Sunday, September 16, 2007

Role of Men and Women

Since no one has jumped into the discussion on whether or not a woman may lead a Bible study in which both men and women are present I looked a bit on the question and answer section on wels.net.

It seems that the answers are vaguely clear in their position that it would be permissible. Here is a snippet:

The Scriptures clearly do not forbid women from engaging in all manner and types of teaching. The Scriptures clearly do not forbid women from engaging in all manner and types of teaching Scripture. Finally, the Scriptures clearly do not forbid women from teaching Scripture to men in every kind of circumstance and fashion. Colossians 3:16 assumes that the people of God will "teach and admonish one another.

So from what I can perceive the wels (Answer man) does not see anything wrong with this practice. To me this seems to be a significant shift from traditional Lutheranism practice that a woman remain silent (1 Co 14:34) and that a woman should not teach a man (1 Ti 2:11,12).

Yet in returning to the upcoming Changers conference link you will see that this conference is encouraging this shift as there are several training session for women leaders.

90 comments:

Pr. K said...

John,

Thank you for continuing to post. The issue of roles of man and woman is tied to the WELS' doctrines of church and ministry. When the ministry is a list of functions that can be performed by anyone and added to at any time instead of an office instituted by Christ and filled by men who act as icons of Christ for the flock to which they are called, the only fall back position is in the law. "A woman can do this, can't do that, etc."

The WELS will not be able to stop groups like C&C from pushing the envelope until they confront the problems with the Wauwautosa theology.

A WELS Pastor said...

I object to your posting of a "snippet" by which you're trying to prove that the WELS allows women to teach men in Bible class situations. There are literally dozens of Q and A answers on the WELS website that deal with this subject. Here is another Q and A response to a similar question:

"1 Timothy 2 states that a woman should not teach a man in the church in such a way as to exercise authority over him. This means that a woman should not teach the adult catechetical and Bible classes in which men are involved, except under the most exceptional circumstances. Obviously, there are no such limitations placed on women teaching other women or children."

"In the context of 1 Timothy 2 'teaching' refers to formal, authoritative teaching. Paul's prohibition of 'teaching' does not exclude women from sharing with men knowledge or information which they may have, as Priscilla apparently did with Apollos. Nor does it exclude their reporting their experiences and activities to fellow Christians."

The WELS position on women teaching men in Bible classes is clear from the WELS Q and A as well as official Bible class material and other official statements. If there is a situation where women are teaching men in formal Bible classes, then the person who is rightly offended should address the pastor about it, and if that gets nowhere, go to the elders, and on up the food chain to the circuit pastor and finally the DP if that's necessary.

I wonder how much of your quote from the WELS Q and A you left out in order to lead your readers to a predetermined conclusion?

Should a woman teach men in a Bible class? The answer is "no."

I also take issue with the previous responder named Pr. K who is clearly a supporter of the LC-MS position on church and ministry. Need I say more?

Anonymous said...

Dear "a wels pastor",

I don't understand. What issue are you taking with the comment above yours? And yes, please do explain what you mean about the lcms position for us laymen who aren't clear on what you mean.

Thanks.

LM said...

"I also take issue with the previous responder named Pr. K who is clearly a supporter of the LC-MS position on church and ministry. Need I say more?"

Yes, you do need to say more. Are you saying that Pastor K's criticism of the WELS' "functional" view of the ministry is unscriptural? Do you not see the problems inherent in a functional view of the ministry?

Let me give you an example. Women communing other women--here is the WELS Q&A answer regarding his practice (and to avoid any appearance of impropiety, I've reproduced the entire response):

"ELS and WELS leaders have been in regular talks about church and ministry throughout the time ELS has been formulating and discussing its doctrinal statement. Since both ELS and WELS are committed to letting Holy Scripture have the last word, I have no doubt that they will eventually arrive at an agreement on this matter.

The differences, however, are only apparent because, as your question suggests, ELS and WELS approach the matter of women communing women from different starting points. The ELS approaches it from the point of the vested duties of the pastor. The Bible establishes all of public gospel ministry but does not establish a pastoral office as such or vest certain duties exclusive to that office. Tradition has shaped our concept of pastoral duties as we know them today, so the suggestion within WELS that women could assume certain duties of that office may certainly be offensive and confusing to some.

Since the Bible does not assign specific duties to the pastor, WELS approaches the matter of women communing women from Scripture's man and women role relationship principle. WELS doctrinal statements on the role of man and woman say that a woman may have any part in public ministry that does not assume teaching authority over a man. That, of course, would include women communing women. WELS has had only two instances of women communing women, and our Conference of Presidents has since issued an indefinite moratorium on such practice to keep from offending our brothers until the matter is mutually resolved. WELS does not consider women who lawfully assume certain duties of the pastoral office to be pastors, does not call them pastors, and does not intend to call them pastors. The word pastor has the traditional meaning of exercising authority over both men and women and would be an inappropriate title for women who minister only to women.

Twenty-five years ago WELS had ELS had years-long discussions of issues involving the Lord's Supper. The God-pleasing resolution of that issue is one we can also anticipate in this one where both sides at the table submit to the authority of the Word of God."

So...women can perform the same duties as pastors, but WELS doesn't "call them pastors, and does not intend to call them pastors." Doesn’t this view of the Ministry conflict with 1 Timothy 3:2-4, 6, Titus 1:9, and our Lutheran Confessions? Oh, I get it, if we don’t call it what it is, then its okay. My apologies, you’re right, our doctrine on the Ministry is rock solid.

LM

Pr. K said...

LM,

Rock on.

Pr. K

Anonymous said...

When you quote something, could you please provide the context and a link back to the source?

Quoting something out of context is unethical and simply flamebait.

Anonymous said...

I have found the source of the "snippet":

http://www.wels.net/cgi-bin/site.pl?1518&cuTopic_topicID=30&cuItem_itemID=9267

LM said...

Anon,

I believe I provided the context to the Q&A answer--it was a question about women serving communion to other women, but as requested, here is a link to the original question and answer:

http://www.wels.net/cgi-bin/site.pl?1518&cuItem_itemID=12791&cuTopic_topicID=57

Unethical? Ouch.

LM

John said...

Thanks for posting the link. I read many different thoughts on the Q%A section and thought that portion addressed my concern about the role of women teaching in the church.

If you read back in my blog, you will see that I did approach the pastor. I was told that the woman was doing this under the authority of him (the pastor) who is actually on the district Praesidium level.

rak said...

The bold-face section of this post simply highlights the bending of the Scriptures to support the desired theory.

Goes on all the time.

Anonymous said...

This blog has become nothing more than a mouthpiece for crypto-Catholic/crypto-LCMS doctrine.

I seriously doubt that Aaron Peders started this blog for such a purpose.

Perhaps, John, you could start your own blog, and leave this one to Aaron or someone else to discuss the issues it was originally designed to discuss.

Anonymous said...

This is quite an advanced topic with respect to women, ie, communion and giving bible classes.

What about the issue of the "vote" ?

