Agreement between LCMS & conservative Anglicans

Who says Missouri Synod Lutherans can’t agree with anybody?  High level talks between the LCMS and Anglicans who broke away from the Episcopal Church have found some common ground (though, of course, not full doctrinal agreement).

ST. LOUIS, May 25, 2012—After four meetings over the past 18 months, the Anglican Church in North America and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) rejoice in affirming core teachings of the Christian faith they share. The two church bodies, together with the Lutheran Church—Canada, are jointly releasing a report today summarizing the areas of agreement. . . .

“In a time when there is a widespread failure to recognize the biblical teaching regarding the creation of man and woman and their biblical roles, life-issues, and other grave challenges that society faces, it is a joy to find a group of Christians within the Anglican Church in North America who affirm this biblical teaching, and who desire to cooperate in externals with the Missouri Synod in upholding the biblical natural law in society,” said the Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, President of the LCMS. “Our churches share much in common in the confession of the ecumenical creeds, but we also have differences in doctrinal belief. Hermann Sasse noted that churches who can honestly discuss where they have disagreements in doctrine are in fact closer to each other than churches who cannot discuss such matters. With the Anglican Church in North America, the Missouri Synod can discuss both where we need to seek more agreement and where we have sufficient agreement to cooperate in externals. May Christ bless His church and work unity in both doctrine and practice.” . . .

The report on the discussions includes a statement of the beliefs the church bodies have in common. These include a shared belief in the Triune God as confessed in the Apostles’, Nicene and Athanasian creeds; justification by grace through faith; the centrality of the Sacraments for the Christian faith; and the infallibility of Scripture.

The report also outlines areas about which the church bodies plan to engage in further study and discussion. These include the value of authoritative theological confessions, matters of ecclesiology and the office(s) of ministry, the understanding of Christ’s presence in the Lord’s Supper and differing views on the usage of the western liturgy.

“It is a great blessing to be walking alongside The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. We share an unwavering commitment to the authority of Scripture and have been able to support each other as we take a bold stand for the historic faith. It has been a particular joy for me to come to know President Matthew Harrison. We look forward to continuing our work together for the Gospel through prayers, evangelism, dialogue, encouragement of one another, and joint efforts to help those in need,” said the Most Rev. Robert Duncan, Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in North America.

via Missouri Synod Lutherans, North American Anglicans conclude first round of theological discussions – The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

Do you think such discussions are worth having?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Carl Vehse

    Previously confessional Lutherans in the Missouri Synod had opposed the practice of selective felllowship with other church bodies, especially with ones that have women “ordained” as pastrixes.

    According to a WMLTBlog article, “LCMS-NALC Discussions,” LCMS representatives also held meetings late last year with the North American Lutheran Church (NALC), another church body that has women pastrixes.

    What is with all these girlish giggles in the Purple Palace over any new ecumenical boy in town? Is it just because these boys won’t allow any of their ordained female pastorettes to be noncelebate lesbians? Or, as someone on another Lutheran list suggested, is it the “curly walking sticks and the funny hats”?

  • Carl Vehse

    Previously confessional Lutherans in the Missouri Synod had opposed the practice of selective felllowship with other church bodies, especially with ones that have women “ordained” as pastrixes.

    According to a WMLTBlog article, “LCMS-NALC Discussions,” LCMS representatives also held meetings late last year with the North American Lutheran Church (NALC), another church body that has women pastrixes.

    What is with all these girlish giggles in the Purple Palace over any new ecumenical boy in town? Is it just because these boys won’t allow any of their ordained female pastorettes to be noncelebate lesbians? Or, as someone on another Lutheran list suggested, is it the “curly walking sticks and the funny hats”?

  • helen

    I wish our leadership would spend its time trying to clean up our own act!

  • helen

    I wish our leadership would spend its time trying to clean up our own act!

  • Dan Kempin

    “Do you think such discussions are worth having?”

    Yes. Of course.

  • Dan Kempin

    “Do you think such discussions are worth having?”

    Yes. Of course.

  • formerly just steve

    Carl, the Anglican Church in North America does not ordain women.

  • formerly just steve

    Carl, the Anglican Church in North America does not ordain women.

  • larry

    I think its dangerous in the spirit of today. Sasse did say that but that presupposed a serious essential-ness over doctrinal issues. The essential nature is/must be along the same lines of what Luther & Lutherans said at Marburg. I.e. they were most stunned that the Zwinglians, et. al. did not “hand them over to Satan (too)”. Had they done that then “they would be in principle closer than those that do not” (or Sasse’s quote). It was when Luther discovered that Zwingli, et. al. considered these doctrinal differences “differences” even somewhat “essential” but ultimately not that essential (so as to call the other’s doctrine “of Satan”) that Luther was infuriated with such a view of the Word of God and called him of another spirit (i.e. not Christian at all).

    This is the danger, especially in our day and age, and temptation that should be most feared in such talks. Because it is in such that compromise begins (I saw first hand in the Reformed Vs. Baptist ecumenical movements, and to this day continues).

  • larry

    I think its dangerous in the spirit of today. Sasse did say that but that presupposed a serious essential-ness over doctrinal issues. The essential nature is/must be along the same lines of what Luther & Lutherans said at Marburg. I.e. they were most stunned that the Zwinglians, et. al. did not “hand them over to Satan (too)”. Had they done that then “they would be in principle closer than those that do not” (or Sasse’s quote). It was when Luther discovered that Zwingli, et. al. considered these doctrinal differences “differences” even somewhat “essential” but ultimately not that essential (so as to call the other’s doctrine “of Satan”) that Luther was infuriated with such a view of the Word of God and called him of another spirit (i.e. not Christian at all).

    This is the danger, especially in our day and age, and temptation that should be most feared in such talks. Because it is in such that compromise begins (I saw first hand in the Reformed Vs. Baptist ecumenical movements, and to this day continues).

  • Ryan

    I would prefer the time and energy spent on working toward closer relations with the Wisconsin Synod Lutherans (WELS).

  • Ryan

    I would prefer the time and energy spent on working toward closer relations with the Wisconsin Synod Lutherans (WELS).

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Ecumenism can be a good or bad thing, depending upon 1.) the identity of the party with whom you are having an ecumenical meeting, and 2.) the nature of the items discussed.

    Unfortunately, Ayn Rand (hardly a Christian herself) had a statement that should sink into our minds and serve as a warning to us in any sort of outreach we undertake: when good and evil come to the table to compromise, it is only evil that walks away with any advantage. We can subsitute the words “orthodoxy” and “heterodoxy” in that statement and come to the same conclusion, and while the Anglicans may not be liberal, ecumenism can be a dangerous route to undertake if sound doctrine is not jealously guarded by the church.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Ecumenism can be a good or bad thing, depending upon 1.) the identity of the party with whom you are having an ecumenical meeting, and 2.) the nature of the items discussed.

    Unfortunately, Ayn Rand (hardly a Christian herself) had a statement that should sink into our minds and serve as a warning to us in any sort of outreach we undertake: when good and evil come to the table to compromise, it is only evil that walks away with any advantage. We can subsitute the words “orthodoxy” and “heterodoxy” in that statement and come to the same conclusion, and while the Anglicans may not be liberal, ecumenism can be a dangerous route to undertake if sound doctrine is not jealously guarded by the church.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Two things:

    1. These discussions are a good thing.
    2. The responses to the discussions here (so far) are quite enlightening.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Two things:

    1. These discussions are a good thing.
    2. The responses to the discussions here (so far) are quite enlightening.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I am not surprised that we are having these talks, btw I think they are a good idea particularly if they lead to unity in orthodoxy, because our esteemed synodical president is a fan of Herman Sasse.

    Sasse was involved in the ecumenical movements of the early and mid 20th century. Though Sasse was often frustrated by how the ecumenical movement “solved” differences, he believed it important for us to at least be at the table so that our objections maybe heard and orthodox teaching could be spoken.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I am not surprised that we are having these talks, btw I think they are a good idea particularly if they lead to unity in orthodoxy, because our esteemed synodical president is a fan of Herman Sasse.

