seminary?  (Can an ordained woman teach as simply a historian in the church or does she carry her ordination with her?)  Even if I am on vacation I am still a pastor, the same way that as a pastor I still remain a husband and father, I am not so sure we can set aside vocations so easily.

If a member of an erring church body is given to teach at one of our seminaries, how do we faithfully handle making a Lutheran response?  We cannot assume that all of the listeners are discerning the errors (that is an error of arrogance).  Would having a speaker set to give a Lutheran response to the previous one be a good way to address this?

 

It would be good to have a discussion here about these questions as it has been noted many times that both seminaries often have lecturers from erring church bodies including ones which we condemn and mark as erring in our own confessions.

 


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  1. Devin Murphy
    July 30th, 2014 at 14:44 | #1

    As an incoming student for the fall semester at CSL these kinds of issues deepy trouble me. I think when you so obviously are willing to set aside the clear command of scripture in one area your credibility, wisdom, and ability to interpret and apply scripture are suspect at best.

    Reading Pieper’s Dogmatics for the first time, this issue of in essence denying scriptures’ right to be the authority and rule of faith in the church (particularly in something so important as the pastorate), essentially opens up the flood gate of individual ego interpretation of all scripture.

    I worry that I will go to the sem and “learn” why its ok to do these things. Some things I don’t want to learn…

  2. July 30th, 2014 at 14:49 | #2

    @Devin Murphy #1
    Devin, I understand your troubles. While I went to CTS which at this point in history is not having some of the issues that CSL appears to be having (the seminaries have both had their moments), I still found it extremely important to keep a close watch on Scripture, Confessions and our Lutheran Fathers (especially Luther, Chemnitz, and Walther). These teachers of the faith have history on their side over and against anything “new” being presented. The Scriptures, Confessions, and our Fathers are just as relevant to this day as they were when they were first written down. The context has not changed from the Biblical context of sinners in need of God’s grace…

    Keep these things in your prayers and no matter the assignments handed to you, do not forget Scripture, Confessions, and our fathers.

  3. July 30th, 2014 at 14:51 | #3

    I am reminded of my time at CSL some 30 years ago. At that time a priestess/usurper from the newly formed ELCA was invited to debate Dr. John Johnson on the ordination of women. She lost soundly because Dr. Johnson manifested her errors by teaching the Scriptural view of the ministry.

    Professors Schumacher, Arand, Biermann and others were students around those years and may have been there for that very debate. I encourage them that such a platform is the best one if you insist on giving an errorist a microphone at one of our seminaries.

    I have attended lectures by errorists at “the other seminary” but it always seems that they have been invited in more of a historical fashion and their presentations served the topic rather than allowed for the presentation of an alternate view.

    To me the most important question is as Josh has pointed out, why is this necessary?

    When either of our seminaries strive to be reputable institutions of higher learning respected by popular academia, they have taken a dive off a deadly cliff.

    I am all for strong academics but seeking to earn the respect of the world is not necessary for having a strong academic program.

  4. Devin Murphy
    July 30th, 2014 at 15:08 | #4

    @Pastor Joshua Scheer #2

    Therein lies the rub, these very professors are teaching me how to understand, apply, and preach confessionally, according to our heritage from those fathers, and from the scriptures. I want to go humbly, soaking up everything, learning with fervor and strength, but at the same time I must test, measure, weigh.

    How do you simultaneously be a student and be judge over your teacher? It is a tough balance I think. If the seminaries are at the heart of forming the leaders of our church, I think it would be better if they gave little to no credence to these erring teachers.

    If 4-5 years from now I come out and I “Get it”, I’m so cultured, wise, academic and political that I see the wisdom of associations like these, please remind me what even an uneducated layman can see as being clearly taught by the scriptures.

  5. Rev. McCall
    July 30th, 2014 at 15:08 | #5

    @Pastor Joshua Scheer #2
    I would argue that CTS is having its issues as well, just falling off the other side of the wagon. Jack Cascione just wrote an article addressing the concerns about CTS’ Roman Catholic/Orthodox tendencies as recently evidenced in Dr. Scaer’s CTQ article “Once More to John 6″. While CSL seems to have a decidedly Evangelical bend, CTS’ Roman tendencies should be just as concerning.

