Friday, October 26, 2007

AZ/CA Fall 2007 report: - DP Janke

"I attended the ELS-WELS Forum on September 28 as the COP’s representative. The main subject of the forum was “Women Communing Women.” Concerns about this practice arose in both the WELS and the ELS after one WELS congregation called MLC female staff ministry interns to administer communion to female shut-ins. After review of the practice by the COP, the congregation was asked not to continue having women commune women. The congregation complied with the request. The COP conceded in its January 2005 statement on this issue that the Bible doesn’t specifically address this matter, but concluded that for numerous reasons it was not wise to continue having women commune women.

It’s apparent now that the COP’s call to refrain because the practice is “not wise” is not as strong a statement as some in the Evangelical Lutheran Synod were hoping to hear. According the 2006 ELS Synod Report, the ELS has urged its Doctrine Committee, “To continue its discussions with the CICR on the matter of women communing women noting that we unanimously agree that Scripture clearly teaches that women are not to be in the pastoral office, because this presiding office includes the exercise of authority over men (1 Cor. 14:34-35, 1 Tim. 2:11-12). Also, when Scripture refers to one who officiates at the word and sacrament liturgy it speaks in male terms (1 Tim. 3:2, 1 Tim. 4:13). Therefore women shall not read the Scripture lessons in the divine service, preach the sermon, administer Baptism or distribute the Lord’s Supper, for these things are intimately related to the pastoral office.” (Underlining mine) WELS, through its Commission on Inter-Church Relations, clearly needs to continue talking with our brothers in the ELS on this matter, but I hope it’s also clear that we in the WELS—even if there were no concerns from the ELS—are not in a position to have women read Scripture lessons in worship or to have women commune women."

123 comments:

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the idea that only a pastor can perform the Sacraments. I generally feel that it is wise to have pastors perform the Sacraments for the sake of good order, but not as an exclusive rule.

As for women communing women..I don't see how that is sinful.

LM said...

"I disagree with the idea that only a pastor can perform the Sacraments....As for women communing women…I don't see how that is sinful."

I don't know if you are Lutheran, but Lutheran's confess that when the ministers "offer the Word of God, when they offer the Sacraments, they offer them in the stead and place of Christ."

Can a woman stand in the stead and place of Christ? (If you correctly believe that Christ is the Son of God and Bride Groom to his Bride, the Church, the answer is obvious.) Some try to contravene this reality (which is also expressed in the Pauline prohibitions) by separating the duties of the Holy Ministry from the Office. Sadly, this was the tactic employed by the WELS Q&A answer person when, in a response to a question about women communion assistants, he (or she) said: "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."

In other words, if our only guide is an arbitrary rule that women can't be pastors, then, even if they do the same things as pastors, as long as we don't call them pastors, those arbitrary rules don't apply, and certainly, women can commune other women.

That seems to be your approach as well.

LM

Anonymous said...

But LM, how far do we take that line of thinking? If pastors are to stand in the stead of Christ, shouldn't pastors be Jewish since Jesus was Jewish? How many of Christ's natural attributes and characteristics must one possess to stand in the stead of Christ? Could a eunuch be a pastor? What in the Bible or the Confessions dictates that standing in Christ's stead refers specifically to his "male-ness"?

UP said...

"If pastors are to stand in the stead of Christ, shouldn't pastors be Jewish since Jesus was Jewish?"

As recorded in the NT, Timothy was half-Greek, so no.

"What in the Bible or the Confessions dictates that standing in Christ's stead refers specifically to his "male-ness"?"

The apostles were all male. Scripture relates the imagery of Bridegroom and Bride to Christ and the church on many occasions. The prohibitions on women being pastors are specific to gender. The Bible doesn't say that pastors cannot be Greeks, Jews, or any other specific nationality.

Anonymous said...

up,

Your arguments only work if you can clearly show that the positions of apostle, bishop, overseer, deacon, and elder all are speaking directly and only of what we know as the pastoral ministry. If you can't do that (and there's really no way that it can be done) then we can't directly apply those descriptive passages directly to the pastoral ministry.

And your Timothy argument shows the foolishness of basing doctrine on descriptive passages. All that it really shows us is that pastors have to be Jewish or half-Greek.

Anonymous said...

I am Lutheran and I understand what you said, I just don't agree with that train of thought and not all Lutherans believe that--both in the WELS and LCMS.

Of course with all things, I would need proof from Scripture in how this all relates to the Sacraments...so if you have any to offer, I'd listen....

Anonymous said...

Anonymous poster at 7:37pm,

Please, which train of thought do you not agree with? There are a couple different positions here and I would just like to know which you do not agree with.

Thanks for the clarification!

RNN

UP said...

"If you can't do that (and there's really no way that it can be done)"

In the NT, Christ establishes the office of apostle by naming them apostles separate from the other disciples (Luke 6) and sends them out to carry on His office. Again, in John 20, Jesus sends them out just as He was sent. Luther, in preaching on this, explains it as if Jesus said:

"For this reason I have been sent. Just as I preached, I now entrust that Office to you. My office is completed and just as I preached, so you are to preach." WA 34:319

The apostles in turn entrust this office to other men, such as Timothy and Titus, and give them the PRESCRIPTIVE passage to entrust this to still other men, Titus 1. This shows that these are all part of the one office instituted by Christ.

"And your Timothy argument shows the foolishness of basing doctrine on descriptive passages. All that it really shows us is that pastors have to be Jewish or half-Greek."

Foolishness? Interesting. From the WELS doctrinal theses on church and ministry:"C. From the beginning of the Church there were men especially appointed to discharge publicly (in behalf of a group of Christians) the duties of this one ministry. Ac 13:1-3; 6:1-6." The passages in Acts 13 DESCRIBE Barnabas and Saul being sent off to do mission work. It does not PRESCRIBE further action for the NT church. Likewise, the pasages from Acts 6 DESCRIBE the choosing of the diaconate, and do not PRESCRIBE future actions for the church. Nowhere do these passages say that we should go and do likewise. Besides, if we limit doctrine to PRESCRIPTIVE passages, we have no doctrine of the person of Christ, unless you can show me a PRESCRIPTIVE passage that speaks of Christ's humanity.

UP

Anonymous said...

Oh, sorry...LM's pov. I felt it was a bit narrow.

Anonymous said...

"In the NT, Christ establishes the office of apostle by naming them apostles separate from the other disciples (Luke 6) and sends them out to carry on His office."

But that doesn't show that the apostolic office is directly connected to the modern pastoral office. In fact, Paul on several occasions rejected the idea that there could be other apostles, claiming that the apostolic office was limited to him and the 12, refuting other who claimed the same authority. And following the apostles own criteria, one of the qualifications of an apostle was the eyewitness of the risen Christ. Today's pastors can't claim to meet that criterion.

And besides, if you want to promote the idea of apostolic succession, then every pastor in the WELS and LCMS is not a legitimate pastor and should be removed immediately.

"This shows that these are all part of the one office instituted by Christ."

If there is just one office instituted by Christ--the apostolic pastorate--then why does the NT talk about deacons and deaconesses and bishops and overseers and elders? Perhaps such variety in the NT church hints at the idea that there is one ministry that takes different forms, no?

"Nowhere do these passages say that we should go and do likewise."

You're right, but the WELS statement you quoted doesn't claim that either. Those descriptive passages are quoted to back up a point that describes what happened. That's perfectly legitimate.

"Besides, if we limit doctrine to PRESCRIPTIVE passages, we have no doctrine of the person of Christ, unless you can show me a PRESCRIPTIVE passage that speaks of Christ's humanity."

Ever read 1 Timothy 2:5? It doesn't just describe Jesus' human characteristics or actions, it actually prescribes that he is man and calls him man.

UP said...

"But that doesn't show that the apostolic office is directly connected to the modern pastoral office"

Let's see, the apostles were sent to preach, forgive sins, baptize....nah, no connection whatsoever!

"apostolic succession," Not what I wrote. Please do read carefully!


"If there is just one office instituted by Christ--the apostolic pastorate--then why does the NT talk about deacons and deaconesses and bishops and overseers and elders?"

(sigh) The deacons and deaconesses assisted the apostles by providing for the temporal needs of the believers because in the apostles' words, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables." Acts 6:2 By the way, bishop, elder, and overseer all mean the same thing.


"You're right, but the WELS statement you quoted doesn't claim that either. Those descriptive passages are quoted to back up a point that describes what happened. That's perfectly legitimate."

So, you can't use descriptive passages as a basis for doctrine (in fact I believe you called it foolish), except for those times when you can. Makes perfect sense to me! Talk about foolishness!


"Ever read 1 Timothy 2:5? It doesn't just describe Jesus' human characteristics or actions, it actually prescribes that he is man and calls him man."

C'mon now! Have you been hitting the sauce?! What does prescribe mean to you?

1 Timothy 2:5 "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus"

I'd say that DESCRIBES Christ pretty well. :)

UP

Anonymous said...

Was not the Great Commission to preach, teach and baptize given to all people or just a few??

Anonymous said...

Anonymous writes,

"Was not the Great Commission to preach, teach and baptize given to all people or just a few??"

Eleven.

A WELS teacher said...

"Eleven"

From the WELS doctrinal thesis part IV number 7

7. We believe that every Christian is a priest before God (1 Peter 2:9). All believers have direct and equal access to the throne of grace through Christ, the mediator (Ephesians 2:17,18). God has given the means of grace to all believers. All Christians are to declare the praises of him who called them out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9). In this sense all Christians are ministers, or servants, of the gospel. God wants all Christians to share the message of salvation with other people (Matthew 28:19,20; 10:32).

Anonymous said...

Dear a wels teacher,

I'm not sure why you quote that wels statment. When the person asked how many people were commissioned I assumed he/she was paraphrasing Matthew 28:19 (which is commonly called the "Great Commission") and there Jesus commissioned the Eleven. That would be in verse 16 of chapter 28.

And now the Office of the Ministry proceeds from that call of the apostles when qualifed men with a call authoritatively preach, teach, baptize, commune and absolve or retain sins.

Are all wels people authoritatively preaching, teaching, baptizing and communing? (I don't know, I'm just asking). I'm not talking about giving an answer for the hope you have.

The Beezer

A WELS teacher said...

"Breezer"

I quoted the WELS doctrinal statement to show that Matt. 28:19 was given to the 11 and to us. Don't you believe that the Great Commission was given to all believers? We should all be equipped to give a clear, answer for the hope that we have in Christ. Shouldn't we all teach and give a witness of our faith, especially to the unbelieving world? (I don't know, I'm just asking) :)

The command in Matt. 28:19-20 the office, the ministry of the keys, has been given to the Church, the believers. Not only to 11!

Does OHM come from Christ or the Church?

A WELS teacher (called by the Church and Christ)

Anonymous said...

"If there is just one office instituted by Christ--the apostolic pastorate--then why does the NT talk about deacons and deaconesses and bishops and overseers and elders? Perhaps such variety in the NT church hints at the idea that there is one ministry that takes different forms, no?"

In short, no. If we follow this line of thinking and look at all the names, it seems that there are many different ministries described in the New Testament. How is it that the WELS then teaches there is only one ministry? And where does this word "forms" come from? What clear passage tells us that there is one ministry in different forms?

The better approach is to start with the words of Jesus. He calls his apostles and sends them out to preach, to teach, to baptize, to absolve, to commune. This is the authority of the church, given to the bishops. (See Article 28 of the Augsburg Confession.) For the apostles entrusted these things to the elders who followed them.

And no, obviously this next generation and the one following it were not apostles. But they were given the same office because the same work of carrying out Christ's office was entrusted to them. All in the office possess the full authority of that office; where they exercise that authority is determined by their call. (See Augsburg 28 again.)

Hence the different titles for those given different exercise of the office: elders in Scripture were stationary, given the exercise of the office in one place. The apostles were missionaries, charged to exercise the one office to the ends of the earth.

If we start with Jesus' words, taken in their context at the end of each Gospel, the one office is clearly instituted by Christ. If we start elsewhere, confusion reigns and we end up with a multitude of ministries.

RNN

Anonymous said...

Wow, if some people on this board don't believe that Great Commission applies to all Christians, I'm not sure that any future discussion would even be possible. That's exactly the type of thinking that Luther fought so strenuously against in the Babylonian Captivity of the Church. It seems that some here want to go back into captivity to the clergy.

Anonymous said...

If my memory serves me right, I recall reading somewhere that the phrase "Great Commission" came from the Baptist denomination.

A pastor I know told me he saw the above statement in the St. Louis or Fort Wayne seminary theological journal a number of years ago. Then again, that's the Missouri Synod.

I know of no pastor who wants to revert the Lutheran church into a clergy dominated dictatorship. Pastors are in the priesthood of the baptized too, aren't they?

RMC

Anonymous said...

To A Wels Teacher,

No, really, read the text and read what I wrote. To whom was Jesus speaking in Matthew 28:19-20? Please answer that question. (Hint: Read the context.)

Next you imply that I said that the keys have been given only to the Eleven. I didn't say that. I said what the Scriptures say, Jesus was speaking to the Eleven in Matthew 28. Now to the question of the keys (which was not asked.) The keys are the possession of the church given by Christ. In Matthew 28 the apostles are once again being called into the authoritative office in which they shall authoritatively use the keys in service of the church. I said that latter truth when I wrote,

"And now the Office of the Ministry proceeds from that call of the apostles when qualified men with a call authoritatively preach, teach, baptize, commune and absolve or retain sins."

Could you please answer this question, do you believe that?

I also asked:

"Are all wels people authoritatively preaching, teaching, baptizing and communing?"

Could you please answer that?

You ask, and I shall answer;

"Does OHM come from Christ or the Church?"

Now first of all, before I answer I think you are setting up a false antithesis, "Christ or the Church." But I will still answer, the answer is from Christ, for all things come from him. Correct?

Now, the OHM comes from Christ, and Christ has given the church OHM and Christ calls qualified men from the Church through the church to serve the church, that is, to preach, teach, baptize, commune and absolve or retain sins.


To Anoymous "Wow"

To whom was Jesus speaking in the so-called Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20? Could you please answer that question. (Hint: Read the context.)

Also please read what I wrote to "A wels teacher." And show me from anything that I wrote that that is the thinking that Luther fought against in his Babylonian Captivity of the Church. Specifically this,

"And now the Office of the Ministry proceeds from that call of the apostles when qualified men with a call authoritatively preach, teach, baptize, commune and absolve or retain sins."

Do you agree with that?

And please - you must - answer this question. "Are all wels people authoritatively preaching, teaching, baptizing and communing?"

The Beez

A WELS teacher said...

"Beez" -

"Please answer that question. (Hint: Read the context.)"

Christ was speaking to the eleven in the moment and to all Christians in the context of all Scripture being useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training....

"Are all wels people authoritatively preaching, teaching, baptizing and communing?"

Here is my answer..all WELS people may individually witness or as you say preach, teach, and baptize (in cases of extreme emergencies.)God gave all Christians the keys.

Christians are doing this preaching and teaching as a personal witness not in the stead of the pastor of the church. They are not doing so in the public ministry. We call our pastors to do these things on our behalf.

A WELS teacher (divinely Called)

Anonymous said...

To A wels teacher.

Be careful there, you said,

"Christ was speaking to the eleven in the moment and to all Christians in the context of all Scripture being useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training...."