    Sasse was involved in the ecumenical movements of the early and mid 20th century. Though Sasse was often frustrated by how the ecumenical movement “solved” differences, he believed it important for us to at least be at the table so that our objections maybe heard and orthodox teaching could be spoken.

  • Stephen

    “cooperate in externals with the Missouri Synod in upholding the biblical natural law in society”

    That’s code for something. Whatever could that mean, eh? What does it mean to “uphold biblical natural law” after all? It aint Lutheran I suspect. A compromise has already been made from what I can see. If this is the reason why they are having these discussions, and I’d say that is exactly why, then it has nothing to do with sound doctrine or even ecumenism per se, and everything to do with building a hedge against homos.

    It is alarming to me that Confessional Lutherans cannot smell a rat here. The LCMS is already compromising its doctrine, opting instead for scholastic (and pagan and legalistic) doctrine of “natural law” all because they fear homos getting a foothold “in society.” This is moralism and nothing more, disguised as something else.

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think it is sinister or anything like that. Maybe a little dishonest. What it isn’t is some effort at true ecumenism. It is an effort to draw a line in the sand against gays, gay marriage, et. al. “in society.” Whether that is a good thing to do or not isn’t the point. The question is whether there is sound teaching here or not. I say no, and I think the Confessions agree.

    So, no. In this instance, this is a bad thing. Unless we define what Lutherans mean by natural law first as opposed to the “classic” understanding of it, the one Anglicans have, (hint: our version is found in Romans 2:15), then this is just one more step toward Catholicism. It may seem like the culture war is vital right now, but it isn’t. Being faithful is.

    Just sayin’ that no matter what is at stake “in society,” if sound doctrine is not what Lutherans bring to the ecumenical table, then we’re already in trouble.

  • Stephen

    “cooperate in externals with the Missouri Synod in upholding the biblical natural law in society”

    That’s code for something. Whatever could that mean, eh? What does it mean to “uphold biblical natural law” after all? It aint Lutheran I suspect. A compromise has already been made from what I can see. If this is the reason why they are having these discussions, and I’d say that is exactly why, then it has nothing to do with sound doctrine or even ecumenism per se, and everything to do with building a hedge against homos.

    It is alarming to me that Confessional Lutherans cannot smell a rat here. The LCMS is already compromising its doctrine, opting instead for scholastic (and pagan and legalistic) doctrine of “natural law” all because they fear homos getting a foothold “in society.” This is moralism and nothing more, disguised as something else.

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think it is sinister or anything like that. Maybe a little dishonest. What it isn’t is some effort at true ecumenism. It is an effort to draw a line in the sand against gays, gay marriage, et. al. “in society.” Whether that is a good thing to do or not isn’t the point. The question is whether there is sound teaching here or not. I say no, and I think the Confessions agree.

    So, no. In this instance, this is a bad thing. Unless we define what Lutherans mean by natural law first as opposed to the “classic” understanding of it, the one Anglicans have, (hint: our version is found in Romans 2:15), then this is just one more step toward Catholicism. It may seem like the culture war is vital right now, but it isn’t. Being faithful is.

    Just sayin’ that no matter what is at stake “in society,” if sound doctrine is not what Lutherans bring to the ecumenical table, then we’re already in trouble.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#6 There have been some feeler talks between LCMS and WELS this past year.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#6 There have been some feeler talks between LCMS and WELS this past year.

  • SKPeterson

    Ryan @ 6 – I believe that discussion are proceeding with the WELS along a similar vein as those with the Anglicans. It may actually be happening with the ELS (with whom WELS is in fellowship) however. I’ll confess I’m too up-to-date on the progress, if any, on those talks.

    FJS @ 4 – I believe that the ACNA is officially agnostic on a female pastorate at this time. I think they are against it, in general, but some of the congregations that left the ECUSA for ACNA may have female priests and it is up to individual dioceses to make the call. I think ACNA is still debating what to do about this issue as a national body.

    As to the wisdom, or not, of this effort, I believe that the dire consequences foreseen by some on this forum are overblown. We have come to the terms for “cooperat[ion] in externals,” hardly a move to altar and pulpit fellowship. We still have significant differences with the Anglicans over many things, or things that need far more clarification. This was only a very minor agreement on “a shared belief in the Triune God as confessed in the Apostles’, Nicene and Athanasian creeds; justification by grace through faith; the centrality of the Sacraments for the Christian faith; and the infallibility of Scripture.” Those are pretty straightforward, although the devil is in the details. ;)

    The agreement says we share a belief in justification by grace through faith. Here it needs to be made clear what is meant by justification, grace and faith. Further, beyond the centrality of the Sacraments, we need to explore the nature and essence of the Sacraments themselves. Nothing in the statement implies that we have agreement on the essentials of the Eucharist or Baptism or even the numbering of the sacraments.

    It is a start, nothing more. While we must be vigilant in defending the faith (pun!) with the Anglicans, we must also approach them in the spirit of Christian truth and love to openly discuss our differences. Part of identifying our differences involves identifying our commonalities. This has always been Lutheran practice – the Book of Concord regularly points out where the teachings of the Lutheran Confessions are in accord with those of the Romans (and the Orthodox) and where there are clear differences.

    I concur with KK @ 8 – these discussions are a good thing.

  • SKPeterson

    Ryan @ 6 – I believe that discussion are proceeding with the WELS along a similar vein as those with the Anglicans. It may actually be happening with the ELS (with whom WELS is in fellowship) however. I’ll confess I’m too up-to-date on the progress, if any, on those talks.

    FJS @ 4 – I believe that the ACNA is officially agnostic on a female pastorate at this time. I think they are against it, in general, but some of the congregations that left the ECUSA for ACNA may have female priests and it is up to individual dioceses to make the call. I think ACNA is still debating what to do about this issue as a national body.

    As to the wisdom, or not, of this effort, I believe that the dire consequences foreseen by some on this forum are overblown. We have come to the terms for “cooperat[ion] in externals,” hardly a move to altar and pulpit fellowship. We still have significant differences with the Anglicans over many things, or things that need far more clarification. This was only a very minor agreement on “a shared belief in the Triune God as confessed in the Apostles’, Nicene and Athanasian creeds; justification by grace through faith; the centrality of the Sacraments for the Christian faith; and the infallibility of Scripture.” Those are pretty straightforward, although the devil is in the details. ;)

    The agreement says we share a belief in justification by grace through faith. Here it needs to be made clear what is meant by justification, grace and faith. Further, beyond the centrality of the Sacraments, we need to explore the nature and essence of the Sacraments themselves. Nothing in the statement implies that we have agreement on the essentials of the Eucharist or Baptism or even the numbering of the sacraments.

    It is a start, nothing more. While we must be vigilant in defending the faith (pun!) with the Anglicans, we must also approach them in the spirit of Christian truth and love to openly discuss our differences. Part of identifying our differences involves identifying our commonalities. This has always been Lutheran practice – the Book of Concord regularly points out where the teachings of the Lutheran Confessions are in accord with those of the Romans (and the Orthodox) and where there are clear differences.

    I concur with KK @ 8 – these discussions are a good thing.

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    With the external threats to Christendom growing, Orthodoxy must coalesce. We must also discard the spirit of suspicion which we picked up in the 70’s. It had its justification, but perpetuating it would be unchristian.
    Remember Mark 9:38-41
    “Teacher,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”
    “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.”

    We should also reach out to the Eastern Orthodox with whom we have much in common.

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    With the external threats to Christendom growing, Orthodoxy must coalesce. We must also discard the spirit of suspicion which we picked up in the 70’s. It had its justification, but perpetuating it would be unchristian.
    Remember Mark 9:38-41
    “Teacher,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”
    “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.”

    We should also reach out to the Eastern Orthodox with whom we have much in common.

  • Jon

    This is not a Marburg colloquy. It’s not about entering into a concordat full communion agreement.

    It’s just about agreeing to cooperate in externals. Lighten up people.

    This is a good thing.

