ACELC — The LCMS and “Peace”

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”  Matthew 5:9

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.  And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.  Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”  Matthew 10:34-39

ACELC-LogoIn these words from Jesus, at first glance, we have a seeming contradiction.  If people who bring peace and work toward peace are blessed by God, how can Jesus say that He did not come to bring peace?  If Jesus is truly the Prince of Peace what are we to do with His very clear teaching in Matthew 10?  How are we to understand and make sense of this paradox?  The key is to remember what it is that brings true and lasting peace, “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” Colossians 1:19-20  True Peace is Jesus, and the forgiveness, life, and salvation that only He can provide!

For many, the term “peace” means only the absence of war and hostility.  While that definition is certainly true, it is only a partial definition.  The peace that Jesus brings is clearly explained by the Apostle Paul, “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.  For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.  In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”  Ephesians 2:14-22

Several weeks have passed since the close of the 2013 LCMS Synodical Convention.  I have heard from many different people (from all sides of the political spectrum) that it was the most “peaceful” convention in many, many years.  While it is true that there was little fighting and contention, does that mean that it was a convention of “peace”?  Many have said that there was a “positive mood” and that delegates generally “felt good” about the work that was accomplished. I ask again, are these the things that make for true peace in our beloved synod?

Anyone who is honest must admit that there are serious issues troubling the LCMS, issues that have been growing in intensity over the years.  There seems to be much division, in both doctrine and practice, over topics like fellowship, Holy Communion, pastoral formation and the divine call, the propriety of mixing business principles with theology, and the giant elephant in the room, worship.  Some of these issues were addressed at the recent synodical convention, however, all the issues that were addressed were simply delayed to a later date, generally for more study. Perhaps the church militant was simply put on hold.

One can certainly appreciate the pastoral approach to many of these issues by President Harrison.  His critics claimed, after his first election, that he would be on a witch-hunt to ferret out false doctrine.  Those critics are very quiet now.  President Harrison has been like a pastor in a new parish that is beset with aberrant teaching and practice.  He has been very patient and has sought to teach the Truth.  But the LCMS is much different than an erring congregation.  Our Synodical President cannot preach and teach in every congregation each week.  Many of the same issues that were dividing our Synod before 2010 are still tearing us apart today.  Each day the roots of error, error unchecked, are growing deeper and deeper among us.  It appears that it is impossible to exercise godly church discipline among us. A family that has all the right rules but has no discipline will end in chaos; the same is true for the church. True peace is then absent.

True peace comes with godly reconciliation while contending for the Truth. Error is not ignored but dealt with, lovingly and evangelically, under God’s Word and the Lutheran Confessions. In the forgiveness of sins Christ heals our wounds and divisions and binds the broken hearted.  God has some pointed words for those who offer a false peace in His name; “They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace,” Jeremiah 6:14 and “We looked for peace, but no good came; for a time of healing, but behold, terror.” Jeremiah 8:15.  Time will tell if the proposed studies and task forces from this year’s convention will bear the fruit of true peace, or if they will be more of the seemingly endless discussion with the goal of “unity in diversity.”  Time will tell if the Koinonia Project will be a vehicle for honest discussion and godly resolution of the errors in our midst or if it will be just another program where “people agree to disagree,” as long as we “play nice.” In the meantime, for at least three more years, the pastors and congregations of the Synod are left to deal with the growing divisions in both doctrine and practice that we have been saddled with over the past 50 plus years.  As we contemplate these matters in the weeks and months ahead, may God bless our elected leaders, our pastors and lay leaders, our congregations, yes, our entire synod, with a spirit of peace, true peace, in Christ our Savior and Lord.

Yours in Christ’s Service,
Rev. Clint Poppe
Chairman, ACELC Board of Directors

P.S. If you would like to assist the ACELC in this effort you may encourage your congregation to join as a full Member of the ACELC. As an individual you may join as an Associate Member. You may also support our work by making a donation online. Or, if none of those options work for you, we would like to ask that you remember our efforts in your prayers – that all we do would be pleasing to God and beneficial for the building of up His kingdom of grace

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord, LCMSsermons.com, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

Norm has been involved behind the scenes in many of the "go-to" websites for Lutherans going back many years.

Comments

ACELC — The LCMS and “Peace” — 63 Comments

  1. In the meantime, for at least three more years, the pastors and congregations of the Synod are left to deal with the growing divisions in both doctrine and practice that we have been saddled with over the past 50 plus years

    You may be right, but I’m not sure whether the divisions are growing or receding.  Sometimes I feel that mutual respect and understanding are improving.  Isn’t seminary training a key as to whether divisions will grow or recede?  Are the seminaries encouraging harmony in doctrine and practice among new and future pastors?