  6. Randy
    July 30th, 2014 at 15:19 | #6

    Rev. Scheer,

    You bring up a key issue in the LCMS right now. Devin further elaborates on the issue when he stated:

    Devin Murphy :I think when you so obviously are willing to set aside the clear command of scripture in one area your credibility, wisdom, and ability to interpret and apply scripture are suspect at best.

    On more than one occasion I have attempted to point out to a few LCMS pastors that I didn’t think it was proper for them to promote and facilitate the spread of false teachings of heterodox ministers by allowing them “Key Speaker” billings at various LCMS conferences and events. I’m talking about ministers that were either largely Pentecostal, or Non-Denoms, or those promoting the practice of speaking in tongues, or all of the above. The response was that this sort of thing happens all the time throughout the LCMS, and even in the seminaries, therefore, it’s an accepted practice. In each case I asked if the heterodox teachings of these individuals would be refuted during or after the conference. In every case the response was to terminate the conversation………….must just be me I suppose.

    Therefore, I think that providing heterodox teachers a platform at seminaries has given a number of wayward LCMS pastors an excuse, or even implied consent, to wander, or run, down harmful rabbit trails with their flock in tow.

  7. Martin R. Noland
    July 30th, 2014 at 15:46 | #7

    Dear BJS Bloggers,

    I am a 1996 graduate of Union Theological Seminary-New York, so some folks who know that have already asked me about Dr. Machado. She was not on faculty when I was a student there, so I don’t know her, but I do know all about her theology.

    The following is what I have put together for folks asking about Union and Dr. Machado. I hope this is of some assistance in evaluating her theology.

    UNION THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY OF NEW YORK (aka UTS): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Theological_Seminary_in_the_City_of_New_York

    UTS Website: http://www.utsnyc.edu/

    Rev. Dr. Daisy Machado: http://www.utsnyc.edu/faculty/faculty-directory/daisy-machado

    Dr. Machado’s publications (from web-page above): Borders and Margins: Hispanic Disciples in the Southwest, 1888-1942. New York: Oxford University Press; co-editor of A Reader in Latina Feminist Theology: Religion and Justice. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press; as well as numerous chapters in anthologies, encyclopedias, journals, and magazines. Her two latest publications are ‘The Southern U.S. Border: Immigration, the Historical Imagination, and Globalization’ in Rethinking Economic Globalization, Pamela K. Brubaker, Rebecca Todd Peters, Laura A. Stivers, eds. (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006) and “Voices from Nepantla: Latinas in U.S. Religious History” in Feminist Intercultural Theology: Latina Explorations for a Just World, María Pilar Aquino and María José Rosado-Nunes, eds. (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2007).

    Dr. Machado in the news, a sermon protest (click on link to activate in YouTube): participating and preaching at a protest against an immigration detention center, Willacy Detention Center, Raymondville, Texas in 2010. Watch the Full Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qMsTwIYUzM

    Feminist movement and ideologies (not necessarily religious or theological in nature): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminist_movements_and_ideologies

    Hispanic feminist movement (not necessarily religious or theological in nature): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicana_feminism (note that under the heading of “Books” the title of “Borderlands” is used, which is a key concept being promoted by Dr. Machado).

    Feminist theology: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminist_theology

    A Google Books excerpt of one of Dr. Machado’s books: A Reader in Latina Feminist Theology http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=fRjUAAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=latina+feminist+theology&ots=2PmOFpWQM0&sig=HOh8RR19Ttz4UnL_9XYAHfi3Ce4#v=onepage&q=latina%20feminist%20theology&f=false

    Article on Maria Pilar Aquino, one of Dr. Machado’s peers and fellow Latina feminists:
    http://www.usfca.edu/Latin_American_Studies/divisadero/spring2012/Latina_Feminist_Theology/

    To put in simple terms, Latina feminism is a branch of Liberation Theology. Liberation Theology teaches that God favors the poor and the oppressed, over against the rich, the powerful, the middle classes, and anyone not poor or oppressed. Liberation Theology is a political “theology,”, which means it uses theological terms and the institutions of the church to advance or promote specifically political goals. The difference between it and classical Liberal Protestantism is that Liberal Protestantism sought to bring about social justice, equality, the brotherhood of man, and the just society through convincing the rich and powerful to work toward that goal. Liberation Theology says that that approach has not worked, because it is a mere justification or cover-up for the true aims of the rich and powerful.