  • Jon

    This is not a Marburg colloquy. It’s not about entering into a concordat full communion agreement.

    It’s just about agreeing to cooperate in externals. Lighten up people.

    This is a good thing.

  • larry

    The desire to “be conservative” as opposed to “be liberal” is always a dangerous route and temptation for orthodoxy.

    It’s difficult to foresee whether this will be a good thing or not and fraught with pitfalls. On the one hand, one does desire a ‘voice at the table, but on the other hand one cannot compromise less all one has confessed as orthodox falls. Teh assumption in ecumencial gatherings, esp. from heterodoxy’s point of view is that “we will work out a compromise”. Yet for orthodoxy that measn becoming heterodox. From heterodoxy’s point of view if they compromise a doctrinal thing all they’ve proven is their initial heterodoxy in the first place and nothing really lost.

    Part of orthodoxy’s desire to do this could be honorable in theory, ‘how to reach fellow Christians with the truth’, Part of it, as to the confesssions of heterodoxy can be a failure to put real weight on the falsehood of heterodoxy.

    A way to flesh this out a bit is to ask the question would Paul or John (ortho) have desired a seat at the table with the gnostics (heterodoxy) of their time? Or do their letters show something different, especially John’s? Because fundamentally the diff. between the gnostics then denying the incarnation in various ways and the issue on the sacraments is no different at all. All gnosticism is rooted in enthusiam and at base level original sin. All gnosticism can be “fleshed out” (no pun intended) as it wishes in some way or another to dematerialize things (or never become material). This is the common link between incarnation deniers, and the sacrament deniers.

    Orthodoxy should be on edge over this, very cautious.

  • larry

    The desire to “be conservative” as opposed to “be liberal” is always a dangerous route and temptation for orthodoxy.

    It’s difficult to foresee whether this will be a good thing or not and fraught with pitfalls. On the one hand, one does desire a ‘voice at the table, but on the other hand one cannot compromise less all one has confessed as orthodox falls. Teh assumption in ecumencial gatherings, esp. from heterodoxy’s point of view is that “we will work out a compromise”. Yet for orthodoxy that measn becoming heterodox. From heterodoxy’s point of view if they compromise a doctrinal thing all they’ve proven is their initial heterodoxy in the first place and nothing really lost.

    Part of orthodoxy’s desire to do this could be honorable in theory, ‘how to reach fellow Christians with the truth’, Part of it, as to the confesssions of heterodoxy can be a failure to put real weight on the falsehood of heterodoxy.

    A way to flesh this out a bit is to ask the question would Paul or John (ortho) have desired a seat at the table with the gnostics (heterodoxy) of their time? Or do their letters show something different, especially John’s? Because fundamentally the diff. between the gnostics then denying the incarnation in various ways and the issue on the sacraments is no different at all. All gnosticism is rooted in enthusiam and at base level original sin. All gnosticism can be “fleshed out” (no pun intended) as it wishes in some way or another to dematerialize things (or never become material). This is the common link between incarnation deniers, and the sacrament deniers.

    Orthodoxy should be on edge over this, very cautious.

  • formerly just steve

    SK, I thought female ordination was one of the key issues that lead to the split. Thanks for the correction.

  • formerly just steve

    SK, I thought female ordination was one of the key issues that lead to the split. Thanks for the correction.

  • SKPeterson

    fjs @ 16 – The main issue with ACNA was the explicit advancement of the homosexual agenda in the ECUSA. While there is recognition amongst many in ACNA that it is related to the issue of WO, they have yet to figure out how they will address the issue. Right now, I think they believe they have bigger fish to fry in the form of being formally recognized by the Anglican Communion and the disputes that have arisen with ECUSA over property ownership.

  • SKPeterson

    fjs @ 16 – The main issue with ACNA was the explicit advancement of the homosexual agenda in the ECUSA. While there is recognition amongst many in ACNA that it is related to the issue of WO, they have yet to figure out how they will address the issue. Right now, I think they believe they have bigger fish to fry in the form of being formally recognized by the Anglican Communion and the disputes that have arisen with ECUSA over property ownership.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    I simply wanted to assure non-LCMS readers of this blog site that the kind of remarks made by “Carl Vehse,” who is Richard Strickert, are not, thankfully, representative of how most of think about these things. As is the case with any church body, we have our share of “chatterati” who spend the majority of their time finding fault with everything, real or imagined, about their church body and bloating all over the Internet about it.

    These talks are, of course, a good thing and most of us LCMS Lutherans are not inclined to the kind of wild-eyed conspiracy theories put forward by a few here.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    I simply wanted to assure non-LCMS readers of this blog site that the kind of remarks made by “Carl Vehse,” who is Richard Strickert, are not, thankfully, representative of how most of think about these things. As is the case with any church body, we have our share of “chatterati” who spend the majority of their time finding fault with everything, real or imagined, about their church body and bloating all over the Internet about it.

    These talks are, of course, a good thing and most of us LCMS Lutherans are not inclined to the kind of wild-eyed conspiracy theories put forward by a few here.

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    ““Carl Vehse,” who is Richard Strickert”

    Well! So much for having a secret identity. It’s only a matter of time until I’m outed as Cardinal-Duc de Richelie, seventeenth century potentate of fashion.

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    ““Carl Vehse,” who is Richard Strickert”

    Well! So much for having a secret identity. It’s only a matter of time until I’m outed as Cardinal-Duc de Richelie, seventeenth century potentate of fashion.

  • Jay

    @#18 I fail to see how publicly identifying “Carl Vehse” can be considered “putting the best construction on everything” It appears that an effort is being made argue to “the person” rather than “the issue” . The blog owner permits the use of an alias … so why not respect his decision as well as desire of “Carl”. Please respect my use of an alias as many others have done as it has NO bearing on the validity of the discussion.

    As far as the “real issue” discussions with other church bodies are God pleasing as long as they are part of “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 1:3) and NOT compromising the faith once for all delivered to the saints.

  • Jay

    @#18 I fail to see how publicly identifying “Carl Vehse” can be considered “putting the best construction on everything” It appears that an effort is being made argue to “the person” rather than “the issue” . The blog owner permits the use of an alias … so why not respect his decision as well as desire of “Carl”. Please respect my use of an alias as many others have done as it has NO bearing on the validity of the discussion.

    As far as the “real issue” discussions with other church bodies are God pleasing as long as they are part of “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 1:3) and NOT compromising the faith once for all delivered to the saints.

  • Dan Kempin

    Pastor Spomer, #19,

    “I’m outed as Cardinal-Duc de Richelie . . .”

    So, a man of the robe posing as a man of the cloth to deceive the men of the sword. Pardieu!

  • Dan Kempin

    Pastor Spomer, #19,

    “I’m outed as Cardinal-Duc de Richelie . . .”

    So, a man of the robe posing as a man of the cloth to deceive the men of the sword. Pardieu!

  • SKPeterson

    And here I thought that Pr. Spomer was the alias for Rowan Williams.

  • SKPeterson

    And here I thought that Pr. Spomer was the alias for Rowan Williams.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Pastor Spomer,

    But doesn’t Eastern Orthodox essentially deny justification by faith alone?

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Pastor Spomer,

    But doesn’t Eastern Orthodox essentially deny justification by faith alone?

  • SKPeterson

    J @ 23. Check this article out vis-a-vis the EO: http://www.stpaulsirvine.org/html/Justification.htm

    It is quite interesting and I have yet to fully digest it, but it seems we have some definite commonalities or grounds for conversation along with some serious theological/philosophical divergences that must be addressed.

  • SKPeterson

    J @ 23. Check this article out vis-a-vis the EO: http://www.stpaulsirvine.org/html/Justification.htm

    It is quite interesting and I have yet to fully digest it, but it seems we have some definite commonalities or grounds for conversation along with some serious theological/philosophical divergences that must be addressed.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Sk@ 24, Thank you for the article. While I agree that there are commonalities, the lack of agreement on justification by faith alone and Original Sin are VERY serious ones to address; and I would dare venture to say serious enough that we cannot refer to what they believe as a true gospel.

