Thursday, September 4, 2008

WELS view - it is or isn't a sin to vote for Sarah Palin

What does the WELS believe about the role of women in society?

With the nomination of Sarah Palin as vice-president candidate for the Republican party, the WELS position on the role of women in society should be discussed by WELS pastors and laypeople. Are there any qualified male candidates for this postion? (to possibly be the executive officer of the free world ..over men and women)

The WELS teaching states:

A Christian woman may be convinced that none of the men who are running for a particular office would offer qualified and/or honest service for the benefit of those they represent. If God has given her the gifts to fill such an office well, she may feel the greater harm is to allow less than qualified candidates to fill those positions.

http://www.wels.net/cgi-bin/site.pl?1518&cuTopic_topicID=30&cuItem_itemID=13974


And it has been stated before that if a wife votes against here husband in a political election the woman would be sinning (personal conversation with a WELS DP).

Yet the Q and A site states: Scripture leaves a great deal to our conscientious Christian judgment as we live the role relationship principle in the world.

So my question remains. Does the headship principal apply to roles in society?

106 comments:

Anonymous said...

WELS Doctrinal Statement.

"In the World

Christians also accept the biblical role relationship principle for their life and work in the world (1 Co 11:3; Eph 5:6-17). Christians seek to do God’s will consistently in every area of their lives. We will therefore strive to apply this role relationship principle to our life and work in the world."

All WELS people who disagree should be disciplined.

WELS Doctrinal Committee

Freddy said...

John, I am going to turn your question on it's side a bit. I think that the question ought to be, “How best do we live out our faith in a fallen world?”

The Bible gives no direct instruction whatsoever for the ordering of Society. Does this mean that no Christian principles apply in Society? God's order regarding the roles of men and women in two of the three Earthly Estates (the two Estates occupying the Kingdom of Grace, the Domestic and Ecclesiastical Estates) is clear in Scripture. In the third Estate, the Political Estate, all we know is that God providentially governs events in the Kingdom of this World for the benefit of His Bride, the Church -- in His own mysterious way raising to power those who will best fulfill His purposes according to His timing.

Yet, the Bible exhorts us to live out our faith in the World; Christians have done so throughout the millennia, and still do today. Thus, Biblical principles clearly impact our ordering of Society -- from the equality of man (which John Locke derived from Luther's doctrine of the Universal Priesthood) to freedom of Conscience (informed, again, by Luther, his stand at Worms, and the Confessions that resulted) to the principle of human dignity that descends from imago Dei -- all at work in Society, not because we are commanded to make them so, but because Christians have lived out their faith according to their conscience, and Society has come to enjoy the benefit. We should always live out our faith in the best way we can, to represent the Bible's teachings to the World, and Biblical Headship is no exception.

However, because there are no Biblical Laws for the ordering of Society, because the World is fallen, because our Christian Consciences, though quickened by the Spirit, are faulty as a result of our own sin, our application of Biblical principles in the world can only be characterized as a struggle against a daily onslaught of Ethical Dilemmas -- Right vs. Right, Right vs. Wrong, Lesser of Evils -- that, out of Joy and Gratitude for what Christ has done for us, we seek to balance and resolve in a way that would most honorably represent Him. Because we are imperfect, our application of Biblical principles to resolve these dilemmas will also be imperfect -- and all too often, we know it. And this is what the WELS Q&A is getting at when it appeals to Conscience in living out these principles in the world. Was Dietrich Bonhoeffer right to participate in an assassination plot against Hitler? No, he was not. But his conscience led him to participate because such action was a lesser of evils. Is it right for a Christian woman to seek positions of authority over men in Society? No, it is not. But is the alternative worse? What does her conscience tell her? Is it right for Christian men to knowingly place women in authority over them? No, it is not. But again, would the alternative be worse? All of these are not necessarily Right vs. Wrong dilemmas (if only!) -- the Bible does not equip us to regard them this way. Rather, they are Lesser of Evil dilemmas, and we'll have to choose, one way or the other. Looking to God's Word and the Confessions, and relying on your Brothers to supply loving correction when you err, follow your conscience. Do what you do because you are convinced as a matter of Conscience that it is the right thing to do.

Freddy Finkelstein

Anonymous said...

i'm one lifelong wels woman who will be voting for sarah. what's the alternative?

Anonymous said...

Just to clear up some possible confusion: Answers on the Q&A are NOT official statements of WELS doctrine; they are answers to specific questions provided -- usually -- by seminary professors. The Q&A page on the web clearly states that these answers should NOT be viewed as "official" WELS doctrinal positions. Also, the off-hand, out-of-context (and possibly intended to be humorous) comment of a district president is also not a doctrinal statement.