Indeed, all Scripture is useful for these things. But we must consider the context to see whether a command is given to me. So, "Sell what you have and give to the poor." OK? With your logic Christ’s words to this young man apply to all Christians. I trust that example will suffice. The context tells us Christ was speaking to the Eleven, a term used to describe the called Disciples/Apostles/less Judas, not everyone.

Also I did not quite say as you said I said. You wrote paraphrasing me, "as you say preach, teach and baptize…"

That is not quite accurate, what I said was "authoritatively preach, teach, baptize, commune and absolve or retain sins." Now, you say all wels members may "preach, teach and baptize" and you quality baptizing by saying "in cases of extreme emergencies." Where do you find that qualifier in Matthew 28 which you say authorizes every wels member to do so? Also, you did not address the issue of communing. Do all wels members have the call to commune others and if you believe they don't, where do you find that qualifier in Scripture? And are all wels members doing so? (I fear to ask.)

You write

"Christians are doing this preaching and teaching as a personal witness not in the stead of the pastor of the church. They are not doing so in the public ministry. We call our pastors to do these things on our behalf."

Forgive me, but it seems that you contradict yourself. Correct me if I am wrong. Wels members may preach, teach, baptize and commune, but not in the public ministry. Then you say, "we call our pastors to do these things on our behalf." So who does them? (Before you object, I believe as I said, all believers are to be ready to give answer for the hope they have, witness, if you will, but not all may authoritatively preach, teach etc.)

And, if you would be so kind, is there any essential difference, as you see it, between this "personal witness" (of preaching, teaching, baptizing, communing, absolving and retaining and a "public" doing of the same? I assume you would say in the first case the person does it by his own authority given by Christ (Matthew 28) and the pastor only does it by the authority given him by the church. Correct me if I am wrong. I am asking how you define "public" and where do you find that definition in Scripture.

And would you agree that no layman may publicly teach or administer the Sacraments unless he is ritely called?

Also, if you would be so kind, please answer the one question I asked that you did not answer,

"And now the Office of the Ministry proceeds from that call of the apostles when qualified men with a call authoritatively preach, teach, baptize, commune and absolve or retain sins."

Do you believe that?

The Beez

Anonymous said...

The Beez,

Reading your comments here is much like reading a teen-agers forensics homework. Let me explain...

1. Your comments are riddled with grammatical, spelling, and capitalization errors.

2. You engage in a tactic we called "framing the question" back in high school forensics. You form questions in a way that will be beneficial to your point. You then repeatedly ask these questions and then demand answers, claiming that anyone who doesn't answer your questions, as you framed them, has no argument, thus causing you to win the debate by default. Back in high school, my forensics teacher told us not to bother answering such "framed" questions.

3. You also are trying to set a trap. You quote things out of context from the Confessions without citing your source. Your hope is that someone will bite and disagree with such a statement so that you can accuse them of being anti-Confessional. Fortunately no one has bitten and been suckered into your trap.

I'm convinced by your words and your disingenuous tactics that you aren't here to discuss these issues with an open mind. You're here to deceive people and make them and their synod look foolish.

I would suggest that everyone ignore The Beez from this point forward. Nothing good comes from debating with such people.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous,

To your point 1.
Guilty. but can”t Even us stewpid grammikally,; challunged dopes be ansered?

To your point 2.
Have you been drinking the Kool-Aid? Yes, I form questions that will illustrate how wrong some are and how right I am. Anything wrong with that?

You write
"You then repeatedly ask these questions and then demand answers, claiming that anyone who doesn't answer your questions, as you framed them, has no argument, thus causing you to win the debate by default.."

Let's see, I answer every question, even those "framed" in your words, by others. And I ask questions which I thought would be able to be answered. I guess not. If the question is illegitimate or flawed or "framed," then you can - since you are such a whiz at this - show how they are illegitimate or flawed, you know, as I did with one of "a wels teacher’s" questions. And please show me my "claim." Yes, I haven't proclaimed victory (yet), but when someone, well, like, you is unable to answer the questions I posed or is able to correct or show my false assumptions, then I guess the victory is mine by default. Yeah! I win!

In forensics class I learned that this tactic which you are using is called the "I am going to take my ball and go home" gambit.

To your point 3.
Bingo. I do set traps. I quote nothing out of context. The context in question is the subject at hand, the manner in which some have stated their viewpoints and the point I am making in question. So please, dear anonymous, show me where what I have written is taken out of context. Such a facile thing to say that I do without showing it, dear anonymous.

And yes, this is the tactic - it is a part of debate, by the way, perhaps you missed that in high school forensics class - by which I have shown that wels people disagree with the Lutheran confessions. So, please, show me where I have done as you charge.

Anonymous, what are you afraid of, oh, I’m sorry, of what are you afraid? Answering a simple question like, to whom was Christ speaking in Matthew 28:19-20? Or, do you agree with this statement

"And now the Office of the Ministry proceeds from that call of the apostles when qualified men with a call authoritatively preach, teach, baptize, commune and absolve or retain sins"

which I contend is the proper application of the Matthew 28 text?

Now my point 1.
This post, which I trust is not indicative of how most wels people operate, shows how totally incapable some are of debating theology and answering questions, and to resort to the only tactic left, to use the ad hominem, something this Anonymous learned quite well, in high school no doubt.

The Beez,
as cool as a midsummer’s night…

Anonymous said...

Oh, I forgot,Hi, Jennifer!

The Beez

LM said...

Anon (not sure if there is more than one here),

Please excuse my poor grammar. I think the Beez, UP, RNN, and RNC have answered all the questions you posed to me, to my satisfaction (and a “thank you” to them, I had not checked in since leaving my last comment). If you disagree, please let me know.

Oh, and I also think you are being a jerk to the Beeze--in particular, when you say:

"You quote things out of context from the Confessions without citing your source. Your hope is that someone will bite and disagree with such a statement so that you can accuse them of being anti-Confessional."

How can you know that his "hope" is to trick these poor Lutherans that aren't familiar with their own publicly confessed beliefs? Unless he told you that, your tirade is just a speculative judgment that diverts from the substantive issues (and yes, I know I’m taking the bait—but I intend this to be the last I say about it).

Did your high school forensics training familiarize you with the ad hominem attack? How good or bad a person the Beez may be really has nothing to do with the merits of his argument--and to those who spot it, it only weakens yours.

LM

A WELS teacher said...

The Beez,

I don’t mind taking the bait and attempting to answer. Although your post is filled with numerous questions, I will start with this one.

And would you agree that no layman may publicly teach or administer the Sacraments unless he is ritely called?

1) Yes I agree. But how do you define ritely called?

Next,

And, if you would be so kind, is there any essential difference, as you see it, between this "personal witness" (of preaching, teaching, baptizing, communing, absolving and retaining and a "public" doing of the same? I assume you would say in the first case the person does it by his own authority given by Christ (Matthew 28) and the pastor only does it by the authority given him by the church. Correct me if I am wrong. I am asking how you define "public" and where do you find that definition in Scripture.

1) The New Testament does not define any particular form for church and ministry but does say,

"It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service.."

In other words, God is the one who established the office of the holy ministry in all its various forms, the two most common ones today being pastor and teacher. The public ministry is a full-time vocation in service to God. "1 Tim. 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine."

Next,

"And now the Office of the Ministry proceeds from that call of the apostles when qualified men with a call authoritatively preach, teach, baptize, commune and absolve or retain sins."

Do you believe that?


1) Yes. The office of the ministry proceeds from the call and now this command is carried out by the congregation.


Beez – how do you define from Scripture ritely called?

And what is the Scriptural definition of Church?

A ritely called WELS teacher

Anonymous said...

"It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service.."

Go to the Greek. That's a terrible translation. Not even close to the original meaning.

Anonymous said...

OK, beez, here are some questions for you to answer...

1. A pastor proclaims the Word for 20 minutes in a pulpit. A teacher proclaims the Word for 20 minutes in a classroom. What's the difference? Are both in the OHM, or only the pastor? If only the pastor, then why?

2. If a congregation asks a layman (for whatever reason) to preside at Holy Communion, are the body and the blood present? If so, does the congregation receive the body and blood to their benefit?

3. If the office of deacon was established purely as a service office, then why was Stephen stoned for publicly proclaiming the Word? Was Stephen sinning by taking the OHM upon himself? Or was he already part of the OHM? If deacons were part of the OHM, then how can it be argued that the OHM can only take on one form? If Stephen, the deacon, was in the OHM, then weren't deaconesses also in the OHM?

4. After a seminary student graduates from the seminary, when does he become a pastor? When he receives a call to a congregation or when he is ordained?

5. Does "standing in the stead of Christ" refer specifically to Christ's maleness? If so, may eunuchs be pastors? Why or why not? Why does "standing in the stead of Christ" not also refer specifically to his Jewishness?

6. If the gender relationship between the OHM and the church represents the gender relationship between Christ and his bride to the point that a woman in the OHM is equated with "ecclesiastical lesbianism", then does a male pastor ministering to other men represent ecclesiastical homosexuality? If not, then why not? In other words, when the Bible refers to the Church as the bride of Christ, doesn't it thus refer to men in the Church in female terms? Doesn't this indicate that the specific genders of the two parties aren't so much in the picture as much as the more generic picture of a close relationship?

I have more, but that should be enough for now.

Anonymous said...

"Go to the Greek. That's a terrible translation. Not even close to the original meaning."

That's very true. The translation really should be something like: "...some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, some to be pastor-teachers..."

Yet the construction still tells us that there is a multiplicity of forms/positions within the OHM. The "some...some...some..." indicates that these can't all be different titles for the same thing.

Anonymous at 3:29 asks some intriguing questions. I'm looking forward to hearing the answers.

Anonymous said...

A quick note. I just watched Michigan kick, I mean kick Minnesota and finished my execise and I am now headed to a Halloween party, but I see that I have two posts to respond to. So depending on how much I drink tonight I will respond later tonight or tomorrow night (two masses during the day).

And moderator John - From now on could you ask that every "Anoymous" give himself a pseudonym. It is difficult to know to whom you are responding and in my case this is important. In fact I demand this!(I'm stomping my foot as I write this.) It would be helpful.

As ever,
The Beez

Anonymous said...

"...depending on how much I drink tonight..."

"...two masses during the day..."

Does anybody else sense any problems with these two statements?

John said...

from now on could you ask that every "Anoymous" give himself a pseudonym. It is difficult to know to whom you are responding and in my case this is important.

Beez has a very valid point that has been made before. Please post under some name (pseudonym). This does help the flow of the conversations and questions.

Thank you to LM, RNN, UP, A WELS Teacher, and others that are doing this. Beez thanks for the suggestion, but remember to go easy on the pumpkin ale.

Anonymous said...

On Ephesians 4: a better translation yet is: He gave apostles, prophets, pastors-teachers. Even if you leave the "some-to-be's" in there, it is Christ who gave the men to be these. Sounds to me like Christ put them into these offices; he did not just give ministers and instruct their congregations to create the forms they would take. Rather, he gives men to fill the NT office of authoritatively preaching and administering the sacraments. But again, the best place to start is not with Paul, but with Jesus' office and his words within the context of each gospel.

As for Matthew 28, every Lutheran from Luther to the twentieth century saw verses 19 and 20 as the institution of the ministry. For example, see Martin Chemnitz (Enhchiridion) or CFW Walther (Kirche und Amt) or find a Luther sermon on the text. So, apparently they are not welcome on this blog either. I don't think you'll get an argument from them, but you may get objections from those who follow in their footsteps. None of them ever heard the term "Great Commission" applied to these verses.

RNN

Anonymous said...

"Sounds to me like Christ put them into these offices;"

Of course! No one is denying that Christ puts people into ministerial offices. But notice that even you used the plural "offices". No matter how you translate it, there are obviously several offices/positions under the umbrella of ministry.

"he did not just give ministers and instruct their congregations to create the forms they would take."

Who created the office of deacon--Christ or the Church? (Answer: the Church)

"Rather, he gives men to fill the NT office of authoritatively preaching and administering the sacraments."

Agreed, but as you even showed through your previous plural "offices", this preaching office can take various forms. Just look at the Apostle Paul. He wasn't the pastor of a local congregation. He made a point of not administering the sacrament of baptism. It would be a stretch to equate his form of ministry with the parish pastor.

"As for Matthew 28, every Lutheran from Luther to the twentieth century saw verses 19 and 20 as the institution of the ministry."

Ultimately, whether you apply Matthew 28 narrowly to the apostles or broadly to the Church really makes no difference. If applied narrowly, all you have done is shown that Christ established the apostolate. No one denies that. But you haven't shown how the pastorate is the one and only "descendant" of the apostolate. If that were the case, then the apostles sinned by establishing the deaconate, and/or Stephen sinned by usurping some of the responsibilities given only to the apostolate.

Pseudonym

Anonymous said...

Dear A wels teacher,

The Beez here.

Thank you for your kind response.

In answer to my question

"And would you agree that no layman may publicly teach or administer the Sacraments unless he is ritely called?"

You answered, "Yes I agree. But how do you define ritely called?"

I will answer your question shortly. But what you haven't done, perhaps inadvertently, (and with all the posts working at different issues it is easy to see why) is to answer the questions which led to that one. That is, to whom was Christ speaking in Matthew 28 and the attendant questions about whether all members may preach, teach, baptize, commune, absolve and retain sins. You qualified a layman's right to baptize by saying only in extreme emergencies. And you did not answer the question as to whether wels members may celebrate the sacrament. You did not answer the question as to where in Scripture do you find those qualifiers in regards to laymen. I tried to show you that with your understanding of Matthew 28 you can find none.

Now you maintained the right of members to authoritatively preach and teach (which implies you are assuming a master role with that person) and yet you flinched when it came to baptism and you didn't come close to the celebration of the Sacrament. I believe you sensed you could not go that far, but your understanding of Matthew 28 forces you to that conclusion, which I tried to get you to see. And I think I did as seen by your not answering those questions, correct me if I am wrong. When the question was framed as it was above, I assume you knew that this was Augustana XIV and so you said "yes, I agree." But you do not agree with yourself because you earlier maintained that a layman may do so without a call by your interpretation of Matthew 28.

The solution to your dilemma is found in the possession of the keys (all Christians) and the authorized use of the keys (those ritely called). There is a difference between taking on a student as a master (preaching and teaching) and giving a summary of your faith to those who ask you for an answer for the hope you have. (Chemnitz has a nice section on that in his Enchiridion, part 1, number 10).

You kindly answered my question

"is there any essential difference, as you see it, between this "personal witness" (of preaching, teaching, baptizing, communing, absolving and retaining) and a "public" doing of the same?”

by saying

"The New Testament does not define any particular form for church and ministry but does say, 'It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service.'"

I am not sure you understood my question and that may be due to the question. What I was getting at is what I said earlier in my "solution to your dilemma." Now in one aspect, the most important one, there is no essential difference, for the Gospel spoken by the lowly wels teacher is no more powerful than that spoken by the lowly wels student or by the lowly wels pastor. The difference lies in whether one can assume the duties of authoritatively teaching and preaching, assuming the master role and the responsibility for souls or not. That is where I believe you, and you have good company in the wels, see no difference and you maintain that the layman may do that (authoritatively teach, preach, baptize, commune) "privately" but not "publicly" which is a misunderstanding of the use of the word publice in the confessions. It results in a de facto denial of Augustana XIV, i.e. a layman may authoritatively preach and teach and administer the sacraments privately, but not publicly. So I asked you, may a layman baptize and commune. Some wels people say they can and deny AC XIV, others flinch and do not answer knowing, perhaps, their answer will set them at odds with AC XIV. (The private vs. public administration of the keys distinction of the wels, by the way, is not found in the Confessions.)