Recently, our church voted on whether or not to proceed with a building project. One woman, a life long member of the church, well into retirement age, who has served on many women's committees (no issue there, like the Ladies Aid Guild and Lutheran Womens Missionary Committee) gave a letter to every member of the church council asking for the right of the women to vote on this issue (of the building project).

She correctly pointed out that women outnumbered men, and were majority financial contributors to the church.

While numbers should not dictate doctrine, is there any allowance for women to be granted votes on such matters (like finance), or does this nessarily contradict the stand that women should not take leadership roles in the church.

I must admit, and this may be a weakness on my part, that I feel very torn on this subject. I often feel myself wanting women to have an actual means of making their wishes known in church, although I do NOT support the idea of women as ordained ministers.

The end result of this letter that was circulated? I am not sure whether the pastor talked to her or not, but she quickly (and formally) withdrew her request. A truly good woman, I truly hope there was not hurt feelings.

Anonymous said...

Come on people. If you would read that Q&A quote in context, you would see that when the author says that women aren't prohibited from all manners and types of teaching, he isn't leaving a loophole open for women to teach a Bible class. All he is simply saying is that a Christian woman can talk about the Word with a man in a private setting, or perhaps teach a co-worker about the Word.

That's the only thing that that quote is saying. You have to seriously take it out of context and twist its meaning to take it the way you did John.

Going to such lengths to make a point really hurts all credibility you have, John, which is too bad, because you have raised some valid concerns in the past.

John said...

There were many different answers to questions revolving around lady lectors and women giving communion on the Q&A site. I couldn't find anything specifically talking about a women teaching an adult Bible Study. So that is why I pulled that quote from the link about women teaching. I do apologize for not linking the entire question. I will say that I wondered if he only meant in an independent one on one situation, but it wasn't very clear.

From the comments I have read here the posters are saying that the wels doesn't allow a women to lead an Adult Bible study. So this minister was in error yet no one has replied to his caveat that it was done under his authority.

And I do think that the women voting question needs to be addressed. I asked my district president a question in regard to this and got an interesting reply.I will post that in a future post.

I also believe that there is a larger underlining issue that needs to be addressed (or asked) but I'll put that in a future post too.

Also, I know that this has strayed from Aaron's thoughts but I believe that a discussion form is valuable.

LM said...

Anon said:
"This blog has become nothing more than a mouthpiece for crypto-Catholic/crypto-LCMS doctrine."

WELS trick #24: If you can't refute their doctrine, accuse them of Romanism (and apparently Missourism, too.)

Time to hit the books anonymous. If you think that the statements made on this blog are inconsistent with the Holy Scriptures and our Lutheran Confessions, you need to point that out--not just call us names.

LM

Anonymous said...

Oh please, LM, Pr. K. clearly gave a Missouri Synod characterization of WELS doctrine. Let's not pretend we don't know that. So when somebody advocates a Missouri position on ministry it isn't "calling names" to say that they are advocating a Missouri position. It's simply a fact. The relative confessionalism of both positions has been argued back and forth for generations. This blog isn't exactly the best place for lengthy doctrinal dissertations. But let's not just assume that the Missouri position is obviously confessional and the WELS position obviously isn't.

John said...

anonymous...

Well you brought up a point I was going to post on later. But from what I have read and heard the WELS has not until recently ever viewed the LC-MS position on the office of the Holy Ministry as being in error. I believe several pastors have taken Pr. Lange to task because of his recent book that claims the Missouri position is hetrodox. From what I have heard, from some wels clergy, the wels has shifted on this position.

Anonymous said...

John,

You're right. Historically the WELS has allowed for some level of interpretation regarding the ministry. To be honest, it's usually the conservative Missouri pastors who are the quickest to call someone non-Confessional if they don't follow a strict Missouri interpretation. Perhaps that's why the WELS has become a bit more strident in its repudiation of the Missouri position. When someone demands that strict Missouri is the only Confessional understanding, then the WELS has to be more bold in responding.

LM said...

"But let's not just assume that the Missouri position is obviously confessional and the WELS position obviously isn't."

I didn't assume anything. "A wels pastor" did when he said, "I also take issue with the previous responder named Pr. K who is clearly a supporter of the LC-MS position on church and ministry. Need I say more?" He assumed that he didn't need to say more. Why? Is it because he assumes the WELS position "is obviously confessional" and the LCMS view is not? Do you?

"So when somebody advocates a Missouri position on ministry it isn't "calling names" to say that they are advocating a Missouri position."

If the LCMS said "the earth revolves around the sun" and I said, "the earth revolves around the sun" it wouldn't mean that I'm "advocating a Missouri position." LCMS didn't invent that proposition. Look at the WELS position on women serving communion to women. Does that really make sense to you? Is it supported by Scripture and our Lutheran Confessions? That is the question I would like to see answered.

I think addressing that issue will also help answer John’s question. If a pastor says, "This woman is teaching an adult bible class under my supervision" is that consistent with what you understand the WELS position to be? Is it consistent with what Scripture and our Lutheran Confessions teach? Pr. K correctly pointed out that both instances are the result of the WELS doctrines of Church and Ministry.

Some people here would prefer to continue Aaron's thread of discussing financial problems with the synod. Don't you think the doctrinal issues John raises are more pressing?

LM

Anonymous said...

"Look at the WELS position on women serving communion to women."

What?!? You must be joking. There are a few isolated cases and that makes it an official WELS position? Are you serious?

God only knows what sort of official Missouri positions we could come up with looking at a few isolated examples. Going by that criterion, the official Missouri position is that we should pray with Muslims and Buddhists.

Give me a break LM.

The official WELS position on women serving communion is that the few isolated cases were dealt with and that there is now a stop to all such things. Everyone knows this to be true.

LM said...

To the exasperated (if I read your punctuation correctly) anonymous:

"What?!? You must be joking. There are a few isolated cases and that makes it an official WELS position? Are you serious?"

I'll quote Mr. (or Mrs.) Q&A again:

"WELS doctrinal statements on the role of man and woman say that a woman may have any part in public ministry that does not assume teaching authority over a man. That, of course, would include women communing women. WELS has had only two instances of women communing women, and our Conference of Presidents has since issued an indefinite moratorium on such practice to keep from offending our brothers until the matter is mutually resolved."

That sounds like a "position" to me--It is not wrong, but we (WELS) don't do it because it may cause offense. To borrow your own phrase, "give me a break." And I will give you a break--maybe you understand the word position differently than I.

LM

J said...

"So this minister was in error yet no one has replied to his caveat that it was done under his authority."
Are you trying to bait someone into your double standard argument?


Why would a woman need to commune another woman? Just cause she can? I don�t see a reason why this would ever need to be discussed except on a blog.


"WELS trick #24"
They teach pastors this at the Seminary right after the "pull a rabbit from a hat" trick.


It seems that everyone is trying to fit the Scripture to the situation instead of letting the situation fit the Scriptures, kind of a what can I get away with scenario.