    I was at an Eastern Orthodox church for a Greek Festival last year, and went into the sanctuary to hear the Patriarch talk about his denomination, and what I heard sounded an awful lot like Pelagianism. There may be commonalities, but if the gospel isn’t right then every other commonality is meaningless.

    I understand the desire of many to look for what we have in common with others, but in the process it can be a dangerous thing to do, as it can be tempting to “water-down” essentials because we happen to agree on a great many non-essentials or semi-essentials. I’ve seen this with evangelicals attempting to reconcile with Rome, and it tends to be a lopsided compromise, with the evangelicals getting the short end of the stick on it.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Sk@ 24, Thank you for the article. While I agree that there are commonalities, the lack of agreement on justification by faith alone and Original Sin are VERY serious ones to address; and I would dare venture to say serious enough that we cannot refer to what they believe as a true gospel.

    I was at an Eastern Orthodox church for a Greek Festival last year, and went into the sanctuary to hear the Patriarch talk about his denomination, and what I heard sounded an awful lot like Pelagianism. There may be commonalities, but if the gospel isn’t right then every other commonality is meaningless.

    I understand the desire of many to look for what we have in common with others, but in the process it can be a dangerous thing to do, as it can be tempting to “water-down” essentials because we happen to agree on a great many non-essentials or semi-essentials. I’ve seen this with evangelicals attempting to reconcile with Rome, and it tends to be a lopsided compromise, with the evangelicals getting the short end of the stick on it.

  • larry

    J. Dean,

    You are right on the mark. Great and serious caution must be maintained, and Christ the Lord of the Church, not to mention Paul not only encourages the sheep but authorizes this watchfulness. None of these are imagined scenarios and to imply such is simply to deny the very real existence of Satan, his methods and his warfare against the doctrine/Word of God.
    It’s not ever as simple as “we agree on justification by faith alone”. If one peels it apart enough and gets to the bottom of it we find that that doctrine is actually denied by the Reformed even if their lingo comes close. Because the doctrine, the Word preached, has effect on the individual Christian and not some nebulous ideal group of human beings. Those very particular outside of you for you issues are part and parcel of actually giving or ultimately denying the Gospel to the person/individual. And this is not really all that complicated. What if the Roman church hid its external confessions or never made them such as “faith” = “formed by love” (left it implied but not overt), and then said, “we too agree on justification by faith alone” but implied in their doctrine was “justification by faith formed by love alone”. This is precisely how heterodoxy operates. One ought not make the mistake and ask the “test question” that every protestant worth their salt knows the “right syllable assemblage” answer to, e.g. “justification by faith alone”. Talk to those actually in these doctrines whose functional principles actually convey another gospel, those who actually believe it (innocently), actually apply them as they have been preached, taught and confessed and find out the effects of those doctrines to ferret out if they actually believe “justification by faith alone” or “justification by faith alone” with an underlying driving other message. Why some, under these doctrines, tell their children, unbaptized (different group than the Anglicans but the principle holds), “I don’t know if you are elect or not”.

    Plus, Dr. Vieth actually asks the question “Do you think such discussions are worth having?”, which is the ENTIRE point of the discussion, pro & con, else why ask the question at all and shoot down answers to the question, pro or con, with little more than overt ad homens?

  • larry

    J. Dean,

    You are right on the mark. Great and serious caution must be maintained, and Christ the Lord of the Church, not to mention Paul not only encourages the sheep but authorizes this watchfulness. None of these are imagined scenarios and to imply such is simply to deny the very real existence of Satan, his methods and his warfare against the doctrine/Word of God.
    It’s not ever as simple as “we agree on justification by faith alone”. If one peels it apart enough and gets to the bottom of it we find that that doctrine is actually denied by the Reformed even if their lingo comes close. Because the doctrine, the Word preached, has effect on the individual Christian and not some nebulous ideal group of human beings. Those very particular outside of you for you issues are part and parcel of actually giving or ultimately denying the Gospel to the person/individual. And this is not really all that complicated. What if the Roman church hid its external confessions or never made them such as “faith” = “formed by love” (left it implied but not overt), and then said, “we too agree on justification by faith alone” but implied in their doctrine was “justification by faith formed by love alone”. This is precisely how heterodoxy operates. One ought not make the mistake and ask the “test question” that every protestant worth their salt knows the “right syllable assemblage” answer to, e.g. “justification by faith alone”. Talk to those actually in these doctrines whose functional principles actually convey another gospel, those who actually believe it (innocently), actually apply them as they have been preached, taught and confessed and find out the effects of those doctrines to ferret out if they actually believe “justification by faith alone” or “justification by faith alone” with an underlying driving other message. Why some, under these doctrines, tell their children, unbaptized (different group than the Anglicans but the principle holds), “I don’t know if you are elect or not”.

    Plus, Dr. Vieth actually asks the question “Do you think such discussions are worth having?”, which is the ENTIRE point of the discussion, pro & con, else why ask the question at all and shoot down answers to the question, pro or con, with little more than overt ad homens?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    In the abstract, I think it’s good for things like this to happen, even if all that results is a better understanding of how it is they disagree.

    That said, I’m a little unclear on what’s being learned here. It’s one thing for me to sit down with a friend and hammer out where we agree and disagree on the topic of Christianity. Presumably, me and my friend have never really talked about such things with each other. But how are the positions of both churches not well known to each other? They’d previously printed not a few pages on the topics they discussed, no? So what, exactly, was news to them?

    I have to admit that Stephen (@10) makes one interesting case for why such discussions might not be All That. (Also, welcome back, Stephen!)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    In the abstract, I think it’s good for things like this to happen, even if all that results is a better understanding of how it is they disagree.

    That said, I’m a little unclear on what’s being learned here. It’s one thing for me to sit down with a friend and hammer out where we agree and disagree on the topic of Christianity. Presumably, me and my friend have never really talked about such things with each other. But how are the positions of both churches not well known to each other? They’d previously printed not a few pages on the topics they discussed, no? So what, exactly, was news to them?

    I have to admit that Stephen (@10) makes one interesting case for why such discussions might not be All That. (Also, welcome back, Stephen!)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Pastor Spomer said (@13):

    With the external threats to Christendom growing, Orthodoxy must coalesce.

    Oof. Blech.

    First of all, how does orthodoxy “coalesce”, exactly? If two groups are both orthodox, then why were they separate in the first place? Conversely, if two groups are separate because of different beliefs, then how are they both orthodox?

    Secondly, what does this have to do with “external threats to Christendom”? Simply put, orthodoxy defeats heterodoxy — not because of some silly “strength in numbers” game played with human strength, but because it is orthodoxy, God’s pure Truth.

    We can (and must) certainly pray that those holding to heterodoxy will see the error of their ways. But we dare not do so out of a sense of fear of “external threats”. What does orthodoxy have to do with fear?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Pastor Spomer said (@13):

    With the external threats to Christendom growing, Orthodoxy must coalesce.

    Oof. Blech.

    First of all, how does orthodoxy “coalesce”, exactly? If two groups are both orthodox, then why were they separate in the first place? Conversely, if two groups are separate because of different beliefs, then how are they both orthodox?

    Secondly, what does this have to do with “external threats to Christendom”? Simply put, orthodoxy defeats heterodoxy — not because of some silly “strength in numbers” game played with human strength, but because it is orthodoxy, God’s pure Truth.

    We can (and must) certainly pray that those holding to heterodoxy will see the error of their ways. But we dare not do so out of a sense of fear of “external threats”. What does orthodoxy have to do with fear?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    #4: “Carl, the Anglican Church in North America does not ordain women.”

    That’s not true. They do.

    Also, Archbishop Duncan of ACNA is pro-WO.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    #4: “Carl, the Anglican Church in North America does not ordain women.”

    That’s not true. They do.

    Also, Archbishop Duncan of ACNA is pro-WO.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Hmm. TUaD (@29) is more correct than Steve (@4), but here’s the official word from the ACNA constitution and canons:

    The Province shall make no canon abridging the authority of any member dioceses, clusters, or networks (whether regional or affinity-based) and those dioceses banded together as jurisdictions with respect to its practice regarding the ordination of women to the diaconate or presbyterate.