However, if you did understand my question as framed and thus your answer is that the difference lies in the "form" of the ministry, then I must ask, are you saying that a layman authoritatively preaching, teaching, baptizing, communing etc is just one form and a pastor doing so is another form? If so, you run into the AC XIV road block again.

Anyway, this whole "form" thing is a bunch of hooey. There is only one "form," if you will, the office of preaching the Gospel and administering the sacraments (AC V). The wels' statements on the ministry err in this regard by saying that table waiting is a "form" of the ministry. (This error is abetted by a faulty understanding of 1 Tim. 5:17 which ironically you quoted.)

Finally you answered this question of mine

"And now the Office of the Ministry proceeds from that call of the apostles when qualified men with a call authoritatively preach, teach, baptize, commune and absolve or retain sins. Do you believe that?"

by saying

"Yes. The office of the ministry proceeds from the call and now this command is carried out by the congregation."

However, I don't think you answered my question. My question was whether the OHM "proceeds from that call of the apostles" and you paraphrased it "proceeds from the call." The referent for "that call" was the call in Matthew 28 (and though I did not state it, as it wasn’t under discussion, that is the call of John 20, which I believe the Lord was reminding his apostles of in Matthew 28, as the participle translated "Go" in Matthew 28 may just as well be translated as a participle, "having gone" i.e. you were already sent in John 20.)

My question was "do you believe that the office of the ministry proceeds from THAT call of the Apostles?" which is a different question as to whether one needs a call to be in the OHM.

Now way back to your first question, you ask how do I define "ritely" called. Rite, according to the rite, examination, call and placement. To use Reaganomic mathematics those are the three sides to the coin.

And finally you ask

"And what is the Scriptural definition of Church?"

Easy, so easy a seven year old can answer it, the holy believers and lambs who listen to their Shepherd (pastor).

Think Green.

The Beez

PS Dear Moderator, Pumpkin ale!? Cabernet.

A WELS teacher said...

Beez,

.."to whom was Christ speaking in Matthew 28 and the attendant questions about whether all members may preach, teach, baptize, commune, absolve and retain sins."

I guess I did miss that. Christ spoke to the 11 and the Church and the royal priesthood of all believers. "You are a royal priesthood” [I Pet. 2:9]

I am sure that you would agree with Luther that Christ has given the ministry of the keys to all believers. Luther once even said that Communion would be rite and valid if you took communion from the hand of Lucifer himself.

From the Large Catechism..”Even though a knave takes or distributes the Sacrament, he receives the true Sacrament, that is, the true body and blood of Christ, just as truly as he who [receives or] administers it in the most worthy manner. For it is not founded upon the holiness of men, but upon the Word of God. And as no saint upon earth, yea, no angel in heaven, can make bread and wine to be the body and blood of Christ, so also can no one change or alter it, even though it be misused.”

Again I think Luther can answer you better than I can…

The first office, that of the ministry of the Word, therefore, is common to all Christians. This is clear, from what I have already said, and from 1 Pet. 2[:9], “You are a royal priesthood that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” ... The second function, to baptize, they [the papists] themselves have by usage allowed in cases of necessity even to ordinary women, so that it is hardly regarded any more as a sacramental function. Whether they wish or not we deduce from their own logic that all Christians, and they alone, even women, are priests, without tonsure and episcopal “character.” For in baptizing we proffer the life-giving Word of God, which renews souls and redeems from death and sins. To baptize is incomparably greater than to consecrate bread and wine, for it is the greatest office in the church – the proclamation of the Word of God. So when women baptize, they exercise the function of priesthood legitimately, and do it not as a private act, but as a part of the public ministry of the church which belongs only to the priesthood. ... Yet I ask you, what is this splendid power of consecration, compared to the power of baptizing and of proclaiming the Word? A woman can baptize and administer the Word of life, by which sin is taken away, eternal death abolished, the prince of the world cast out, heaven bestowed; in short by which the divine majesty pours itself forth through all the soul. Meanwhile this miracle-working priest changes the nature of the bread, but by no other or greater word or power, and it has no other effect than that it increases his awe and admiration before his own dignity and power. ... It is of the common rights of Christians that we have been speaking. For since we have proved all of these things to be the common property of all Christians, no one individual can arise by his own authority and arrogate to himself alone what belongs to all. Lay hold then of this right and exercise it, where there is no one else who has the same rights. But the community rights demand that one, or as many as the community chooses, shall be chosen or approved who, in the name of all with these rights, shall perform these functions publicly. Otherwise, there might be shameful confusion among the people of God, and a kind of Babylon in the church, where everything should be done in order, as the Apostle teaches [I Cor. 14:40]. For it is one thing to exercise a right publicly; another to use it in time of emergency. Publicly one may not exercise a right without consent of the whole body or of the church. In time of emergency each may use it as he deems best. (“Concerning the Ministry,” Luther’s Works, Vol. 40 [Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1958], pp. 21,23,25,34)

I will get back to you on the OHM questions.

Anonymous said...

A WELS teacher,

Note carefully what Luther is arguing against in his 1523 letter: the papistic idea that the priests have an inherent quality of their own that makes them superior and they alone able to make bread and wine into body and blood. He argues that the ministry of the word is COMMON to all Christians. This means that it is given to the CHURCH; to Christians collectively. As members of the church, in times of emergency, individual members may fulfill this office. This is different than saying that Christ has given the ministry to all believers individually.

It helps to know to whom Luther is writing and what his conclusion is in this work. He is writing to a church (in Bohemia, if my memory is correct) where the Roman bishop is not providing priests. His conclusion is that they can establish the ministry among themselves without papal approval. The title is not "Concerning the Ministry" as the AE translates, but "Concerning the institution of the ministry." Luther's argument is that the church collectively is given the keys; therefore the church can call and establish pastors without the approval of a bishop when that bishop refuses to provide for pastors.

And, as mentioned before, this is before the Anabaptist challenge. After this arises, Luther does not speak in this way about the priesthood of all believers. This ought to serve as a caution lest we take this line of reasoning to far and so depart from Scripture.

I will get back to Ephesians 4 when I have time; at the moment church bells are calling.

RNN

Anonymous said...

Dear a wels teacher,

Why are you crashing through open doors? I have already said the keys are the possession of the church and their authoritative use is by those qualified men who have been rightly called. The quote from Luther says precisely that. RNN in his/her (is he/she some kind of nurse?) response correctly gives the context of the Luther quote which says precisely what I have been saying. Additionally, Luther notes that one is indelibly marked for their possession not by infection of hand contact (i.e. papal ordination) but by baptismal water. That quote and the quote you offer from the Large Catechism both show that the efficacy of the word does not depend on the holiness of the celebrant nor the recipient (and yes, you are correct, Luther opined that the Devil himself could consecrate). We are not Donatists. But since nowhere do I or any of the other Initials out there (UP, RNN, RMC, LM) attack the power of the Word spoken by someone not qualified or called but who presumes to be the pastor and teacher of another I am baffled as to why you include these quotes unless you are attempting to offer them in opposition the AC XIV. Your non answer as to whether layman may baptize and celebrate the Sacrament at will argues that you may.

You note also that in Matthew 28

"Christ spoke to the 11 and the Church and the royal priesthood of all believers. 'You are a royal priesthood' [I Pet. 2:9]"

I'll try one more, and last time, read the text, He spoke to the Eleven. Sigh.

Off to mass.

Think Green.

The Beez

A WELS teacher said...

RNN ~

Thanks for the clarification. So you don't think that Luther was speaking to the Beez? :)

You don't think Luther would condone an emergency baptism of a sick infant in the hospital?

Obviously, I understand how this line of thinking could be taken too far. But, Luther did argue that Christ was a priest and therefore Christians retain this privilege. The duty belongs to the individual Christian as well as to the congregation. Paul (1 Corinthians 14) the apostle speaks “to the whole church" and each individual Christian. The keys belong to the church who then collectively calls a pastor to carry out the authority of teaching and preaching God’s Word. Luther emphasized that for good order the church must call a single individual (who meets the Scriptural requirements) to carry out this work rather than everyone exercising these powers on his own. So through faith and baptism every Christ receives the authority to teach and preach and administer the sacraments. But Luther even stated that this authority should be done only in emergency situations. Not all are called to publicly do this by the authority of the congregation. Each congregation should call a pastor to do this work. It is the Word that saves sinners.

A WELS pastor's wife said...

I agree with the WELS teacher.

The Sacraments efficacy is not based on the person performing them...but rather on God Himself through the Word and earthly elements (i.e. water, bread, wine).

This is why my baptism is valid, even thought it was done by a "heterodox" minister. My baptism was with the Word ("In the name of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit") and water...it is valid, not because of "who" baptized me, but because of God's work through the Word and the water.

For good order, pastor's generally carry out the Sacraments. But I would have no issues with a father who wanted to baptize his children...indeed my husband baptized 2 of our children before he was ordained--are my childrens' baptisms invalid? No.

As for apostolic succession...don't agree with it, if I did I would be Anglican or RCC.

Anonymous said...

"Off to mass."

I have to be careful how I word this. Obviously it's not a sin to call it "mass". Obviously you will trot out "Wrongly are we accused of abolishing the mass." We haven't abolished the mass, but the simple fact is that English speaking Lutherans don't call it "mass". Those who do, do it with much baggage attached. Many Lutherans who once called it "mass" have joined the Roman Catholic Church. The experience of the Lutheran church has shown that those who call it mass generally don't do so in isolation--they have many other "Romanistic" tendencies. Though it isn't wrong to call it "mass", people on this board may want to keep in mind that much of what they read in the comments here comes from those who attend "mass".

My questions remain unanswered.

Pseudonym

MAV said...

Dear Pseudonym,

Do you have any evidence other than the use of the word "mass" that The Beez has "Romanistic tendencies". As you pointed out, yes, this is the language of the Lutheran Confessions, so your last comment has no useful information and is only lobbing unsubstantiated accusations. Not helpful. Many of your questions have already been answered, but you have not accepted the answers. That's no one's responsibility but yours.

UP said...

"Paul (1 Corinthians 14) the apostle speaks “to the whole church" and each individual Christian."

This is making a BIG LEAP. Paul's speaking to the church is not the same as speaking to each individual Christian. The church is the collective Body of Christ.

By the way, read Exodus 19. The priesthood of all believers is not new to the NT church. The 1 Peter passage is a quote from Exodus 19. In the OT church there was a priesthood of all believers and a separate priesthood of men chosen by God to teach and offer sacrifices. Since the NT church is refered to as the new Israel, isn't it possible that the NT priesthood of all believers has some connection to the OT priesthood of all believers?

UP

Anonymous said...

A WELS teacher (Don't know which, but one of them),

What's the deal with these emergency situations? Why do we keep getting stuck in them? Luther says what the church long before him said: in emergencies, anyone may baptize. But that's in an EMERGENCY--when the normal, regular order is put aside due to extraordinary circumstances and imminent death. We don't base practice on emergency situations. We base doctrine and practice on what Christ has given.

And what's the deal with getting stuck on the efficacy? (Such as A WELS Pastor's wife) That's not what we're talking about here. Those outside of marriage can engage in procreative activities that are efficacious (if you know what I mean). They may be blessed with many children; but that does not make thier extramarital relations right. We are talking about who Christ entrusted the right exercise of the office of the keys to.

Now, arguing from such emergency situations, we have many in our fair synod who think like a wels pastor's wife (Mind if I call you AWPW for short? Join the initial revolution!) From emergency baptism we decide that it's all right for a father to baptize his children if he wants to. How do we reconcile this with AC XIV? If that's what we want the practice to be, fine; but then we need to be honest and switch to a quatenus subscription to the Confessions.

And what's the deal with this "good order?" (I'm starting to feel like Jerry Seinfeld.) The theologian who describes ministry as a function that ought to be carried out by some for good order is Hofling--whom the WELS rejects; yet I no longer see a difference between Hofling and WELS.

Good order is far more than keeping the church from arguing, as I have heard WELS full-time public ministers of the gospel explain it. Good order is God's order. Good order is doing things in the order in which God has given us to do them. When it comes to the ministry, good order is doing what God has given. And God gives to the office to authoritatively preach and administer the sacraments. For laymembers (such as a father) to take this upon themselves because they want to is violating God's good order.

The WELS seems to get this when it comes to man and woman--that the good order in that doctrine is not just to keep men and women from fighting, but is God's will for how they live. When it comes to ministry, the understanding of good order moves away from this to something else. But I digress.

What's the deal with apostolic succession? Who has suggested we invite in a bishop to re-ordain everyone so they have the right lineage? Since the only ones talking about it are those rejecting it, it fits the classic definition of a straw man (and I didn't even have a high school forensics class).

If talking about following after the apostles is wrong, we need to edit the Creed in CW too. How many of you today confessed your faith in the APOSTOLIC church? And if we are in the apostolic church, it seems that our church would have the apostolic ministry--the one that is faithful to the teachings God gave through the apostles. But wait; that might be called apostolic succession--and since we know that a different definition of this term is wrong, this take on it must be wrong too.

Dear (ingeniously named) Pseudonym,

Yes, God instituted different offices. The prophets of the Old Testament filled the office that God created for them. The apostles of hte New Testament filled the office that God created for them. The pastor-teachers fill the office that God created for them. The last ones continue the apostolic office. Look at Matt. 28 again. The mandate there given is to continue until the end of the age; obviously, the apostles now rest from their labors, but their office continues in those who carry on the preaching/teaching/baptizing/absolving/communing that Christ first came to do and then sent out apostles to do and now sends out pastor/teachers to do. But in every one of these cases, Christ sends men into the office that he created, not the office the church devised.

As for the pastorate continuing the apostolate, Paul says that Titus' work is unfinished until he does that very thing--appointing elders (stationary clergy) in the towns the apostle would no longer visit.

Lutheran theology before WELS nevery distinguished "forms of ministry." It distinguished the specific exercise of the office for each man in the one office. All had the full authority of the office, but only exercised that authority within the scope of their call. AC XXVIII talks about this.

And no one denies that the church can create offices. Think of Walther and his Hilft-Amts. No problem in creating such helping offices. Look at deaconesses. Who argues that this office was Christ's institution? We have the freedom to create offices in the church.

But none of these are the office that Christ insituted and created--the preaching office. That is his gift given to the church.

I keep looking for the prescriptive passage that tells me that Christ will provide people to do stuff, but the church is to decide what they will do and what form they will take. I can't find any.

I keep finding passages that talk about Christ giving specific gifts: apostles, pastors, teachers. Look at 1 Corinthians 14 (since we continue to elevate the epistles over the gospels, contrary to centuries of wisdom): God has arranged each part of the body. It does not say that God gives body parts that we as the church are to assemble in the forms we think best.

What are these parts? v. 28: God has appointed apostles, prophets, teachers. God appointed them! The church did not create these offices. Or v. 29: Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Again, these three offices; then (in both verses) comes a secondary listing--here of functions/tasks that God gives as gifts. And, lest we read ourselves into scripture, teachers is a term for those in the office (see Matt. 28 again), not a term for day-school teachers. There were no Christan day schools in Corinth.

Back on the previous thread (which seems to have ended) we had some discussion about ministry and priesthood. I repeat my question here: what evidence do we have that they are the same; that in fact they are so synonymous that we could translate them the same way throughout the NT? I was pointed to a dictionary. My dictionary has different definitions for the two.