�Don't you think the doctrinal issues John raises are more pressing?�

No

As far as I can tell all of the doctrinal issues that John talks about have been small isolated incidents that have been handled properly by the District Presidents, you know the guys that are running around taking the law into their own hands, like modern day cowboys.(sarcasm)

Anonymous said...

j,

You're absolutely right. All this blog is doing now is taking small isolated incidents and short out of context quotes to try to manufacture huge doctrinal problems within the WELS.

Have there been some problems with doctrine and practice in the WELS? Of course. (Show me a church without them.) But like j said, the DPs have done a good job dealing with them. (Show me a church that does better.)

I also thought that Aaron's original blog did a much better job at presenting a much more honest look at issues that were much more widespread and relevant than those currently being discussed.

John said...

j...

These are isolated incidents that I have witnessed. How am I trying to "bait someone into the double standard argument." I guess that stands on its own. It is against synod doctrine yet it happens.

No, I didn't say they were handled by a dp (cowboy or not). The minister is part of a district praesidium so I didn't take it any higher.

Likewise, the minister allowing a girl to deliver the children's sermon during the divine service is another isolated incident I witnessed.

So it is a question of the role of men and women and the larger issue of the view on the Office of the Holy Ministry.

John said...

I also thought that Aaron's original blog did a much better job at presenting a much more honest look at issues that were much more widespread and relevant than those currently being discussed.

Clue me into what issues are more relevant and I will post them. I have posted all sides and comments. What do you think are the pressing issues?

Anonymous said...

"The minister is part of a district praesidium so I didn't take it any higher."

You didn't take it any higher? Why not? Because you assumed that the DP wouldn't listen to a concern about another member of the praesidium? In other words, because you put the worst construction on the DP's motivations without ever talking to him?

And then you have the nerve to talk about doctrinal issues that aren't being addressed by synodical leadership? How can synodical leadership deal with problems if the people don't tell them?

The way I see it, you've abdicated your Christian responsibility by not taking an issue to the proper authority and instead publishing it on a blog.

John said...

The way I see it, you've abdicated your Christian responsibility by not taking an issue to the proper authority and instead publishing it on a blog.

If you read carefully you will see that I was trying to sort out the synod position on this issue. Because if it isn't against the synod position than why do I need to take it any higher.

So is it wrong?

Anonymous said...

"If you read carefully you will see that I was trying to sort out the synod position on this issue. Because if it isn't against the synod position than why do I need to take it any higher.

So is it wrong?"

That would have been an excellent question to ask your DP, don't you think? Your postings here on this blog seem to indicate that you believe it to be wrong. So if you believe it to be wrong, why aren't you taking it to the God-appointed men responsible for it and instead publishing it on a blog?

LM said...

J,

I'm glad you have a sense of humor. I’m only familiar with the first 24. Thank you for sharing trick #25.

"Why would a woman need to commune another woman? Just cause she can? I don't see a reason why this would ever need to be discussed except on a blog."

It needs to be discussed because it happened and the fact that it happened may indicate a much more serious problem. Yet instead of using this as an opportunity to reexamine the practical implications of maintaining a functional view of the Ministry, WELS says: It's not wrong, but lets not do it because it might offend some.

I agree, it does seem that some are trying "to fit the Scripture to the situation instead of letting the situation fit the Scriptures, kind of a what can I get away with scenario." But could this just be the natural result of maintaining a functional view of the ministry?

LM

LM said...

"So if you believe it to be wrong, why aren't you taking it to the God-appointed men responsible for it and instead publishing it on a blog?"

So the WELS polity is instituted by God now? And I'm the one accused of Romanism? Yikes.

In the Large Catechism we learn:

"For when a matter is public in the light of day, there can be no slandering or false judging or testifying; as, when we now reprove the Pope with his doctrine, which is publicly set forth in books and proclaimed in all the world. For where the sin is public, the reproof also must be public, that every one may learn to guard against it."

The things John has described sound pretty public to me.

LM

Anonymous said...

"So the WELS polity is instituted by God now?"

LM, you are the master of twisting simple sentences to mean whatever you want them to mean. (John, don't worry, you're a close second.)

We believe in the divine call, don't we? The DPs have been called by God to watch over doctrine and practice. This blog has not been called by God to do that. The simple fact is that John should have gone to the DP before plastering the issue all over this blog.

Now LM, don't twist my words. I don't have a problem with him publicly confronting a public sin on this blog or anywhere else. What I do have a problem with is him implying that WELS leaders are just letting this sin go unchecked, when he never bothered to contact the appropriate leaders in the first place.

LM said...

"LM, you are the master of twisting simple sentences to mean whatever you want them to mean."

Wow. I'm a master already--and on my first try. All joking aside, we should go over what has been said.

You said:
"So if you believe it to be wrong, why aren't you taking it to the God-appointed men responsible for it and instead publishing it on a blog?"

I took "God-appointed men" to be a reference to the DP. More specifically, because no particular DP was mentioned, I took it as a reference to the office of DP. I do not believe God instituted the office of District President. Now, if you had said, "the ordained minister, who under the synod constitution and bylaws, is responsible for watching over doctrine and practice" well, we probably wouldn't be having this conversation. I think it is inaccurate to characterize my sentence as "twisting your words," I'd call it taking them at face value. I'll seek clarification next time, but please, in the future if you disagree with something I've said, address it on the merits rather than accusing me of intellectual dishonesty.

So to the accusation now. Have there been other instances where I have twisted a simple sentence to make it mean what I want it to mean? I mean, if I take your accusation at face value, that I am a "master," then I think it is reasonable to assume that I've done this more than once. Please either point those out to me or recant your inaccurate statement.

Thank you,

LM

A WELS Pastor said...

LM,

How could he mention a particular DP, since his name has never been mentioned?

The DP (whatever his name may be) does have a divine call to serve in that capacity. God has given to us the public ministry--we have the New Testament freedom to establish offices within that ministry that meet the needs of the church.

A WELS Pastor

Anonymous said...

LM,

When you read that comment about God-appointed men, did you honestly think that he was referring to a Roman hierarchical system of church government? Really? Honestly, LM? You really thought that's what he was saying?

It's obvious it was referring to the divine call issued to men through the church. To claim that you didn't understand that is simply ridiculous.

But maybe we should let the readers of this blog decide for themselves whether they believe that you were just taking his words "at face value" referring to divinely appointed church hierarchy, or if he was simply talking about a divine call and then you twisted it.

LM said...

A WELS pastor,

I think there is a difference between saying "God-appointed" and "called to the office that God gave us the freedom to establish" (that one is a paraphrase, but I believe it accurately sums up what you said--if not, please advise). "God-appointed" implies that God instituted the office as well. But, anon has explained that is not what he meant, so I see no need to discuss it further.

But now that I have your attention, you never did "say more" about what you "take issue with" in Pr. K's comment. Do you not see a problem with a view of the Ministry that allows us to say that women may perform the same duties as pastors as long as we don't call them pastors?

Thanks,

LM

LM said...