    Latina feminism looks specifically at how Latin American women have been oppressed by men in their societies, and seeks to find ways to release women from that oppression and empower them.

    From our standpoint, this is not theology or religion, but politics under the guise of religion.

    The only thing I saw from Dr. Machado that we might agree with is her critique of the “Prosperity Gospel,” e.g., as found in Joel Osteen in America, but as it has affected Latin America. If her lecture is on that topic, it might be worthwhile.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  8. John J Flanagan
    July 30th, 2014 at 16:07 | #8

    As a point of information, does CSL allow admission to only seminary students who want to be ordained in LCMS churches, or does the student body include those who plan to serve in ELCA, WELS, or other Lutheran bodies? Are all CSL teaching staff LCMS, or are some full time professors members of ELCA or other synods and churches? Are visiting teachers holding progressive leanings allowed to lecture? I was just wondering. If the CSL has become more inclusive, I can understand how some LCMS pastors may either be confused, learning false doctrines, or falling away. It would follow that many negative results will impact the LCMS in the future.

  9. Pastor Roepke
    July 30th, 2014 at 16:22 | #9

    This general topic of speakers out side of the LC-MS has always been and will continue to be contentious subject at Concordia Seminary St. Louis.

    When I was a student at St. Louis I remember going to hear The Rev Richard John Neuhaus, who wrote about the church in the Public square, speak. (His lecture and speaking never received a stamp or mark of being doctrinally ok.) He was for many reasons controversial and was at one time a LC-MS Pastor, joined the ALC and latter became a Roman Catholic Priest. I remember there being a lot of opposition to him speaking when he came.

    His speaking was viewed by me and others as instead of just hearing about the “horse’s mouth” but rather as an opportunity to look into the horse’s mouth, i.e hear from the person himself, rather then hearing what others say about what he says. It was interesting.

    A woman Pastor coming make me more nervous especially concerning her topic. One reason is based on what is happening at this time with the whole immigration issue in the United States. Second was an Article in Concordia Journal, Spring 2013 volume 39/Number 2. The Article: The Human Face of Justice Reclaiming the Neighbor in Law, Vocation, and Justice Talk, by Professor Leopoldo A. Sanchez pages 117 – 132. A little bit to much social Justice for my taste. I wonder if this article and the speakers topic are related?

    Remember also our Seminaries are accredited, which is a good thing, yet for the accreditation agencies our seminaries are probably not seen as the most “open minded.” Speakers like this might fit into accreditation requirements.

    Enough of my ramblings.

  10. Devin Murphy
    July 30th, 2014 at 16:44 | #10

    @Pastor Roepke #9

    In regards to your experience with Richard Neuhaus “Interesting” is the right word I think. I can’t help but wonder if that’s the entire goal of inviting these speakers. If you know in your heart that this woman’s theology, focus, and denial of the plain scriptures invalidates her teaching and her credibility, to what end do you have her come speak?

    I can only conclude it is because of her unique thoughts, and the supposed emphasis on “mission” that is so tantalizing in the church at large right now. She is simply put, “interesting”, a diversion, an entertaining foray into the cloudy lens of liberation theology, feminism, and hispanic ministry which seems to all us middle-upper class white men a broadening of our obviously narrow minds.

    For that matter, to take it to its logical end, it might be educational to have the devil himself come explain tell us what it was like to live and serve the almighty God at the beginning of time. Certainly hearing the evil one speak is not in and of itself endorsement right? Hosting him for the purpose of explaining his ancient and first hand knowledge of God would be fascinating…

  11. Carol Broome
    July 30th, 2014 at 18:22 | #11

    Devin Murphy :
    I want to go humbly, soaking up everything, learning with fervor and strength, but at the same time I must test, measure, weigh.
    How do you simultaneously be a student and be judge over your teacher? It is a tough balance I think.
    >

    Remember these words when you are a pastor. They define what your strongest laity should and hopefully will be doing, in regards to you and your teaching of God’s Word. It’s a good thing for pastors to keep in mind.