(Aside: Why are we doing theology by English dictionary? This is where the WELS goes astray in the doctrine of the ministry. Scripture interprets scripture; or better yet, to translate the Latin into English, Scripture interprets itself. Scripture ought to provide the definition of its terms. To rely on an English dictionary is to make that the authoritative interpreter of scripture and to elevate Webster above scripture.)

If ministry and priesthood are the same, why does the NT so carefully distinguish them? The NT never calls its public ministers/those in the office "priests." There is only one priest--Christ--and all Christians share in his priesthood by virtue of their membership in his body through baptism. No distinction between church members here. Yet we come to the office, and there is a distinction. Luke carefully separates disciples from apostles; Paul's letters address churches and their elders; the much debated Matthew 28 sets up the two poles of "you" and "them." As Chemnitz terms them, teachers and hearers.

Moreover, the primary orientation of priesthood and ministry are opposite. Priests are oriented towards God, approaching him in prayer, offering him our bodies as living sacrifices, declaring his praises. Ministers are oriented towards men, giving them the gifts of God.

And besides, if ministry and priesthood are the same, then 1 Peter would read: You are a . . . royal task of proclaiming the gospel. Priesthood talks about people; ministry about what they do.

Let me know if I have missed any questions; if so, it was not intentional.

Beezer, you'll have to keep guessing at my gender. But thanks for not assuming that I'm male--I can't tell you how irritated it makes me to see people jump to that conclusion. I think that Meet the Parents has much to teach us about gender assumptions in the nursing field. Perhaps we could all have a movie night and find some pumpkin ale, beer, Cabernet, and watch both of the Meet the Parents movies. We'll just stay far away from Grandma's ashes while opening the wine.

RNN

John said...

RNN,

Excellent thoughts in your post. I am wondering if you are a WELS member?
This is where the WELS goes astray in the doctrine of the ministry.

Just curious but also, I like your idea about a movie night with beverages and all. But we do need to know if you are wels so that we can determine if we can join together in prayer. :)

Anonymous said...

On October 27, 2007 3:29 PM, I posted a series of 6 questions. They have yet to be answered. Since the crypto-Missourians are always quick to point out when the WELSians don't answer their questions, I just thought I would point out that my questions haven't been answered either. I think that the answers to several of them would shed some light on where some people here are coming from. Perhaps that's why they haven't been answered yet.

Pseudonym

A WELS teacher said...

Pseudonym

"Off to mass."

I, too, am waiting for answers. I do know that many LC-MS churches in the English district in Michigan use the term "mass."

A WELS teacher

MAV said...

"I do know that many LC-MS churches in the English district in Michigan use the term "mass.""

And so do many congregations in the geographical districts all around the LCMS. And, with Halloween coming, I'll let you in on a scary secret...several WELS congregations use the term "mass" too.

A WELS teacher said...

mav,

Here is another scary secret...do you know what most Lutherans celebrate on October 31st? It isn't Halloween but something called the Reformation.

You know when the great Reformer did something scary and stood up to the Roman Catholic Church.

A WELS teacher

Anonymous said...

mav,

Here's another scary secret:

Many LCMS pastors used to call it mass and claim that there was nothing Romanizing about it at all, not too long before leaving the LCMS for the Roman Catholic church. It's been happening for decades.

My questions are still unanswered.

Pseudonym

Anonymous said...

My pastor preached about the catholicity of the Reformation today.

Does that mean my pastor is no longer Lutheran if he says the word "catholic" on Reformation Sunday?

RMC

LM said...

"Since the crypto-Missourians are always quick to point out when the WELSians don't answer their questions, I just thought I would point out that my questions haven't been answered either."

Dear Pseudonym (aka the high school forensics and grammar rodeo champion aka the cryto-Hoeflingite),

You asked a lot of questions. Many of them have been answered. It will take some time to answer all of them (it actually takes some effort to peer into that rabbit hole some of you folks defend as the WELS’ doctrine on the Church and Ministry). You’ve also caught me in the dead of litigation season. But don’t worry, this will be a good chance to practice being patient. You’ll need it (patience—me no good with grammar) in great doses if you intend to keep assailing the unassailable (i.e. God’s word.)

LM (not a high school forensics and grammar rodeo champion)

Anonymous said...

Dear Pseudonym and a wels teacher,

Ok, back. The Beez here. Uh, Pseudonym didn't I tell you my schedule. I was able to answer "a wels teacher" but I told you I might not be able to get back to you tonight. A hundred bucks says you are the guy who honks his horn the moment the light turns green. Here's some advice, don't move to the Big City.

Where was I, oh, the first mass was great, the second one wasn’t a mass, vespers, but we had bratwurst afterwards, go figure.

Pseudonym, I like that, I assume you are the Anonymous who asked the catena of questions since you said in you last post that your questions weren't answered. You also threw in this tidbit

"The simple fact is that English speaking Lutherans don't call it 'mass'. Those who do, do it with much baggage attached. Many Lutherans who once called it 'mass' have joined the Roman Catholic Church. The experience of the Lutheran church has shown that those who call it mass generally don't do so in isolation--they have many other 'Romanistic' tendencies. Though it isn't wrong to call it 'mass', people on this board may want to keep in mind that much of what they read in the comments here comes from those who attend 'mass'."

Cute. Yes, I have many Romanistic (sic) tendencies, if by that you mean the customs and practices of the Lutheran Church which Church and I claim that nothing in our teaching (and practice) varies from the Scriptures, or from the Church Catholic, or from the Church of Rome as known from its writers. (Danger, danger Will Robinson, trap just set, I just quoted the Lutheran Confessions). Many? Hardly. And actually many, many more Lutherans who call their service "A Worship Service," Or "Page 38 of Christian Worship" have joined Protestant churches or have allowed their "Lutheran" churches to become Protestant. In fact read the sermons of the fastest growing wels church, St. Mark's, DePere and tell me that is a Lutheran church, but I digress.

And thank you RNN for your "what's the deal with" comments about the straw men being raised in regards to the efficacy of the Word and the issue of apostolic succession. Too late though for "a wels teacher" who writes,

"You don't think Luther would condone an emergency baptism of a sick infant in the hospital?"

I assume you directed that at me. We were not talking about emergency baptisms, or absolutions, if, for example, there are two men in a boat and one becomes the pastor of the other, which the church accepts as valid and not disorderly because love knows no law. We are talking about the regular and authoritative preaching and teaching and administering of the Sacraments which you contend any layman may do without a call (your unsupported cautions aside.) Again, your non answer confirms the contradiction in your and the wels doctrine - they can and they can’t.

So, Pseudonym. I will proceed with a couple of assumptions. First I will assume you have read the debate so far and cannot gainsay anything that I have said which you have not challenged above, for I do not know whether you are any of the anonymouses that I have corrected already and who have refused to answer my questions. In that case refusal to answer equals acquiescence. So if you disagree, speak now or forever hold your peace.

You ask, 1.

"A pastor proclaims the Word for 20 minutes in a pulpit. A teacher proclaims the Word for 20 minutes in a classroom. What's the difference? Are both in the OHM, or only the pastor? If only the pastor, then why?"

Glad to hear that you believe that there is an office (don't tell your wels officials that). You ask
"What’s the difference? Are both in the OHM?" I don' know, what does the call say? I think I know what the pastor's call says, but what is this teacher's? Is the call to authoritatively preach and teach the congregation and to administer the blessed Sacraments of Baptism, Absolution and the Sacrament of the Altar to the congregation? This assumes that he is qualified to do all that, that is, is he able to refute those who oppose the truth, which means he should be sufficient in the words of Holy Writ (which were written in Hebrew and Greek) and which in the Lutheran Church means that he has read and knows the Lutheran confessions and that he is a he. If not, no, if so, yes.

Or in other words, if this teacher says I want to be a pastor and the church says you are not qualified to be a pastor, then my guess is his call is not what I described above and anything short of that is not the Holy Ministry.

But of course in the wels there is a "divine call"to teach reading, writing and 'rithmatic.

You ask, 2.

"If a congregation asks a layman (for whatever reason) to preside at Holy Communion, are the body and the blood present? If so, does the congregation receive the body and blood to their benefit?"

What an odd question. If your words "ask a layman" means that he was qualified and was ritely called by the congregation and placed into office, then he is not a layman but a pastor. But since you call this man a layman then I will answer with that assumption. Why would a Lutheran congregation ever ask a layman to preside at the altar? This is contrary to AC XIV. (By the way are you a seminarian? This sounds like a seminarian question.)

So your hypothetical question is really "are the body and blood of Christ present in a Sacrament illegitimately presided over." (Ah, now I get it, because I maintain AC XIV you suspect Donatism.) Your hypothetical casts this celebration into the category of a doubtful sacrament. The validity of a Sacrament rests in the word and so one would say there is a real presence, but we are not allowed the luxury of asking theoretical questions in a vacuum, for these questions in real life take on faith shaking implications. In reality if a man and a congregation ignore the Word of God which says only one ritely called may administer the Sacrament who knows if they believe the Word of God otherwise, i.e. what is the confession of this church in regards to the real presence in the Sacrament. So there is a question there, doubt enters in. And more so, what would the poor parishioner think - this is not right - and so doubt enters in again, and the very purpose of a Sacrament, that is, to strengthen faith, is attacked for doubt is the very antithesis of faith and a doubtful sacrament is no sacrament, that is, a benefit to the one receiving it. It may be valid, but it does not achieve the purpose of the Sacrament, for faith must grasp it. You must not forget the beneficium question when you are considering a hypothetical proprium question. No ex opere operata in the former. So in your hypothetical situation in real life, faith becomes uncertainty, and so does a communicant receive the body and blood to their benefit when there is doubt cast over the Sacrament, for without faith there is only sin? The benefit of the Sacrament is not in simply receiving the body and blood (ex opere operata), but receiving in faith, faith in the words "given and the blood poured out for you for the forgiveness of sins."

You ask, 3.

"If the office of deacon was established purely as a service office, then why was Stephen stoned for publicly proclaiming the Word? Was Stephen sinning by taking the OHM upon himself? Or was he already part of the OHM? If deacons were part of the OHM, then how can it be argued that the OHM can only take on one form? If Stephen, the deacon, was in the OHM, then weren't deaconesses also in the OHM?"

Read the text. This table service was established so that the Apostles would not neglect "the ministry of the word." Read the text. Stephen was stoned for calling the Sanhedrin to repentance, not because he was in the OHM or not, a deacon (though not called that) or not. He was stoned for giving an answer for the hope he had when the high priest asked, "Are these things so?" Additionally, do we know whether Stephen was called as pastor after this appointment? We don't know. Was he already a pastor before this and was given this additional non AC V duty? We don't know. But it doesn't matter whether he was or wasn't. What we do know is that he was not in the Office because he was asked to referee the food fight.

The contention of the wels, even wels conservatives like John Brenner, sem prof, (see his paper on "Issues in wels") that this text proves that there are various "forms" of the ministry is so bizarre it is laughable. And it also contradicts its own ermeneutic that one cannot establish doctrine on the basis of descriptive passages.

Are you seriously suggesting that since Stephen was stoned to death for proclaiming the word that proves he was in the Office of the Holy Ministry and since he was a "deacon" though not called that, that means that the deaconate is a form of the Holy Ministry and since deacons are in the office of the Holy Ministry so must women because they are called deaconess? Wow. (You are a seminarian, aren't you?) I think you are going to need some special golden plates to convince me of that.

You ask, 4.

"After a seminary student graduates from the seminary, when does he become a pastor? When he receives a call to a congregation or when he is ordained?"

Which seminary? For arguments sake I'll assume it is a Lutheran seminary. As I wrote earlier to someone else, there are three sides to this coin, examination, call and placement, or ordination. Such as it is, the seminary education is the examination. He is approved, he graduates. Is he a pastor? No. I think you'd agree, correct me if I am wrong. He gets a call. Is he a pastor? No. I suspect you do not agree, correct me if I am wrong.

OK, he loads up the U-haul throws in his SEMWIFE and arrives at his charge. Is he a pastor? No. This congregation has a pastor, a vacancy pastor. This pup is not a pastor yet. What does the rite say? He is being ordained as a pastor. He is the pastor-elect. He is asked, will you do the pastor things. The congregation is asked whether they will receive this man as their pastor. What is someone says, no? When he says he will do the pastor things and the congregations says, ok, then the hands of approval are laid upon him. He stands up and chants, "The Lord be with you" (the moment of pastoral presence!) and the communion liturgy begins, assuming this is a Lutheran church.

Of course in wels theology that is all word play for he entered the OHM long ago when he taught VBS, was a Lutheran pioneer leader, a vicar, the custodian at church…etc.

You ask, 5.

"Does 'standing in the stead of Christ' refer specifically to Christ's maleness? If so, may eunuchs be pastors? Why or why not?"

Specifically? No. That Christ was a man is an essential part of his incarnation, but the "standing in the stead of Christ" is spoken to the assure the congregation that this pastor's absolution is Christ's absolution, Christ, the Bridegroom who died for his Bride, (Christ is not without his maleness, nor should he be considered without it, unless you are some kind of a Nestorian Gnostic).

Being a eunuch, unfortunate as that tractor accident was (or whatever it was), does not negate a man's maleness (his shaving habits, yes). He is still an X and a Y without being able to contribute one of those to the double X. (Woo-hoo!) The circumstances surrounding his emasculation may disqualify him though, specifically if he, like too many Lutheran preachers today, preached another Gospel by not preaching the Gospel or by letting the law dominate and was slitted by an overzealous acolyte.

You also ask, "Why does 'standing in the stead of Christ' not also refer specifically to his Jewishness?

Specifically? What do you mean? Don't answer, it is a moot point. We are all children of Abraham by faith. Please don't ask about hair color.

And (wheez) you ask 6.

"If the gender relationship between the OHM and the church represents the gender relationship between Christ and his bride to the point that a woman in the OHM is equated with 'ecclesiastical lesbianism', then does a male pastor ministering to other men represent ecclesiastical homosexuality? If not, then why not? In other words, when the Bible refers to the Church as the bride of Christ, doesn't it thus refer to men in the Church in female terms? Doesn't this indicate that the specific genders of the two parties aren't so much in the picture as much as the more generic picture of a close relationship?"

"Ecclesiastical lesbianism." I like that. Very apropos.

I wouldn't characterize it as a "gender" relationship, but a giving and receiving relationship, which relationship is seen physically in the marriage sexual union. A woman can't plant a seed, only man can. (I learned that in high school biology.)

Now you say, "doesn't it thus refer to men in the Church in female terms." Not quite. Not a man in female terms, but collectively the church is the Bride. The church is men and women. The church, men and women, is the Bride and the Seed is planted into her. But yes, a man who is not a teacher is to be silent, as a woman, because he is to receive/be silent as a part of the body of Christ, the Bride of Christ. Christ is never a Bride, never a woman, always serving, always giving. Christ is the second Adam and only Adam can speak (didn't work out too well the first time a Adam didn't and the woman did) and so a woman cannot speak for she is not a man, a women is not to be a teacher, not to speak, a woman cannot be an Adam for only an Adam may speak in the church. It is not a generic picture of a close relationship, but of a giving and receiving relationship. If it were a only a generic picture of a "close" relationship, then you have to stop saying bad things about the ELCA in this regard. Are you arguing for women pastors? Sounds like it. But that's ok, wels says it is ok as long as we don't call them pastors.