"When you read that comment about God-appointed men, did you honestly think that he was referring to a Roman hierarchical system of church government? Really? Honestly, LM? You really thought that's what he was saying?"

Have you ever heard the phrase, "repetation isn't argument, it's just repetition." No matter how many times you ask, I can only give you one answer and I think I've adequately explained myself. If you do not beleive me, that is on you. If you have a question that isn't geared toward impeaching my honesty, I'd be happy to answer that too.

"It's obvious it was referring to the divine call issued to men through the church. To claim that you didn't understand that is simply ridiculous."

However, if you want to further insist that my subjective thought process is "ridiculous," well, I think you go to far. It wasn't obvious to me. Your comment implies that either I'm dishonest or I'm dumb. It is hard to put a best constrution on that--both are insults.

But, while we're talking about things that are ridiculous, I invite anyone to explain to me how it is not "riduculous" to say that women may perform the same duties as pastors as long as we don't call them pastors. Once that has been answered, I'm happy to let you continue with the personal attacks.

Thanks,

LM

Anonymous said...

LM,

I think you missed a step. First I think that you need to demonstrate from Scripture that the pastorate is a specific and definite office which possesses certain duties given specifically to it.

Once you do that, then we can talk about those duties being shared by others, including women.

Rob said...

This discussion is important because it is related to the Public Ministry controversy in the ELS that precipitated several pastors and congregations splitting away from ELS. In summary, as I understand the incident, one of the 12 ELS Circuits debated a doctrinal statement adopted by approximately 2/3 of delegates at the 2005 ELS Convention. Pastor Rolf Preus became a lightening rod because he asked the ELS president to slow the train and give the doctrinal statement more study so that the remaining 1/3 of the ELS could either get on board or sway the 2/3. The ELS President suspended Pastor Preus. Several ELS pastors objected to the ELS President's handling of the situation and protested officially alleging that the ELS President had sinned against Pastor Preus. The protesting pastors and congregations got the boot at the 2006 ELS Convention for attempting "selective communion."

There is (or was) lots of info available on the internet concerning the (ongoing) Preus incident.

http://evangelicallutheransynod.org/President/news/response (dead links)

http://www.christforus.org/PCMTheses/ELSministryDiscussions.html (sympathetic to Preus)

Quotes from: http://www.pluckedchicken.net/index.php?/archives/120-Bright-Spots-in-the-2007-ELS-Presidents-Report.html

QUOTE
[T]he synod [ELS] has a few things to learn from the things that have happened. At the very least, we could think about learning:

-- That we don't all have the same understanding of what sort of disciplinary actions are available to our congregations when they perceive that synod officials have publicly sinned or engaged in a practice contrary to our doctrine. Some say "None," others disagree. As we have seen, some see this as the proper time for a "confessional protest."

-- That we don't all make a distinction between (a) a refusal to commune on the basis of sin, and (b) a refusal to commune on the basis of church fellowship. (To wit, compare the State of Confession letter -- if you can find a copy -- to the president's designation of it as "the selective fellowship filing of protest.")

-- That we don't all have the same esteem for the sanctity of a pastor's divine call, at least when it comes to certain pastors or when we think the pastor has written something inflammatory.

UNQUOTE

Further, an interesting announcement on PluckedChicken:

QUOTE
Agreement with WELS on Women Communing Women

In a joint opinion brief on the subject of whether women may commune other women in certain circumstances, the WELS and ELS presidents conclude, "that the practice of women privately or publicly distributing the Lord's Supper to women is something from which we will refrain."

I appreciate the sincere effort that has gone into this intermediate resolution, and rejoice that such a troublesome practice will be officially put on hold in the Wisconsin Synod. I also agree with our president's assessment that "the opinion brief is helpful and shows a common commitment toward good order by both of our synods." I pray that our synods will be led not only to good order in this matter, but also to the confession of biblically sound doctrine and corresponding practice.
UNQUOTE

John said...

when he never bothered to contact the appropriate leaders in the first place

The minister is a leader. I did address it with him. Now I am trying to address the principle behind the response because this is a problem. The view of the role of men and women in church and society needs to be examined alongside the office of the Holy Ministry (OHM).

So I wanted to know if this practice is unscriptural.

This issue deals with the office of the Holy Ministry. I stated above that some in the wels have recently shifted there view on the OHM. The historical position taken by the wels and lcms on the OHM was never a divisive issue. The wels didn't with draw from fellowship from the LCMS because of their perspective on the OHM. Now it is called a heterodox position by the wels.

So I am sorting out the principles that are driving the practices. Look at some of the titles of the women C&C conference sessions. I don't know the content but they make me wonder.

Anonymous said...

"because this is a problem"

John, if you think that this is a problem, then you need to contact your DP. Anonymous commenters on a blog have plenty of opinions, sure, but they have no authority or responsibility to address the "problem" that you have encountered. I'm not sure how long you've been in the WELS, but the "orderly" procedure would be to go from the pastor to his circuit pastor and DP. Those are the people that you need to be talking to--not random people on a blog. Ask them about the situation and ask them if it's a problem or not. That's what they're there for.

John said...

I am not a life-time welser. I will let you know that I had a recent job relocation so I am not in that region and therefore don't belong to that church or district any longer.

So I don't know if this practice and the other I highlighted still are occurring. So I am not in it to address this incident. I felt I followed the proper channel by communication my concern with the minister.

So, therefore, I am concerned about the Biblical principal driving the practice.

Has the wels perspective on the OHM shifted? Is the LCMS position heterodox?

Pr. K said...

John,

You are right to wonder. There is a wife of a wels pastor who was (and may still be, i don't know) sending out an email newsletter called "Spirit Led", which was/is pushing for the wels to ordain women. There are isolated incidents, yes, but enough to be worrisome.

The generation of wels pastors currently in charge of the synod and teaching the next generation of pastors is the first to start taking the wels' doctrines of Church and Ministry to their logical conclusion. The generation which has passed into retirement and some on to eternity were not as far from the historic position of the Church as the newer crop of pastors. As was pointed out above, the split with Missouri was not over the OHM. BTW, to the person who wants LM to "demonstrate from Scripture that the pastorate is a specific and definite office which possesses certain duties given specifically to it.": (sigh) Break open your NIV pew Bible and read it; then read your Book of Concord. If you don't have one, find one.

And while you're at it, why don't you prove that the ministry is just a list of functions to be performed? If your position is correct, you should be able to clearly articulate your defense of it.

The OHM is not about authority or giving people stuff to do. It is about Christ coming to us in Word and Sacrament. The pastor is there to give forgiveness, life, and salvation. The church, the Bride of Christ, receives these gifts with thanksgiving. To paraphrase a sainted theologian: "Christ said, 'Feed my sheep', not organize them into work brigades."

Anonymous said...

John,

I don't think that the doctrine on ministry really applies to a woman teaching a Bible class as much as the doctrine on man and woman applies to it.

The issue isn't whether a non-pastor can teach, it's whether a woman can.

