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Tillerís missing excommunication (LCMS)
Get Religion ^ | 6/8/2009 | Mollie Ziegler

Posted on 06/08/2009 10:08:40 AM PDT by markomalley

Last Sunday, late-term abortion doctor George Tiller was gunned down in the foyer of his Lutheran church, where he served as an usher. As anyone with even a cursory understanding of Lutheranism in America could surmise, that church was a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. Of the various Lutheran church bodies in America, the ELCA is the most mainline and has the most supportive position on legalized abortion.

As soon as the terrible news about Tiller’s murder hit the wire, many bloggers and liberal pundits noted that Tiller’s active church membership was at odds with the stereotype of how abortion and religion are related. It didn’t take long for that same meme to make it to the mainstream media stories.

What none of these stories have explained is that Tiller had previously been excommunicated by a Lutheran congregation on account of his lack of repentance about and refusal to stop his occupation. That Lutheran congregation was a member of my church body, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Excommunication doesn’t happen terribly frequently in this day and age but it’s not unheard of. I don’t know any of the specifics about his past congregation or what led to the discipline and anticipated learning more about it when it was covered by the mainstream media. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened.

When the news broke, I had many people who know that I’m Lutheran ask how it was possible that his church had not disciplined him or otherwise encouraged him to stop performing abortions. I had hoped that there would be stories exploring Tiller’s religious beliefs and church membership and that the stories would explain the difference between the ELCA and the LCMS. There is obviously quite a difference between a church body that would discipline a practicing abortion doctor and one that would welcome him in membership.

While we did get some stories about his religious views, none of them seemed to have any clue about his religious history. Note, for instance, this piece from the Salt Lake Tribune that was written Religion News Service’s Lindsay Perna and Tiffany Stanley:

Dr. George Tiller’s murder last Sunday morning in the lobby of his Lutheran church counters the secular image of a late-term abortion provider, pinning him more as a churchgoing “martyr” than a godless murderer.

Shot and killed while passing out bulletins in the lobby of his Wichita, Kan., church as his wife sat in the choir, Tiller is already challenging popular perceptions of both abortion providers and the abortion-rights movement.

“It shows a dimension of the movement that a lot of people don’t know about,” said the Rev. Carlton Veazey, president of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. “This man was castigated for what he did — but he was a faithful member of the Lutheran church and that gives a different view of him and his work.”

Veazey sees the face of Tiller as more of “a martyr in the same sense that Dr. [Martin Luther] King was.”

The story goes on to quote various people about how Tiller’s church membership changes the dynamics of the abortion debate. How can they not mention that he was previously excommunicated for his abortion work? It’s such an interesting and significant part of the story! That’s just a huge hole.

Also, the pro-life people who are quoted in the story are of the Randall Terry variety. With the typical pro-choice activists and typical pro-life activists quoted, the story remains in the muck of “bumper sticker” rhetoric. It’s disappointing. (Robin Abcarian’s piece in the Los Angeles Times dealt solely with the Tiller funeral, which means its sympathetic tone is more appropriate. It also took the ‘Tiller busts stereotypes’ approach.)

After Dr. Tiller’s murder, some pundits were confused about how people who see abortion as the unjust killing of babies could also oppose the murder of someone who killed those babies. Here was one such essay written by a fellow libertarian. I saw one letter to the editor written by clergymen in my church body that addressed just that issue:

There is an old saying: Two wrongs don’t make a right. This does not appear in the Bible but it certainly reflects a scriptural idea. This concept, that two wrongs don’t make a right, is certainly true in the case of the murder of Dr. George Tiller.

Dr. Tiller was an infamous abortionist, who was one of the very few in the country who would perform late-term abortions. The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod is strongly pro-life, and condemns the practice of abortion. Dr. Tiller, a former member of a Missouri Synod congregation, was excommunicated by that congregation for his abortion practice. (The congregation he was currently attending is part of another Lutheran body.) We stand by that action. Our sister congregation acted properly in disciplining Dr. Tiller. Such action is always intended to lead a person to see their sins and come to repentance. Excommunication is never intended to bring that person harm.