  2. @John Rixe #1

    Depends on which direction you hope they will go, John.

    From: Minister to Minister online in HTML format
    To: [email protected]
    Sent: 2013-09-06 3:08 PM
    Subject: [m-m-online-html] Minister to Minister

    Friday, September 6, 2013

    ——————————————————————————–

    How can your congregation THRIVE in a 21st century pluralistic culture?

    Join Dr. Leonard Sweet and Pastor Steve Wagner at the fall Pastors’ Conference
    as they take an insightful look at our complicated world and talk about how we can share Jesus,
    His message, and His hope in order to bring clarity to a confused culture.
    The conference will be October 28-13, 2013 at Concordia Lutheran Church in San Antonio.
    Join the fellowship as we grow in connecting people in need to our congregations
    so they can not just survive, but THRIVE!
    Registration and information can be found at: http://www.m2ctexas.org/2013fpc/index

    Apparently Texas pastors need a Methodist, (teamed with the head of PLI) to learn how to be better LCMS pastors. (!?)

    Deja vu all over again! 🙁

  3. Something from Leonard Sweet:

    “So now we turn our attention more specifically to the “brilliant and stimulating work” emerging through this “conversation Sweet has been having with the church in America for many years” that by his own admission has made Brian McLaren such “a better pastor and a better Christian.” The following from Sweet’s QS comes underneath the subheading “With All of Nature: Priests of Creation”:

    “New Light embodiment means to be “in connection” and “information” with all of creation. New Light communities extend the sense of connectionalism to creation and see themselves as members of an ecological community encompassing the whole of creation. “This is my body” is not an anthropocentric metaphor. Theologian/feminist critic Sallie McFague has argued persuasively for seeing Earth, in a very real sense, as much as a part of the body of Christ as humans.65 We are all earthlings. Indeed, in the biblical view of creation human earthlings do not stand at the apex of God’s handiwork. Above us are the angels.

    The medieval great chain of being preserved this emphasis by placing humans at the midpoint, not at the peak. The world of nature has an identity and purpose apart from human benefit. But we constitute together a cosmic body of Christ.”

    http://apprising.org/2009/07/24/emergence-christianity-quantum-shift-to-panentheism/

    “Brian McLaren who has written with Sweet and endorses CM as well.”

    http://www.challies.com/book-reviews/book-review-a-generous-orthodoxy

    “Those who are more traditional Christians will be grappling with an all-too-familiar feeling that this book represents yet another attack on the faith. And that is exactly what this book is.

    McLaren “calls for a radical, Christ-centered orthodoxy of faith and practice in a missional, generous spirit. He argues for a post-liberal, post-conservative, post-protestant convergence that will stimulate lively interest and global conversation among thoughtful Christians from all traditions. Instead of defining what is and what is not orthodox, McLaren walks through many traditions of the faith, bringing to center a way of life that draws us closer to Christ and each other.” Thus, while this book primarily intends to draw us closer to Christ, it is also ecumenical in its desire to break down barriers that seperate the various traditions within Christianity.

    He has rejected the view that the Bible exists to give believers a consistent knowledge of God. He rejects the idea that we can have a consistently accurate orthodoxy from the Scripture. In his view we cannot know absolute truth from the Bible, hence we must search the vast gamut of Christian experience to find “a kind of truth.”

    http://www.challies.com/christian-living/marching-as-to-war

    “The human race has been conquered by an alien power or powers (Sin, the Devil, and Death are the most common antagonists, although Paul’s more ambiguous ‘principalities and powers’ could also be included). Jesus goes to battle with the alien power(s), and appears to be defeated in death, but his death turns out to be the undoing of the antagonist. In this metaphor, military terms such as battle, defeat, and conquering are predominant.” McLaren advocates rejecting this type of language and replacing it with something more appropriate for our culture. Such language, he argues, is contextual, which means that Christians are under no obligation to use it.”

    What does Leonard Sweet believe if Brian McLaren (liberal Emergent) endorses him?

    http://www.leonardsweet.com/

  4. Kevin DeYoung, Reformed, writes this about a book that Dr. Sweet endorses:

    “Reggie McNeal’s latest book is not without some serious problems. Missional Renaissance: Changing the Scorecard for the Church, glowingly blurbed by Alan Hirsch, Neil Cole, Leonard Sweet, and even the RCA’s General-Secretary, is full of hyperbole, false dichotomies, and strong indictments on all those who “don’t get it.” And the weakest part is the biblical exegesis.”