  12. Rev. McCall
    July 30th, 2014 at 18:40 | #12

    This should come as little suprise. Several events in the past at CSL have embraced the kind of theology Dr. Machado teaches. They included inviting these two pastors (http://www.tlcms.org/go/kck and here http://www.jesusradicals.com/jesus-sex-and-anarchy/) to come present on what basically amounted to social gospel and liberation theology among other things. I can remember even in class being told by a particular professor that it is OK for Hispanics to violate immigration laws because their vocations of father, mother, etc. trump them.

  13. July 30th, 2014 at 18:55 | #13

    @Rev. McCall #12
    Hmmm, I truly do not think either of our sems embraced these types of speakers, or others that were strictly not LCMS. Sometimes you need to listen to the other side, then form more strategies to counter them.

    Our sems are not monasteries after all.

    Now about that immigration issue, well, I have been reading over the CTCR document of 2012 “Immigrants Among Us”, I do believe we need to think about this. Especially in light of all the illegal immigration ongoing and getting worse, but that is for another day and I know BJS does not want to tackle Church and State issues.

  14. Soldier of Christ
    July 30th, 2014 at 22:51 | #14

    So how much is she being paid to come and speak to seminarians? is this a wise use of seminary funds to pay for her travel, lodging, meals, and speaker’s fee? This is a very important question, especially in light of the student debt and cost to our seminarians, who could use this money for a better use.

  15. Rev. McCall
    July 31st, 2014 at 08:43 | #15

    @Pastor David L. Prentice Jr. #13
    I am not debating the substance of what she is teaching, I think that would be a rabbit trail and take this thread off topic. What I was trying to point out was that:
    A. There are already professors at CSL that teach what she is presenting and
    B. CSL has already produced pastors who are just as radical as her and they have been invited back to speak
    So it just strikes me that the theology of what she is presenting is nothing new for CSL, the only difference is that she isn’t LCMS and she is a woman.

  16. Brad
    July 31st, 2014 at 09:36 | #16

    To my mind, the primary duty of the seminary, is to form doctrinally sound pastors, fit by Scriptural terms to serve as undershepherds to the Chief Shepherd.

    I stopped recommending the St. Louis Seminary to the young men of our congregation years ago, and it seems I must continue for some years to come.

    With two seminaries now so divergent in doctrine and practice, it makes me wonder if Fort Wayne is going to become the flagship for the wing of the LCMS that wants to remain Lutheran (and have pastors formed as Lutherans,) and St. Louis the gathering point for the Enthusiasts.

    Should the Synod finally divide between Lutherans and Enthusiasts, at least each camp will have their own established seminary when the dust settles.

  17. July 31st, 2014 at 10:29 | #17

    @Rev. McCall #15
    Hmmm, understood…I guess I do not see it that way, the profs at both seminaries are good, learned men, with academia that blows most of us pastors away.

    I came from CSL, are you saying I am a radical??

    I do not see divergent doctrine and practice, I see different paths; all to the same solid Lutheran principles and teachings. Yes, there are niches and nuances of both. Like a Dr. Scaer at CTS, or Dr Arand at CSL.

    I think this verges on “rabble rousing.” I am sorry, I stick up for these schools, both.

  18. July 31st, 2014 at 10:58 | #18

    And I must add, some of you are saying, stay away form this or that school, bad, very bad. Let the young man or woman (yes, the Deaconesses, etc.) make their own choice, guide and steer.

    Also, and many of you all, talk a big story, get yourself over to the school, attend the Good Shepherd at CTS, or Symposia at CSL, etc. I like to travel to both when able, and chat with them, face to face. Have a beer, coffee and talk about these things.

    You attack good men, time for the BJS editors to step in and say, “knock it off.”

  19. Michael
    July 31st, 2014 at 11:19 | #19

    “Can a pastor be divorced from being a pastor when publicly teaching or lecturing at a seminary? (Can an ordained woman teach as simply a historian in the church or does she carry her ordination with her?) Even if I am on vacation I am still a pastor, the same way that as a pastor I still remain a husband and father, I am not so sure we can set aside vocations so easily.”