    Which doesn’t actually prove that any women are ordained in the ACNA. But it certainly doesn’t preclude that possibility.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Hmm. TUaD (@29) is more correct than Steve (@4), but here’s the official word from the ACNA constitution and canons:

    The Province shall make no canon abridging the authority of any member dioceses, clusters, or networks (whether regional or affinity-based) and those dioceses banded together as jurisdictions with respect to its practice regarding the ordination of women to the diaconate or presbyterate.

    Which doesn’t actually prove that any women are ordained in the ACNA. But it certainly doesn’t preclude that possibility.

  • Joe

    On the whole, I’d rather see the LCMS talking with the WELS and ELS. We once had the necessary agreement to be in fellowship and that leads me to believe that it may actually be possible for us to work through the issues and reach unity again (by that I mean for the groups to convince each other of what scripture really teaches concerning the issues that divide us — not by glossing over the issues).

  • Joe

    On the whole, I’d rather see the LCMS talking with the WELS and ELS. We once had the necessary agreement to be in fellowship and that leads me to believe that it may actually be possible for us to work through the issues and reach unity again (by that I mean for the groups to convince each other of what scripture really teaches concerning the issues that divide us — not by glossing over the issues).

  • Mary

    re: Carl Vehse=Richard Strickert

    Mr Strickert uses both names on other forums and it is well know who he is, so not exactly an “outing”.

  • Mary

    re: Carl Vehse=Richard Strickert

    Mr Strickert uses both names on other forums and it is well know who he is, so not exactly an “outing”.

  • Fws

    I would rather see the LCMS hold talks with the ELCA, WELS , ELS as well as with the Lutheran Brethren. There seems to be a new interest in the Confessions as the Lutheran Identity and even in liturgics. This is a group that is pietist in it’s roots. Steve Martin , a contributor here, is the as far from pietism as one could get. He attends, I think a Brethren Church. They seem to be moving from pietism.

    Pres Harrison. He meets with the ELCA to see if there can be a basis for external cooperation. He presents them with McCain’s Concordia Publishing: A Lutheran Reevaluation of [Thomist Scholastic] Law”.

    He meets with the ACNA and the basis for cooperation in externals is….” the biblical natural law in society”.

    biblical natural law=reason. we all got that. rom 2:15.
    On that basis,..we can do full “external cooperation” with jews, muslms, atheists, wiccans, rome, eo,…….

    Talks? Always a good thing. We have natural law in common with everyone. Why limit talks to the acna? Mormons. Jws, ….. Next

  • Fws

    I would rather see the LCMS hold talks with the ELCA, WELS , ELS as well as with the Lutheran Brethren. There seems to be a new interest in the Confessions as the Lutheran Identity and even in liturgics. This is a group that is pietist in it’s roots. Steve Martin , a contributor here, is the as far from pietism as one could get. He attends, I think a Brethren Church. They seem to be moving from pietism.

    Pres Harrison. He meets with the ELCA to see if there can be a basis for external cooperation. He presents them with McCain’s Concordia Publishing: A Lutheran Reevaluation of [Thomist Scholastic] Law”.

    He meets with the ACNA and the basis for cooperation in externals is….” the biblical natural law in society”.

    biblical natural law=reason. we all got that. rom 2:15.
    On that basis,..we can do full “external cooperation” with jews, muslms, atheists, wiccans, rome, eo,…….

    Talks? Always a good thing. We have natural law in common with everyone. Why limit talks to the acna? Mormons. Jws, ….. Next

  • Fws

    carl is right.a hipocracy leaps out . We seem to have moved past womens ordination at some real levels. Nalc. Acna… Even rome… Only cooperation in externals mind you. Along with rejoicing and celebrating our unity based upon …..not baptism…..St Thomas’ Scholastic Natural Law.

    But that homo thang… ELCA? Heck no…….

    Is there any Lutheran Thomist Natural Law proponent here? Do you believe that the Image of God was not entirely lost in the fall?
    If so then you deny Original Sin in the Lutheran sense!

  • Fws

    carl is right.a hipocracy leaps out . We seem to have moved past womens ordination at some real levels. Nalc. Acna… Even rome… Only cooperation in externals mind you. Along with rejoicing and celebrating our unity based upon …..not baptism…..St Thomas’ Scholastic Natural Law.

    But that homo thang… ELCA? Heck no…….

    Is there any Lutheran Thomist Natural Law proponent here? Do you believe that the Image of God was not entirely lost in the fall?
    If so then you deny Original Sin in the Lutheran sense!

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  • Carl Vehse

    In addition to the LCMS report, which delicately footnoted that ACNA ordains women priests, there is a June 24, 2009, Religious Intelligence article, “New US Province is formed,” which reports on the convocation formally adopting the ACNA’s Constitution and Canons.

    The convocation was addressed by Bishop Robert Duncan, who was elected archbishop on June 21 by a meeting of the ACNA’s House of Bishops, as well as California megachurch pastor Rick Warren and His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah, the head of the Orthodox Church in America. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

    “The new province permits women priests, but not bishops — but allows dioceses to opt out of women clergy, vests the ownership of parish property with the congregation and churchwardens, requires a clergyman wishing to remarry after a divorce to seek a licence from his bishop, and adopted a strong stance against abortion on demand.

    The convocation continues through June 25, with presentations by Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America — who is expected to welcome the ACNA as its dialogue partner with Anglicans in the US, presentations on church planting, and the formal ceremony of installation for the new primate, Archbishop Duncan.

    Beside women priests, the ANCA contains a charismatic movement, like the LCMS worked to eliminate a few decades ago. Along with its dialogue partners, the ACNA is hardly the kind of church body for the LCMS to pursue selective fellowship.

  • Carl Vehse

    In addition to the LCMS report, which delicately footnoted that ACNA ordains women priests, there is a June 24, 2009, Religious Intelligence article, “New US Province is formed,” which reports on the convocation formally adopting the ACNA’s Constitution and Canons.

    The convocation was addressed by Bishop Robert Duncan, who was elected archbishop on June 21 by a meeting of the ACNA’s House of Bishops, as well as California megachurch pastor Rick Warren and His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah, the head of the Orthodox Church in America. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

    “The new province permits women priests, but not bishops — but allows dioceses to opt out of women clergy, vests the ownership of parish property with the congregation and churchwardens, requires a clergyman wishing to remarry after a divorce to seek a licence from his bishop, and adopted a strong stance against abortion on demand.

    The convocation continues through June 25, with presentations by Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America — who is expected to welcome the ACNA as its dialogue partner with Anglicans in the US, presentations on church planting, and the formal ceremony of installation for the new primate, Archbishop Duncan.

    Beside women priests, the ANCA contains a charismatic movement, like the LCMS worked to eliminate a few decades ago. Along with its dialogue partners, the ACNA is hardly the kind of church body for the LCMS to pursue selective fellowship.

  • larry

    Todd very nicely analyzed and stated. Especially the “what’s new” all of a sudden. It’s kind of like a couple of folks in a room ignoring the elephant in the room with forced vain chit chat about “how’s the weather” just have conversation.

    This was an article written by a Lutheran pastor/theologian, WELs I believe, written in April 21, 1993 entitled, “The Influence of Reformed Theology on Our People in Regard to Word and Sacrament”. It’s a larger article but it’s apropos to these type of situations. Most of the apropos part is near the end of the quote but I put some of the up front paragraphs so as to not loose or misplace the content (this is not the entire article).

    “Reformed influence is for our people and us a clear and present danger. In this closing decade of a century and millennium the topic before us is timely in the nth degree. That is not to say, however, that the problem to be considered is a brand new ecclesiastical phenomenon, previously almost nonexistent and only recently identified. The subject at hand, timely as it is, is actually old, almost as old as the hills, certainly as old as Lutheranism and Reformed theology themselves.”

