Skip to comments.The [ELCA] Presiding Bishop Steps Out
Posted on 07/09/2012 6:14:24 AM PDT by rhema
Some years ago the Luther scholar Scott Hendrix published Luther and the Papacy: Stages in a Reformation Conflict, an important study which demonstrated how Luthers quarrel was never with the catholic faith as such but with the papists, modern innovators who had betrayed that faith universally held. Nevertheless, Luther respected the papacy as a pastoral office, according to Hendrix. Indeed, the primary source of his anger was the betrayal of the popes universal pastoral duty by Leo X and his successors. Hendrix showed that Luthers underlying and consistent criterion in judging the papacy is that by divine right the papacy is a pastoral office of nourishing people in the church with the Word of God. This pastoral function is the criterion for claiming legitimate authority in the church. Luthers outrage is directed at the perversion of the pastoral office. In fact, Luther was protesting against the usurpation of the church by an unfaithful hierarchy on behalf of the faithful people, not against the church on behalf of the individual as he was so often falsely understood.
In just the same way I am angered to learn that ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson, who has never attended a meeting of Lutheran CORE, nor answered the repeated requests of myself and other confessional theologians to account for his partisan leadership, will address the annual meeting of ReconcilingWorks Lutherans for Full Participation (the GLBT PAC in the ELCA) in Washington, DC on July 9-10, 2012. Read the story for yourself here.
Let me be very clear. As I have often said and still maintain: I favor full civic rights for sexual minorities. I favor a church climate which is welcoming of them and on guard against bigotry and bullying. What I do not favor is infidelity to the Lutheran confessional doctrine of marriage or the achievement of the former goals by means of defecting from that normative theology of human sexuality. Moreover, I have no problem with an ELCA presiding bishop attending any meetings with anybody anywhere, if he or she is indeed doing the pastoral work of nourishing people in the church with the Word of God.
That is precisely not what appears to be happening with Hansons appearance in Washington, DC. Emily Eastwood, executive director of ReconcilingWorks, a life-long Lutheran and lesbian, says so in the above cited news release: Our primary purpose is always movement building... We gather for personal transformation and support as well as skills building, education and action planning. Despite the 2009 decision, she says the groups work is not done... when policies change, when laws change, that doesnt mean the practice of it is immediately implemented or that the cultural shifts have occurred... We believe full inclusion will take a period of years, perhaps even the rest of my life, to make sure the new policies become fully practiced within our denomination. The news release comments: Members say its a huge step for the entire denomination to have Hanson address their group. Moeller says Hanson was always sensitive to their issues but measured in his public stance prior to the 2009 vote. Hes been more unequivocal in his support since then, members say, and his appearance is unprecedented for the 4.2 million-member ELCA. Another quote from Philip Moeller, convener of the DC ReconcilingWorks chapter since 1991: This is the first time weve ever had a presiding bishop address us and it really says something about the change thats happening within the church.
Clearly, what is anticipated is not nourishing the people with the word of God but an endorsement of a political agenda for engineering change in the culture of the church. Of course, I do not at this moment know what Hanson will be saying at this event, but his very presence seems to be making such a statement. If his speech is made public, I will take a look at it to see if he in fact nourished the gathering with the word of Gods law and Gods gospel, and will report back on it. But, I suspect, the news release is right and, as ReconcilingWorks spokespersons say, his talk will amount to an endorsement of their agenda.
In the aftermath of the 2009 decision, I predicted that something like this was inevitable: the radicalization of the ELCA along liberal Protestant lines. Nevertheless, it profoundly saddens me now if this event is the turning point that will prove me right. I have hoped against hope in the interim that the painful cost of the 2009 decision in terms of defections and demoralization (for the evidence, see Prof. Mark Granquists article "A Slow Disaster and a Modest Proposal" in the Summer 2012 issue of Lutheran Forum) would cause the presiding bishop and his court theologians to reconsider the wisdom of their actions and to reach out to what remains of the loyal opposition. There is still time for Bishop Hanson to attend the CORE theological conference, August 14-15, in Golden Valley, Minnesota. That would give at least nominal evidence of his pastoral responsibility for all in the ELCA. It would perhaps even strengthen his own understanding of the confessional norm to which he himself is subject and for which he is supremely responsible in his stewardship of the church. And, unlike the uncritical adulation he might anticipate receiving at the Washington meeting, it would manifest the virtue of courage. But we shall see.