While we condemn Dr. Tiller’s actions as an abortionist, we just as strongly condemn the actions of the person who took his life. Murder, even of a murderer, is never acceptable. God teaches us in Romans 13 and other places, that the government is in place to enforce justice. We are never to take private vengeance. This is simply not given to private individuals. Murder in any circumstances is a grievous sin. It was our utmost desire that Dr. Tiller come to repentance, and perhaps in time he may have. We do not know. Only God sees all ends. Sadly, because of this heinous act of violence, Dr. Tiller no longer has that opportunity.

I can’t help but think that some enterprising reporter should look at how the two Lutheran church bodies handled Dr. Tiller’s occupation differently. It’s disappointing to read that RNS story in light of this rather dramatic back story.



TOPICS: Current Events; Mainline Protestant; Ministry/Outreach; Moral Issues
KEYWORDS: abortion; elca; elcachurchofmolech; fauxchristians; lcms; lutheran; mollieziegler; moralabsolutes; prolife; religiousleft; tiller; tller; veazey
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That's a very interesting piece of information that adds a whole lot.
1 posted on 06/08/2009 10:08:41 AM PDT by markomalley
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To: markomalley

“Also, the pro-life people who are quoted in the story are of the Randall Terry variety. “

You mean the ones who do more than put a bumper sticker on their car?


2 posted on 06/08/2009 10:11:50 AM PDT by icwhatudo (For every clinic bombed or burned, 17 to 18 churches are burned down. MSM? MSM?)
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To: markomalley; muawiyah; ResponseAbility; JoeProBono; P-Marlowe; wagglebee; xzins; betty boop; ...

This article has a very, very interesting update.


3 posted on 06/08/2009 10:11:51 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus)
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To: markomalley

Thanks for the ping!


4 posted on 06/08/2009 10:16:16 AM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Charles Henrickson

Over here!

Thought an ELCA apostate would appreciate this!


5 posted on 06/08/2009 10:16:53 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (AGWT is very robust with respect to data. All observations confirm it at the 100% confidence level.)
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To: markomalley

This “missing” information was pointed out quite frequently here at FR on that Sunday.

I guess Mollie Ziegler doesn’t Freep?


6 posted on 06/08/2009 10:22:43 AM PDT by Jeffrey_D.
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To: Jeffrey_D.
This “missing” information was pointed out quite frequently here at FR on that Sunday.

I must have missed that thread myself.

7 posted on 06/08/2009 10:26:44 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus)
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To: markomalley

Thanks for the ping!


8 posted on 06/08/2009 10:31:53 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: markomalley; Alamo-Girl; muawiyah; P-Marlowe; wagglebee; xzins; metmom
It was our utmost desire that Dr. Tiller come to repentance, and perhaps in time he may have. We do not know. Only God sees all ends. Sadly, because of this heinous act of violence, Dr. Tiller no longer has that opportunity.

Pity poor Dr. Tiller's fate here — so cruelly cheated out of an opportunity to repent by Mr. Roeder.

Sigh....

Thanks ever so much, markomalley, for the ping to this very interesting back story! I expect we won't be hearing much more about it, thanks to media censorship.

9 posted on 06/08/2009 10:33:41 AM PDT by betty boop (Tyranny is always whimsical. ¬ó Mark Steyn)
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To: betty boop
Seems to me that it's the continuing "M.O." of the left - control the information, control the people. Tiller's rejection by the traditional Lutheran church does not service their purpose, so they don't mention it.
10 posted on 06/08/2009 10:39:55 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: betty boop

You said it all.


11 posted on 06/08/2009 10:49:34 AM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: Alamo-Girl; markomalley

****Seems to me that it’s the continuing “M.O.” of the left - control the information, control the people. Tiller’s rejection by the traditional Lutheran church does not service their purpose, so they don’t mention it.****

I agree. The left media always excludes info that does not support their agenda.


12 posted on 06/08/2009 11:02:19 AM PDT by ResponseAbility (Government tends to never fix the problems it creates in the first place)
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To: betty boop
Pity poor Dr. Tiller's fate here — so cruelly cheated out of an opportunity to repent by Mr. Roeder.

