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{ LCMS } Lutheran leader sees Protestants aligning
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette ^ | 2/5/11 | Rosa Salter Rodriguez

Posted on 02/05/2011 2:20:30 PM PST by SmithL

The Rev. Matthew Harrison has a vision of what the future of American Protestantism might look like – and it includes a potentially big realignment.

Harrison, who was pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne in the 1990s and early 2000s, was elected last year to head the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, a 6,200-congregation denomination with 2.3 million baptized members. The synod is the second-largest and most traditional among the branches of Lutheranism in North America.

In an interview last month during a visit to the Synod’s Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Harrison said he sees opposition to homosexuality and support of traditional marriage as leading to new ties among dissident members of diverse Protestant groups.

“I certainly see it happening,” he said. “It’s a very interesting moment worldwide.”

In recent years, several U.S. denominations including Lutherans, Episcopalians and Presbyterians have seen splinter groups form in reaction to policies that broadened acceptance of homosexuals.

Now, he says the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s recent move to allow some non-celibate gay clergy is affecting the church’s mission in the developing world, where different branches of the faith have traditionally cooperated.

He called the decision “the worst blunder in the history of Lutheran missions,” saying it makes it harder for the church’s message to be heard.

In Africa it’s because of homosexuality’s connection to the AIDS epidemic, he said. In countries such as Indonesia where Islam is prevalent, he added, Islamic radicals seize on the issue as proof that the Western Christian church is decadent and should be rejected.

Harrison said the issue may present an opportunity for his denomination in some countries.

In the past several years, Lutheran groups in Madagascar, where the population is 25 percent Lutheran, have made informal overtures to the Missouri Synod. Lutherans in the country have historically aligned with the ELCA, he said.

Another sign of the realignment, he added, is that his denomination and the Anglican Church in North America have begun formal dialogue seeking common ground.

The Anglican body formed in 2008 in a split from the U.S. Episcopal Church largely over the issue of allowing homosexual bishops and priests. It has ties to Anglican churches in Africa that opposed homosexuality, including Uganda, Nigeria and Rwanda.

Anglicans and the Missouri Synod are talking “to be able to affirm each other in significant ways as fellow Christians, stand together against certain societal and ecclesial trends and cooperate together in works of mercy,” according to the synod’s description of the dialogues. They began in November and will continue this year.

Still another sign of movement is a declaration signed by Harrison in December on marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

The declaration was endorsed by leaders of about 20 Protestant Christian groups as well as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon Church.

Harrison said for Missouri Synod Lutherans, the issue of homosexuality strikes at the root of the authority of Scripture.

“The difficulty we have runs to the very heart of the Gospel – is there salvation outside of Christ? The Bible says no,” he says, adding that those who claim acceptance of homosexuality are imposing their interpretation of the texts.

Harrison last year also wrote a letter to U.S. lawmakers saying that the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the U.S. military “will sorely inhibit our chaplains’ ability to call all sinners to repentance.”

He said the new policy will likely lead to openly homosexual chaplains and added that Missouri Synod members may be counseled not to partake of their services.

“But the challenge for the Missouri Synod on this whole issue is simply not to be the denomination of ‘no.’ ” he said.

“It is my deep desire to refrain from statements against homosexuality, at the same time affirming the biblical stance and that the church has a role in assisting people who struggle with this issue,” Harrison said.

In Fort Wayne, Harrison was known for spearheading a project with neighboring St. Peter Catholic Church that rejuvenated the Hanna-Creighton neighborhood.

Dilapidated homes were cleared from a 10-block area around the churches and replaced with new development, such as the Pontiac branch of the Allen County Public Library and the headquarters of the Urban League.

After leaving Fort Wayne, Harrison served as executive director of LCMS World Relief and Human Care.