    Further into the article:

    “It has been said that every rationalist is a legalist. Or is it the other way around? In any event, the two go hand in hand, for the person who looks within himself for the important answers will inevitably find that there is in his head and in his heart the opinio legis, the self-righteous pride in works, and the desire to be saved by them. This is the heritage of all of us sinners, the essence of our old Adam.

    We are all legalist by nature and can therefore be easily misled by dry legalistic elements in a theology. Reformed theology has its share of such elements that can exert a baneful influence.

    Way back in Calvin’s Geneva days these elements were already asserting themselves. The election error that vitiated the gospel comfort needed to be balanced by a system of works that would seek to motivate the self righteous and encourage the stricken sinner. The system grew so large and burdensome that after two years the citizens of Geneva voted Calvin into exile.

    But Geneva had gotten accustomed to Calvin’s yoke and actually missed it. After only two years more the city recalled him and he regulated Geneva from then on until his death 24 years later…A characteristic of Calvin’s Geneva and of his Reformed followers is the ability to add more and more commandments to the original list of ten. A prime example is Sabbath legislation. Another is anticipating a medical taboo on smoking by over a century. A host of other instances come to mind.

    Sometimes the extra commandments had their origin in special erroneous viewpoints. Here one can think of the process of taking an OT ordinance and insisting on its validity in NT times. An obvious case in point is tithing. Some Reformed church groups specialize in food regulations.

    Another form of this kind of legalism is to allow nothing in the church and its worship that is not specifically endorsed in the Scriptures. Wittenberg was disturbed by this kind of thinking early in the Reformation but Luther had the good sense to risk the displeasure of his prince and his own life in order to set the Wittenberg people straight on the all important matter by the well-known series of eight sermons. Some of the Reformed, however, never corrected their error.

    Then there are those who want to make a law out of what the Bible mentions, if at all, as a matter of form. They insist, for example, on using immersion in baptism and broken bread in the Lord’s Supper with such vehemence that one feels compelled to resist as a matter of maintaining Christian liberty.

    This is the worst aspect of all these legalistic endeavors: they overthrow the liberty that Christ has won for us and undervalue his redemptive labor on our behalf. Christ has freed us from all the old ordinances. He has fulfilled the eternal and immutable will of God for us and kindles in us the desire to abide in it.

    Not every Reformed believer or teacher is an advocate of every specific instance of legalism mentioned in the previous paragraphs, but the alien spirit permeates the large ecclesiastical grouping. The influence is always there and all of us, as was said before, have the itch to take the legalistic highway, to yield to the ultimate temptation.

    From the days of Calvin’s Geneva down to Falwell’s moral majority the Reformed have sought to dominate the state and make it a tool to serve the church’s ends. Over 40 years after the First Amendment was adopted Massachusetts was still clinging to its Congregational brand of religious monopoly and trying to enforce a kind of corporate and community sanctification.

    This aspect of Reformed attitude and activity merits mention here. It might seem that such political activity affects no harmful “influence in the matter of Word and Sacraments”.

    It only seems so. The effect may be only indirect but it is telling. All around us we can see Reformed Church bodies-and some Lutheran too-who have made social concerns and political activity their top agenda items to the detriment of those agenda items the Lord and Savior has set down at the top of his priority list. Augustana VII names them: The Gospel rightly taught and the sacraments rightly administered.

    Church bodies who traded in the Bible’s message for a social gospel almost a century ago and who never properly prized the sacraments may well devote themselves to social and political concerns. Those who confess Augustana VII, however, will want to resist this Reformed influence to the utmost. It has its allure. Most of the believers in our congregations have something of the American activist in them and are easily swayed to overvalue a practical social program and to undervalue the Holy Spirit’s means of grace. Church history, especially the American variety, sounds a loud and clear warning.

    The very worst influence of Reformed legalism on Word and sacraments has not been specifically underscored up to this point, even though that influence has been ever present, lurking between the lines and waiting in the wings. The reference is to the anti-gospel nature of all religious legalism. Where legalism-no matter what form it takes or how trifling it may seem-lifts its head, the gospel in Word and sacrament is endangered.”

    End Quote

  • larry

    Todd very nicely analyzed and stated. Especially the “what’s new” all of a sudden. It’s kind of like a couple of folks in a room ignoring the elephant in the room with forced vain chit chat about “how’s the weather” just have conversation.

    This was an article written by a Lutheran pastor/theologian, WELs I believe, written in April 21, 1993 entitled, “The Influence of Reformed Theology on Our People in Regard to Word and Sacrament”. It’s a larger article but it’s apropos to these type of situations. Most of the apropos part is near the end of the quote but I put some of the up front paragraphs so as to not loose or misplace the content (this is not the entire article).

    “Reformed influence is for our people and us a clear and present danger. In this closing decade of a century and millennium the topic before us is timely in the nth degree. That is not to say, however, that the problem to be considered is a brand new ecclesiastical phenomenon, previously almost nonexistent and only recently identified. The subject at hand, timely as it is, is actually old, almost as old as the hills, certainly as old as Lutheranism and Reformed theology themselves.”

    Further into the article:

    “It has been said that every rationalist is a legalist. Or is it the other way around? In any event, the two go hand in hand, for the person who looks within himself for the important answers will inevitably find that there is in his head and in his heart the opinio legis, the self-righteous pride in works, and the desire to be saved by them. This is the heritage of all of us sinners, the essence of our old Adam.

    We are all legalist by nature and can therefore be easily misled by dry legalistic elements in a theology. Reformed theology has its share of such elements that can exert a baneful influence.

    Way back in Calvin’s Geneva days these elements were already asserting themselves. The election error that vitiated the gospel comfort needed to be balanced by a system of works that would seek to motivate the self righteous and encourage the stricken sinner. The system grew so large and burdensome that after two years the citizens of Geneva voted Calvin into exile.

    But Geneva had gotten accustomed to Calvin’s yoke and actually missed it. After only two years more the city recalled him and he regulated Geneva from then on until his death 24 years later…A characteristic of Calvin’s Geneva and of his Reformed followers is the ability to add more and more commandments to the original list of ten. A prime example is Sabbath legislation. Another is anticipating a medical taboo on smoking by over a century. A host of other instances come to mind.

    Sometimes the extra commandments had their origin in special erroneous viewpoints. Here one can think of the process of taking an OT ordinance and insisting on its validity in NT times. An obvious case in point is tithing. Some Reformed church groups specialize in food regulations.

    Another form of this kind of legalism is to allow nothing in the church and its worship that is not specifically endorsed in the Scriptures. Wittenberg was disturbed by this kind of thinking early in the Reformation but Luther had the good sense to risk the displeasure of his prince and his own life in order to set the Wittenberg people straight on the all important matter by the well-known series of eight sermons. Some of the Reformed, however, never corrected their error.

    Then there are those who want to make a law out of what the Bible mentions, if at all, as a matter of form. They insist, for example, on using immersion in baptism and broken bread in the Lord’s Supper with such vehemence that one feels compelled to resist as a matter of maintaining Christian liberty.

    This is the worst aspect of all these legalistic endeavors: they overthrow the liberty that Christ has won for us and undervalue his redemptive labor on our behalf. Christ has freed us from all the old ordinances. He has fulfilled the eternal and immutable will of God for us and kindles in us the desire to abide in it.

    Not every Reformed believer or teacher is an advocate of every specific instance of legalism mentioned in the previous paragraphs, but the alien spirit permeates the large ecclesiastical grouping. The influence is always there and all of us, as was said before, have the itch to take the legalistic highway, to yield to the ultimate temptation.

    From the days of Calvin’s Geneva down to Falwell’s moral majority the Reformed have sought to dominate the state and make it a tool to serve the church’s ends. Over 40 years after the First Amendment was adopted Massachusetts was still clinging to its Congregational brand of religious monopoly and trying to enforce a kind of corporate and community sanctification.

    This aspect of Reformed attitude and activity merits mention here. It might seem that such political activity affects no harmful “influence in the matter of Word and Sacraments”.