The WELS position, I believe, is that while the principle of headship applies to church, marriage, and society, Scripture leaves to Christian judgment as to how the principle might best be applied; it is especially lacking in specific applications when it comes to the principle in society.

I for one will be voting for Sarah Palin with no qualms of conscience whatsoever.

John, I think you are attempting to cause a problem where there is none. Please focus on real problems, not artificially manufactured ones.

I want to thank Freddy for his informed, evangelical, and biblically sound analysis.

Anonymous said...

FF,

In other or fewer words, Fred, your answer is "yes, but it is tough."

But why is your answer so complicated in regards to this, what you call a "Biblical Principle" (i.e. law), as opposed to any law of God? It seems you are turning yourself inside out to answer the question posed by John to avoid answering/applying it according to the WELS "principle".

It is rarely that complicated. For example can a WELS woman serve in the military where she has authority over a man, in the workplace where she must have authority over a man? A hundred other scenarios can be asked that don't arise to your "Bonhoeffer" level. By the way, your logic there makes a great case for supporting those who murder doctors who perform abortions.

Finally, do not Christians suffer for doing right?

Deuce

Anonymous said...

"what's the alternative?"

Joe Biden.

Anonymous said...

John,

Your question is ill framed. It should not be, is it a sin to vote for this Alaskan beauty, but may a WELS women vote for this Alaskan beauty. Hasn't WELS determined that voting is an exercise of authority and thus it prohibits its women from voting in its church assemblies? I was told there is/was an issue in the WELS on women voting in national elections.

An inquiring Catholic

John said...

John, I think you are attempting to cause a problem where there is none. Please focus on real problems, not artificially manufactured ones.

This not a manufactured problem but a matter that does bother my conscience. I know that this issue has been swept under the rug by the WELS after a blow-up in the early 1990's. I followed the St. James situation very closely. In fact, my sister was and is a member of that now independent congregation. She asked the MN presidium if she was sinning by having a position in authority in the workplace. The DP (now retired) said yes, vp said no, the 2nd vp was unsure. But St. James was booted out of the synod. Contact St. James for the documentation of these meetings.

So my conscience is burdened by a synod that seems to extend the headship principle to society. This is an issue that has split my family so please don't accuse me of "manufacturing" a problem.

The unoffical spokesperson(Q&A) says it is a matter of conscience as does FF. So then why does the official statement of the WELS extend the headship principle to society?

Another parodox, some district teachers' conferences allow female teachers the opportunity to vote while others says this is a headship matter and the female teachers are not allowed to vote. Again, is there any consistency in how the role of women is applied throughout synod?

Anonymous said...

Deuce asked why this issue seemed to be so complicated. He thought things should be simple. John seems to have this same idea, that things should be black and white, that there's a simple yes/no answer.

Sorry, but we live in a sinful word. Things are NEVER simple. There is NEVER a clear cut line between black and white.

Now, don't get me wrong, God's principles are perfectly clear. If we lived in a perfect world, they would be perfectly simple to carry out.

But the reality is that we live in a world that has been ruined by sin. Thus, applying God's clear principles in the world will always be difficult.

John, that's why your yes/no question, "Is it a sin to vote for Palin?" can NEVER be answered with a yes/no.

The much better question to ask is, "How can we as men and women best serve God in this sinful world?".

But we can't expect everyone to come to the same answer. As others have said, this is a matter of conscience. For some people, it might be a sin to vote for Palin. For others, it might not.

Does this make things difficult? Yup. But does this mean we should just retreat and say, "Nah, God's principles don't apply to society. That would be too hard."? Absolutely not.

St. Paul wrote that God gave his law to OT believers as a teacher because they were immature. But now we live in Christian maturity. Scripture does not bind us with clear laws when it comes to this principle in society. God trusts us as his adult children to do what is best in each situation.

This is a blessing, not a problem.

Texas Pastor said...

The topics discussed on this blog prove that our huge theological challenges over the next decades will be in three main areas -- the doctrine of fellowship, church and ministry (including worship), and the roles of men and women. (Of course, we'll always be battling for the three Solas as well.)

In each of these areas, in fact, in every doctrine of Scripture, it is vital that we do not simply stand on the shoulders of others and say, "Luther said...", "Kuske said...", "Brug said...," "My DP said..." It would become so easy for us to stop actually DOING theology and just start quoting fathers. (That's not to discount the value of studying church history and dogmatics -- I love church history and dogmatics -- just a Reformation warning...we hold to the Scriptures and the Confessions first).