And finally you say,

I have more, but that should be enough for now.

Oh? Ok, you can ask whatever you will, but for me to answer any of your future questions you need to first of all disprove and or address all of the points I have written here and on this thread (there are only a couple issues out there) and/or concede what I have written here and in the discussion leading up to this. Remember a non answer to my assertions prompted by YOUR questions equals acquiescence. And the questions must be germane to the discussion. I will give you a pass this time.

Think Green. Drink Wine. Go to Mass.

The Beez

A WELS teacher said...

Too late though for "a wels teacher" who writes,

"You don't think Luther would condone an emergency baptism of a sick infant in the hospital?"

I assume you directed that at me.


Wrong... I will pull a Beez. To whom is Jesus speaking to in Matt. 28?

To whom was I speaking to in my post of October 28, 2007 9:39 AM. You assume I was speaking to you. You know what mom said when you assume (it makes and ass..out of u and me).
Please take note of how I started my post...
RNN,

I was speaking to RNN. Yet you assume that I was speaking to you. So are we to assume that Jesus is only speaking to the 11 in Matt. 28.

A WELS teacher (not married to a SEMWIFE.)

Anonymous said...

Dear A wels teacher,

You wrote in your post to RNN,

"Thanks for the clarification. So you don't think that Luther was speaking to the Beez? :)

You don't think Luther would condone an emergency baptism of a sick infant in the hospital?"

Gee, sure lookes like you were referring to me in that comment - the Beez? Ahem. By the way, I did not say, as you say, that your were "speaking to me," I said, I assume you "directed that at me." Read more carefully, a wels teacher, you flunked this one. Regardless, my conclusions about your theology stand, you contradict yourself, a layman can baptize and commune without a call, he can't baptize and commune unless he is called.

And by the way, your uncertain writing is not to be compared with that of the Spirit, who rather clearly says, he said to the them, the Eleven.

So why don't you deal with the matters at hand? Have you sold what you have and given it to the poor yet?

Think Green. Drink Wine. Go to Mass. Read the text.

The Beez

Anonymous said...

Beez,

Thanks so much for answering my questions. I'm not a seminary student (as you accused me of several times) but even a seminary student could read your answers and sense the many problems with them. The spirit of Rome (and of personal condescension) fills your words. (Why is it that when people go crypto-Roman they get really bitter and harsh and sarcastic? cf. the Berg Brothers) I'll demonstrate how when I get the chance. (Just one example--the deaconate was only table service, but maybe Stephen might have become a pastor sometime that we aren't told about? Wow. It's an argument from silence, stretching Scripture to fit into your theological structure. But that's not even the most troubling answer you gave.) If you need something to do while you wait, perhaps you could read The Babylonian Captivity of the Church.

Pseudonym

Anonymous said...

John,

Thanks for the compliment. And thanks for all your work running this site--I do appreciate it.

I hope that I am not too late in answering your question; the time allowed for that seems to be getting short here. But, like Beezer, I find that I have responsibilities away from the blogosphere.

I was born and raised WELS, schools and everything, but later moved where there were no WELS churches and now find myself in an LC-MS congregation. My heart longs for the day when the two synods can come closer together; they have too much in common. The days of the Synodical Conference were beneficial to both synods--shoring up the weaknesses of each.

Guess this means I am no longer a crypto-Missourian; I'm an open Missourian. But, since both synods uphold Scripture and Confessions, this means we have a common ground for discussion.

So there you have it; I'll leave it up to you whether you pray with me or not. Better yet--I'll just buy and then there will be no fellowship issues:)

Say Beezer, what's the deal with thinking green? Are you pulling for a Packers victory tonight? Or are you an Oregon Ducks fan? Philadelphia Eagles? Boston Celtics? Or is this a reference to the color of your stole, since the Season of End Times does not start until next week?

Please forgive any tyypoes or pour grammar. I am doing the best that my is kan do in this bocks.

RNN

Anonymous said...

Pseudonym,

Do you even read? You write

"Just one example--the deaconate was only table service, but maybe Stephen might have become a pastor sometime that we aren't told about? Wow. It's an argument from silence, stretching Scripture to fit into your theological structure."

Unbelievable. The question you posed and the deductions you drew were precisely that, arguments from silence. And I showed you that regardless of what Stephen's status was, it didn’t matter. This is what I actually wrote, which you in your angry haste must have missed,

"Additionally, do we know whether Stephen was called as pastor after this appointment? We don't know. Was he already a pastor before this and was given this additional non AC V duty? We don't know. But it doesn't matter whether he was or wasn't. What we do know is that he was not in the Office because he was asked to referee the food fight."

Now please show me how I am "stretching" Scripture to fit into my theological structure? Can you not read the plain words "We don’t know" and "it doesn’t matter." Yet in your blind rage you accuse me of twisting Scripture. I am showing you that an argument from silence, WE DON'T KNOW, one way or the other, DOESN'T MATTER. (Can you read that?)

You in your nasty tone you accuse me of Romanism (cf. all the wels anonymouses that vainly try to defend their positions on this and resort to throwing such baseless arrogant charges, the ad hominem – please, you cannot be teased that you are a seminarian?) and you continue to offer up the straw man. It is getting rather tiresome. You suggest I read one of Luther's writings, which obviosuly you have not read. Perhaps you ought to start by simply reading what has been written. Your straw man tactic, as others on this blog use, is getting quite tiresome.

And if this is an example of your scholarship, please spare me.

The B.

Anonymous said...

Dear RNN,

Packers?! Packers?! I hate the Packers with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns.

No, I am a tree hugging environmentalist with Romanistic (sic) tendencies hoping that some Baptistified Lutheran who got all fired up at his "Reformation Rally" yesterday doesn't take a swing at me for making the sign of the cross or using the word mass. (Whoops, too late, read the last post). And the stole was red yesterday, the chasuble and maniple, too.

The B.

Anonymous said...

I asked my pastor about this whole Babylonian Captivity stuff and how it relates to the Ministry. He gave me one of Luther's Works to read the Babylonian Captivity.

I found out that Luther really doesn't talk too much about how evil the Roman Priesthood is. He does talk about sacrifice and sacrament a lot.

I guess Luther was OK with some things Catholics were doing back then, especially the priesthood. Sure there were problems, but there are problems today.

Saved by grace through faith ALONE!

RRF

Anonymous said...

Pseudonym and others,

I thought you might benefit from this,

"He who cannot distinguish between a cow and a horse ought never to discuss questions of farming. He who cannot distinguish between evangelical (Lutheran) and Roman Christianity better than he believes that a man who makes the sign of the cross or bends his knees or makes confession must be a Roman Catholic, that man ought never to discuss matters that pertain to Christianity."

Bo Giertz. Messages for the Church in Times of Crisis.

RTMM

LM said...

"I'm not a seminary student (as you accused me of several times) but even a seminary student could read your answers and sense the many problems with them. The spirit of Rome (and of personal condescension) fills your words."

I don't know if they taught you this in high school forensics, but this is called a non-responsive answer. See, it is an answer to Beezer�s previous post, because you put some words and punctuation together, but it is non-responsive because, rather than offering a substantive response, you revert to vague accusations of Romanism and meanness.

I know, you said you would "demonstrate how when [you] get the chance," but until then your unsupported accusations stand.

LM

Anonymous said...

To the handsomely named Pseudonym,

Thanks for the advice on reading the Babylonian Captivity! That was good to read.

What point am I supposed to draw from it? Luther is clearly writing against the aberrations of the Roman church. The church is in tyranny not because it has priests/ministers (For Luther says flat out that he does not want to condemn the present order of priests), but because they have wandered away from promise, gospel, and faith. Luther argues that they ought to return to promise and gospel, rather than turn the sacraments into works to be done.

In fact, as RMC points out, there is really nothing here against the priesthood per se, only the Roman abuses of this authority--turning it into an order making new laws and demanding works rather than one dispensing God's grace.

Note that throughout the work Luther assumes it is the priests who will bapize, commune, and teach--not everybody.

Please let me know what parts of this work you had in mind. If you contend that Beezer is a crypto-Romanist, you must find evidence that he is turning the office into one demanding works and making new laws; otherwise, the Babylonian Captivity is not dircted against him.

And, to complete your picture of Luther, read a couple more of his works: On Clandestine and Infiltrating Preachers (nice and short--AE 40) in which Luther clearly speaks of the twin poles of office and congregation. Also, read the third part of On the Councils and the church--the part on the church. (AE 41. Here Luther says that the office is instituted by Christ.) Read the whole thing if you have the time; but the third section fits best what we are discussing here.

Oh yeah--all of this stuff from Luther is helpful, but to be used with discernment. That is, just because Luther said it doesn't make it so. Unless we follow the Babylonian Captivity and ask women with impotent husbands to prove this in court (There's some material for Court TV) and then have an affair while pretending the children belong to the impotent husband. No, I am not making this up. Read the thing yourself!

Beezer,

God save the planet. Have you already made Al Gore your confessor? Or is private absolution too catholic for you? Hope the Prius is running well!

RMC (perhaps RoMan Catholic?),

Are you trying to tell us that you belong to a Roman Catholic church? Seems an odd tack for a Lutheran pastor to take--preaching on the catholic church on Reformation. Unless, of course, he is trying to claim continuity with the true church of all time--even back to the church fathers.


RNN

Anonymous said...

RNN,

A "Prius?!" You've got to be kidding. I ride a bike!

Not a bad idea - if Al were to assume the mantle he would make a great confessor. I mean he doesn't hold back on the truth, no matter how inconvenient it might be and he never divulged his old boss' indiscretions and so I am sure he would keep mine confidential.

Think Green. Drink wine. Go to Mass. Read the Text. Ride a bike - save the world!

The B.

Anonymous said...

Beezer,

Sounds like you're getting your Miss America speech ready. "If you could have one wish granted, what would that wish be?" "I wish that everyone would think green, drink wine, ride bikes and save the world." (I'd recommend leaving out that stuff about the Mass and the Text.) And, as Miss Congeniality taught us, the correct answer is "World peace."

RTMM,

Who is Bo Giertz? That's quite the quotation you have from him. Was he WELS? Thanks!

RNN

Anonymous said...

RNN

You ask

Who is Bo Giertz...was he WELS?

No, he was Lutheran.

RTMM

Anonymous said...

Dear kindly health provider, RNN,

You suggsted that I run for Miss America. Well, I've got the legs for it.

Think Green. Drink Wine. Go to Mass. Read the text. Read a bike -save the world. Vote for me.

The B.

LM said...

B,

I agree with most of what you've said--but a word of caution on this command to ride (or read) a bike. My Concordia Self Study Bible doesn't say anything about bikes, so please don't burden my conscience by insisting that I ride (or read) one. And let me guess, when our Lord says, "This Do" you probably take that to mean that a Church should offer her members Communion every Sunday.

Be warned�I�m on to you hippies and your burn-down-the-barber-shop rhetoric.

LM

UP said...

Dear The B,

"Read a bike"?

Might want to do a little less wine drinking.

UP

Anonymous said...

Think Green. Drink Wine. Go to Mass. Read the text. Read a bike -save the world. Vote for me.

The B.:

Is this anything like John Prine's song "Spanish Pipedream"?

"Blow up your TV/Throw away your papers/Move to the country/Build you a home/Plant a little garden,/ Eat a lot of peaches/Try an' find Jesus/On your own."

We all know that last part isn't Kosher with the Bible, but it's a nice song.

Happy to be 1 Peter 2:9 compliant:

RMC

Anonymous said...

UP,

Just a little dyslexia, but watch it, I have Tourette's syndrome too.

Think Green...blaa,blaa...

The B.

Anonymous said...

RMC,

Love it. But aren't you afraid someone is going to pick that up for their seeker service?

Eat a peach.

The B.

Anonymous said...

LM,

Read, ride, when you are in tune with your environment it really doesn't matter.

"Do this." The way I have heard that defined in certain Lutheran circles is "We don't have to offer the Sacrament every Lord's Day." To which I say, Ride the text, read text.

Think globally, act locally. Peace out.

The B.

Devil's Advocate said...

Oh, so technically then we should have Communion every Saturday...the Lord did not change the Sabbath. I think we should banish worship on Sundays as it is just not Biblical. We should also not call Sunday the "Lord's Day" because it technically isn't.

UP said...

"Oh, so technically then we should have Communion every Saturday...the Lord did not change the Sabbath. I think we should banish worship on Sundays as it is just not Biblical. We should also not call Sunday the "Lord's Day" because it technically isn't."

That is an insult to the devil's intelligence. If that's the best you can do, I feel sorry for you.

Take a look at Colossians 2:16-17. Note that Paul writes, "the reality, however, is found in Christ." Christ is the fulfillment of the OT Sabbath laws. I learned that in Sunday school. Surprised you didn't.

I seem to recall Jesus calling himself the Lord of the Sabbath. (Matthew 12, Luke 6)

Since Christ rose on a Sunday, I think we can call it the Lord's Day. Seems most of the rest of the Christian church through the last 2,000 years agrees with me.

No, you don't HAVE TO have communion every Sunday. You don't have to breathe every Sunday either. Why would you not want to receive the gift of our Savior's Body and Blood given for the forgiveness of your sins, life, and salvation? Even if you feel no need for the Sacrament every Sunday, the comment above yours says "offer the Sacrament every Lord's Day", not force devil's advocate to receive the Sacrament every Lord's Day. So, even if you do not receive the Sacrament every Lord's Day, why would you deny it to the rest of the congregation?

UP

Devil's Advocate said...

"That is an insult to the devil's intelligence. If that's the best you can do, I feel sorry for you."

No need to feel sorry for me or the devil's intelligience(and let's be honest folks, he wasn't the brightest bulb that ever burnt when he attempted to "tempt" Jesus), I was being sarcastic, but thanks for the sympathy, though it's not needed.

The desire for the Sacrament every Sunday as I am reading it here is becoming a bit legalistic--almost like it is someway makes you more holy if you take it every time its offered. Remember, that even if it is offered every Sunday to be careful to examine yourself--after all you can take it to your damnation if you take it in an unworthy manner...so be careful.

Devil's Advocate said...

"That is an insult to the devil's intelligence. If that's the best you can do, I feel sorry for you."

No need to feel sorry for me or the devil's intelligience(and let's be honest folks, he wasn't the brightest bulb that ever burnt when he attempted to "tempt" Jesus), I was being sarcastic, but thanks for the sympathy, though it's not needed.

The desire for the Sacrament every Sunday as I am reading it here is becoming a bit legalistic--almost like it is someway makes you more holy if you take it every time its offered. Remember, that even if it is offered every Sunday to be careful to examine yourself--after all you can take it to your damnation if you take it in an unworthy manner...so be careful.

Devil's Advocate said...

"Take a look at Colossians 2:16-17. Note that Paul writes, "the reality, however, is found in Christ." Christ is the fulfillment of the OT Sabbath laws. I learned that in Sunday school. Surprised you didn't.

I seem to recall Jesus calling himself the Lord of the Sabbath. (Matthew 12, Luke 6)

Since Christ rose on a Sunday, I think we can call it the Lord's Day. Seems most of the rest of the Christian church through the last 2,000 years agrees with me."

Hmmm...so because *you think* it is appropriate because Jesus rose on Sunday, it is therefore the new "Sabbath" day. Interesting that you would insult my intelligence because I am suppose to based my beliefs off of what you "think."