TOPICS: Mainline Protestant; Moral Issues; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: harrison; lcms; lutheran; protestantism
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1 posted on 02/05/2011 2:20:33 PM PST by SmithL
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To: lightman; rhema

fyi


2 posted on 02/05/2011 2:22:04 PM PST by SmithL
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To: SmithL

Errr.. Most traditional is the Wisconsin Synod. The Missouri Synod went liberal a little while back. No way EVER the Wisconsin Synod joins up.


3 posted on 02/05/2011 2:22:40 PM PST by The Iceman Cometh (The Blood Libel Media, serving Satan since 1950.)
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To: SmithL
The divide is spreading through the heart of all the mainline protestant denominations. As the secularizers undermine the faith, serious Christians begin to leave and find community with their counterparts fleeing the other apostate churches. The LCMS is in no apparent danger of this schism, having a solid grounding in the faith.

It is widely expected that this will lead to a vast realignment, traditional Christians in one group, secular revisionists in another, opposing group, with the old denominations being far less salient than they have been in the past.

4 posted on 02/05/2011 2:31:19 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: SmithL

There will be a new category, just like in politics. Conservative Christians—Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox will align themselves with the Bible and Jesus, against the Liberal denominations.

That action, along with what is going on around the planet, will just make the divide Good & Evil more pronounced.


5 posted on 02/05/2011 2:43:24 PM PST by madison10
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To: hinckley buzzard

Homosexual acceptance seems to be a poison pill. This is good news that Missouri Synod may become a new anchor in Christianity. I am sure Wisconsin Synod is fine too, I just don’t know much about them.


6 posted on 02/05/2011 2:46:43 PM PST by Goreknowshowtocheat
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To: SmithL

““It is my deep desire to refrain from statements against homosexuality, at the same time affirming the biblical stance....”

In other words,streamline it so that it is palateable to all. When the LCMS aligns itself with the Catholic bishops and the Mormons nothing is really changing.


7 posted on 02/05/2011 2:49:13 PM PST by taxesareforever (Release Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich and let him and his family get on with their lives.)
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To: The Iceman Cometh
Now that's hard core.

And the Wisconsin Synod is different than the Missouri Synod in what way (other than that Ying Yang thing of the W/M/W/M?

Seriously ~ edumacate we heathen folk.

8 posted on 02/05/2011 3:38:56 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: SmithL

Well, all these missions to the Third World are nice, but frankly, they need to do a lot of work here in the US.


9 posted on 02/05/2011 3:59:19 PM PST by GenXteacher (He that hath no stomach for this fight, let him depart!)
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To: muawiyah
Except with regard to the role of women in the church polity, the difference between the Missouri and Wisconsin synods don't have much to do with “tradition”. The Missouri Synod allows women to vote as members of a congregation; the Wisconsin Synod does not. Neither allows women clergy.

For what it's worth, a Missouri Synod congregation adhering to a traditional form of the Divine Service (essentially the English translation of Luther's Mass) is far more traditional in its worship than a Wisconsin Synod congregation following a contemporary form of liturgy.

10 posted on 02/05/2011 4:00:02 PM PST by Mr. Lucky
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To: Mr. Lucky
Detail question here: Luther's services were counseled by German norms, but isn't the Wisconsin crowd a mite more Scandinavian? Their "contemporary" or even their "traditional" would necessarily be different, right?

Like Germans aren't Swedes. Swedes aren't Germans. To the trained eye vast differences are obvious ~ kinda' anyway!

11 posted on 02/05/2011 4:05:31 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: Mr. Lucky

Or, maybe vice versa what with that deal with the former Finnish Lutheran synod.


12 posted on 02/05/2011 4:12:05 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: SmithL; Conservaliberty
LCMS Ping

It would be great if protestants could unite on faith and doctrine. Getting together just because we agree homosexuality is a sin is not a good idea.

Matthew.....keep your eyes on the ball son!!!

13 posted on 02/05/2011 4:15:32 PM PST by RepRivFarm ("During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell)
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To: RepRivFarm
It would be great if protestants could unite on faith and doctrine. Getting together just because we agree homosexuality is a sin is not a good idea.

I agree.. I love my Lutheran brethren, but we hold many points of differing doctrine..