I hope we would all agree that a man who isn't a pastor could properly teach a Bible class--assuming he was properly trained and asked.

So, again, the issue really isn't related to ministry, but instead is related to roles of man and woman.

Anonymous said...

By the way, is there any significance in the fact that you capitalize LCMS, but don't capitalize wels?

Freudian slip? Subliminal message?

Anonymous said...

"Break open your NIV pew Bible and read it; then read your Book of Concord. If you don't have one, find one."

I have both and read both regularly. I see both talking about ministry, but don't see either establish the pastorate as the one holy office of ministry to the exclusion of other forms of ministry. I read about apostles and prophets and pastors and teachers and deacons and deaconesses, etc. In which particular verse does Christ specifically establish the local pastor as the one and only holder of the ministry of the gospel? I must have missed that one.

"And while you're at it, why don't you prove that the ministry is just a list of functions to be performed?"

I never said that the ministry is "just a list of functions to be performed." The ministry of the gospel is a divinely ordained office. I just don't see how the local pastor and him alone is the only one who can possibly fit into that office.

"To paraphrase a sainted theologian: "Christ said, 'Feed my sheep', not organize them into work brigades.""

To quote St. Paul: "It was he who gave some to be pastors and teachers to prepare God's people for works of service..." Maybe you missed that one.

Pr. K said...

"To quote St. Paul: 'It was he who gave some to be pastors and teachers to prepare God's people for works of service...' Maybe you missed that one."

No, I didn't. I see you're taking that from the NIV. Are you aware of how bad a translation that is of the original?

And I never said that only the local parish pastor is in the OHM.

Watch out LM & John, there's a new contender for master word twister!

Anonymous said...

does the Bible say women can't be pastors? or just not have authority over men? But I don't see a reason for a woman to be a Pastor over a congregation of only women, it makes no sense. please give me 1 reason why a women needs to coomune others, or teach a bible class for that matter, i think alot of selfishness is behind those who are doing for the sake of doing.

LM said...

“I think you missed a step. First I think that you need to demonstrate from Scripture that the pastorate is a specific and definite office which possesses certain duties given specifically to it."

Anon, I appreciate the response, but I think we may be talking past each other. Defining the pastorate as a list of duties or functions to be performed is exactly what I’m trying to avoid. Our Confessions speak of the Office of the Ministry, a divinely instituted office that carries the authority to forgive and retain sins, to baptize, to hear confession and to administer the Lord's Supper. 1 Tim. 3 and Titus 1 explain who may properly hold that office--women are excluded by definition. (See also the Table of Duties in our Large Catechism).

But I think Pr. K has already explained it better than I could—“The OHM is not about authority or giving people stuff to do. It is about Christ coming to us in Word and Sacrament. The pastor is there to give forgiveness, life, and salvation. The church, the Bride of Christ, receives these gifts with thanksgiving.” To allow women to do this, by administering the sacrament or otherwise, (to quote another wise Lutheran pastor, in part) “is essentially ecclesiastical lesbianism.”

Thanks,

LM

Anonymous said...

"(to quote another wise Lutheran pastor, in part) 'is essentially ecclesiastical lesbianism.'"

please reference this so we can be the judge if the pastor is indeed wise.

Anonymous said...

"The OHM is not about authority or giving people stuff to do. It is about Christ coming to us in Word and Sacrament. The pastor is there to give forgiveness, life, and salvation."

So does that then mean that the Word and Sacraments, forgiveness, life, and salvation all belong exclusively to the pastorate?

Pr. K said...

"So does that then mean that the Word and Sacraments, forgiveness, life, and salvation all belong exclusively to the pastorate?"

No. Again, this is not about authority. The Means of Grace belong to Christ. He freely gives them to the Church through the OHM. The "authority" of a pastor is not in ordering others around or lording his position over other faithful servants in the church. The only "authority" is the responsibility to preach the Word and administer the Sacraments "as one who must give an account".

Augsburg Confession, Article IV:
"Our churches teach that people cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works. People are freely justified for Christ's sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor and that their sins are forgiven for Christ's sake. By His death, Christ made satisfaction for our sins. God counts this faith for righteousness in His sight. (Romans 3 and 4(3:21-26; 4:5))."

Augsburg Confession, Article V:
"So that we may obtain this faith, the ministry of teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was instituted. Through the Word and Sacraments, as through instruments, the Holy Spirit is given (John 20:22). He works faith, when and where it pleases God (John 3:8), in those who hear the good news that God justifies those who believe that they are received into grace for Christ's sake. This happens not through our own merits, but for Christ's sake.
Our churches condemn the Anabaptists and others who think that through their own preparations and works the Holy Spirit comes to them without the external Word."

Anonymous said...

"The Means of Grace belong to Christ. He freely gives them to the Church through the OHM."

He gives the means of grace to people ONLY through the OHM?

So if I go next door and tell my neighbor about Jesus, is that improper? If my neighbor comes to faith through my message, hasn't Christ worked through the means of grace without a pastor in sight? Are laypeople not allowed to use the means of grace?

Wow.

Anonymous said...

Note that it is the historical Lutheran position of both WELS and LCMS that Article V does NOT refer directly (or exclusively) to the pastoral ministry.

Walther (Church and Ministry, pp. 178-9) notes on Article 5 ("That we may obtain this faith, the ministry of teaching the gospel and administering the sacraments was instituted"):

"This statement, of course, does not speak of the ministry of the Word in concreto or of the pastoral office but only the ministry of the Word in abstracto, of which Ludwig Hartmann, among others, rightly reminds us in his pastoral theology:

"'The ministry of the Word may be treated in two ways: first, in an abstract way when the state or the office itself is being considered, as Art. V of the Augsburg Confession treats it; second, in a concrete way, when the persons are considered who minister in this holy office, as Art. XIV of the Augsburg Confession treats it' (Pastorale evangelicum, 4:25).

"The same truth appears also in Luther's Schwabach Articles, from which Art. V of the Augsburg Confession is taken. This reads: In order that we may obtain such faith or grant it to us men, God has instituted the ministry or the oral Word, namely the Gospel, through which He cause such faith with its power, benefit and fruit to be proclaimed, and through it, as through His means, He also grants faith together with His Holy Spirit how and where He wills. Otherwise there is no method or means, no way or path to obtain faith. For all thoughts, outside and before the oral proclamation, are nothing but lies and falsehoods, no matter how holy or good they seem to be.

"Therefore also the Formula of Concord says 'the ministry of the church, that is the Word, preached and heard' (Art. XII, par. 30) and the Word, whereby we are called, is a ministration of the Spirit' (Art. II, par. 29 Solid Declaration)

"It is important to understand this because those who desire to make the pastoral office a means of grace and coordinate it with the Word and Sacraments as they assert that it is absolutely necessary for anyone to obtain salvation, so that no one without the service of an ordained minister can either come to faith or obtain absolution of his sins. But our church teaches this only of the oral of outward Word in opposition to the inner word and every form of enthusiasm...."

Anonymous said...