He was not cheated out of an opportunity to repent. That opportunity had been available to him his entire life. Mussolini, Ceausescu, and Saddam Hussein were also "cheated" out of further opportunities to repent. It appears to be an occupational hazard for murderers.

13 posted on 06/08/2009 11:04:18 AM PDT by SampleMan (Socialism enslaves you & kills your soul.)
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To: ResponseAbility
Thank you for your encouragement, dear ResponseAbility!
14 posted on 06/08/2009 11:04:20 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Jeffrey_D.; Charles Henrickson

No, she doesn’t but that still doesn’t deny the fact that she is...

Not Guilty!

Her husband writes for a weekly in DC. Nation? World? Something like that.


15 posted on 06/08/2009 11:15:00 AM PDT by Cletus.D.Yokel (FreepMail me if you want on the Bourbon ping list!)
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To: markomalley
God teaches us in Romans 13 and other places, that the government is in place to enforce justice.

Which did not happen, as George Tiller had the best government money could buy.

So (karmic) judgment was exercised in the House of the Lord.

16 posted on 06/08/2009 11:52:01 AM PDT by pray4liberty (http://www.foundersvalues.com/)
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To: aberaussie; Aeronaut; aliquando; AlternateViewpoint; AnalogReigns; Archie Bunker on steroids; ...


Lutheran Ping!

Glory to the Holy Trinity!

17 posted on 06/08/2009 11:55:13 AM PDT by lightman (Adjutorium nostrum (+) in nomine Domini.)
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To: SampleMan; Alamo-Girl; markomalley; muawiyah; P-Marlowe; wagglebee; xzins; metmom; HarleyD; ...
Mussolini, Ceausescu, and Saddam Hussein were also "cheated" out of further opportunities to repent. It appears to be an occupational hazard for murderers.

Indeed it does, and may I say justly so? While Christian society is waiting for such monsters to repent, people are dying in droves.

I do so much wish that certain "Christian moral thinkers" would take this fact of reality into consideration when they explain to us what the Bible "requires."

Thanks for administering this "dose of reality," SampleMan!

18 posted on 06/08/2009 12:02:10 PM PDT by betty boop (Tyranny is always whimsical. ¬ó Mark Steyn)
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To: markomalley
Dr. Tiller, a former member of a Missouri Synod congregation, was excommunicated by that congregation for his abortion practice.

"The kingdom of heaven was nigh unto you."

19 posted on 06/08/2009 12:03:50 PM PDT by firebrand
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To: betty boop

Tiller certainly was denied the opportunity to come to repentance but he was also denied the opportunity to take the lives of more babies.


20 posted on 06/08/2009 12:04:37 PM PDT by Conservativegreatgrandma (I)
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To: betty boop
Truly, the death toll mounts with unrepentant serial killers.

Thank you so much for sharing your insights, dearest sister in Christ!

21 posted on 06/08/2009 12:04:52 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Conservativegreatgrandma; betty boop; Alamo-Girl; SampleMan; P-Marlowe; wagglebee; xzins
Tiller certainly was denied the opportunity to come to repentance but he was also denied the opportunity to take the lives of more babies.

Honestly, he had plenty of time to repent and plenty of opportunities. That's why it's foolhardy to put it off.

Don't forget that he quipped that performing abortions was worth going to hell for.

For those who bemoan his missed opportunities to repent, don't forget that he got what he wanted. Sometimes God gives us that.

22 posted on 06/08/2009 12:15:29 PM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: metmom
Indeed. Thank you for sharing your insights, dear sister in Christ!
23 posted on 06/08/2009 12:17:44 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: metmom
Don't forget that he quipped that performing abortions was worth going to hell for. For those who bemoan his missed opportunities to repent, don't forget that he got what he wanted. Sometimes God gives us that.

Well, at least in Hell he can't murder another innocent human being. God is just.