Either we stand on our doctrine or we stand on a foundation of social sand..

14 posted on 02/05/2011 4:20:05 PM PST by RnMomof7
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To: Goreknowshowtocheat

The Wisconsin Synod would be to the right of the Missouri Synod.


15 posted on 02/05/2011 4:39:34 PM PST by Vegasrugrat
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To: taxesareforever
“It is my deep desire to refrain from statements against homosexuality, at the same time affirming the biblical stance....”

This is a distressing statement, it is imperative christians take a strong stance against all sin.

16 posted on 02/05/2011 4:44:35 PM PST by Vegasrugrat
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To: Vegasrugrat

>> This is a distressing statement, it is imperative christians take a strong stance against all sin. <<

Yeah, but it’s a little wierd to waste much breath on a sin that’s a temptation for only a few percent of the population. Keep the focus on the real purpose of sexuality and you shouldn’t even have to mention homosexuality, except as an instance of how far away from sanity we’ve drifted.

But yes, I certainly agree that Christians need to take a strong stance against all sin. When homosexuality is mentioned, it needs to be sharply condemned.


17 posted on 02/05/2011 5:13:35 PM PST by dangus ("The floor of Hell is paved with the skulls of bishops" -- St. John Crysostom ("the Golden-Mouthed"))
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To: aberaussie; Aeronaut; aliquando; AlternateViewpoint; AnalogReigns; Archie Bunker on steroids; ...


Lutheran Ping!

Christ is in our midst!

18 posted on 02/05/2011 5:16:11 PM PST by lightman (Adjutorium nostrum (+) in nomine Domini)
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To: muawiyah
Seriously ~ edumacate we heathen folk.

First, did I offend you in some way? In no way was I trying to be elitist or a snob.

As far as the synods are concerned, there's a long history of the major synods namely the LCA(ELCA), Missouri and Wisconsin Synod. On a scale, the ELCA has the most liberal policies (female pastors, etc), the Missouri is typically more conservative and the Wisconsin is the most conservative. Although, it is quite likely that certain churches in the Missouri Synod are run as conservative as a Wisconsin Synod. I believe Missouri does allow female pastors which are not allowed in Wisconsin. Also, Wisconsin synod churches operate with only the males as voting members. I grew up and was confirmed in LCA then in my 20's was Missouri and finally Wisconsin (although they are they are not as widespread).

Finally, it is not Wisconsin's belief that they are the only saving church meaning they don't have the attitude of the catholics where if you ain't catholic, you're screwed.

Peace.

19 posted on 02/05/2011 5:39:09 PM PST by The Iceman Cometh (The Blood Libel Media, serving Satan since 1950.)
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To: Mr. Lucky
Neither allows women clergy

Not so sure about this. I attended a Missouri Synod church in Myrtle Beach, SC and had a visiting female pastor preside over service at one point.

20 posted on 02/05/2011 5:42:39 PM PST by The Iceman Cometh (The Blood Libel Media, serving Satan since 1950.)
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To: SmithL; lightman; Cletus.D.Yokel; bcsco; PJ-Comix; Nosterrex
The Rev. Matthew Harrison . . . was elected last year to head the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. . . .

Harrison is a good man. I'm glad he was elected. I was a delegate to the convention last summer, and I voted for him.

21 posted on 02/05/2011 5:53:43 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor, LCMS)
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To: The Iceman Cometh
visiting female pastor preside over service at one point.

She wasn't ordained in the LCMS, they don't have female clergy. She could be a deaconess but as far as 'presiding' during the service I'd have to know the context.

22 posted on 02/05/2011 5:56:51 PM PST by xone
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To: RepRivFarm; RnMomof7; SmithL; lightman; Cletus.D.Yokel; bcsco; PJ-Comix; Nosterrex
It would be great if protestants could unite on faith and doctrine. Getting together just because we agree homosexuality is a sin is not a good idea. Matthew.....keep your eyes on the ball son!!!