    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2010/05/05/missional-misfire-1/
    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2010/05/06/missional-misfire-2/
    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2010/05/07/missional-misfire-3/

  5. “In his recent article “Fascism Reborn” Christian apologist Chris Rosebrough points out:

    From Foucault to Derrida, John Franke to Leonard Sweet, Brian McLaren to Doug Pagitt, Pete Rollins to Tony Jones all of these men are disciples of and dealers in the irrational philosophies of such men as Hegel, Feuerbach, Marx, Nietzsche, and Heidegger.

    Just like their 20th Century counterparts these philosophers and theologians are characterized not by their positive ideologies and theologies but by their strident attacks against rational thought, knowable transcendent truth, individual rights, individual salvation, transcendent morals, systematic theology, and the bedrock reasoning upon which all of the societal structures of Western Civilization are built, including Constitutional Republicanism, the free market and the Church.”

  6. “Currently the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Drew University, Madison, NJ and a Visiting Distinguished Professor at George Fox University, Portland, Oregon, Len was Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Theological School at Drew University from 1995 to 2001. Previous to Drew, Len served for eleven years as President and Professor of Church History at United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio and is currently their President Emeritus. Prior to 1985, Len was Provost of Colgate Rochester/Bexley Hall/Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York when he was in his late 20s. Involved in leadership positions in the United Methodist Church, Len has been chosen to speak at various Jurisdictional and General Conferences as well as the 1996 World Methodist Congress in Rio de Janeiro. He also serves as a consultant to many of America’s denominational leaders and agencies. He is a member of the West Virginia Annual Conference.”

    But he’s never actually had a church — where he actually practices his theories — and where postmoderns attend and listen to him and become Christians?

  7. @Abby #7
    But he’s never actually had a church — where he actually practices his theories — and where post-moderns attend and listen to him and become Christians?

    “The bad tradition of liberal theology is that which seeks to reform Christianity in the direction of rationalism and optimism about natural human capacities—a direction that can probably be summed up as “humanism” without too much confusion. Soon after the Reformation this ideal deeply infected much of Protestantism.” –Hobson, Theo Christian Century (borrowed from Cranach’s “Good liberal theology vs bad liberal theology”)

    Read more at

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2013/09/good-liberal-theology-vs-bad-liberal-theology/#more-16575

    and wonder why the likes of Leonard Sweet are invited to LCMS Pastors conferences!

    [Googling patheos geneveith will usually get you there.]

  8. “Mysticism, once cast to the sidelines of the Christian tradition, is now situated in postmodernist culture near the center…. In the words of one of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century, Jesuit philosopher of religion/dogmatist Karl Rahner, “The Christian of tomorrow will be a mystic, one who has experienced something, or he will be nothing.” [Mysticism] is metaphysics arrived at through mindbody experiences. Mysticism begins in experience; it ends in theology.” [Leonard Sweet. Quantum Spirituality. Pgs. 11, 76]

    ““If the church is to become a synergic space, it must first be Christianized. It must meet the ABCDE involutions of the “X Factor.” The ABCDE rule for synergic Christbody inter-connections and in-formation is as follows: Alterity, Bonding, Critical Mass, Dirt, Euphonics. The ABCDE involutions, when placed in a biblical framework, represent evolutionary steps to higher spirituality and the ecclesiastics of synergy”. The church must provide postmoderns with an alterity of rituals by which they can turn and tune to one another and feel connected to the cosmos.” (Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality, p. 137).

    ““1. Get in touch with your lungs by closing your eyes. Visualize in your mind a tennis court” 8.“Hold your Bible and breathe meditatively. The breathtaking, nay, breathgiving truth of aliveness is more than Methuselean in its span: Part of your body right now was once actually, literally part of the body of Abraham, Sarah, Noah, Esther, David, Abigail, Moses, Ruth, Matthew, Mary, Like, Martha, John, Priscilla, Paul… and Jesus. 9. Keep breathing quietly while holding your Bible. You have within you not just the powers of goodness resident in the great spiritual leaders like Moses, Jesus, Muhammed, Lao Tzu You also have within you the forces of evil and destruction.” Resident in each breath you take is the body of angels like Joan of Arc and devils like Gilles de Rais, Genghis Khan, Judas Iscariot, Herod, Hitler, Stalin and all the other destructive spirits throughout history” (Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality, p.300-301)

    “”Pantheism is ‘the belief or theory that God and the universe are identical’ panentheism is ‘the belief that the Being of God includes and penetrates the whole universe, so that every part of it exists in Him, but… that His Being is more than, and is not exhausted by, the Universe.” …”New Light spirituality does more than settle for the created order, as many forms of New Age pantheism do. But a spirituality that is not in some way entheistic (whether pan- or trans-), that does not extend to the spirit-matter of the cosmos, is not Christian.” (Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality, p. 123-124)

  9. @helen #2
    @Abby #3

    Oh, would you lookie here. It looks like it is ladies’ nite at BJS! Well, don’t mind if I do.