He gives the means of grace to people ONLY through the OHM?

"So if I go next door and tell my neighbor about Jesus, is that improper? If my neighbor comes to faith through my message, hasn't Christ worked through the means of grace without a pastor in sight? Are laypeople not allowed to use the means of grace?

Wow."

The "Wow" indicates you already know the answer to this. So what is the answer?

Anonymous said...

"Note that it is the historical Lutheran position of both WELS and LCMS that Article V does NOT refer directly (or exclusively) to the pastoral ministry.

Walther (Church and Ministry, pp. 178-9) notes on Article 5 ("That we may obtain this faith, the ministry of teaching the gospel and administering the sacraments was instituted"): (Long quote follows)"

I don't subscribe unconditionally to Walther.

LM said...

"please reference this so we can be the judge if the pastor is indeed wise."

You folks are so jumpy. But so I don't get accused of being "unethical" again, the quote is taken from an article by a Lutheran pastor. The article can be found at the link below:

http://www.motleymagpie.org/v1n2_a4.htm

Enjoy!

LM

Anonymous said...

The "wow" indicates that I have the same concerns as Walther who wrote:

"It is important to understand this because those who desire to make the pastoral office a means of grace and coordinate it with the Word and Sacraments as they assert that it is absolutely necessary for anyone to obtain salvation, so that no one without the service of an ordained minister can either come to faith or obtain absolution of his sins. But our church teaches this only of the oral of outward Word in opposition to the inner word and every form of enthusiasm."

LM said...

"So does that then mean that the Word and Sacraments, forgiveness, life, and salvation all belong exclusively to the pastorate?"

And I'm accused of being the master word twister?

You're missing the point. Either the Ministry is what AC V says it is, or it is not the ministry, regardless of what form it takes. If you take the Q&A answer re: women communing women to its logical end, women can be pastors as long as they don't exercise authority over a man. That is inconsistent with 1 Tim. 3, Titus 1, and our Lutheran Confessions. How is that not a doctrinal problem?

LM

Anonymous said...

LM,

Is it your belief that AC V speaks directly, specifically, and only of the pastoral ministry?

Pr. K said...

Dear Anonymous,

I didn't write "ONLY through the OHM", did I?

If you'd like to respond to my comments, please do, but don't put words in my mouth.

"So if I go next door and tell my neighbor about Jesus, is that improper? If my neighbor comes to faith through my message, hasn't Christ worked through the means of grace without a pastor in sight? Are laypeople not allowed to use the means of grace?"

First, it's not your message, it's God's message.

Second, all Christians are "little Christs" to their neighbors in the world, and, of course, share the Gospel with those around them. However, John was talking about things that are happening inside the Church.

Third, after speaking with your neighbor, wouldn't you take your neighbor to the Church, where Christ promises to be and to give His gifts in Word and Sacrament?

Fourth, does anyone else find it ironic that someone is appealing to Walther of the LCMS instead of Scripture or the Confessions to talk about a doctrinal issue in the WELS?

Anonymous said...

"However, John was talking about things that are happening inside the Church."

Fine, let's move the scenario to inside the church. Am I allowed to talk to others in my congregation about the Word? Or must the pastor be the only one who speaks the Word to other Christians? Can a layman lead a Bible class? Or must the pastor do all of the teaching?

"after speaking with your neighbor, wouldn't you take your neighbor to the Church, where Christ promises to be and to give His gifts in Word and Sacrament?"

Yes, but I wouldn't stop talking to him about the Word the second he came under pastoral care.

"does anyone else find it ironic that someone is appealing to Walther of the LCMS instead of Scripture or the Confessions to talk about a doctrinal issue in the WELS?"

I think the quotes from Walther had two purposes. First, to demonstrate that highly respected and orthodox church leaders did not interpret AC V in the way that some here do. Second, to demonstrate to those here who hold to a hyper-Missouri position on the OHM that even Walther himself, the father of the Missouri Synod, did not hold the same conviction.

Pr. K said...

Anonymous, you are not getting this. The OHM is all about Christ.

You continue to set up straw men and are arguing against positions that I don't hold.

"Can?"; "Must?"; "Allowed?" You are still trying to make the giving of the Gospel into some kind of law. Please read AC XIV and then Walther in the original German.

Anonymous said...

pr. k.

When I say "can", "must", "allowed", I'm not trying to make the Gospel into a law, I'm trying to point out that your view of ministry forces us to make such laws and ask such questions.

In other words, once we take the gospel away from the priesthood of all believers, then laymen, like myself, are forced to start asking questions about what's left that's allowable for us to do. Mow the lawn and scrub toilets?

I'm the one who wants to put the Gospel of Christ into the hands and mouths of all Christians. You're the one who wants to draw lines around the gospel and confine it to a specific office.

Who's the one being legalistic?

RandomDan said...

I find this whole conversation amusing in my own way. I think this argument proves two things. First, many of us have not read up much on the doctrine of vocation. Secondly, this conversation is continuing evidence in my mind that we are not nearly as Christologially focused as we need to be.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you're so amused randomdan.

I'm also glad that you are so much more well-read and Christologially (sic) focused than the rest of us.

Thanks for stopping by to tell us that.

Pr. K said...

Anonymous,

I have asked you not to put words in my mouth, yet you continue to do so.

You are being legalistic. I'm not giving anyone anything to do because there is nothing "to do". We come to Christ with nothing but our sins. He fills our emptiness with forgiveness, life, and salvation.

I appreciate your zeal. I hope you use it in your vocation as employer/employee, parent, child, and whatever else you may be so that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father who is in heaven. And, yes, I hope you also share your faith, bring your children up in the fear of the Lord, and assist the work of the Church in whatever capacity you are able.

Out of respect for John and the topics he wishes to discuss, this is the last time I will respond to you.

Peace in Christ,
Pr. K

LM said...

"Is it your belief that AC V speaks directly, specifically, and only of the pastoral ministry?"

This is an impossible conversation. It is like we are speaking two different languages. The problem, I fear, is that many in the WELS only know the answers to their own questions. When a different question is asked, you don't know how to respond, so you simply change the question.

Randomdan is right. Pr. K is right. It is all about Christ. Once you understand that, then maybe you will see the point I am trying to make. Reading some of the articles I have refered to may help. Pr. Rolf Preus also has a paper relevant to this topic on his Christforus.org site. I've hijacked John's topic long enough. I wish you all the best.

LM

RandomDan said...

Ahh, I'm glad to see anonymous is so amused by my typing errors. I went to publik skool, yu nnow.

Anonymous, here is a simple challenge for you. Defend WELS's current understanding of the OHM in terms of Christology and the doctrine of vocation. If it is correct, it shouldn't be a problem.

Anonymous said...

randomdan,

This isn't exactly the easiest format in which to post an extended theological treatise. There are many men, much more brilliant than I, who have written papers on just such a thing. Many can be found on the Seminary website.

RandomDan said...