Oh, he will do that! I know the man personally, and he is a very able theologian, top-drawer.

23 posted on 02/05/2011 5:57:42 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor, LCMS)
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To: SmithL

“Lutheran leader sees Protestants aligning”

Short of the second coming of Christ, that’s not how we roll. Not gonna happen.


24 posted on 02/05/2011 6:00:16 PM PST by RFEngineer
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To: taxesareforever; Vegasrugrat; dangus
“But the challenge for the Missouri Synod on this whole issue is simply not to be the denomination of ‘no.’ ” he said. “It is my deep desire to refrain from statements against homosexuality, at the same time affirming the biblical stance and that the church has a role in assisting people who struggle with this issue,” Harrison said.

Look, I think I know what he means by this (if indeed this is being quoted correctly and in context). There is no doubt in my mind that Harrison regards homosexual behavior as sinful. And our synod maintained its strong stand against the sin of homosexuality once again last summer, when the convention adopted several resolutions against what the ELCA has done.

But I think Harrison's point is that we want to do more than just say "We're agin' it!" And we don't want to focus solely on that one sin. Plus, we want to make clear there is forgiveness for repentant homosexuals too.

25 posted on 02/05/2011 6:06:50 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor, LCMS)
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To: Mr. Lucky; muawiyah; The Iceman Cometh
a Missouri Synod congregation adhering to a traditional form of the Divine Service . . . is far more traditional in its worship than a Wisconsin Synod congregation following a contemporary form of liturgy.

This is true. Both synods have their problems with goofy pastors and congregations that do "contemporary worship." And, on the other hand, you can also find many pastors and congregations in both synods that do the liturgy well, sing solid hymns, celebrate the Sacrament often, and have good, Christ-centered preaching. Nowadays you have to check out things on a congregation-by-congregation basis.

26 posted on 02/05/2011 6:14:17 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor, LCMS)
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To: RFEngineer

sola scriptura plus pride = no unity.


27 posted on 02/05/2011 6:27:15 PM PST by one Lord one faith one baptism
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To: The Iceman Cometh; Charles Henrickson

Is this possible?


28 posted on 02/05/2011 6:27:32 PM PST by Mr. Lucky
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To: The Iceman Cometh; Mr. Lucky
It is not *supposed* to be possible in the LCMS that you would see a visiting female pastor preside over a service. We don't have female pastors and we don't have fellowship with churches that do.

However, there are some wacky liberal congregations on our left fringe that do things they're not supposed to do, so I can't say it's not "possible."

But I'd also have to know more details to make a judgment--i.e., what is meant by "preside at one point."

29 posted on 02/05/2011 6:33:48 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor, LCMS)
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To: SmithL

...an openly sodomite chaplain, I had not considered that. I’m sure the Unitarians and Epixcolians have one on standby immediately. Oh boy.


30 posted on 02/05/2011 6:36:35 PM PST by MSF BU (YR'S Please Support our troops: JOIN THEM!)
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To: Charles Henrickson

Thanks.


31 posted on 02/05/2011 6:39:38 PM PST by Mr. Lucky
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To: Charles Henrickson
This is true. Both synods have their problems with goofy pastors and congregations that do "contemporary worship." And, on the other hand, you can also find many pastors and congregations in both synods that do the liturgy well, sing solid hymns, celebrate the Sacrament often, and have good, Christ-centered preaching. Nowadays you have to check out things on a congregation-by-congregation basis.

So that infection I found so prevelant in the ELCA has spread across North American Lutheranism?

The talks with the ACNA may be an excellent vehicle for restoring liturgical order.

32 posted on 02/05/2011 7:18:00 PM PST by lightman (Adjutorium nostrum (+) in nomine Domini)
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To: one Lord one faith one baptism

“sola scriptura plus pride = no unity.”

Protestant = Don’t care what Rome thinks, even if we can’t get along with other Protestants


33 posted on 02/05/2011 8:04:02 PM PST by RFEngineer
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To: The Iceman Cometh

Women can’t be ordained pastors in the LCMS. Might be an LCMC (splinter from the ELCA), but not LCMS.