Paul R. Hinlicky is the Tise Professor of Lutheran Studies at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia.
So in a nutshell, the leader will go and meet with the homosexuals but not with the conservatives?
Thanks for this thread.
This church is history. The homo lobby favors strict obedience to the new norm.
Could I hear a replay of the bishop's oft-repeated assurance that everyone's bound conscience will be equally respected in the ECLA?
"The ELCA has now taken this step, embodying apostasy from the faith once delivered to the saints."
"While HSGT claims to work with primary Lutheran categories such as justification by grace through faith, the distinction of law and Gospel, the duality of faith and love, and vocation, they are distorted to serve an ideological purpose that can in no way be identified with confessional Lutheranism nor catholic [universal] Christianity."
Before he was elected LCMS President in 2010, the Rev. Matthew Harrison reached a similar conclusion about the ELCA back in 2009. As the 2009 ELCA Church Wide Assembly wrapped up their meeting which two days earlier had approved ordaining active homosexuals, on Friday, August 21, 2009, Rev. Harrison answered a question from the Rev. Todd Wilken in an Issues, Etc. interview (at 9m16s):
Wilken: "Is apostasy too strong a word to describe what weve watched over the last better part of the decade that culminates this afternoon in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America?"
Harrison: "No, it is apostasy. Theres no way around it. It gives me great pain to say that, but theres no other word for it."
In 2001, the LCMS, at convention, indicated that the ELCA was no longer considered to be an orthodox Lutheran church body. If the recent CTCR Response is approved by the LCMS convention in 2013, the LCMS would officially consider the ELCA organization to be in apostasy, this is, totally lapsing in Christian faith.
Taylor Marshal, an Episcopal priest left the priesthood
to become Roman Catholic.
A major, major reason, authority. A woman would say to Taylor, I am pro-choice. What is the point to tell her Christ’s teaching when Protestantism accepts a vote on Truth.
Just like secularists.
Whatever you want to believe, then, bring it to a vote!
* as of August 19, AD 2009, a liberal protestant SECT, not part of the holy, catholic and apostolic CHURCH.
Be rooted in Christ!
Now the complaint is that 'Protestantism' is monolithic? But what about those 333000000 diferent denominations. Aside from that, the reason to tell her Christ's teaching is so the Holy Spirit may enlighten her and enliven her heart so she seeks repentance. That is the power of God's Word. A major, major reason why God's truth isn't up for a vote where it is held sacred as opposed to cultural tradition. Sadly, not true for the Episcopals or the elca'ns.
A major, major reason, authority.
When God's Word is 'stripped' of its authority or placed on par with culture or tradition, this is what happens in a sinful world.
“Now the complaint is that ‘Protestantism’ is monolithic? But what about those 333000000 diferent denominations.
When God’s Word is ‘stripped’ of its authority or placed on par with culture or tradition, this is what happens in a sinful world.”
~ ~ ~
God never said take a vote on My Truth, that’s how you figure it. Protestantism falling further and further away.
Martin Luther would kiss you, too bad the man was wrong.
Explain how the Bible interprets itself? Where did the
Bible come from? Oh, forget it.
Gosh, reply to someone else.
Keep posting on this thread, maybe someone can answer for you. But they might be LUTHERans.
I do believe you have put your finger on the simple answer to what liberal (read: unbelieving) Protestantism has become:
Always seeking fellowship with vice, never virtue.
Sadly, as they will find, vice in the end will not give them the time of day, much less the relevance and respect they crave.
And what alternative do you suggest, hmm? Letting a small group of fallible men decide what is the Word of God and what isn't instead?
Or perhaps we should place emphasis on the Apostolic teaching which is recorded in Holy Scripture and not place our trust in any human institution or human tradition?
Why should we trust what the Roman Catholic bishops say? Especially if some of the dictates of the Roman Church are blatantly against the Word of God in Scripture? I'm not going to trust any bishops who claim authority just because they say that they have authority!
Fear not, the flames will be very small. All that will be brought will be wet matches and false prophets.