    It only seems so. The effect may be only indirect but it is telling. All around us we can see Reformed Church bodies-and some Lutheran too-who have made social concerns and political activity their top agenda items to the detriment of those agenda items the Lord and Savior has set down at the top of his priority list. Augustana VII names them: The Gospel rightly taught and the sacraments rightly administered.

    Church bodies who traded in the Bible’s message for a social gospel almost a century ago and who never properly prized the sacraments may well devote themselves to social and political concerns. Those who confess Augustana VII, however, will want to resist this Reformed influence to the utmost. It has its allure. Most of the believers in our congregations have something of the American activist in them and are easily swayed to overvalue a practical social program and to undervalue the Holy Spirit’s means of grace. Church history, especially the American variety, sounds a loud and clear warning.

    The very worst influence of Reformed legalism on Word and sacraments has not been specifically underscored up to this point, even though that influence has been ever present, lurking between the lines and waiting in the wings. The reference is to the anti-gospel nature of all religious legalism. Where legalism-no matter what form it takes or how trifling it may seem-lifts its head, the gospel in Word and sacrament is endangered.”

    End Quote

  • fws

    larry @ 36

    “upholding the biblical natural law in society”!
    Among a few other law things like ecclesiology and such…..

    Push any Thomist Natural Law person on the Image of God.
    Was the Image of God completely lost? No.
    Did that Image of God consist,. alone, of the Original Righeousness that was, alone, faith in the Works of Another? No.
    Is that Image of God restored then, alone by the waters of regeneration, that is, by Holy Baptism? No.

    Gerhard in his Loci says this:
    “To deny that the Image of God was completely lost is to deny Original Sin.”
    This is most certainly true.

    And all this just to deny a small minority of homosexuals, who have been beaten into submission by a nagging conscience, begging, for their very lives, to conform to structured society , as best as they are able to, and live out their baptisms within the church in peace and quietness…….

    We will be punished for this.

  • fws

    larry @ 36

    “upholding the biblical natural law in society”!
    Among a few other law things like ecclesiology and such…..

    Push any Thomist Natural Law person on the Image of God.
    Was the Image of God completely lost? No.
    Did that Image of God consist,. alone, of the Original Righeousness that was, alone, faith in the Works of Another? No.
    Is that Image of God restored then, alone by the waters of regeneration, that is, by Holy Baptism? No.

    Gerhard in his Loci says this:
    “To deny that the Image of God was completely lost is to deny Original Sin.”
    This is most certainly true.

    And all this just to deny a small minority of homosexuals, who have been beaten into submission by a nagging conscience, begging, for their very lives, to conform to structured society , as best as they are able to, and live out their baptisms within the church in peace and quietness…….

    We will be punished for this.

  • Stephen

    Larry,

    Can you provide a link to the article? And thanks!

  • Stephen

    Larry,

    Can you provide a link to the article? And thanks!

  • Jason Miller

    I am an ACNA priest and am enormously grateful for these discussion. My closest compadres in the rural Illinois town where I serve are LCMS. The local LCMS pastor and I get together on a number of occasions for mutual inspiration and encouragement. My next-door neighbor is entering one of your seminaries this year, and our conversations and friendship have been fruitful and enjoyable.

    The women’s ordination in ACNA may seem widespread because our Archbishop favors it, but the reality is that the majority of our College of Bishops upholds the traditional male presbyterate. My hope is that discussions between ACNA and folks like you will help ACNA make the important decisions in this area to return to the Biblical and historical ordering of leadership in the church.

    The ACNA/LCMS discussions may seem useless to some folks, but consider it as the task of an older cousin (LCMS) who has been in the world for a while taking a freshly-graduated cousin (ACNA) under his wing and helping him get grounded. We’re excited to be on the mission of Jesus Christ outside of the constraints of The Episcopal Church, but we’re going to get a credit card and run it up on burgers and beer. Don’t let us do that. :)

  • Jason Miller

    I am an ACNA priest and am enormously grateful for these discussion. My closest compadres in the rural Illinois town where I serve are LCMS. The local LCMS pastor and I get together on a number of occasions for mutual inspiration and encouragement. My next-door neighbor is entering one of your seminaries this year, and our conversations and friendship have been fruitful and enjoyable.

    The women’s ordination in ACNA may seem widespread because our Archbishop favors it, but the reality is that the majority of our College of Bishops upholds the traditional male presbyterate. My hope is that discussions between ACNA and folks like you will help ACNA make the important decisions in this area to return to the Biblical and historical ordering of leadership in the church.

    The ACNA/LCMS discussions may seem useless to some folks, but consider it as the task of an older cousin (LCMS) who has been in the world for a while taking a freshly-graduated cousin (ACNA) under his wing and helping him get grounded. We’re excited to be on the mission of Jesus Christ outside of the constraints of The Episcopal Church, but we’re going to get a credit card and run it up on burgers and beer. Don’t let us do that. :)

  • fws

    jason @ 39

    Glad to see you here Jason. Some of the most Lutheran men I know are Anglican. There is a pastor Jake in NY you should seek out who is one of those men.

  • fws

    jason @ 39

    Glad to see you here Jason. Some of the most Lutheran men I know are Anglican. There is a pastor Jake in NY you should seek out who is one of those men.

  • larry

    Stephen,

    Here it is:

    http://www.wlsessays.net/node/538

    Your welcome

  • larry

    Stephen,

    Here it is:

    http://www.wlsessays.net/node/538

    Your welcome

  • http://www.thegiftoffaith.blogspot.com Miguel

    I think these discussions are great! The ACNA are the good guys, imo, and as a confessional Lutheran I’d be more at home with them than I would be in either an ELCA church or some more progressives LCMS ones. We need to finish where Luther and Cranmer left off in our exchange of ideas. I really do not believe that Anglicans are beyond adopting our position on the Lord’s Supper, and I’m not convinced we have nothing to learn from them in matters of church polity. Confessional Protestantism is Christianity done right, imo, and though there is variety, those of us who care what we believe and why we believe it ought to stand together, even if we remain in separate camps for the time being.

  • http://www.thegiftoffaith.blogspot.com Miguel

    I think these discussions are great! The ACNA are the good guys, imo, and as a confessional Lutheran I’d be more at home with them than I would be in either an ELCA church or some more progressives LCMS ones. We need to finish where Luther and Cranmer left off in our exchange of ideas. I really do not believe that Anglicans are beyond adopting our position on the Lord’s Supper, and I’m not convinced we have nothing to learn from them in matters of church polity. Confessional Protestantism is Christianity done right, imo, and though there is variety, those of us who care what we believe and why we believe it ought to stand together, even if we remain in separate camps for the time being.

  • Richard

    These caricatures of the “Reformed” where Jerry Falwell is mentioned in the same sentence as John Calvin get pretty tiring, in addition to being wildly inaccurate. Read some history of the period, people.

  • Richard

    These caricatures of the “Reformed” where Jerry Falwell is mentioned in the same sentence as John Calvin get pretty tiring, in addition to being wildly inaccurate. Read some history of the period, people.

  • fws

    richard @ 43

    Agreed Richard! do a google on John Calvin’s Geneva. People need to stop slamming Falwell by comparing him to Calvin.

  • fws

    richard @ 43

    Agreed Richard! do a google on John Calvin’s Geneva. People need to stop slamming Falwell by comparing him to Calvin.

  • fws

    richard @ 43

    just kidding richard. A little Lutheran humor is all…. hehehe.

  • fws

    richard @ 43

    just kidding richard. A little Lutheran humor is all…. hehehe.

  • Richard

    OK, fws, very funny. Love you too!

  • Richard

    OK, fws, very funny. Love you too!

  • larry

    Richard,

    In the quote and the larger article the author points out that this is not “broad brushing” but showing the connection of the alien spirit in it’s many manifestations. Further, that not all Reformed agreed with every jot and tittle legalism but that the alien spirit begets this at every turn. Even further, that this temptation to the alien spirit’s rationalism/legalism, etc…is not just a “Reformed thing” but a thing of ALL fallen men. I.e. Lutheran’s as simul justus et peccators just like Reformed as simul justus et peccators are all equally tempted and naturally gravitate this way. It is the “in-house” religion of our old Adam regardless of formal confession. That does not mean orthodoxy does not formerly exist. In this since all of us are “heterodox” in fact the simul justus et peccator is just that, the Roman’s 7 man is heterdox.