I actually worship on Sunday. I have not issue with it, but technically it isn't the "Sabbath" day as defined by God. Sunday is the day we choose to worship. Since I believe the 3rd Commandment is about worshiping God and setting time apart to focus on my God, I have no issue with saying that Saturday is the Sabbath technically, but we may worship on any day of the week. Any day that we choose to worship is the "Lord's Day"...no matter if it is Monday, Wednesday, etc.

If that is true....then shouldn't we have communion everyday? Why is it that we should only have it once a week? Is that truly enough? Why is it that once a week is more "godly" than twice a month...if we use that train of thought that wouldn't it be better to have it offered daily?

As for church history. There is a significant evidence that there was a time where communion was only celebrated once a year....do we ignore that part of church history simply because we don't like it?

mav said...

"examine yourself"

Just curious, what do you think this means?

Devil's Advocate said...

"examine yourself"

Just curious, what do you think this means?"

What does it mean to you?

To me it means focusing on what communion is, repenting of all your sins...etc. Focusing on the real reason for the Sacrament and not just to fufill a legalistic rule in my head that I have to take it when it is offered or I am sinning...the Sacrament is important to me and I refuse to judge another's "faith" based on how often they take it. We've got plenty of people in the pews at our church keeping tabs of who does or does not take communion...it's nice of them to help God out don't you think (and yes that was sarcasm)?

Anonymous said...

This post and its thread seem to be coming to an end. While those of us still here wait for the promised response from Pseudonym, and while I wait for somebody to give me a reason why priesthood and ministry are the same thing, here is something to pass the time:

link

(Let's see how my HTML knowledge is and if this turns into a link--if not, my apologies to Randomdan. And, doubtless my lack of computer expertise would discredit everything I have written on this site.)

Or, of course, we can jump into the every sunday communion fray. I'd like to stay here until the promised answers arrive, and pass the time with Songs of Praise in the Church of England--or at least the parody of it above.

(Where were you last week?)

RNN

LM said...

Mr. Nurse,

I think I'm to blame for diverting the topic. My appologies. However, if you recall, in this debate silence = acquiescence. So if Pseudonym stays silent forever, the Beez wins.

LM

Anonymous said...

LM,

No, I don't think you diverted the topic. I think that, in fact, the silence does equal acquiescence. So, it does appear that the Beez has won.

But who ever said that it was "Mr." Nurse. If you'd like, you may address me as Mr/s. Nurse, to cover all the bases.

RNN

Anonymous said...

"However, if you recall, in this debate silence = acquiescence."

"I think that, in fact, the silence does equal acquiescence."

So this really is about winning and losing? I was chided for suggesting that the Beez was trying to "win" the debate. Hypocrisy anyone?

I was also chided for being impatient and not waiting for the Beez's answers. You can't show the same patience? Hypocrisy anyone?

I'll respond to the Beez's points now.

Pseudonym

LM said...

P,

The "win" comment was my lousy attempt at humor--a cheeky reference to your earlier comment. Also, statements like "If Pseudonym stays silent forever" indicate that, in fact, we are being as patient as is humanly possible (i.e., giving you "forever" to respond.)

I was not joking, however, regarding your accusation of Romanism with the promise to prove it later—there is nothing funny about that.

LM

Anonymous said...

Beez,

In response to question 1, you again make the mistake of equating the OHM only with the pastoral office. I've pointed out several times why this is erroneous. Nowhere does Scripture give us a list of all the exact "functions" that must be carried out by a minister. Scripture and the Confessions give us a list of things entrusted to the OHM, but nowhere claim that everyone in the OHM must always do all of them. The Apostle Paul made it a point not to baptize (except in rare cases). Was he not in the OHM, since he didn't regularly carry out one of the "functions" you mentioned? (I can't imagine that with all his travels, he presided at the Lord's Supper much either.) As I will point out later, Stephen served tables but also preached the Word (why else would he have been arrested in the first place? For serving tables too efficiently?). Where does Scripture tell us that one in the OHM must always carry out every function of the OHM? Why can't one (like a teacher) be called into the OHM to perform some of the functions of the office? You can even call it a Hilft-Amt if you'd like.

In response to question 3, you said "Read the text." I have read the text (several times) and noted that the apostles chose men to be deacons not based on their "table service" abilities, but on their spiritual gifts. Likewise, when Paul established the criteria for deacons, his focus was on spiritual gifts--so much so that his criteria are almost exactly the same for a deacon as for an overseer. Now why would so much emphasis be placed on a deacon's spiritual abilities if this was a "secular" office of table-serving? Why would Stephen be arrested in the first place if he was simply serving tables? Wait, he was arrested for doing miracles and for preaching the Word. Interesting. What's "so bizarre it is laughable" is that some would claim that Stephen (and the other deacons) wasn't in the OHM.

In response to question 4, you claimed that the call alone does not make one a pastor. This is clearly against Article 14 of the Augsburg Confession. It also matches what Rome teaches, that ordination, not the call, puts one into the OHM. If anyone needs proof of "Romanistic tendencies" all they need to do is reread what you said on this topic.

In response to question 5, you claimed that Jesus' maleness is "an essential part of his incarnation", but refused to answer if Jesus' Jewishness is an essential part of his incarnation. I would argue that it is, since the Messiah must be Jewish unless God be a liar. And so if all in the OHM must, by your argument, maintain all the essential parts of Jesus' incarnation, then all pastors must be of Jewish descent. Your diversion, claiming that we are all Israel by faith, doesn't apply, since we are talking about physical attributes. (Unless you want to claim that Jesus was only spiritually male, or something like that.)

In response to question 6, you claimed that you wouldn't characterize the relationship between Christ and the Church as a "gender relationship", which is absurd since the whole point of your argument here was to determine which genders may serve in the OHM. How can you then use something that isn't talking about "gender relationships" to make a point specifically about gender. Sorry, but you really lost me on that one.

This was just a brief response to your points to quiet the impatient (who previously accused me of being impatient).

Pseudonym

An old WELS minister said...

Hey P,

Seek mental help immediately. You are reading your own thoughts into what was written above your comment. You really have a gift for setting up straw men and valiantly knocking them to bits.

"Sorry, but you really lost me on that one."

Indeed. You do seem plenty lost.

Anonymous said...

Pseudonym,

No worries, I'll wait. But be careful, I have a match ready to incinerate any more straw man arguments you may put forth as you already have.

Warning though, I have a Green Rally tonight and probably won't be able to get back to you till tomorrow, so take your time, and, read carefully, you haven't so far.

Ride a bike - Save a rain forest,
The B.

(By the way, I'm now "The B", if Puffy can do it I can, too.)

RNN said...

Cleverly-hiding-your-true-identity Pseudonym,

Actually, before anyone accused you of being impatient, you made that known by pointing out how long you had to wait. If you don't want people to call you impatient, stop being impatient. And stop taking yourself so seriously.

I see you have not grasped my previous point about the exercise of the office. Again: Everyone in the office has the authority to carry out every function assigned to the office. However, each man's exercise of that office is limited by his call. Again, see AC 28. The Reformers argue (for instance) that every one in the office has the authority to ordain; but by human right, that exercise maybe assigned only to the bishops--so that only bishops exercise that part of the office.

Or again, the pastor of St. Stephen in the heart of the West Country, exercises the office for his flock, not for St. Stephen in the heart of London.

This is the distinction that Lutheran theology makes to express what you say: nowhere does scripture say that everyone in the office carries out every function of that office.

But Scripture does assign these functions. Better--our Lord assigns them when he sends out the apostles to teach, to baptize, to forgive, to feed the flock. Their authority is the authority to forgive sins; what pertains to this is the function of the office. See how we are back to Jesus' words?

As for Hilft-amts, you seem to misunderstand. These are SEPARATE offices that are NOT the one office of the ministry instituted by Christ. And so one in them assists and helps the pastors in the one office instituted by Christ--but are not themselves in that office. Why not? Because they are not entrusted with the entire office.

Clearly against Article 14? Interesting. Of course, the question is: what does Melanchthon mean when he writes: rite vocatus ? What is included in the call of the church? The answer is, as already given by Beezer, examination, call, ordination. But read Apology 13 to fill out your view of ordination. We may consider it a sacrament! High praise for something you say has nothing to do with making one a pastor. And curious by its absence is any refernce to the call. This is wrapped up here in ordination, even as ordination is wrapped up in the call in AC 14.

While you're there check out the Apology on Article 14. Isn't that interesting? The Lutherans and the Catholics agree on the article! The only proviso: that the Lutherans use canonical ordination. Note the response here: not that they do away with ordination, but that they refuse to submit to the authority of those who would take away the gospel. Again, no reference to the call alone making a pastor; the call is again wrapped up in ordination.

What are the essential parts of Jesus' incarnation? This is importing a philosophical category into scripture that we do not find there. As such, it is a bad question. Yet scripture reserves the office for men, because they stand in the place of Christ. It does not reserve the office for Jews. Your argument makes you look like a Scholastic theologian, bringing categories into scripture rather than hearing what God speaks and forming your categories from his words. Aristotle will lead us into all truth!

But I bow to the superior wisdom of the one to whom your post is addressed. I am curious to hear what the Beezer has to say. When he has time. And I patiently await it.

RNN

Anonymous said...

Oh please, old wels minister, there's enough antagonism on this board without you chiming in out of nowhere with ad hominem attacks and accusations of mental instability. Is that the way that you treat the people you minister to? I pray not.

Pseudonym

PCK said...

I love how when someone makes a valid point/argument, the response is always "Nice straw man argument/way to set up straw men" etc. If that's all you have for a response, that's weak.

RNN said...

Hey, does everybody else get a Google advertisement for an ELCA church at the bottom of this blog? If so, does anybody else find that a little ironic and funny?

No, John, I'm not asking you to change anything--so please, nobody attack John for this. I'm just pointing out something that gave me a laugh.

RNN

John said...

rnn -

While setting up the blog there is an option to ad a google ad. So I installed that Ad. So some funny little Ads do pop up once in awhile.

It might also be a way to follow the church and change website and become all things to all people.

I'll see if I can filter it out and only allow those churches that are confessional, liturgical, and Lutheran advertise on this site.

Anonymous said...

pck,

Yeah, I love that too.

Oh well.

Pseudonym

Anonymous said...

"each man's exercise of that office is limited by his call."

How is that different than what I said? A teacher is in the office, but his exercise of that office is limited in scope by the call (to teach).

"High praise for something you say has nothing to do with making one a pastor."

When did I ever say that? (And I'm the one accused of setting up strawmen?!?) Ordination acknowledges publicly that which has already been made true by the call. When did Paul become a missionary? When the Holy Spirit set him apart or when the elders put their hands on him? The laying on of hands merely acknowledged what was already a fact. When the Holy Spirit sets you apart, you're set apart.

"What are the essential parts of Jesus' incarnation? This is importing a philosophical category into scripture that we do not find there. As such, it is a bad question....Your argument makes you look like a Scholastic theologian, bringing categories into scripture rather than hearing what God speaks and forming your categories from his words."

Hmm, I'm glad you think so. Beez is the one who first used this line of thought, not me. My goal in asking about the Jewishness was to show how arbitrary and abstract and philosophical Beez's original point was. I guess I succeeded.

Pseudonym

RNN said...

John,

Don't worry about the ad! I find it quite entertaining. Not as good as, say, a recruitment ad to a Benedictine monastery would be, but fun nonetheless. Maybe you could open up the advertisements for Catholic ads too.

Rejoicing in the ad at the bottom,

RNN

John said...

RNN -

And there is suppose to be a kick back from google if enough people click on the ad (but don't tell anyone).

No, I haven't gotten a check yet.

I'll see what I can do about getting that monastery Ad going.

RNN said...

Oh, I-won't-bother-to-read-what-you-wrote Pseudonym.

You continue to overlook those points where I answer the questions you raise. (That is, how is this different than a teacher, go back and read my last post--you'll find the answer already given.)

You keep talking about what Jesus' essential characteristics are and what his accidents are. B and I will keep confessing what Scripture says rather than projecting our categories into it. And to be clear, what makes you a scholasitc is introducing the term "essential." Where does Scripture make the distinction between Jesus' essential attributes and his accidental attributes? It doesn't. But it does confess the Son of God from eternity--not the child or the offspring or the Jew.

You say that defining becoming a pastor by examination, call, and ordination is against AC XIV. Now you point to Acts 13 as proof that it is ONLY the call. Your explanation argues that ordination isn't part of the process; you yourself say that the call does it all while the ordination simply lets us know what has already been done.

I agree with Luther that God always works through means. Read his Genesis lectures (he finds the office of the ministry where you would least expect it, because God always works through means). Therefore when the church ordains a man, it is God doing it. (Have you read the Luther readings I suggested? Luther says as much there--the hand of the pastor baptizing is the hand of God himself, etc.)

This is where the WELS floats off the specificities of time and place and where God is working into the airy-fairy spiritual world where the Holy Spirit does things apart from means. The call does it all; ordination is nothing.

And you cite Acts 13 as proof. I will gladly go there. First, let's note that hermeneutically speaking, the WELS would label this a descriptive passage, yet one that they use to establish doctrine by some convoluted logic I don't recall and don't wish to be reminded of. But since you are citing it, I assume that you also accept that we can use this passage to establish doctrine.

That being the case, look at the text. Paul is called by the Spirit (most likely through the prophets present in Antioch--working through means) and then has hands laid on him. It does not say "And since the Spirit called him Paul could leave at once" or "Since what the call established needed to be made known to everybody, they laid hands on him." Instead, Paul is sent as a missionary through a call and--dare we say it--an ordination. Huh.

Yet you tell me this proves that the call did it all. I say that God worked through the call AND the laying on of hands to place Paul into the ministry. Especially in this case, why bother with the hands? The Holy Spirit called him while the church was gathered together. Everybody would have known what had happened--why then the hands? No, ordination is God placing the man into the office to which he has been called.

Otherwise, how can we call it a sacrament (if we wish)? A sacrament is God working to dispense his forgiveness, not man ratifying what God has already done. (Of course, some WELS talk on the sacraments leads me to suspect there are WELS member who would see them as the latter rather than the former.)

Here is the practical implication of the WELS understanding of ministry, brought to light by the question of ordination. Ministry is no longer God's office to dispense his gospel gifts. It is now man's service rendered to God in which man, not God, is the agent. So ordination becomes man just rubber-stamping what God has already mystically done through the call. I say that ordination is God placing the man into the office.

We might compare this to marriage. Are a man and a woman married when they are engaged? No. They are married when they are married--when God joins them together as husband and wife. In the case of a church wedding, he does this through the pastor. In the same way, a called man is not yet a pastor (he's only engaged, so to speak) until God places him into the office through ordination.

By the way, I am still waiting for some evidence that priesthood and ministry are the same thing.

Here is where I think the WELS went astray. Our theologians in Wauwatosa started out in the wrong place. They wanted to take a fresh look at Scripture, devoid of systematic categories. They applied this to ministry. Ministry was located in the Greek text--diakonea (or something like that)--and expounded. It was determined that ministry meant service and so was only the task of proclaiming the gospel. For generations, this was not fully implemented, as the ministry was still understood by many in Wisconsin as the pastoral office.

What they did was to take a dogmatic term and redefine it. They did not quite cast off all the vestiges of systematics. They kept the title and redefined the doctrine it stood for (pardon me--for which it stood).

Trouble was, what they took as ministry was really shorthand for the full title of the doctrine. The full title was the office (or ministry) of preaching the word and administering the sacraments. That's quite a mouthful, and so theological shorthand made it simply "ministry." (Like writing out a wels pastor's wife is time-consuming; hence my suggestion of awpw. Are you still out there? Let me know if I can call you that.)