24 posted on 06/08/2009 12:32:49 PM PDT by pray4liberty (http://www.foundersvalues.com/)
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To: markomalley
As someone who left the ELCA for the LCMS, while the murder of this abortionist is reprehensible, the actions of my new synod in his case fill be with confirmation of the rightness of my decision back in 2005 to leave the ELCA.

The ELCA provides medical coverage for its employees that includes coverage for abortion procedures. The ELCA is no longer a Christian Church in my eyes but a left wing political organization.

25 posted on 06/08/2009 12:45:08 PM PDT by Redleg Duke ("Sarah Palin...Unleashing the Fury of the Castrated Left!")
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To: markomalley; Cletus.D.Yokel; Lonesome in Massachussets; bcsco; PJ-Comix; Paul Heinzman; ...
Mollie Ziegler Hemingway has been a friend of mine for probably close to ten years. In fact, Mollie was the one who first told me about Free Republic! That was back in November 2000, after I had just written a parody about the recount called "The Palm Beach Pokey," and Mollie told me it was getting a lot of attention on a site called "Free Republic." That's how I became a Freeper! (I don't know if Mollie is herself a registered Freeper or, if she is, what her screen name is.)

Mollie is the daugher of an LCMS pastor, and her husband, Mark Hemingway, writes for National Review Online (many of his columns have been posted here).

Mollie Z. Hemingway and I (Charles Henrickson) both have blogs--on the battle for confessional Lutheranism within the Missouri Synod--at the Brothers of John the Steadfast website, steadfastlutherans.org.

26 posted on 06/08/2009 12:50:34 PM PDT by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor, LCMS)
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To: Redleg Duke

You’re a slow learner. Mr. CGG and I left more than 15 years ago!! :)


27 posted on 06/08/2009 12:53:04 PM PDT by Conservativegreatgrandma (I)
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To: Charles Henrickson

I think it was lightman who sent me a link to your blog. Thank you. I shared it with our pastor.


28 posted on 06/08/2009 12:54:30 PM PDT by Conservativegreatgrandma (I)
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To: Cletus.D.Yokel
that still doesn’t deny the fact that she is...Not Guilty!

Yes, Mollie, if you are reading this, you are . . . NOT GUILTY! ;^)


29 posted on 06/08/2009 12:59:42 PM PDT by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor, LCMS)
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets; lightman; Cletus.D.Yokel; bcsco; PJ-Comix
Thought an ELCA apostate would appreciate this!

I'm not exactly an ELCA apostate, because I left an ELCA-predecessor body before there was an ELCA! As a kid in Chicago, I was a member of the old Swedish Augustana Synod, but so many of the Swedes were moving out to the suburbs in those days, and we lived in the city. So when our little neighborhood Augustana congregation disbanded, we joined a nearby LCMS congregation.

30 posted on 06/08/2009 1:12:27 PM PDT by Charles Henrickson (Swedes are a distinct minority within the German Missouri Synod.)
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To: Charles Henrickson; lightman

Thanks for the pings. We were discussing this very topic about the question why Tiller was not excommunicated by his church. This is not being reported by the SRM. He WAS excommunicated by the LCMS.

BTW Charles, I shared this link with many of our members and I got a number of positive comments. Thanks again.

http://www.issuesetc.org/ondemand.html


31 posted on 06/08/2009 1:17:11 PM PDT by Arrowhead1952 (Jimmy Carter - now the second worst POTUS ever. BHO has #1 spot in his sights.)
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To: Arrowhead1952; Cletus.D.Yokel

Issues Etc. is a great site, and they are all over these type of stories, where politics and religion intersect. (BTW, Issues Etc. is another area where Mollie has devoted her considerable energies. She and I both were involved in organizing the demonstration outside LCMS headquarters in support of Issues, and we each have been on the program a number of times.)


32 posted on 06/08/2009 1:27:24 PM PDT by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor, LCMS)
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To: Charles Henrickson

re Tiller, Glad to see again the difference between ELCA & LCMS brought up.

I knew Tiller could not have been LCMS and still doing his dirt.