    But a formalizing of heterodoxy and calling it orthodoxy is another issue. Crass example: as a simul justus et peccator I both believe in grace alone through Christ alone for myself, BUT also struggle against my very natural straight down gravity toward self righteousness in my works. Hell, its in every thought if I’m honest at all! Its one thing to recognize THAT, it would be another to formalize that into a confession that said basically “I am saved by Jesus and my good works working together”. See the difference? That statement is a simul battle, a Romans 7 reality for me, you, every believer. But to formalize that and say that is orthodoxy or Christian would true heterodoxy and another religion all together. And not I would need not use non-bible language or terms that are not “christian” in syllables.

    I’d encourage you to read the whole article as the author makes this point up front and throughout.

  • larry

    Richard,

    In the quote and the larger article the author points out that this is not “broad brushing” but showing the connection of the alien spirit in it’s many manifestations. Further, that not all Reformed agreed with every jot and tittle legalism but that the alien spirit begets this at every turn. Even further, that this temptation to the alien spirit’s rationalism/legalism, etc…is not just a “Reformed thing” but a thing of ALL fallen men. I.e. Lutheran’s as simul justus et peccators just like Reformed as simul justus et peccators are all equally tempted and naturally gravitate this way. It is the “in-house” religion of our old Adam regardless of formal confession. That does not mean orthodoxy does not formerly exist. In this since all of us are “heterodox” in fact the simul justus et peccator is just that, the Roman’s 7 man is heterdox.

    But a formalizing of heterodoxy and calling it orthodoxy is another issue. Crass example: as a simul justus et peccator I both believe in grace alone through Christ alone for myself, BUT also struggle against my very natural straight down gravity toward self righteousness in my works. Hell, its in every thought if I’m honest at all! Its one thing to recognize THAT, it would be another to formalize that into a confession that said basically “I am saved by Jesus and my good works working together”. See the difference? That statement is a simul battle, a Romans 7 reality for me, you, every believer. But to formalize that and say that is orthodoxy or Christian would true heterodoxy and another religion all together. And not I would need not use non-bible language or terms that are not “christian” in syllables.

    I’d encourage you to read the whole article as the author makes this point up front and throughout.

  • larry

    Another thing that may help. The Falwell/Calvin connection is not to caricature either man against the other. Falwell was a serious man too and his adherents might reverse your statement (Frank’s joke). He’s not saying Calvin was a clown like Falwell or vice versa. In fact he’s not saying either were clowns or caricatures of the other. But connecting the principle of the alien spirits digressing or downgrading. A physics analogy would be the arrow initially shot off only by a 10th of a fraction of a degree seems to be on target (say the arrow is doctrine and Calvin’s formulation is the point firing) but as the arrow travels along its physical path (analogy to time and generations) at one quarter point of trajectory its 1 foot off target (e.g. the Puritans and the first great awakening), then at mid-point its 10 feet off target (e.g. Arminianism), then at ¾ its 100 feet off target (e.g. Finney and the 2nd great awakening), then 90% of destination its 1000 feet off target (e.g. penecostalism), then at 95% its 10,000 feet off of target (e.g. church growth, emerging church, etc…). Now at some points astute persons say, “Hey look how far off this is and say let’s return to the Puritans or Calvin (apparently on target), not ever considering that at the point of firing was the problem, not X yards down the road of time.

  • larry

    Another thing that may help. The Falwell/Calvin connection is not to caricature either man against the other. Falwell was a serious man too and his adherents might reverse your statement (Frank’s joke). He’s not saying Calvin was a clown like Falwell or vice versa. In fact he’s not saying either were clowns or caricatures of the other. But connecting the principle of the alien spirits digressing or downgrading. A physics analogy would be the arrow initially shot off only by a 10th of a fraction of a degree seems to be on target (say the arrow is doctrine and Calvin’s formulation is the point firing) but as the arrow travels along its physical path (analogy to time and generations) at one quarter point of trajectory its 1 foot off target (e.g. the Puritans and the first great awakening), then at mid-point its 10 feet off target (e.g. Arminianism), then at ¾ its 100 feet off target (e.g. Finney and the 2nd great awakening), then 90% of destination its 1000 feet off target (e.g. penecostalism), then at 95% its 10,000 feet off of target (e.g. church growth, emerging church, etc…). Now at some points astute persons say, “Hey look how far off this is and say let’s return to the Puritans or Calvin (apparently on target), not ever considering that at the point of firing was the problem, not X yards down the road of time.

  • Richard

    Larry,
    So, it’s a matter of physics? Dang! I should have paid more attention to science in school. Instead, I majored in history. The author is “broad brushing,” Larry, although I appreciate where you are coming from. Someone said we are entitled to our own opinions, but not to our own facts.

  • Richard

    Larry,
    So, it’s a matter of physics? Dang! I should have paid more attention to science in school. Instead, I majored in history. The author is “broad brushing,” Larry, although I appreciate where you are coming from. Someone said we are entitled to our own opinions, but not to our own facts.

  • fws

    Richard @ 49

    Larry was raised Baptist and then went reformed, then Lutheran.
    I was raised Lutheran. I left, I came back.
    What is your background dear brother?

    Patrick monehan said that ” we are entitled to our own perceptions but not our own facts.” Excellent quote eh?

    come let us reason together and avoid characterizing one another. Richard: are Lutherans reformed? Are we roman catholics with one foot on a banana peel? what are we in YOUR characterization? What keeps you from being Lutheran? (besides our narr0w minded characterizations….)?

  • fws

    Richard @ 49

    Larry was raised Baptist and then went reformed, then Lutheran.
    I was raised Lutheran. I left, I came back.
    What is your background dear brother?

    Patrick monehan said that ” we are entitled to our own perceptions but not our own facts.” Excellent quote eh?

    come let us reason together and avoid characterizing one another. Richard: are Lutherans reformed? Are we roman catholics with one foot on a banana peel? what are we in YOUR characterization? What keeps you from being Lutheran? (besides our narr0w minded characterizations….)?

  • larry

    Richard, no offends was meant only clarity as to what the author is stating. And the arrow analogy was merely an aid to his connecting misstep 1 with where we find things today. Another way to look at it is dissconnect where God comes and does to us, where he said, then its no mystery that a plethora of men invent ways they are assured individually how each is saved,elect,born again. Thus one finds the endless species of “how you know” in individuals, groups/congregations, denominations, etc. That vary over time and space, region, social construct with heterodox confepssional drivers.

  • larry

    Richard, no offends was meant only clarity as to what the author is stating. And the arrow analogy was merely an aid to his connecting misstep 1 with where we find things today. Another way to look at it is dissconnect where God comes and does to us, where he said, then its no mystery that a plethora of men invent ways they are assured individually how each is saved,elect,born again. Thus one finds the endless species of “how you know” in individuals, groups/congregations, denominations, etc. That vary over time and space, region, social construct with heterodox confepssional drivers.

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  • Kristian

    I’m LCMS, and I wouldn’t get to worried about the LCMS/ACNA talks the LCMS does require full agreement for altar pulpit fellowship. By talking about externals, they simply mean things like Thrivant and Lutheran World Relieve. Remember the LCMS and ELCA do work together on non doctrinal items such as those.

  • Kristian

    I’m LCMS, and I wouldn’t get to worried about the LCMS/ACNA talks the LCMS does require full agreement for altar pulpit fellowship. By talking about externals, they simply mean things like Thrivant and Lutheran World Relieve. Remember the LCMS and ELCA do work together on non doctrinal items such as those.

  • http://swesleymcgranor.blogspot.com S. Wesley Mcgranor

    Protestantism is affirmed.

  • http://swesleymcgranor.blogspot.com S. Wesley Mcgranor

    Protestantism is affirmed.


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