    Seriously though. Errors and misled pastors are quite a concern to me as a mother. We are in the call process and I am pretty concerned about the how the TX district goes about “helping” congregations call a new pastor. Stuff like Helen posted in comment #2 make me feel pretty nervous.

  10. @Mrs. Hume #11

    I got carried away last night — I couldn’t sleep 🙂

    And actually, this was part of the reason. But Jesus said, “Do not worry.” However, I fail at that often. I wish I could follow it. It would be so much easier.

    “Errors and misled pastors are quite a concern to me as a mother.” Totally agree. They even mess me up! Thankfully, my salvation is not cancelled because of confusion.

    “It looks like it is ladies’ nite at BJS!” I always feel guilty, usually, when the guys are talking. Doesn’t feel proper to engage sometimes. Seems like I put my foot in my mouth often.

  11. I took a peek and can see why Jerruh’s republic would eat this up:

    “Belief can exist in isolation, but faith requires a relationship Why wade in the shallows of belief when you can plunge into the depths of faith? Belief involves a different way of thinking, but faith brings about a new way of living. It grows through direct experience and a close relationship, both of which come as you follow Jesus. As Christians we often talk about developing a “personal relationship” with Christ, but instead of pursuing a relationship, we pursue knowledge. We are tempted to place confidence in our definite, settled beliefs, which offer a pale substitute for the daily adventure of an honest relationship with Jesus. In What Matters Most, Leonard Sweet presents a challenging and compelling approach to belief that is joined by dynamic engagement with God. You are invited to explore the uncharted regions of faith by following Jesus, completely on his terms. Once you begin, you will never go back to mere belief.”

    That sounds like a serious post on ALPB or SHT.

    From this article: “Time will tell if the Koinonia Project will be a vehicle for honest discussion and godly resolution of the errors in our midst or if it will be just another program where ‘people agree to disagree,’ as long as we ‘play nice’.”

    I’ve been spending too much time at ALPB and am now clinically depressed. It’s like watching a horrible accident…

    Over there, they are hopeful that the Koinonia Project will in fact root out that pesky 15% who don’t play nice (when we call them on their false teaching).

    Over there, they debate whether or not the Bible is inerrant and infallible.

    Over there, they still whine about the awful way the conservatives drove those martyrs to walk out and form Seminex, claiming that it was all politics, not theology. (Never mind that the theology of ELCA (their theology) is so very different from the theology of the LCMS.)

    Over there, they have Charles the Troll…

    So I’m over here! 🙂

  12. @helen #8

    Helen, I posted a long one over at this topic. Do you think we’re slowly (frog in the kettle) moving to liberalism? I am praying hard for this church. I have loved it all my life. And, if you think about it, we are the only ones to have what we have! Anyone close to us dropped the important stuff over the cliff, it seems. I’m glad God can sort it out. It makes my head explode!

  13. @Pastor Ted Crandall #13

    “So I’m over here.” Good, we love Pastors! We all are, for sure, conservative.

    Isn’t Seminex over with yet? Unless we’re going to repeat it.

    “. . .pesky 15% who don’t play nice . .” Only 15%?

    “Belief can exist in isolation, but faith. .” I guess I don’t know this. Aren’t these the same? And I don’t think isolation is good for either one.

  14. Without question, ACELC is wielding a sword. It remains an open question whether they are doing so on their own initiative or at Christ’s command. Whether ACELC is accomplishing God’s purpose or God will accomplish His purpose in spite of ACELC’s efforts is also open to question.

  15. @Pastor Ted Crandall #13

    Pr. Crandall, that whole quote makes one ask, “What does this mean?” after every full stop.

    Belief can exist in isolation, but faith requires a relationship Why wade in the shallows of belief when you can plunge into the depths of faith?

    So, we should be baptized and baptize our kids, right?

    Belief involves a different way of thinking, but faith brings about a new way of living. It grows through direct experience and a close relationship, both of which come as you follow Jesus.

    So, we will care more for our neighbors, and their welfare, good name etc. right?

    As Christians we often talk about developing a “personal relationship” with Christ, but instead of pursuing a relationship, we pursue knowledge. We are tempted to place confidence in our definite, settled beliefs, which offer a pale substitute for the daily adventure of an honest relationship with Jesus. In What Matters Most, Leonard Sweet presents a challenging and compelling approach to belief that is joined by dynamic engagement with God.