    I have a question for the learned here in light of this paragraph. Is an ordained woman a pastor who has assumed the office illegitimately, or is she not really a pastor at all? Or is there no difference between the two formulations? Does this make a difference as to whether “she carr[ies] her ordination with her”?

  20. Rev. McCall
    July 31st, 2014 at 11:23 | #20

    @Pastor David L. Prentice Jr. #17
    I didn’t say they weren’t smart. But their theology can be and is wrong at times. They should be called on it precisely because it is not Lutheran/Biblical. Is it not part of every Christians duty to mark and avoid false teaching and false teachers?

    I never said you were a radical nor did I say all/any who come from CSL are radicals.

    Social gospel and liberation theology are not “different paths” to solid Lutheran teaching nor are they merely “niches” or “nuances”. They are false teaching and distortions of the one true faith. The true disservice is to try to gloss over these teachings as you are doing and claim they are somehow solidly Lutheran.

  21. Brad
    July 31st, 2014 at 11:43 | #21

    Pr. Prentice, with respect, I cannot take such advice. If I would, out of love and compassion, take a firm hand with guiding or recommending where my own children go to school, I will take the same care with the children of the families of our congregation– because, after all, we are our brothers’ keeper. I’m no fan of a Dr. Spock inspired catechesis or guidance model for congregational young men heading off to seminary.

    Naturally, our children will eventually make their own choices in all aspects of life. Leaving them to those decisions without our rigorous preparation and honest guidance, is an abdication of vocational responsibility to the other influences that lurk at the door and seek desperately to fill the vacuum left by our failure– the world, the devil, and their own sinful nature.

  22. July 31st, 2014 at 11:56 | #22

    @Michael #19
    I will answer this one, a woman pastor is erring against God and His teachings; and I think she has unrepentant sin on her, which as we know, leads to some very bad consequence. OK, my “semi learned” answer. Yes, to us, her ordination is a sham (sort of like the Romanists to us, we have no line of succession, we are not really ordained). She is not a pastor and I myself cannot address her as such, she is Mrs. or Miss.

    Take the ELCA as an example, they have women pastors because they ignore clear Scripture that teaches who may join the Office of Pastor, sort of like their ignoring of clear Scripture on Marriage.

    Now that is Social Gospel in my mind.

  23. July 31st, 2014 at 12:15 | #23

    @Michael #19
    A woman who has usurped the office of pastor is a false teacher and should not be recognized (see Scripture quote in the article). This woman’s ordination is false and heretical – but in the eyes of the places she serves (misled sheep and goats) she still holds the title and stands for it. So I wouldn’t call her a pastor or reverend but instead mark and avoid her as a false teacher who leads people astray in her very presence as an usurper of something not given to her.

  24. July 31st, 2014 at 12:34 | #24

    @Pastor Joshua Scheer #23
    Spot on I would say. Yet, many, even LCMS Pastors have worked with ELCA women pastors, etc.

    I myself could never, at every chance I would lovingly encourage her to abandon this false path, her soul is at stake, right? I would encourage a path to be a Deaconess, repent and move on.

  25. Michael
    July 31st, 2014 at 13:07 | #25

    Thank you, Prs. Prentice and Scheer, that makes perfect sense.

    So, Pr. Scheer, I guess I’m having a bit of trouble understanding what you mean when you write “I am not so sure we can set aside vocations so easily” in the context of the woman we are talking about, since she has no vocation as pastor. Do you mean that the fact that she THINKS she has that vocation will inevitably influence her perspective on a different lecture topic, in a way that’s perhaps different from those who hold other errors that aren’t so “personal,” so to speak? Not to say that any should be given an uncontested voice at the seminaries.

  26. helen
    July 31st, 2014 at 13:09 | #26

    @Pastor David L. Prentice Jr. #24
    I would encourage a path to be a Deaconess, repent and move on.

    I would encourage nurses’ training. We need nurses.