What we must do in every generation, what every individual must do, is appropriate these doctrinal truths for ourselves. We NEED to fight this battle and not simply lean on the conclusions of others, otherwise we'll just say, "It's right" or "It's wrong" and the answer to the "Why?" will be "Because Dr. So-and-So and Synod By-Law such and such said so." That's not theology. Theology is diving into the sources, into the Word and letting the Spirit breath into us His truth.

So it's good to ask these questions again and again and again. And it's good to discuss them (speaking of which, I plan to ask this one at my next circuit meeting if there's time -- I already have a couple other casuistry questions, I might not get to ask all of them.)

That being said, this is an issue I wrestle with as I study Scripture. As others have mentioned before, I wish God had said, in so many words, what His will was for cases like this. I wish He'd made it just as clear for the realm of society as He did in the home and the church. My sinful nature wants Lutheran Canon Law!

I also wish I could understand WHY He set up these roles. I get why murder is wrong. I get why stealing is wrong. I get why worshipping another god is wrong. But why is it wrong for a woman to have authority over a man? Or, if we hesitate to use the word "wrong," we could say, "Why did God desire the man to be the servant-leader and the woman the servant-helper?" Is our answer, "Because it pleased Him to do so"? (Pieper used that to answer questions in his dogmatics now and again.) I struggle answering that question.

That's not to say I disagree with God here. I take my reason captive to Christ and trust in the almighty, omniscient wisdom of God. As Paul said, "Let God be true, and every man a liar" (Romans 3:4).

To my knowledge, this is a topic of contiued study in our circles and our Synod. We haven't "settled" this question with our canon laws. We are sinful people living in a sinful world struggling to apply Christian principles. Sometimes we swerve to the liberal left, sometimes we dive into the reactionary right. We're trying to stay in our lane...but man, it's hard!

Benjamin Tomczak

Texas Pastor said...

Oh, by the way, forgot to make this my PS -- I always enjoy your comments and insights as well Freddy. They evidence much care and thought. Your constant reference to the studying you do spurs me on to work harder to get into the Confessions more and Scripture more and Luther more, etc. etc. etc.

PPS
My copy of Krauth still sits on my shelf, waiting to be read. I finally got one at a book auction my senior year and it keeps getting pushed down the list. If only I had a day or two a week where I could JUST READ!

Benjamin Tomczak

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

Read more carefully. The Deuce didn't say the issue was not complicated, the Deuce said FF's answer was, not in the light of the WELS statement, which is clear, women are not to be in authority over a man... in society as well as in church and in the home. Nothing confusing about that. His is equivocation. I have yet to hear a WELS person say a woman cannot be the boss of men at work, cannot be a military office (a tab bit of authority there) etc. Mr. Tomczak's confusion (disagreement?) regarding the WELS position is not uncommon. By the way, he takes issue, if he is not in agreement and if he is WELS, with the Synodical doctrine not this Kuske or Brug.

I have heard all the "qualifiers" many times before, but you cannot get around the WELS position that women are not to have authority over men in society, that is as clear as "thou shalt not steal." I have yet to hear a WELS person or pastor say, "No, a woman must not be in authority over a man in society." Why? Because so many are.

Here is the unmistakable conclusion, either the WELS doctrine is wrong, or WELS people are frightened to apply it. (Actually I believe both).

The Deuce

PS The example of Deborah ought to give the WELS theologians pause. And don't play the "God can do what He wants" exception to the rule. God does not act contrary to who He Is.

Anonymous said...

Freddy, is it ok to kill a doctor who murders innocent unborn children? Would you suggest this answer?

"However, because there are no Biblical Laws for the ordering of Society, because the World is fallen, because our Christian Consciences, though quickened by the Spirit, are faulty as a result of our own sin, our application of Biblical principles in the world can only be characterized as a struggle against a daily onslaught of Ethical Dilemmas -- Right vs. Right, Right vs. Wrong, Lesser of Evils -- that, out of Joy and Gratitude for what Christ has done for us, we seek to balance and resolve in a way that would most honorably represent Him. Because we are imperfect, our application of Biblical principles to resolve these dilemmas will also be imperfect -- and all too often, we know it. And this is what the WELS Q&A is getting at when it appeals to Conscience in living out these principles in the world. Was Dietrich Bonhoeffer right to participate in an assassination plot against Hitler? No, he was not. But his conscience led him to participate because such action was a lesser of evils. Is it right for a Christian woman to seek positions of authority over men in Society? No, it is not. But is the alternative worse? What does her conscience tell her? Is it right for Christian men to knowingly place women in authority over them? No, it is not. But again, would the alternative be worse? All of these are not necessarily Right vs. Wrong dilemmas (if only!) -- the Bible does not equip us to regard them this way. Rather, they are Lesser of Evil dilemmas, and we'll have to choose, one way or the other. Looking to God's Word and the Confessions, and relying on your Brothers to supply loving correction when you err, follow your conscience. Do what you do because you are convinced as a matter of Conscience that it is the right thing to do."