    So, we should go to worship, confess our sins and take communion, right?

    You are invited to explore the uncharted regions of faith by following Jesus, completely on his terms. Once you begin, you will never go back to mere belief.

    Which means we can trust in Christ on our death bed, right?

    Without ever defining what he is saying, lots of people, both the naive and the cunning, could agree with the words but not what he is referring to. The honest folk such as ACELC see what he is really up to.

    So, this sounds swell to Grandma Schmidt, me, Mormons, Elizabeth Eaton, usw., because the words, per se could actually represent what each believes. Now that BOC cannot be so easily misrepresented nor plausibly misconstrued, hence the leaders of the ELCA refer to it with vague references like tradition, heritage, etc.

  16. Pastor Ted Crandall :
    @Pastor Ted Crandall #13
    I forgot to mention John the Troll. He’s much more subtle (vague), so he’s that much more insidious…

    Pastor Crandall – I’m curious whether you read and understood the rules for posting on this board. Specifically, please take note of the following:

    Do not engage in ad hominem arguments.

    Interaction between people leaving comments ought to reflect Christian virtue, interaction that is gracious and respectful, not judging motives.

  17. “. . . instead of pursuing a relationship, we pursue knowledge. We are tempted to place confidence in our definite, settled beliefs, which offer a pale substitute for the daily adventure of an honest relationship with Jesus.”

    Disagree. Knowledge helps me with all of these.

    “Honest relationship with Jesus.” Is this supposed to be feelings – based? How in the world do I know if I have that?

  18. John Mundinger :
    Without question, ACELC is wielding a sword. It remains an open question whether they are doing so on their own initiative or at Christ’s command. Whether ACELC is accomplishing God’s purpose or God will accomplish His purpose in spite of ACELC’s efforts is also open to question.

    @John Mundinger #16

    I feel inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt. They are asking for the issues to be discussed and resolved. Assuming there are those who do not want these issues discussed and resolved, what is the best construction we can put on their unwillingness to discuss the matter with their brothers in the synod?

  19. @Abby #21

    Hey, I hear you, Abby. I am just saying it is possible to assume that the person speaking means what you think instead of, um, something else. I went along like that for years in the ELCA back in the early 90’s. I didn’t start really catching on till they passed around some proposed language for congregations to vote on that would hedge on abortion and divorce rather than just call it sin. Then I really started paying attention when our own pastor started to hedge on stuff and the ELCA got in with the Episcopal church. Then there was no denying it. They were moving to the dark side, and preaching another gospel.

  20. @John Mundinger #20

    My addictive nature had me glued to All Lufauxran Pals of Benke (ALPB) for so long that the rules changed while I was away from Steadfast Lutherans. We used to have so much fun here, yanking each other’s chains, I sometimes thought I was still with the Marines! I hope there’s still some fun to be had here.

    [You see what I mean about how insidiously vague and subtle he is?]

  21. Mrs. Hume :@Abby #21
    Hey, I hear you, Abby. I am just saying it is possible to assume that the person speaking means what you think instead of, um, something else. I went along like that for years in the ELCA back in the early 90′s. I didn’t start really catching on till they passed around some proposed language for congregations to vote on that would hedge on abortion and divorce rather than just call it sin. Then I really started paying attention when our own pastor started to hedge on stuff and the ELCA got in with the Episcopal church. Then there was no denying it. They were moving to the dark side, and preaching another gospel.

    Here’s my favorite example of their vagueness and downright duplicity: The pastor tells the congregation she believe the Word of God in the Bible. You think she just told you she believes the Bible, but what she said was the “Word of God in the Bible.” What she neglected to mention to the congregation is that she also believes the Bible, in addition to containing the Word of God, has a bunch of crap in it, too (like those awful things Paul said about women not being pastors).

  22. @Pastor Ted Crandall #24
    [You see what I mean about how insidiously vague and subtle he is?]

    We missed you, Ted! [You really shouldn’t clutter your mind with such stuff, anyway.]

    What I have seen of ACELC is a call to get back to our Lutheran roots. Anyone who considers them a threat probably has been reading too much Leonard Sweet or other liberal saccharine! (That stuff can kill you!)

    “Vague and subtle” invitations to be suspicious of ACELC make me suspicious of the writer.
    A vague and subtle accusation is no less an accusation than one from someone who speaks plainly. [The moderators may take a little longer to catch on.]

  23. Mrs. Hume :

    John Mundinger :
    Without question, ACELC is wielding a sword. It remains an open question whether they are doing so on their own initiative or at Christ’s command. Whether ACELC is accomplishing God’s purpose or God will accomplish His purpose in spite of ACELC’s efforts is also open to question.