That is one of the “trip wires” for me and a great many MoLu’s.


34 posted on 02/05/2011 8:27:34 PM PST by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: The Iceman Cometh

If “went liberal” you mean NOT calling all other Protestant denominations heretical, you may be right...but the LCMS is still VERRRRRRRY CONSERVATIVE (still requiring closed communion, after all) within the evangelical world.

No female clergy and closed communion puts the LCMS still to the far right amidst evangelical Protestants.

I’m sure you’re correct though that Wisconsin Synod is way to the right of that. How far right in religion though, is wrong?


35 posted on 02/05/2011 8:36:26 PM PST by AnalogReigns
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To: SmithL; one Lord one faith one baptism; Religion Moderator

I really think news and discussions amidst Protestants should be within “Caucus” or “Closed” titles, to avoid the inevitable snide comments by Roman Catholics and others.

NOTHING it seems can be posted about Protestant issues without various cranks creeping in trying to bash the Reformation.


36 posted on 02/05/2011 8:48:07 PM PST by AnalogReigns
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To: Charles Henrickson

So, does it mean that the “Thou shall not...” commandments will also hold the same “refrain from statements against..” so as not to be a “denomination of no”? Where does it stop? I’m hoping that Harrison used a poor choice of words but, sadly, I believe his meaning is clear.


37 posted on 02/05/2011 11:34:48 PM PST by taxesareforever (Release Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich and let him and his family get on with their lives.)
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To: SmithL

one thing the pinkos do not realise (or perhaps they do) is that the steps they perform in the west has a lot of repercussions in AFrica and Asia. When Gene Robinson was made “bishop” in the ECUSA, then devout anglicans in Nigeria were attacked by Moslems as “they supported gays”


38 posted on 02/06/2011 12:53:27 AM PST by Cronos
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To: AnalogReigns; one Lord one faith one baptism
I agree with Analog on this, OLOROB --> this is about the common enemy faced by ALL Churches, the pinkos.

This thread should NOT devolve into the same inter-Christian bash thread (whether WELS v/s LCMS or orthodoxy vs. protestantism) -- we have other threads for that :-P

All need to stand together against the creeping homosexual attack on Christianity as a whole.
39 posted on 02/06/2011 1:03:15 AM PST by Cronos
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To: muawiyah
I was raised in the American Lutheran Church and left the ELCA when I saw it going away from the Holy Gospel.

My Mom was raised in the Wisconsin Lutheran Church and because of its refusal to allow Scouting, the American Legion and Free Masonry, we were not interested in it.

When my son and I moved back up to New Hampshire, the nearest church was a WELS one and I went once and was not welcomed at all. I found it cold and barren. In this day and age, women have too much to offer to be shut out from voting. Clergy, I can go either way, but too much of the ELCA women clergy are lesbian influenced or radical feminist at the least. Most of the women clergy I have met have chips on their shoulders.

I am comfortable in the LCMS.

40 posted on 02/06/2011 6:59:54 AM PST by Redleg Duke (We didn't limit out, but we nailed a bunch of RATS!)
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To: redgolum; The Iceman Cometh

Actually there are cases where women in the LCMS are not only preaching but administering sacrament. And I don’t mean as assistants.

They don’t ordain them as pastors instead they sneak thru under the office of “Lay Minister”. Some more creative districts and congregations are using that angle to let women into both preaching and sacrament. They do this by creatively interpreting official documents and statements but it has yet to be stopped so it will continue.

The last convention tried to quietly plug this hole without talking about it but after two revisions to the proposal it was never voted on.

It has some members of the LCMS clergy quite upset.


41 posted on 02/06/2011 7:01:00 AM PST by wonkowasright (Wonko from outside the asylum)
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To: RFEngineer
"Protestant = Don’t care what Rome thinks, even if we can’t get along with other Protestants"

We are having a constructive discussion here. Go pick a fight somewhere else, please.