Anonymous,

I know this isn't the place for complicated theological treatise. The answer, however, should not be all that complicated. Two things concern me. First: I cannot find anything written by our scholars on the topic of the OHM and Christology. Maybe there is something out there, but I haven't found it. If you know somewhere to look (and I have looked at the sem website), let me know. Second: I haven't been able to figure it out myself. I am not the brightest person in the world, but I can manage to think my way through problems like this. I don't have an answer yet, and I've thought about this for over a year.

If anybody has found an answer to this question, I would appreciate hearing about it.

Anonymous said...

randomdan,

I'm not sure I understand your question. What exactly haven't you been able to figure out about Christology and OHM?

LM said...

Randomdan,

If I understand you correctly, you probably will not find what you are looking for among "our scholars." However, if I have misunderstood you, and your confusion is more general, below is a link to an article from Logia about the Christological view of the Office:

http://users.aol.com/SemperRef/playing.html

You might find this article from the MM helpful too:

http://www.motleymagpie.org/v2n1_a6.htm

Enjoy,

Jesse

Anonymous said...

From the first article that LM listed:

"The point is that the Word proclaimed by the Pastor is MORE effective than that read by the laity."

I don't think I need to comment on that.

The readers can make up their own minds about a statement like that.

LM said...

Anon (which one?) said:

"'The point is that the Word proclaimed by the Pastor is MORE effective than that read by the laity.'

I don't think I need to comment on that.

The readers can make up their own minds about a statement like that."

Hmm...where is Mr. "quoting w/o providing context is unethical" when I need him. This is the part you left out:

"The lay/Clergy distinction is discernible also in the application of the Word. In Kirche und Amt, C.F.W. Walther quoted Luther on this issue.

'Indeed, many blurt out and say: 'Why do we need more pastors and ministers, since we can read [the Bible] ourselves at home?' So they go their way in carnal security, and do not read it at home. Or even if they do read it at home, it is neither as fruitful nor as effective as the Word is efficacious when it is publicly proclaimed by the mouth of the pastor whom God has called and appointed to preach and teach it to you.[18]'

It is not suggested here that the written Word is without effect. The point is that the Word proclaimed by the Pastor is MORE effective than that read by the laity. How could Luther (with Walther's blessing) make such a contention? This statement is difficult--if not impossible--to explain unless reading words about Jesus is somehow different from hearing words from Jesus.[19] In that case, the Office is once again the difference.[20]"

So...is it Luther that you disagree with? With all due respect, based on what I’ve seen from you thus far, he is a little more credible on this matter.

LM

Anonymous said...

Wait, Luther was infallible?

I never knew that.

LM said...

"Wait, Luther was infallible?"

Please show me where I said Luther was infallible. See, what I really said was, "With all due respect, based on what I’ve seen from you thus far, he is a little more credible on this matter." If that isn't clear, please allow me to restate it again, in different words: When Luther says something, and an anonymous person on a blog disagrees, I am more inclined to side with Luther until that anonymous person explains where Luther was wrong. So, where has Luther been wrong? A numbered list with corresponding citations would probably be the most reader friendly format, but I'll accept your response in paragraph form as well.

Now, as to the Logia article I referred to--I still think it is a fine article in terms of explaining the Christological view of the Office. While I’m not exactly convinced about the words of Jesus/words from Jesus distinction, nor do I think this was necessarily Luther or Walther’s point, the paper stands on its own even without this point. As someone else has pointed out to me, Anon’s dismissal of the essay on this one point is like the Jesuits who were accused of killing three men and a dog and in their defense proudly produced the dog alive. Give the readers some credit. Let them read the article for themselves, rather than dissuading them from reading it by reproducing a single, out of context, non-essential point.

Oh, and I’ll be waiting for that list (or paragraph).

Thanks,

LM

Jack said...

"With all due respect, based on what I’ve seen from you thus far, he is a little more credible on this matter." If that isn't clear, please allow me to restate it again, in different words: When Luther says something, and an anonymous person on a blog disagrees, I am more inclined to side with Luther until that anonymous person explains where Luther was wrong."- LM

I guess one could say the same about "our scholars" in comparison to a semi-anon LM who can't seem to figure out that this isn't Loserquest.

Don't know (and frankly don't care) who you are LM but I can guarantee that far more respected and brilliant men (both clergy and "simple laymen") standing on scripture have disagreed with you.

I don't have a dog in this fight, and I don't like to do a drive by like this but sometimes I must.

Jack Paar

Anonymous said...

You keep quoting Motley Magpie, wasnt that written by 2 FORMER WELS pastors, and 1 almost former WELLS pastor? someone also quoted Rolf Preus, isnt he a former ELS pastor? not sure these are the guys to be quoting about doctrinal issues.

John said...

Could you please suggest an author or article. I'm sure Kelm and Parlow won't be on the list.

LM said...

Jack Paar said:

"Don't know (and frankly don't care) who you are LM but I can guarantee that far more respected and brilliant men (both clergy and "simple laymen") standing on scripture have disagreed with you."

Great! That is what I've been asking for all along. But so far, all I have received are insults to my intelligence/reputation/honesty/ethics, a mouth full of words I never said, and a couple of accusatory/ conclusory statements followed by, "need i say more?" or its equivalent.

Is it too much to ask for someone to address these issues on their merits or support what they say? As those in my profession are fond of saying, “Let the record reflect…” that, well, yes, apparently it is too much to ask.

Sorry for taking up so much space on your blog John. I hope you keep it going.

LM

(Any relation to THE Jack Paar? He was a classy guy.)

Anonymous said...

LM,

Two things:

First, I've directly asked you several questions on this blog that you haven't answered either. So let's not pretend that you're addressing all of these issues head-on while everyone else is dancing around them.

Second, I'm not sure exactly what you want to hear. You obviously have one view and the WELS obviously has another. It's also obvious that you aren't open to the WELS viewpoint or in discussing what they have to say. You only want to talk on your "home turf," if you will. (i.e. You're only willing to discuss these issues as you have framed the questions. See my first point above.) If the WELS teaching and the WELS papers and the WELS scholars aren't good enough for you, fine. Perhaps you should move on (back) to LutherQuest. This blog is meant for discussing issues within the WELS, not for proselytizing WELS members over to your side.

Anonymous said...

LM,

Here's the problem as I see it.

The hyper-Missouri view makes two basic assumptions.

First, they directly link Christ with the Office of the Ministry.

Second, they directly link the Office of the Ministry with the pastoral office.

There are several problems with this.

First, the hyper-Missouri position is based primarily in the Confessions rather than Scripture. That isn't necessarily a problem, except for the fact that the hyper-Missourians have a flawed interpretation of AC V and other parts of the Confessions. I know there have been several scholarly WELS papers on this very issue.

Second, this position leads inevitably to Romanism. If Christ=OHM=pastors, then Christ's power and authority inevitably become the possession of pastors instead of the Church. This leads to things like that Logia article in which the efficacy of the Word and Sacraments are based on the pastoral office.