    @John Mundinger #16
    I feel inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt. They are asking for the issues to be discussed and resolved. Assuming there are those who do not want these issues discussed and resolved, what is the best construction we can put on their unwillingness to discuss the matter with their brothers in the synod?

    Mrs. Hume – If ACELC were calling for the issues to be discussed and resolved, rather than dictating the terms of surrender and doing so with clear disregard for Matthew 18, the 8th Commandment and the Office of the Keys, I might be inclined to agree with you.

    The admonition speaks for itself. It is a dull, two-edged sword that says more about its authors than those whom they label as errorists.

  24. @Abby #15
    Isn’t Seminex over with yet? Unless we’re going to repeat it.

    “Seminex” at bottom, was about men who didn’t need Scripture, because they thought they were smarter than God. The devil will make sure that we never run out of those people, whose use for the church is that they can worm their way into positions of power, and then drive the Christians out of it.
    St.John said the anti christ would operate within the church.
    We think there is only one anti-christ, and the RC’s have got him!
    Look around. We’ve got all sorts of people asking,“Did God really say…?”
    That’s what “seminex” was all about.

  25. @John Mundinger #28
    Mrs. Hume – If ACELC were calling for the issues to be discussed and resolved, rather than dictating the terms of surrender and doing so with clear disregard for Matthew 18, the 8th Commandment and the Office of the Keys, I might be inclined to agree with you.

    If the Office of the Keys had been used promptly and as often as needed with false teachers, ACELC wouldn’t be needed to compile a list of the ways that the Missouri Synod is in conflict with Scripture, the Confessions, its constitution, its history (and its historical by-laws, not the ones of the recent decade).

    What is there to be “discussed” other than “How fast, DP’s, can you get your district back to practicing closed communion?” “Will you stop licensing unqualified men to do Word and Sacrament ministry now?” “Will you rather extend calls to the loyal and able men you’ve got out in limbo?”

    Don’t tell me we have to have a “discussion” about ordaining women; that is not an open question. We don’t need that, like we don’t need a lot of other things brought in from non Lutheran sources in recent years to cause dissension, which is then….surprise!… blamed on the faithful Lutherans!

  26. “If ACELC were calling for the issues to be discussed and resolved, rather than dictating the terms of surrender and doing so with clear disregard for Matthew 18, the 8th Commandment and the Office of the Keys, I might be inclined to agree with you.
    The admonition speaks for itself. It is a dull, two-edged sword that says more about its authors than those whom they label as errorists.”

    So, is this the best construction?

  27. LaMarr Blecker :Seminex at Forty: these men are at or nearing retirement age.

    Because the LCMS has not disciplined false teachers much at all in a very long time (and because she has allowed the disgraceful treatment of those who tried to discipline, like Wally Schulz and Herman Otten), the first generation of Seminex sympathisers managed to raise another generation — perhaps two in forty years. (Matthew 23:15)

  28. Mrs. Hume :
    @John Mundinger #28
    I don’t follow what you are saying. Can you give an example?

    Where was the dialogue between the authors of the admonition and those whom they publicly excoriated prior to the publication and distribution of the document throughout the LCMS?

    Mrs. Hume :

    “If ACELC were calling for the issues to be discussed and resolved, rather than dictating the terms of surrender and doing so with clear disregard for Matthew 18, the 8th Commandment and the Office of the Keys, I might be inclined to agree with you.
    The admonition speaks for itself. It is a dull, two-edged sword that says more about its authors than those whom they label as errorists.”

    So, is this the best construction?

    If this bulletin board and those associated with it were a role model for “best construction”, there would have been no admonition to discuss.

  29. Does anyone know if the seminaries are promoting harmony in doctrine and practice?   Seems to me this is key to any future trends despite any other efforts.

  30. The examples given on the ACELC site are all public examples. In this, the ACELC follows the confession position of LC, Part I, 284:

    All this has been said regarding secret sins. But where the sin is quite public so that the judge and everybody know it, you can without any sin avoid him and let him go, because he has brought himself into disgrace, and you may also publicly testify concerning him. For when a matter is public in the light of day, there can be no slandering or false judging or testifying; as, when we now reprove the Pope with his doctrine, which is publicly set forth in books and proclaimed in all the world. For where the sin is public, the reproof also must be public, that every one may learn to guard against it.

  31. @John Mundinger #36

    Where was the dialogue between the authors of the admonition and those whom they publicly excoriated prior to the publication and distribution of the document throughout the LCMS?

    Huh? What?

