15 April 2008

A little exercise for young theologians (apologies to Helmut Thielicke)

Read the following paragraphs. Note carefully, and ponder, the words in boldface.

This Task Force believes the Council of Presidents and the Board of Directors are the elected “leaders” of the Synod that should be given the responsibility to initiate a specific plan to clarify for the sake of the whole church a strategy to restore harmony in our Synod. We encourage them to consider bringing together a representative group of respected leaders throughout this church for a summit. At the end of this summit these church leaders should author a unanimously adopted “symphony” that demonstrates how this great church body can provide a God-pleasing witness of our confession and practice.
Let them deal with current topics to define how narrow or wide is the road we “walk together” (SYNOD) must be when it comes to worship practice, the role of the laity, close communion, the role of women and our interaction with fellow Christians. But let the product of their coming together be to honor the Scriptures (including the Great Commission) and Confessions and dishonor the work of Satan that diverts us from the “way of the Lord”.
The generation long divisions among us have frustrated us all. Allowing for proper dissent through by-law allowed procedures, we also recommend that those members of
this Synod that cannot embrace the convention mandated mission of our church should feel free to leave this fellowship with truth-filled integrity and find another association with whom they can partner.

Now, a question: What is this group's self-understanding? What is its ecclesiology?


Christopher D. Hall said...

I wonder, Fr. Gregory, if there are but few in the LCMS who are concerned with the Church. One fellow I converse with regularly has the parochial attitude: I am called to my congregation, which is Church (he seems to believe). It is a dominant strain in Lutheran theology to use the story of the 7000 unknown prophets in Israel (I Kings 19) with this "secret" church that God protects, hidden, throughout history. Thoughts on this?

For the record, I believe such an understanding is parochial (in both senses), unhistorical, unsacramental, unscriptural, naive and all kinds of other bad adjectives.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Beats me.

But then, I don't qualify for the exercise, being neither a theologian nor young.

Rosko said...

Being both young and a theologian of sorts, I must chime in my opinion. The "church body" that this comes from I must assume is the LCMS. This just goes to show that the LCMS is concerned with the "church" but not the Church. Not with the deposit and guarding of Truth, but with churning out "harmony" (something best left to Barbershop singers) and "unity" and "convention mandated mission(s)".

I feel bad that such a place exists, but for the time being I must struggle with these things.

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

It seems like the hands are Esau's, but the voice is Jacob's. The subject of the discussion is "Synod."

On the one hand, it can be referred to with ecclesial terms like "church." Its leaders are "church leaders." It has churchly features like laity, communion etc.

On the other hand, it considers itself an "association" which people can leave with "truth-filled integrity" to find another "association."

But the Church is not an association of like-minded people. The Church is the body of Christ, and has one mind--the mind of Christ. One cannot leave the Church with "truth-filled integrity." See how St. John speaks of those who leave the Church, in 1 John 2.

And such is not the unity of the blessed Trinity, in connection with which Christ prayed "let them be one, Father, as we are one."

"Let us love one another, that with one mind we may confess Father Son and Holy Spirit, the Trinity one in essence and undivided."

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

...we also recommend that those members of this Synod that cannot embrace the convention mandated mission of our church should feel free to leave this fellowship with truth-filled integrity...

Am I reading this correctly? To me, it says, "Take your truth and integrity elsewhere; what we want is your agreement."


Jeff said...

Yes, especially as a seminarian, otherwise you will be tossed out by the Office of Pastoral Suitablity (now under the PC name of the Office of Personal Growth).