33 posted on 06/08/2009 1:31:17 PM PDT by SoCalPol (Reagan Republican for Palin 2012)
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To: SoCalPol; lightman; old-ager; Cletus.D.Yokel; bcsco; redgolum; kittymyrib; Irene Adler; MHGinTN; ...

Wichita, Kansas, was the home of TWO serial killers who had at one time been LCMS but later became members in good standing of ELCA congegations: Dennis “BTK Killer” Rader and George “Tiller the Killer” Tiller. At least the ELCA church where BTK was a member didn’t know about his penchant for murder.


34 posted on 06/08/2009 1:43:36 PM PDT by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor, LCMS)
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To: Charles Henrickson
Wichita, Kansas, was the home of TWO serial killers...

Wichita needs another Wyatt Earp in town...

35 posted on 06/08/2009 1:48:26 PM PDT by bcsco (I'm a Constitution defender!)
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To: markomalley; 185JHP; 230FMJ; 50mm; 69ConvertibleFirebird; Aleighanne; Alexander Rubin; ...
Moral Absolutes Ping!

Freepmail wagglebee or DirtyHarryY2K to subscribe or unsubscribe from the moral absolutes ping list.

FreeRepublic moral absolutes keyword search
[ Add keyword moral absolutes to flag FR articles to this ping list ]


36 posted on 06/08/2009 1:49:53 PM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: Charles Henrickson
I sent an email to the adult Bible study group about Tiller having the Chaplin at his clinic and baptizing the aborted babies. I got back some replies I didn't expect. The were horrified when I talked about that in class yesterday morning.
37 posted on 06/08/2009 1:51:30 PM PDT by Arrowhead1952 (Jimmy Carter - now the second worst POTUS ever. BHO has #1 spot in his sights.)
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To: SoCalPol; lightman; old-ager; Cletus.D.Yokel; bcsco; redgolum; kittymyrib; Irene Adler; MHGinTN; ...
Two publicly-known abortion-supporting politicians, Sen. Paul Simon and Gov. Jesse Ventura, were members of LCMS congregations. I don't think Simon's congregation did anything to discipline him, but I do think the pastor at Ventura's church did.

Also, I seem to recall that a serial killer by the name of John List may have been a member of an LCMS church.

Sin and Satan know no boundaries, but where open impenitent sin is publicly known, church discipline should be exercised.

38 posted on 06/08/2009 1:54:47 PM PDT by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor, LCMS)
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To: Charles Henrickson
where open impenitent sin is publicly known, church discipline should be exercised

Thus endeth the "choir-specific" portion of Pastor's sermon.

39 posted on 06/08/2009 1:58:15 PM PDT by Cletus.D.Yokel (FreepMail me if you want on the Bourbon ping list!)
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To: Charles Henrickson
Also, I seem to recall that a serial killer by the name of John List may have been a member of an LCMS church.

I'd heard List was a Lutheran, but don't recall hearing which church he belonged to.

And I'm not sure he's properly classified as a serial killer. He murdered his family, but I don't recall his ever having killed anyone else. While this qualifies as a miltiple murderer, I don't believe this qualifies as the serial type.

Also, he was on the run for a number of years. What I know comes from an old TV program so may not be that accurate.

OTOH, John Wesley Hardin was a Methodist, I believe (note the first and middle names). He was one of the most prolific killers of the 19th Century. What does that tell us about Methodists (just kidding, folks...)?

40 posted on 06/08/2009 2:04:05 PM PDT by bcsco (I'm a Constitution defender!)
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To: Charles Henrickson

I lived near Wichita, 1977-’83, and I was a member of the same church as Dennis Rader, Christ Lutheran, which was ALC, at that time. I went to his house, a few times, and he seemed normal, to me. He killed about 20 people, but Tiller killed thousands of babies.


41 posted on 06/08/2009 2:04:13 PM PDT by PhilCollins
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To: Charles Henrickson

In June 1990, I heard Sen. Simon give a campaign speech, in a Lutheran church, and he said that he was pro-life. He also said that the federal government should decrease welfare spending.