    Look, this is all inside baseball to me. I am just a layperson. Your statements on this thread are not clear to me. Can you just explain what you are talking about? If there are too many items to discuss and the topic too broad, can you provide one illustrative example? Because right now, I have no idea what you mean. I am walking in on this in the middle apparently after it has been going on for some time.

  32. Sweet — “Back when “New Age” was a movement, I was inspired by the brilliance of the Apostle Paul in evangelizing pagans, to show how even New Agers, like atheists or other non-Christian groups, could be evangelized for orthodox Christianity if only we learn how to speak to them. For example, the recovery movement language of “higher power” or “higher consciousness” can be turned into “Christ consciousness.” — [“. . . a spirituality that is not in some way entheistic (whether pan- or trans-), that does not extend to the spirit-matter of the cosmos, is not Christian.” (Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality, p. 123-124)] Pretty strong to say someone is not a Christian if you don’t understand you are one with the Universe. I never heard St. Paul “mix” any of this.

    Orthodox Christianity would not speak like New Agers, atheists, or other non-Christian groups. How in the world could you? How could you connect Christ with any one of those three? Unless you spoke such mumbo jumbo that it would be nothing but incoherent. You can’t put them in the same wash.

    Sweet — “Would I write the same book today? No. Would I say some things differently? Yes. I started working on the book in my late 20s. I hope I’m older and wiser now. But this was the first book to examine the challenges confronting Christianity as it entered into the uncharted waters of a new postGutenberg, postChristian, postmodern culture, and I quoted and referenced New Age thinkers who seemed to “get” this cultural transition better than the church did while I outlined avenues of approach to their minds and hearts.” [But what does he believe? Nowhere on his website is a statement of beliefs. Except that he is Weslayan. Which tends (or more than tends) towards legalism. Which, in my opinion, is what he teaches.]

    ” . . . I quoted and referenced New Age thinkers who seemed to “get” this cultural transition better than the church did while I outlined avenues of approach to their minds and hearts.” ???

    Sweet — “The key consideration to whether I quoted someone was not “Do I agree with them?” but “Does this quote energize the conversation?” [So he’s playing Devil’s Advocate? In all the New Testament I have never seen that. The truth was always plainly taught. Otherwise people pick up on the wrong statement and believe the wrong way. Especially coming from a Christian. A lot of confusion created here.]

    Sweet — “I hope I’m older and wiser now.” This “hope” statement doesn’t instill much confidence. It seems he’s not sure himself.

    After reading his rebuttal to his critics, I was also left with a vague sense of whether he truly refuted the criticism or not. I was left with the feeling that he “tried” to rebute the criticism.

    I have not heard him speak. He is strongly held by Bill Hybels and Rick Warren from material that I saw.

    Don’t forget, he is a businessman.

  33. “The key consideration to whether I quoted someone was not “Do I agree with them?” but “Does this quote energize the conversation?”

    It is more vague speak.

    Generally people do quote their opponents to establish what the opposition is saying. We all have to do that in order to be clear what we are talking about. It is not confusing if you just go through it and explain it carefully. Unfortunately, he uses such vague expressions like “energize the conversation,” so he is hard to pin down. I read “energize the conversation” here as stir the pot.

    He is blessed with the gift of superfluous verbosity. Seriously, three pages to say, well what exactly? After all that, the reader still doesn’t know what he means. Basically the man just doesn’t talk the way I think. I have no idea what he is even saying. I think that is why I never could read stuff from the Christian book store. I just don’t get it. First Christian writer I could ever read was Walther. He writes like I think. I know exactly what he is saying.

  34. Mrs. Hume :

    “The key consideration to whether I quoted someone was not “Do I agree with them?” but “Does this quote energize the conversation?”

    It is more vague speak.

    You’ll have to get used to it, if you plan to dialogue with this vague fellow. He’s the same one who claims that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty — and then chose ELCA doctrine over LCMS.

    Oh! Remember the troll who was recently banned over here? Well, he took the bait and reported to ALPB what I said about faux Lutheran pals. [Hi, Charles!]

  35. @Scott Diekmann #44
    at least let the rest of us forget about him.

    Amen!
    I don’t read ALPB, (which, as I understand it, is mostly not Lutheran anyway), so why would I want to read them/about them over here? Spare us, please!?

  36. @LaMarr Blecker #32
    Seminex at Forty: these men are at or nearing retirement age.

    People keep saying that, as if they believe none of the ‘seminex’ false doctrine was ever taught to family and congregations in the 40 years since. Not just by the fake-walkout fellows, but also by the ones who were brainwashed by their profs in the preceding 20 years.