Anonymous said...

Good thing Palin isn't WELS.

Freddy said...

Deuce,

“But why is your answer so complicated in regards to this, what you call a "Biblical Principle" (i.e. law), as opposed to any law of God?”

Because too many are willing to make complex issues simple. I don't mean to accuse, but often, simplification is calculated as an expedient. Applying the Law as a guide is rarely a simple binary operation, but as Christians we are eager to apply it as faithfully as we can despite the challenges. There are always multiple factors, and since we are sinners in a fallen world, it is never black and white. We are always dealing in degrees of application.

“It seems you are turning yourself inside out to answer the question posed by John to avoid answering/applying it according to the WELS 'principle'.”

I'm not turning myself inside out. I'm developing a case for applying Biblical principles as we live out our faith in the world, whether or not we are given examples in Scripture for application or not. It is true, such a case should not be needed. It seems sufficient to state that as Christians we are witnesses of our faith and Confession before the World – that this witness occurs in both word and deed, and covers everything the Bible teaches, whether society agrees with those teachings or not. Yet the question offered on this Blog seems to beg for such a case.

“It is rarely that complicated. For example can a WELS woman serve in the military where she has authority over a man, in the workplace where she must have authority over a man?”

It is complicated. Most consider it simple because they are ill equipped to consider, or choose to avoid, all of the issues involved. I submit that those who prefer to keep the issue simple against better knowledge have much to gain in leveraging modern secular mores against a biblical ethic. To complicate the situations you cite, in what position does a woman place her husband -- a man whose biblical mandate in that relationship, as loving head, is to give himself to her in the manner Christ gave himself to the Church -- when she voluntarily removes herself from the shelter of his headship? If a man comes into my home and insults my wife -- the fight is on. But what happens if that man is her boss, and it occurs in her place of work? She is left to fend for herself. This is just an example, and there are many other relevant issues that could be cited, that often go unconsidered. Nevertheless, husbands and wives, balancing all of the principles involved, often do justify an occupation for the wife outside the home. But what motivations and principles dominate their decision making? Have they made their choice because of the wife's obstinacy, jealousy, or prideful demands, or out of loving concern for their future family, immediate necessity, or a host of other legitimate yet competing principles?

In the case in question, does a woman who seeks political office not, despite any other good reasons she may cite, by definition also seek to place herself in authority over her own husband? Since the congregation in America is most often a Corporation, and subject to the regulation of the state, does she not also, by definition, place herself in authority over her Pastor and all of the men in her congregation?

This may seem like hair splitting, but why do these issues seem like hairs at all? Fifty years ago, they were not. I submit that they seem like small issues today due to the growth of secular thinking among us. Five-hundred years ago, one-hundred years ago, even fifty years ago, the Church was a dominant force in society. Today, society is a dominant force in the Church, and this issue is evidence of that, I think. We need to have the courage to admit that this is the case, and to closely examine why we think what we do. Why are we so willing to run from the idea that the wife ought to be keeper of the home and ought submit herself to the headship of her husband? Does the Bible compel us to discard these ideas in public life, or does the influence of the world compel us to?

“A hundred other scenarios can be asked that don't arise to your "Bonhoeffer" level.”

The point in invoking Bonheoffer is to show that we are often called to act, and our only choices often may force us to choose actions that we know are compromises of our faith. These compromises are sin, and we know it. Whether the compromise is to murder to stop a murderer, or to lie to stop a murderer -- the sin involved in the compromise is of the same gravity, it separates us from a God who loves us. We need to have the courage to be honest here as well. Choosing the best option does not always mean choosing the right option. Bonheoffer's only response was to “throw himself on the mercy of God, do the best he knows, and follow it through.” This is good advice for us, too.

“By the way, your logic there makes a great case for supporting those who murder doctors who perform abortions.”

The fact that they don't indicates that they have balanced competing priorities and in sanctified judgment decided that there was a better course of action.

“Finally, do not Christians suffer for doing right?”

Yes, but the “right” is giving bold and accurate witness of our faith and Confession.

“The example of Deborah ought to give the WELS theologians pause.”