The doctrine that Wauwatosa dismissed was not an exegesis of the Greek word ministry. It was theological shorthand for the office that Christ instituted to preach the word and to administer the sacraments. It was a summary of these words of Jesus. That's the proper starting place: the very mandate of our Lord. The term "ministry" was instead a summary of what Christ gave to the church in his words.

But Wauwatosa dismissed all of this, save the one word "ministry." It began with this, and right off the bat pulled the functions away from the office to which Christ gave them. It then determined that, since all CHristians are to serve, they were all ministers. Ministry became our service to God and others rather than God's service to us through the office he mandated to give his gifts. No longer can we rejoice in letting the office remain whole--office and functions united--as God's appointed means to authoritatively preach his word and administer his sacraments in his stead. Now ministry is what we must do.

Moreover, ministry is detached from the specific location that God placed it--in the office, held by a flesh and blood, concrete man--and floats off into the world of abstractions.

I've gone on at length. I'll stop now. I'll stop now. And, to make sure it's not missed and people think I have no sense of humor, put the nonsesnse in a separate post.

RNN

RNN said...

Hey B,

Good luck saving the whales and freeing Willy, or stopping global warming, or bombing SUV lots, or whatever it is you environmental folk do. Just don't get arrested. Please.

As for straw man arguments; if you can't do the time, don't do the crime. Respond to the points actually made. This requires reading them, with comprehension; not simply dropping people into your pre-conceived categories. i.e., WELS doctrine of ministry or Romanist.

And John,

I'll do what I can to get you a kickback--but I didn't hear it from you. There's a lovely ad for the Yellow Pages to help me find a Lutheran church right now. Wow. That's worth a click or ten.

RNN

RNN said...

Now the ad's changed. Look what I found:

"God's Holy Sabbath
Is there one particular day on which Christian's should worship? If so, is that day Sunday? Did you know that leading authorities in both the Catholic and major Protestant denominations have had to admit that the practice of observing Sunday is without biblical support? Read this newest booklet from the Wonderful World Tomorrow, and discover the truth about God's Holy Sabbath."

Looks like we found the source of DA's Sabbath arguments; all from the advertisement at the bottom of the page. Here's the website:

http://www.wonderfulworldtomorrow.org/book_sabbath.html

RNN

Anonymous said...

RNN,

And notice how I referred to you by your title without adding any little snide or sarcastic remarks? Are those really necessary? It just strikes me as childish. How can you expect me to take what you write seriously when you begin your comment by insulting me?

"You continue to overlook those points where I answer the questions you raise."

Just because you propose an answer doesn't mean I have to accept your answer and withdraw my question. You seem to have overlooked my problems with the answer you gave.

"You keep talking about what Jesus' essential characteristics are and what his accidents are. B and I will keep confessing what Scripture says rather than projecting our categories into it. And to be clear, what makes you a scholasitc is introducing the term "essential.""

I'm not going to wade through the 100 comments to be sure of this, but I believe that Beez was the one to use the phrase "essential characteristics" first.

"This is where the WELS floats off the specificities of time and place and where God is working into the airy-fairy spiritual world where the Holy Spirit does things apart from means."

Perhaps you are the one in airy-fairy land. I never once said that the Holy Spirit calls apart from means. In fact, the Holy Spirit calls through humans at assignment committee and call meetings. Those are the means through which he calls.

"I say that God worked through the call AND the laying on of hands to place Paul into the ministry."

But where does Scripture say that God works through the hands at ordination? It clearly tells us that he works through the call. It never tells us that God works through ordination. The laying on of hands is always shown in Scripture as a human custom that follows the decision of God. For a related example, think of David. God chose David and set him apart as king long before Samuel ever left to anoint him. The anointing only acknowledged publicly what God had already decided. Or think of Christ's own anointing by the Holy Spirit. Christ didn't become Prophet, Priest, and King at the split second that the dove landed on his head. He already was those things. His anointing was a public demonstration of what already was true.

"By the way, I am still waiting for some evidence that priesthood and ministry are the same thing."

You keep asking this and I'm not sure what sort of evidence you're looking for. Perhaps you might provide some evidence that they aren't the same thing.

"Here is where I think the WELS went astray."

Could you substantiate your "timeline of events" of the Wauwautosa Theology? Could you provide references to documents where you think such wrong assumptions and shorthand expressions crept in? Otherwise your claims fall into the very "world of abstractions" that you so abhor.

Pseudonym

RNN said...

Dearest and most reverend Pseudonym,

I do offer my sincerest apologies for my subtitles and other phrases attached to your artful and clever secret name. I shall endeavor to write with more class and civility in the future.

You will note, however, that part of class and civility is listening to what other people say, or, in the instance of, shall we say for example's sake, conversing with them through means of a web log (commonly refered to as a blog), reading the previous posts that they have written. Kindly return the class and civility by listening and reading what is written.

For when you ask when arguments were given that ministry and priesthood are different, I dare say that you failed to read my post of Oct. 28th at 2:33pm, where I wrote:

"Back on the previous thread (which seems to have ended) we had some discussion about ministry and priesthood. I repeat my question here: what evidence do we have that they are the same; that in fact they are so synonymous that we could translate them the same way throughout the NT? I was pointed to a dictionary. My dictionary has different definitions for the two.

(Aside: Why are we doing theology by English dictionary? This is where the WELS goes astray in the doctrine of the ministry. Scripture interprets scripture; or better yet, to translate the Latin into English, Scripture interprets itself. Scripture ought to provide the definition of its terms. To rely on an English dictionary is to make that the authoritative interpreter of scripture and to elevate Webster above scripture.)

If ministry and priesthood are the same, why does the NT so carefully distinguish them? The NT never calls its public ministers/those in the office "priests." There is only one priest--Christ--and all Christians share in his priesthood by virtue of their membership in his body through baptism. No distinction between church members here. Yet we come to the office, and there is a distinction. Luke carefully separates disciples from apostles; Paul's letters address churches and their elders; the much debated Matthew 28 sets up the two poles of "you" and "them." As Chemnitz terms them, teachers and hearers.

Moreover, the primary orientation of priesthood and ministry are opposite. Priests are oriented towards God, approaching him in prayer, offering him our bodies as living sacrifices, declaring his praises. Ministers are oriented towards men, giving them the gifts of God.

And besides, if ministry and priesthood are the same, then 1 Peter would read: You are a . . . royal task of proclaiming the gospel. Priesthood talks about people; ministry about what they do."


I dare say that until you begin reading and comprehending posts such as this, I too will find it diffficult to take seriously anything that you have to say.

But alas; you go yet further in your impetulance. You say that you have not agreed with an answer given. Yet, after carefully reviewing your latest offerings in this ever-functional comment box, I note that your only objection is: no, I don't think so. Pardon me, my dearest Pseudonym, but that is not a very strong objection. You offer no substantive reason as to why teachers and pastors are the same thing, other than: they are both teaching. You have yet to answer my continual call to return to the blessed words of our Lord, where he assigns the tasks to the office. How and why are we to understand these words differently? I shan't answer this objection again, until thou hast provided me with yet further evidence of a more susbstantial reason pertaining to the unassailable accuracy of your position.

As for substantiating my timeline, read Martin Chemnitz (say, Enchiridion or the Loci) and the Lutheran Confessions. Both are now available in that most elegant and formal language for carrying on polilte discourse and converation, English. Then read the Wauwatosa theology. (also available in that most blessed and holy means of communication, English) Pay attention to how words are being used, rather than reading your own definitions into all these works. Also note what passages are being cited.

I will not pull out quotations here; since you do not read the posts that I have put up on prior dates, I will not waste the time pulling them out for you to ignore. Look them up yourself.

Finally, you keep floating into your airy-fairy world of abstractions. Please, good sir or lady, where might I find the scripture clearly saying that God works through the call? In fact, Paul writes to Timothy about the gift given to him through the laying on of hands. Nowhere does he talk about the gift given to him solely through his call.

You seem to have misunderstood me yet again when talking about how God works--through means. Thus the visible, external means through which he works--such as hands at the ordination--are more than the press release of what God already did secretly and hiddenly. The visible, external means are where God works. Thus David is set apart as King how? By being anointed with oil. That is where God works. Please, most kind and gracious Pseudonym, where does scripture portray such anointings as nothing more than making known what God has already done (not just planned, but actually done) as you so fervently assert is the case? And where does scripture clearly portray this of the call?

Humbly, respectfully, and ever at your service,

RNN

Anonymous said...

RNN writes:

But Wauwatosa dismissed all of this, save the one word "ministry." It began with this, and right off the bat pulled the functions away from the office to which Christ gave them. It then determined that, since all CHristians are to serve, they were all ministers. Ministry became our service to God and others rather than God's service to us through the office he mandated to give his gifts. No longer can we rejoice in letting the office remain whole--office and functions united--as God's appointed means to authoritatively preach his word and administer his sacraments in his stead. Now ministry is what we must do.

Could one say that the Wauwatosa Theology misunderstands not only Ministry but also the doctrine of Vocation? It sure sounds to my ears (and looks to my eyes, for they read your words) that what you describe is not "ministry" but vocation.

We are God's hands where we are given to serve. One should not consider vocation a "ministry" but faith in action; Christ in us, the hope of glory.

Am I trippin'?

RMC

Anonymous said...

RNN,

I'm not going to waste any of my time responding to your latest comment, which had condescension and sarcasm dripping from every sentence. If you'd like to rewrite it in an honest and straightforward way, I'd be happy to read it and respond to it.

Why must every theological discussion on these topics devolve into a battle of wit and insult? Was this started in our circles by the MM or was it around before then?

Pseudonym

mav said...

"I'm not going to waste any of my time responding to your latest comment,"

Why not? If your position is correct, it should be easy to blow that sarcastic jerk out of the water? By choosing not to answer, you are leaving us with the impression that you can't answer him; that he is right and you are wrong but are too proud to admit it.


"Was this started in our circles by the MM or was it around before then?"

Why keep bringing up the MM? Please let us know what in there specifically makes you so angry and what you disagree with. Otherwise, that's just a cheap shot.

RNN said...

Pseudonym,

It was around before then. Read your own comments again; they have not all been sweetness and light.

Choose to do what you wish with your time; for the moment I will assume that you have no answers to the points raised here, but still don't agree with them.

RNN

RNN said...

RMC,

Are you tripping? I don't know; what do you have in your pipe this morning?

But as to your post, no; that sounds like an excellent thought on your part. Wauwatosa does seem to have confused vocation and ministry. I'll have to give that some thought.

Thanks!

RNN

LM said...

"Am I trippin'?"

I think you are all tripping. Anyone with internet access and at least one finger knows that dictionary.com defines ministry as "the act of serving; ministration." Case closed--anyone who serves is a minister.

LM

Anonymous said...

mav and rnn,

You can believe whatever you'd like about the deeper significance of my decision not to respond. The simple fact is that nothing beneficial comes from these contests of sarcastic wit. Much heat, no light. The ultimate loser here is the Church when others watch its members tear each other to shreds and see that they can't even speak to one another with common decency and respect. Even unbelievers are able to do that!

I'm not trying to play the martyr or claim innocence here. I'm sure I've made a sarcastic comment or two, for which I repent. But RNN's latest comment seemed to be saturated with such condescension and sarcasm and made me realize that finding the truth is no longer the desire here.

So feel free, tear me to shreds. Call me a crybaby or a quitter. Label me a pietist. Ridicule my point of view. Belittle my intellect. I've made my position known. People can decide for themselves.

Pseudonym

RNN said...

Pseudonym,

All right, all humor and sarcasm aside, if we are seeking the truth and light, let's get back to ministry and priesthood. What evidence or reason do we have to say that they are identical?

Here is why I think they are different:

"Back on the previous thread (which seems to have ended) we had some discussion about ministry and priesthood. I repeat my question here: what evidence do we have that they are the same; that in fact they are so synonymous that we could translate them the same way throughout the NT? I was pointed to a dictionary. My dictionary has different definitions for the two.

If ministry and priesthood are the same, why does the NT so carefully distinguish them? The NT never calls its public ministers/those in the office "priests." There is only one priest--Christ--and all Christians share in his priesthood by virtue of their membership in his body through baptism. No distinction between church members here. Yet we come to the office, and there is a distinction. Luke carefully separates disciples from apostles; Paul's letters address churches and their elders; the much debated Matthew 28 sets up the two poles of "you" and "them." As Chemnitz terms them, teachers and hearers.

Moreover, the primary orientation of priesthood and ministry are opposite. Priests are oriented towards God, approaching him in prayer, offering him our bodies as living sacrifices, declaring his praises. Ministers are oriented towards men, giving them the gifts of God.

And besides, if ministry and priesthood are the same, then 1 Peter would read: You are a . . . royal task of proclaiming the gospel. Priesthood talks about people; ministry about what they do."

There; that's what I think. Do you have evidence to say that priesthood and ministry are identical? Please let us know what that is.

RNN

RNN said...

LM,

If I may delve back into humor for a moment, I have internet access and at least one finger. I also have eyes that can read what my one finger finds. What you overlook is the third definition of ministry: "A governmental department presided over by a minister." in the American Heritage Dictionary.

Clearly, this is what God instituted: governmental departments to be presided over by ministers. At least, this definition is just as valid as yours.

Living the High Life,
RNN

LM said...

P,

I wrongly concluded that you didn't mind the banter. If I hurt your feelings, I appologize for that.

Now, if only I didn't have to wait two more weeks for my church to offer the Lord's Supper again...(oh, and we don't have confession and absolution on non-communion Sundays either because the order of service we use for communion Sundays "was never intended to be used without communion" so we use the Matins order of service...so I guess I'll have to wait for that as well.)

LM

LM said...

Dear gentle (fe)male nurse:

Ouch...proven wrong by own faulty logic. Actually, that's a double ouch.

Well done (For me, shaking off the sarcasm is like trying to forget how to sit down--please be patient).

LM

RNN said...

LM,

I enjoy the banter and the sarcasm, even at my expense.

My apologies to Pseudonym and all others who did not appreciate my attempts at wit and humor.

RNN

mav said...

Dear P,

It seems that you have no answers and no defense for what you have written. That is sad. If that is a result of poor catechesis done in the Lutheran church, it is sadder still.

LM said...

P,

I think what RNN says makes a lot of sense. I am also looking forward to your response (and don't worry, I don't expect somthing right this minute--I'll check back in every once in a while).

LM

Anonymous said...

Pseudonym,

Back from the rally! Saved the planet for another day, no thanks to the likes of LM, RNN, RMC, UP and Run DMC. Found some time to respond to you, will do so this aft or eve.

Think Green etc.
The B.

Anonymous said...

Pseudonym,

As I see you have engaged others on this and other threads, I will assume you are finished answering (sic) me. First of all, you complain that no one is interested in the truth here. No, that is you for you avoid the truth which shows you wrong and the truth of yours too often conflicts with that which has been handed down to us by the Confessors and common reason. To wit…

You, in your first answer to my answer to your six questions, accused me of arguing from silence, and I showed you convincingly that that was precisely what you were doing. I illustrated that by suggesting that Stephen may or may not have been in the OHM previously or afterwards is an argument from silence for I clearly wrote that WE DON'T KNOW but that IT DOESN'T MATTER. Words that you missed the first time and which in your second post you failed to acknowledge. Now, you whine along with PCK that others charge "straw man" and don't show it. Wrong, I showed you. And you do it again in your response to my response to your question 1. You write

"Where does Scripture tell us that one in the OHM must always carry out every function of the OHM."