    If it were true, we shouldn’t have more than 15% of our congregations aping methobapticostal programs, instead of offering Lutheran liturgical worship. If it were true, all our members would be adequately catechized, so that entertainment church wouldn’t exist because the laity wouldn’t allow it. If it were true, National Youth Gathering wouldn’t be the scandal it has been.
    If it were true, PLI, Licensed Lay “Ministers”, people pushing for women’s ordination, Leonard Sweet as a Pastor’s Conference speaker, and the whole first decade of the 21st century in LCMess wouldn’t have happened.

    It’s not as easy as a few retirements.

  37. John Mundinger :

    Mrs. Hume :

    John Mundinger :Without question, ACELC is wielding a sword. It remains an open question whether they are doing so on their own initiative or at Christ’s command. Whether ACELC is accomplishing God’s purpose or God will accomplish His purpose in spite of ACELC’s efforts is also open to question.

    @John Mundinger #16 I feel inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt. They are asking for the issues to be discussed and resolved. Assuming there are those who do not want these issues discussed and resolved, what is the best construction we can put on their unwillingness to discuss the matter with their brothers in the synod?

    Mrs. Hume – If ACELC were calling for the issues to be discussed and resolved, rather than dictating the terms of surrender and doing so with clear disregard for Matthew 18, the 8th Commandment and the Office of the Keys, I might be inclined to agree with you.
    The admonition speaks for itself. It is a dull, two-edged sword that says more about its authors than those whom they label as errorists.

    John,

    Blessings in Christ!

    Your comments regarding the ACELC are interesting and somewhat curious. I wish that I could say that we have never heard these types of criticisms before but that would not be accurate. I had to laugh to myself when I read that you believe we are “dictating terms of surrender” in our fraternal admonition; that was a new one and a good one! Our experience in the ACELC is that many of the folks who criticize us have not taken the time to read our documents. That often clears up many misunderstandings. Others want to criticize the “method” of the ACELC rather than the “message” of the many documents we have produced. This is often simply a diversionary tactic.

    First, we have repeatedly called for meaningful discussion and reconciliation of the many issues that are dividing the LCMS, under God’s Word and the Lutheran Confessions. A quick perusal of the ACELC site will confirm that.

    Second, to the charge that we have shown “clear disregard” for Matthew 18 and the 8th Commandment I would direct you to Luther’s Large Catechism, 8th Commandment, section regarding public sin. I believe that your charge against the ACELC is baseless, based on this clear word from our Lutheran Confessions.

    Third, you ask if the work of the ACELC is being done on our own initiative or at Christ’s command. This is a good question. I would direct you to the fine essay by Rev. James Geir, “A Fraternal Admonition: My Brother’s Keeper.” http://www.acelc.net/page/2011_conference_papers (Conference Introduction)

    Finally, many have questioned the origins of the Fraternal Admonition and the ACELC (at times the “best construction” has been in short supply). I have traced the timeline and motivation for both the Fraternal Admonition and the ACELC in my essay, “Barking Dogs and a Three-Legged Hog.” I invite you to check it out and I am sure that it will answer many if not all of your questions. http://www.acelc.net/page/2012_conference_papers

    I am happy to continue this discussion anytime, with a goal that God’s name be hallowed and His Kingdom come.

    In Christ, Clint

  38. Scott Diekmann :@Pastor Ted Crandall #43 Charles was banned on BJS? If so, then now would be a good time to forget about him, or at least let the rest of us forget about him.

    Thank you, Scott. You led me to really think long and hard about it. I just deleted my account at ALPB. While there are some very good Lutherans posting there, they are in a tiny minority. I’ve decided that for me it’s time to shake the dust off my feet and feed my soul a regular diet of the Word of God.

    I thank God for the pure sweet Gospel (and Law!) taught and believed at Steadfast Lutheran!

  39. Pastor Ted Crandall :

    Scott Diekmann :@Pastor Ted Crandall #43 Charles was banned on BJS? If so, then now would be a good time to forget about him, or at least let the rest of us forget about him.

    Thank you, Scott. You led me to really think long and hard about it. I just deleted my account at ALPB. While there are some very good Lutherans posting there, they are in a tiny minority. I’ve decided that for me it’s time to shake the dust off my feet and feed my soul a regular diet of the Word of God.
    I thank God for the pure sweet Gospel (and Law!) taught and believed at Steadfast Lutheran!

    i confess that i have a personal struggle discerning/concerning when/how to shake the dust of my sandals, and when/how to continue reaching out to the lost/apostate/etc.

    i believe i understand when excommunication can be called for, and i’m confident there is a time/place/way to shun.

    i think the topic would be a great article for this site.
    paging Jais, Rev. McCall, Jim Pierce to the thread.

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