42 posted on 06/08/2009 2:05:56 PM PDT by PhilCollins
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To: bcsco
I'd heard List was a Lutheran, but don't recall hearing which church he belonged to. And I'm not sure he's properly classified as a serial killer. He murdered his family. . . .

I think you're right. Still not a good thing, though. :-)

43 posted on 06/08/2009 2:07:38 PM PDT by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor, LCMS)
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To: PhilCollins
In June 1990, I heard Sen. Simon give a campaign speech, in a Lutheran church, and he said that he was pro-life.

He wasn't. He was "pro-choice," but, like so many politicians, he could claim he was "personally" "pro-life," if it fit the audience he was speaking to.

44 posted on 06/08/2009 2:12:41 PM PDT by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor, LCMS)
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To: PhilCollins
In June 1990, I heard Sen. Simon give a campaign speech, in a Lutheran church, and he said that he was pro-life. He also said that the federal government should decrease welfare spending.

Wikipedia has Simon as a social liberal, fiscal conservative. That seems to mesh with my memory of the man. There's nothing there about a stance on abortion, however.

45 posted on 06/08/2009 2:14:54 PM PDT by bcsco (I'm a Constitution defender!)
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To: Charles Henrickson; SoCalPol; lightman; old-ager; Cletus.D.Yokel; bcsco; redgolum; kittymyrib; ...
I am a little troubled by some of the comments here. God didn't harden Pharaoh’s heart until Pharaoh had hardened it many times himself. For us to say Tiller got what he deserved, is to say we know what God had planned for Tiller. To us, he did seem unrepentant, but it is not our call to say his Time of Grace has ended. God's grace is unfathomable for us. We,however, want justice on our terms and we want it NOW! Again, this is not our call. Paul, himself was responsible for the deaths of many, until Christ changed him. The LC-MS was right to excommunicate him in hopes that he would, through the withholding of the saving body and blood of Christ, turn from his ways and repent. Unfortunately, he was able to run to another church which welcomed him and gave him the Gospel, when what he needed to hear was LAW. How sad that we live in a nation which tries to rationalize these heinous actions and requires the need for executioners of the innocent.
46 posted on 06/08/2009 2:16:32 PM PDT by stayathomemom (Beware of cat attacks while typing!)
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To: PhilCollins

Ironic that Tiller was killed, in Wichita, by a man named Roeder (which could be pronounced the same as “Rader”).


47 posted on 06/08/2009 2:17:39 PM PDT by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor, LCMS)
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To: stayathomemom; Charles Henrickson; SoCalPol; lightman; old-ager; Cletus.D.Yokel; bcsco; redgolum; ..
We,however, want justice on our terms and we want it NOW!

If Roeder's intentions were "justice" then he deserves the death penalty as seeking "justice" is not an excuse or a justification for taking another's life.

On the other hand, if his motivation was to prevent Tiller from committing more murders and all legal remedies to that end had been exhausted (and they had) then I believe he has a legal justification under the doctrine of "defense of others".

48 posted on 06/08/2009 2:22:13 PM PDT by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: stayathomemom; lightman
The LC-MS was right to excommunicate him in hopes that he would, through the withholding of the saving body and blood of Christ, turn from his ways and repent. Unfortunately, he was able to run to another church which welcomed him and gave him the Gospel, when what he needed to hear was LAW.

You are right. And I, for one, do not defend the vigilante killing of Tiller, nor do I delight in his death, which may have been (although only God can see the heart) in a state of impenitence and unbelief. His outward behavior did indicate impenitence, and that is what the church has to go on.

49 posted on 06/08/2009 2:22:16 PM PDT by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor, LCMS)
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To: stayathomemom
I am a little troubled by some of the comments here. God didn't harden Pharaoh’s heart until Pharaoh had hardened it many times himself. For us to say Tiller got what he deserved, is to say we know what God had planned for Tiller.

After reading over the comments on this thread, I'm not sure at all what you're referring to. We all know we will come to our final judgment, as will Tiller. Why is that an issue with you?

50 posted on 06/08/2009 2:22:34 PM PDT by bcsco (I'm a Constitution defender!)
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