Third, (related to point 1), there is limited Scriptural support for this position. Virtually all passages quoted by hyper-Missourians are Christ's words to the apostles. They interpret these words to the apostles to be words to pastors instead of words to the Church in general. This is due to the assumption that the pastorate is a direct "descendant" of the apostolic office. They seem to ignore the diversity of ministerial offices in the NT: apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, deacons, deaconesses, etc... One wouldn't expect such a diversity if there was one and only one specific office established by Christ.

In contrast, the WELS position makes these assumptions:

First, they directly link Christ with the Church.

Second, they directly link the Office of the Ministry with the public proclamation of the gospel.

This position is explained much more fully in WELS scholarly writing, so I won't discuss them here.

LM said...

“First, I've directly asked you several questions on this blog that you haven't answered either. So let's not pretend that you're addressing all of these issues head-on while everyone else is dancing around them.”

A couple of points on this: I asked my questions first. My questions were pretty specific. Some of your questions (if you are the anonymous I think you are) were either irrelevant or unclear. As for those that were relevant, either I did answer them or I felt that others adequately answered them for me.

“It's also obvious that you aren't open to the WELS viewpoint or in discussing what they have to say.”

I disagree. That is not obvious because it is not true. I am a member of a congregation that is a member of the WELS. I have attended WELS schools. Many of my best friends are either Clergy or lay persons in the WELS. I am very interested in the WELS viewpoint, but I’m more interested in how the WELS supports it view point.

“If the WELS teaching and the WELS papers and the WELS scholars aren't good enough for you, fine.”

I never said they weren’t good enough for me. I just haven’t seen anything convincing (scripturally and confessionally). I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, I’m just saying I haven’t seen or heard it yet. If you can recommend something, please do.

“Perhaps you should move on (back) to LutherQuest. This blog is meant for discussing issues within the WELS, not for proselytizing WELS members over to your side.”

Since when is exploring a Christological view of the Ministry “proselytizing WELS members over to my side?” I wouldn’t call it “my side” either. Don’t you think saying Women Lectors and Communion assistants are OK is an issue in to some in the WELS? In fact, that is how this all got started. And why would you imply that I am a regular on Lutherquest?

I do appreciate the response.

LM

LM said...

“There are several problems with this.”

Thanks for the detailed response.

A few points though:

“…the hyper-Missourians have a flawed interpretation of AC V and other parts of the Confessions. I know there have been several scholarly WELS papers on this very issue.”

To begin with, I’m not sure what you mean by “hyper-Missourian.” I’ve never been a Missourian, hyper or otherwise. Since you are aware of several scholarly papers on the topic, I won’t ask you anymore about this other than, can you point me towards those articles?

“Second, this position leads inevitably to Romanism.”

Again, I’m not sure that I follow you here. Maybe some of those articles you recommend will help. But along the same lines, it seems that WELS position will inevitably lead to everyone (man and woman) being in the ministry. Do you have reason to believe this is not the case (or at least, that there is nothing wrong with this)?

“Third, (related to point 1), there is limited Scriptural support for this position.”

I'm not sure if the articles I've referred to represent the “hyper-Missourian” view, but I found them well supported. Moreover, this criticism just begs the question. Is there more Scriptural support for the WELS position?

“This position is explained much more fully in WELS scholarly writing, so I won't discuss them here. “

That’s fine, but can you point me to these articles then?

LM

John said...

I found a WELS scholarly article that I would like to point you to that deals with the very focus of this discussion. I don’t know what synod LM belongs to but he has stood on a very valid point that the position of the WELS and the OHM has shifted. Here is the scholarly article from the WELS seminary library by Pr. M. Bartling.

http://www.wlsessays.net/authors/B/bindex.html

entitled: A Study Of Article V Of The Unaltered Augsburg Confession, 1530

Here is a quote from the WELS pastor page 5:

“Article V teaches that the Gospel and the Sacraments are to be administered through the preaching office that God instituted.
… Article V, therefore, teaches that the ministry is both a function and an office. It is an office instituted by God for the purpose or function of "teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments."
Luther in his "Confession Concerning Christ's Supper, 1528," states: All those who are found in the pastoral office or ministry of the Word, are in a holy, true, good, God-pleasing order and estate, since in it they preach and administer the sacraments, oversee the treasury, the sextons, and messengers or servants. This is nothing else than a holy work before God. 20”

The WELS pastor goes on to say:

“God has ordained or instituted a specific office in His church. This office we call today the pastoral office of Word and Sacrament.”

Again this is from the WLS online library. I would suggest that mr. anonymous read this and then refute this position.

Anonymous said...

John,

That paper by Bartling makes the same assumptions explained by anonymous above. If you look at his footnotes, you'll see he got his stuff in the same places as Logia and MM.

In contrast I suggest you look at several papers by Dr. Brug at the same site:

http://www.wlsessays.net/authors/B/bindex.html

They are entitled:

Current Debate Concerning the Doctrine of the Ministry

Doctrinal Brief: "Forms Of Ministry"

The Meaning of Predigtamt in Augsburg Confession V

The Ministry: By Christ through the Church - Current Discussion concerning the Doctrine of the Ministry

The Ministry of the Apostles and Our Ministry

The Priesthood of all Believers and the Ministry

Those papers should give you a pretty thorough explanation of the WELS position.

John said...

Anonymous,

Your post makes the point I stated before. That there are 2 views of the OHM and the WELS accepts both.

If the WELS were to believe that Pr. Bartling's paper is wrong I don't think that his paper would be on the seminary site.

Anonymous said...

"Your post makes the point I stated before. That there are 2 views of the OHM and the WELS accepts both.

If the WELS were to believe that Pr. Bartling's paper is wrong I don't think that his paper would be on the seminary site."

I'm not so sure we can go that far. I doubt that either of us knows what the process is for things to be posted on the seminary site. For all we know some random seminary student could have put it up. I don't think that the essays on the seminary site are to be considered official doctrinal statements. In fact, one of Dr. Brug's papers deals with the official WELS statement on this matter. Perhaps that's a better place to deduce the official WELS position.

Anonymous said...

"For all we know some random seminary student could have put it up."

Really??? C'mon. Ya think they let the inmates run the asylum up in Mequon?


"I don't think that the essays on the seminary site are to be considered official doctrinal statements. In fact, one of Dr. Brug's papers deals with the official WELS statement on this matter. Perhaps that's a better place to deduce the official WELS position."

So....Brug is the norm for doctrine. Bartling is not. Got it.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

"Really??? C'mon. Ya think they let the inmates run the asylum up in Mequon?"

I won't even address the ridiculous, outrageous, and offensive comparison between our dedicated theological students and mentally-challenged people. But I will point out that the one time I visited the seminary, students were staffing the library. Are they the ones who also post essays? It's possible.

"So....Brug is the norm for doctrine. Bartling is not. Got it."

Did you even read what I wrote? I said that we should determine WELS official doctrine based on the official WELS doctrinal statements (which are discussed in a paper by Brug). I didn't say that his papers themselves determine official doctrine.

Pay attention.