  27. Brad
    July 31st, 2014 at 14:56 | #27

    @Pastor David L. Prentice Jr. #22

    It’s hard to know the heart and intentions of people, and these female pastors are no different. While I have met some that really have a burning passion to destroy the Scriptures and seize the Office for selfish motives, I have met others who have not. Since we now have generations of people growing up in church bodies that don’t see a problem with female pastors (some that even believe they are fully faithful to Scripture) I think we have to at least admit that there is the possibility of female pastors out there that are not in a state of willful, unrepentant sin.

    I think it is also important to remember, that we do not judge the efficacy of the Office by the worthiness of its occupant. The Office is given to the Church, and made efficacious by the Word of Christ. In so far as any sinner is ordered into the Office by a body of believers, and they have the Word and Sacraments, we must recognize the validity of the Word at work… even if we perceive the error mixed with it.

    As I was chatting with someone recently on this subject, it occurred to us, that female ordination to the Office of the Holy Ministry might not be the greatest sin or litmus test out there… when “conservative” church bodies are ostensibly destroying the Office itself by rampant Enthusiam and pietism run amok. Or, as the rhetorical question was asked, “What’s worse: a woman ordered into the pastoral Office who at least tries to respect the Office and the Word, or a layman who despises the pastoral Office by seizing it to himself without an ordered call?” Hard one to answer, in my mind. A woman who, even if erring, attempts to honor the Office, alongside a man who undermines and despises it…

    Of course, it would be better if we could avoid both errors…

  28. July 31st, 2014 at 16:23 | #28

    @Brad #27
    Just because they feel that way, does not make it right…in our eyes, the LCMS affirms Scripture to be correct on this, just like marriage, and other commands of God. We may struggle with what God says in Scripture, but we cannot ignore it.

    If I only believed in the Gospel of Mark, this is not a problem, but we have the entire Canon of Scripture, and until God changes His mind; this is what we have.

  29. July 31st, 2014 at 20:00 | #29

    Liberalism is as liberalism does. I don’t understand the surprise over a prof from Union being in favor of women’s ordination. It’s like a Mormon being shocked that Lutherans drink beer, or a Hindu being shocked that a Catholic eats meat. It’s a different religion, really. We have bigger errs to take issue with from that tribe long before WO is on the table. Should the Baptists be surprised that Atheists don’t tithe?

  30. August 1st, 2014 at 04:54 | #30

    At CTS Fort Wayne under Robert Preus, I found it very helpful to hear from the horse’s… mouth what they teach and believe. The sweetest nun from the Roman Catholic church taught us about the necessity of our own works-righteousness to be saved and a Methodist minister taught us about the part we play in our conversion to Christianity. At one point he said, “We are the ones converting — God does not work on a block of wood!” One of my classmates answered back, “No, because a block of wood would not resist.”

    I never thought, even for a moment, they or their heresies were being endorsed. It was clear they were invited to present on a topic we supposedly did agree upon, but viewed from “the other side.”

  31. Brad
    August 1st, 2014 at 08:01 | #31

    @Pastor David L. Prentice Jr. #28

    Pr. Prentice– please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not suggesting we ignore anything from the Word of God. I was simply pointing out, that the intentions of people are hard to know, and especially on this subject. Abuse or disorder in the Pastoral Office is always a violation against the Word, and it has suffered abuse and disorder in many varieties throughout the centuries. Throughout these centuries of abuse and disorder of Christ’s Office, we are continually pointed back to the efficacy of Christ’s Word rather than the quality of its human occupant (or the misconceptions of those who confer or operate within it.) Faith rests on the Word, rather than the one who preaches it.

    Women’s ordination is a settled issue in our communion. We have other abuses of the Office in our Synod we do need to deal with. We make little progress, either in our own repentance, or in our witness to other erring church bodies, when we fling broad condemnations toward other’s errors, presuming to see into their hearts when we cannot. Sure, identify women’s ordination for what it is according to the Word of God– then move quickly to the pietistic Enthusiast plank that is in our own eye, so that we might be able to see clearly enough to help our neighbor remove their speck.

    Peace to you.