42 posted on 02/06/2011 7:03:15 AM PST by Redleg Duke (We didn't limit out, but we nailed a bunch of RATS!)
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To: The Iceman Cometh; muawiyah

I am certain that there are no women pastors in the LCMS. LCMS does have some (but not all) congregations that let women read the bible aloud in church and serve on the church council.

WELS and LCMS both practice close communion, although LCMS has a wide range in what its congregations consider to be close communion. When I was in the Navy, I was allowed to commune at any LCMS church I attended, but I always introduced myself before the service. The WELS congregation I attended would not let me commune until I attended classes and joined the congregation.

Being a Mason is not allowed in either LCMS or WELS. I’ve been told it’s against ELCA policy, too, but not enforced. And I still don’t understand WELS prohibition against scouting.


43 posted on 02/06/2011 8:38:09 AM PST by SmithL
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To: The Iceman Cometh
Not to worry. The small town I was born in ~ Seymour Indiana ~ had seven different synods of Lutherans with at least one congregation present.

They've become much more progressive in recent years and I think they're down to just one synod represented (LCMS) in town, and a ELCA congregation on the North side.

So it's not like I don't know Lutherans ~ I know all kinds of Lutherans! It's possible I know more different kinds than most Lutherans do ~ but that is simply because my own people were NOT Lutherans ~ they were Dunkards (German Methodist, more or less, but that congregation didn't have a single German in it ~ it was an experiment by a ne'er do well minister who imagined he could attract non-Germans to his church ~ which he did ~ much to his surprise).

More recently it looks like the Lutherans are "breaking up", but is it back to the ethnically based synods, or is it geography, or could it be theology? The piece here suggests that one cause is the tendency of one or two brands to turn the homosexuals loose on their congregations. Frankly, I had not noticed any major significant difference between the Wisconsin synod and the Missouri synod beyond the private school thing, but I attributed that to a question of numbers. Looks like I was wrong. One group is holding the line at women.

44 posted on 02/06/2011 9:02:09 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: RFEngineer

Protestants hold out for the “many mansions” doctrine right down to the end of time ~ guar an tee!


45 posted on 02/06/2011 9:13:12 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: wonkowasright

Where?

I ask so I can start writing some letters, and maybe raising a little Cain.


46 posted on 02/06/2011 9:49:49 AM PST by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: SmithL

The scouting thing is because Boy Scouts talk about religion, but not which one. So you have to believe in a god or gods, but don’t have to be Christian.

Many LCMS congregations have similar rules.


47 posted on 02/06/2011 9:52:14 AM PST by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: muawiyah

“Protestants hold out for the “many mansions” doctrine right down to the end of time ~ guar an tee!”

This is one thing most Catholics really don’t “get” about Protestants, despite it being completely obvious to anyone with any curiosity about other religions. Protestant practice and doctrine is varied. We aren’t monolithic, What brings us together, to varying degrees is that we don’t take kindly to being told what to do, say, or think by a central authority - some Protestants less so than others.

It’s not good or bad, it just is. Catholics believe what they do, the myriad and varied Protestant sects believe what they do. It’s part of living in a free society, and a society with freedom of religion.

We are all also free to believe other religions or sects are going to hell, and to whine that others are bigoted against one or another religion - though some do it a lot more than others.

So belittle Protestants as you wish, but you really should be a little more specific than just saying “Protestants” when you let loose your perceived religious superiority, otherwise the effort is wasted, and you sound like you don’t really know what you are talking about.


48 posted on 02/06/2011 11:12:31 AM PST by RFEngineer
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To: Redleg Duke

“We are having a constructive discussion here. Go pick a fight somewhere else, please.”

T’was but a benign statement of the obvious, nothing more.


49 posted on 02/06/2011 11:15:26 AM PST by RFEngineer
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To: RFEngineer
Frankly, I'm holdig out for the "many mansions" doctrine ~ and YOU AREN'T?
50 posted on 02/06/2011 11:51:00 AM PST by muawiyah
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