That is a straw man for nowhere do I say that. What I actually wrote was

"I think I know what the pastor's call says, but what is this teacher's? Is the call to authoritatively preach and teach the congregation and to administer the blessed Sacraments of Baptism, Absolution and the Sacrament of the Altar to the congregation? This assumes that he is qualified to do all that, that is, is he able to refute those who oppose the truth, which means he should be sufficient in the words of Holy Writ (which were written in Hebrew and Greek) and which in the Lutheran Church means that he has read and knows the Lutheran confessions and that he is a he. If not, no, if so, yes."

Your question and my response were not in regards to whether one in the office MUST, ALWAYS, EVERY etc. Straw man. However, what you call "functions" are simply what AC V describes as the Ministry and as I said "anything short of that is not the Holy Ministry." Now, will every member of the OHM always have an opportunity to administer the Sacraments. No, but should he be qualified to rightly administer the Sacraments, of course, for that is the very competency of the office. Therefore, if he is not competent to do the AC V things which is what a man must be competent to do in the OHM, he should not be called into said office.

You write,

"In response to question 1, you again make the mistake of equating the OHM only with the pastoral office."

No, the mistake is yours in not reading what I wrote. I said AC V is the OHM. I said in answer to your scenario.

"A teacher teaches the Word for 20 minutes in the classroom. Is he in the OHM?"

Was my answer "only the pastor is in the OHM" as you say? No. Straw Man. I wrote, "I don’t know. What is their call?" Later I proposed this scenario

"If this teacher says I want to be a pastor and the church says you are not qualified to be a pastor, then my guess is his call is not what I described above and anything short of that is not the Holy Ministry."

I did not say, as you say, "well you are not doing all the functions." No I said, the church would undoubtedly say "you are not QUALIFIED to be a pastor." I did not say, he is not in the OHM because he is not a pastor, I surmised his call is not what I described above, the Ministry as defined by AC V. Now, can wels congregations call people into the OHM who are not AC V qualified? Sure, it does. Does that make it right? Funny, though, most wels laypeople realize that her teachers are not qualified to do what one expects of a pastor, which is not to say they are not qualified to teach children in loco parentis. I have relatives who are wels teachers, and quite good at it. (Now, don't read words I don't say. I know of many laymen, teachers included, who are qualified to be AC V men but they are not rite vocatus.)

But finally, the Ministry IS pastoral. "Be shepherds of the flock under your care." Whether you call him Father, Priest, Minister or whatever, the ministry is by definition pastoral. The average wels layman understands this. Now, can you have pastors (rightly understanding that word) teaching the Word for only 20 minutes. I suppose, but he had better be qualified. And thus, my scenario, which you cannot gainsay. So, if a wels teacher is not qualified to be a pastor, then why are wels churches calling unqualified men into the OHM and contrary to Scripture, women, even if they are only doing it for 20 minutes?

Regardless, this is all moot because the wels teaches that anyone doing anything on behalf of the church is in the public ministry.

You write,

"I have read the text (several times.)"

Ok, you read but you did not comprehension. The text says that the Twelve said "It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and service tables." And later, "but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the MINISTRY OF THE WORD."

And talk about reading your views into Scripture and using arguments from silence! You write

"Stephen served tables but also preached the Word (why else would he have been arrested in the first place? For serving tables too efficiently?). …. Why would Stephen be arrested in the first place if he was simply serving tables? Wait, he was arrested for doing miracles and for preaching the Word. Interesting."

Are only those who are in the OHM and who have witnessed been martyrs? Interesting. No, many faithful "table servers" have been martyred for their Lord. Yes, the text says Stephen "disputed with", he "spoke" and he gave answer and performed signs and wonders. Aside from the signs and wonders, which few in the OHM do today, this sounds like what many lay Christians I know do, save most are not given the privilege of martyrdom. However, they have not been ritely called. And yes, there are those who have been martyred from "serving tables too efficiently" who have refused to bend the knee to idols.

You interpret the words, "disputed with," "spoke," and that he gave answer with "preach the Word." Fine, when my 9 year tells her Muslim friend that her god is no God and gets a punch in the throat, she "preaches the Word." Can we assume she is in the office of the Holy Ministry? (Whoops, according to the wels, she is, she is an acolyte.)

Personally I believe Stephen was called into the office of the ministry, however, I do not have a word of Scripture that tells me that. To do as Stephen did, though, does not require one to be in the office and even if it did, most certainly the text does not say that his election to table server was election to the OHM, no, it says exactly the opposite.

It seems you, as A wels teacher (whom we have excused to the safety of his classroom, so he is absent with leave) are confused about AC XIV and a layman's witness. His witness does not put him into the office. But he may not assume the master of student role. For when he witnesses to the unbeliever that unbeliever is not submitting himself to his ministry/authority, nor should the lay witness presume to be his teacher. Yes, witness, declare, dispute, give answer, perform a wonder and be martyred. That some on this blog erect the straw man of "you are saying only a pastor’s words are effective" is proof they do not understand this distinction.

You write,

"[I] noted that the apostles chose men to be deacons not based on their "table service" abilities, but on their spiritual gifts. Likewise, when Paul established the criteria for deacons, his focus was on spiritual gifts--so much so that his criteria are almost exactly the same for a deacon as for an overseer. Now why would so much emphasis be placed on a deacon's spiritual abilities if this was a "secular" office of table-serving?"

Once again your argument is from silence and you once again fail to read the text and read your words into the text. You say they were chosen for their "spiritual gifts," though the words "spiritual gifts" are not used in the text. Indeed all we have, our mind, reason and all our faculties come as gifts, as well as, and especially, faith. And these men were gifted, full of the spirit. But, pardon me, so? They were chosen because of these gifts, if you will, to what, to the ministry of the word? No, the apostles "turned this responsibility of table service over to them." The apostles, unlike you, feel that those who wait on tables do not need spiritual gifts. You write

"Now why would so much emphasis be placed on a deacon's spiritual abilities if this was a "secular" office of table-serving?"

What an insult to all the table servers out there! (I would watch my back at the next potluck at your church if I were you.) Secular office? No, a churchly office, not the OHM but a God pleasing vocation. I can think of many reasons why these men needed to be mature men of faith, they had the life or death (and for those widows it was) food fight on their hands.

You strain all credulity when you write,

"Likewise, when Paul established the criteria for deacons, his focus was on spiritual gifts--so much so that his criteria are almost exactly the same for a deacon as for an overseer."

Let us see, what is absent from the deacon list? Well, that would be the most important, "able to teach." Do we have to wonder why this is not necessary for a deacon? Let me spell it out for you, he is not to teach. The other major qualifications revolve around the bishops home life, for he needs to "rule" the church. (And not that is matters all that much, but a quick tally counts 14 for the overseer/bishop, 6 for the deacon) Yep, "almost exactly the same." Really, Pseudonym.

And you write,

"What's "so bizarre it is laughable" is that some would claim that Stephen (and the other deacons) wasn't in the OHM."

Funny, when I first suggested that he was (but we don’t know for sure) you laughed. What is laughable is to suggest that Stephen was in the OHM because he was appointed to an office that expressly was not THE MINISTRY OF THE WORD. So the laugh, once again, is on you. And Really, that is bizarre.

You write,

"In response to question 4, you claimed that the call alone does not make one a pastor. This is clearly against Article 14 of the Augsburg Confession. It also matches what Rome teaches, that ordination, not the call, puts one into the OHM. If anyone needs proof of "Romanistic (sic) tendencies" all they need to do is reread what you said on this topic."

Ipse dixit, so it must be true. Please, answer my arguments, do not just say I am wrong, you can, but it makes you look the fool. My compatriots (well, in non green matters) have answered you well on this point. Quite obviously you do not understand what rite vocatus means. As I pointed out to you, even the wels recognizes that ordination does something. The man was not a pastor before, he is now a pastor. "You are being ordained into the ministry." "My pastorate began…" Are these words all just hypocrisy?

As has been shown by others, the examination, call and placement, i.e. ordination is the rite vocatus. Your narrow interpretation leaves you with absurdities you cannot answer. A pastor or layman (as in a seminarian) receives a "call" from a church, He is now their pastor. That is exactly your position. (And don’t try to qualify that now.)

People of good reason and sense know that the call has to be accepted and that acceptance is conditioned on the vows that are made. We called you to do the AC V things because the seminary says you are qualified, and so we want you to stand up before us and to vow to do it, and we will vow to accept you as our pastor - if and when you say the right things in the rite. This is the rite vocatus or ordentlichen Beruf (though the clergy participated in the examination). Things are done orderly according to the rite and things are ritely done according to the ordo.

Not only is your understanding of the Lutheran position on this faulty so if your understanding of Rome's. Rome demands a call too, but their error is leaving the church out of it.

You write,

"In response to question 5, you claimed that Jesus' maleness is "an essential part of his incarnation", but refused to answer if Jesus' Jewishness is an essential part of his incarnation. I would argue that it is, since the Messiah must be Jewish unless God be a liar. And so if all in the OHM must, by your argument, maintain all the essential parts of Jesus' incarnation, then all pastors must be of Jewish descent. Your diversion, claiming that we are all Israel by faith, doesn't apply, since we are talking about physical attributes. (Unless you want to claim that Jesus was only spiritually male, or something like that.)"

and

"In response to question 6, you claimed that you wouldn't characterize the relationship between Christ and the Church as a "gender relationship", which is absurd since the whole point of your argument here was to determine which genders may serve in the OHM. How can you then use something that isn't talking about "gender relationships" to make a point specifically about gender. Sorry, but you really lost me on that one."

Now, first of all, READ THE TEXT! You say I refused to answer if Jesus’ Jewishness is an essential part of his incarnation. Not only do you not read my text you don’t read your own! Your original questions which I answered was this

"Why does "standing in the stead of Christ" not also refer specifically to his Jewishness?"

You didn't ask if the Christ was to be born a Jew. Of course, that is an essential part of his incarnation. So, no I did not, as you write, refuse to answer a question which you did not ask, which you said you did. Straw man. Read your text.

Secondly you misrepresent my argument, I did not say that "all in the OHM must… maintain all the essential parts of Jesus' incarnation, then all pastors must be of Jewish descent" nor is that the consequence of my argument. Perhaps the argument which is quite nuanced was not presented as clearly, or better, more fully by me as it ought, but you certainly missed the nuance if I did and I believe I did, but, no matter.

Now first, the glorious news that we are all children of Abraham by faith in Christ is hardly a "diversion" as you so put it. You are getting close to the truth when you offer this qualifier

"unless you want to claim that Jesus was only spiritually male, or something like that."

A man stands in a relationship to a woman. It is not about twigs and berries, though that is a part of it. One who is or is to be a giver, when he is incarnated, will be male, either Adam or the second Adam or subsequent Adams. The twigs and berries have an ontological basis, giving.

The Son of God images the Father to the World. When Christ was incarnated, he was incarnated male. Christ, the giver, stands in relationship to his bride, the church, the receiver. He stands in this relationship as Giver, as the perfect Icon of the Father, not in a bedroom manner, but as giver of all good things, as the source of all life.

The husbands stands in relationship to his bride as giver, as icon of Christ who is the Icon of the Father. He loves and gives to his receiver and plants the seed and gives life, he becomes father.

So the pastor who stands in relationship to the church. He stands in the name and stead of Christ, he plants the seed of the Word and gives life, he becomes father (1 Cor. 4:15), but not in a bedroom manner. Anymore than Christ could have been incarnate a woman and so a receiver (for he God, God is love, love is giving, God is pure giver), can a pastor be a woman who is ontologically a receiver, she must be silent to receive/hear. Christ being born a man wasn’t just the result of a flip of a coin. There was an ontological basis. And so the commands that a woman may not teach or have authority over a man, that she must be silent and so forth have an ontological basis. A giver must give. Givers are incarnated male. Ironically your question about eunuchs comes in here, some are born that way, others by the snip of a scissors, still others by an angry wife, but they are male. They are iconicly a giver, if unable to perform as a giver in relationship to a woman. They are equipped to serve the church but not a woman. The church always stands in relationship to Christ as receiver, as bride.

The wels, unfortunately,. has made this law, when it reality it is a part of image of God in which we were created. This (and I think the nurse mentioned this) is what Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians 14:40, kata taxin, "according to order." The subject in question which this verse concludes is the subject of the role of woman in the church (must not speak) not the establishment of the ministry. The order in question, I think is clear, is, first, the order of creation. That is what the Law, Torah, says. (Contra those feminists who say Paul cannot point to any law that says that. No, law, Torah says so). Yes, Luther and others have used this passages in speaking of the ministry over all but I am not sure whether Luther did not also mean it in the way I do. And most certainly the order includes doing things according the AC XIV, including not speaking out of turn.

To use an analogy. One of the rules of debate is not to use a straw man argument. There are other rules as well. If I conclude a diatribe on not using the straw man argument, I might end by saying, obey the rules. (The straw man one, and of course the others which are not under discussion.)

Now I said,

"I wouldn't characterize it as a "gender" relationship, but a giving and receiving relationship,"

This is what I meant and tried to explain, i.e. the giving receiving relationship will be incarnated physically in a certain way, but that physical thing is not an end to itself, but the manner in man and woman really become one flesh (Viva la difference!) Christ becomes one flesh with us in a much deeper manner. In the church catholic we do not use the words gender to describe the eternal Son of God and the Father, for God is a spirit and hath not flesh and bones. I am sure Pieper has much on that. That is why "gender" per se is not the issue here. The ontological basis for gender is.

Indeed this whole subject is relatively new to me and there is much to read to get up to speed. Read Pastor Peter Berg's articles on this in the Magpie and they will get you started.

So, I am done. I have run the race. I will engage you on specific points if you wish, if you deal with what I wrote, but I won’t unravel and take apart any more straw man arguments. And as I have otherwise declared, because I was asked and answered, non answers to me equal acquiescence or stubbornness.

Think Green, drink wine, ride a bike, save the world, read the text, take it easy, don't worry, be happy.

The B.

PS. Let no one gripe about their name being damaged on this blog unless you use your name. You cannot slander the B, nor the LM, or RMM or the BM or any other initial, including pseudonyms.

RNN said...

The B.,

Yeah, it's about time you stopped hugging that tree so that I can run over it in my gas-guzzling SUV while hunting spotted owls with explosives that deplete the ozone layer.

Dedicated to the destruction of the planet, because more illnesses from environmental destruction means more patients for me,

RNN

Anonymous said...

RNN,

And when you are up to your eyeballs in unrecycled plastics, soiled disposable diapers AND medical waste, choking on fumes from your Hummer and the noxious poisons belching from your military industrial complex and other factories of death which have destroyed the rain forests, depleting the planet’s oxygen and when the planet's fresh water is filled with mercury and other industrial by-products and the earth turns into a barren wasteland and your hair falls out from the irradiated chemicals with which you have glutted yourself in your processed foods, you’ll say with your last dying, wheezing breath "Why didn’t I listen to the B!?!"

Think Green or DIE!!!
The B.

RNN said...

Anybody else still checking way back here? I am, but fear I will hear only the SOund of Silence.

RNN

Unknown said...

If women are not allowed to read the Scriptures during a worship service, why do we allow children to read Scripture during worship service at Christmastime?

Paul