  32. August 1st, 2014 at 10:50 | #32

    @Brad #31
    Brad, I hear you…yes, until we become saints gathered around the throne of the Lamb, things will be good; until then, we sinful humans do bicker and do have issues. So as we battle (lovingly I pray) our issues, let us use the best tools available to aid us: Word, Sacrament, and Prayer.

    And the Lord Bless and Keep you too…

  33. August 1st, 2014 at 15:05 | #33

    I have edited out some disparaging remarks about deaconesses. Every single deaconess I have ever met has not given any impression to me of aspiring to the pastoral office. They serve in specialized situations and do good work there. If a woman is using the position of deaconess to try to be a pastor, that is utterly wrong – but I have not experienced that from the deaconesses I have interacted with.

  34. Ralph
    August 1st, 2014 at 20:46 | #34

    President Harrison needs to drive down to the seminary, from his home, and have a long discussion with the president of CSL. His first question should be, “What the heck is going on here?”

  35. August 2nd, 2014 at 06:09 | #35

    Pastor David L. Prentice Jr.
    So as we battle (lovingly I pray) our issues, let us use the best tools available to aid us: Word, Sacrament, and Prayer.

    Today’s means of grace?

  36. Rev. Robert Mayes
    August 2nd, 2014 at 12:14 | #36

    Brothers:

    I see the inviting of non-LCMS profs and presenters at LCMS seminary events as problematic at best. There can always be things that people can learn. There are also opportunities that false teachers get to defend their errors in ever so persuasive ways, and sometimes with the seminary’s blessing and without any opposition.

    If there is to be a presentation, there should also be a rebuttal scheduled by the LCMS side. Put it on the program as an integral part of it, so those who are young and weak (i.e., possibly some younger seminarians or pre-sem college visitors) do not get led away.

    I speak against this for both seminaries, and am not picking on either. It bothers me not only to hear that this presenter was invited to CSL, and also that CSL regularly invites non-Lutherans to teach seminarians and others about preaching (I’m thinking the Day of Homiletical Reflection, where CSL has never to my knowledge invited an LCMS preacher, but always some Reformed or enthusiast). I remain convinced that learning to preach from Reformed or enthusiast presenters will not lead you to be a better Lutheran preacher. It will lead you to be a better Reformed or enthusiast preacher.

    Likewise, I have also approved of those who have publicly challenged CTS Symposia speakers from church bodies not in fellowship with us, who have spoken against the truth and purity of God’s Word. Several years ago, I had the pleasure of stymieing a presenter at the Symposia who was arguing that the Lutheran Confessions support wide ecumenism. The presenter had stated that we should really look to how the Reformers thought of these doctrines in what they wrote. I asked him if that was so, and since the Reformers stringently resisted church fellowship between Lutherans and Zwinglians, why his church body had no problem with it. And I remember seeing David Scaer’s reaction after I said that, in which he was nodding in complete agreement with the point I had just made.

    The point is, however, that we do a great disservice to our pastors and eventually our congregations if we expose them to hear errorists without rebuttal. And we especially do disservice if the bulk of pastors’ learning comes from listening to or reading errorists, but not spending nearly as much time on the Word, the Confessions, and the writings of Lutheran orthodox theologians.

    In Christ,
    Rev. Robert Mayes
    Beemer, NE

  37. Mrs. Hume
    August 2nd, 2014 at 12:16 | #37

    @Ted Crandall #30

    Thank you.

  38. August 2nd, 2014 at 14:33 | #38

    @Mrs. Hume #37
    Hi, Y’all!

    Rev. Robert Mayes :
    [W]e do a great disservice to our pastors and eventually our congregations if we expose them to hear errorists without rebuttal. And we especially do disservice if the bulk of pastors’ learning comes from listening to or reading errorists, but not spending nearly as much time on the Word, the Confessions, and the writings of Lutheran orthodox theologians.

    Amen, on both counts. Knowing what the opponents of Lutherans teach and believe is important, but their teaching certainly needs to be recognized as error and never presented as another expression of the Gospel.

    And the great preponderance of reading and study for pastor (indeed, for all Lutherans!) should be as you say — the Word, the Confessions, and the writings of Lutheran orthodox theologians. Instead, our people have pastors teaching them every Sunday morning from some very purpose-driven, heterodox books.

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