I disagree. I hear this line of reasoning more an more frequently from Lutherans, and I am getting rather concerned by it. Exactly what manner of qualification should anecdotal evidence supply against direct positive statements of Scripture? Anecdotal evidence is categorically unclear and is in no position to qualify what is clear.

Freddy Finkelstein

Tim Niedfeldt said...

as an FYI as to the WELS statements as John once provided for me..here is the link

http://www.wels.net/cgi-bin/site.pl?2617&collectionID=795&contentID=4446&shortcutID=5294

Here is the section about the headship role for "In Society"

Please lookup the bible passages that are referenced for support too because I think it helps clarify at least a little bit more the basis of the confession listed.

In the World

Christians also accept the biblical role relationship principle for their life and work in the world (1 Co 11:3; Eph 5:6-17). Christians seek to do God’s will consistently in every area of their lives. We will therefore strive to apply this role relationship principle to our life and work in the world.

Scripture leaves a great deal to our conscientious Christian judgment as we live the role relationship principle in the world. In Christian love we will refrain from unduly binding the consciences of the brothers and sisters in our fellowship. Rather, we will encourage each other as we seek to apply this principle to our lives in the world.

Because the unregenerate world is not motivated by the Gospel or guided by God’s will (1 Co 2:14), we as Christians will not try to force God’s will upon the world (1 Co 5:12). We will seek to influence and change the world by our Gospel witness in word and deed (Mk 16:15; Mt 5:16).


I will be voting for Palin with no reservations. Joe Biden is no alternative.

"Friends don't let friends vote democrat"

Tim

Anonymous said...

FF,

So you won't answer the question "can a woman be in authority over man in society." That's fine. The WELS has, and the answer is no. But you see, one must answer the answer and then one may qualify it. (Eg. Is it ok to steal? No, but if your child is dying and you need medicine and the pharmacy is closed you break in and "steal." But this is not a sin, you see, I can be a bit Jesuitical as well.) However, no WELS person answers the question, they simply quality it. However the WELS statements do. The Deuce is not trying to simplify this but to get a straight answer out of a WELS person.

Your workplace scenario is a non sequitor and you are not answering the question. The matter you bring up of the insult up is odd, this is not his "authority." Regardless, the issue at hand, can can be the boss of that guy, which would solve the insult issue. You do not address that.

You write, "Nevertheless, husbands and wives, balancing all of the principles involved, often do justify an occupation for the wife outside the home." What does this have to do with the question? The issue is not of working outside the home, the issue is when she does may she be authority as the WELS defines it.

For you motivation is everything. OK. What if a woman's motives were pure when it came to deciding matters at church or if she desired to preach and baptize and commune? It seems you would argue for that. (I would argue against the latter, baptizing etc.)

You write,

"In the case in question, does a woman who seeks political office not, despite any other good reasons she may cite, by definition also seek to place herself in authority over her own husband? Since the congregation in America is most often a Corporation, and subject to the regulation of the state, does she not also, by definition, place herself in authority over her Pastor and all of the men in her congregation?"

Yes. For me that is not a problem Scripturally, but it is for the WELS. Is this not similar to the logic that WELS uses for forbidding women to vote in congregations - that her vote is an exercise of authority over men? (Formerly the same was said of women voting in national elections.)

You answer my question, "Finally, do not Christians suffer for doing right?” by saying, "Yes, but the 'right' is giving bold and accurate witness of our faith and Confession." So if she "suffers" by foregoing any role in society by which she exercises authority over a man is that not a clear confession of the WELS position, which I assume you belive is correct?

You answer my scenario about the abortionists by saying,

"The fact that they don't indicates that they have balanced competing priorities and in sanctified judgment decided that there was a better course of action."

Whoa, don't you read the news? (They do, and your logic defends them.)

Re: the Deborah example. So you assert that God can act contrary to himself? And your statement "anecdotal evidence is categorically unclear" is categorically false when it comes to the acts of God. And you are assuming something here, I do not offer this as a "qualification" or an exception to disprove the rule (which, oddly, you seem to do). As I hope you can tell from my posts I do not agree that the WELS principle as it applies in society. The Deborah example does not contravene God's will of only men being in the Office of the Holy Ministry (as some would like to use it).

The Deuce,

PS. Forgive all typing errors.

Anonymous said...

I can never understand why people, like Deuce, would claim that the principle of head/helper does not extend to society. Don't all principles of God extend to all aspects of our lives? Can anyone think of any other Biblical principle that only applies to us in some parts of our lives and not others? I can't.

The only explanation I can come up with for why people seek to limit this principle is that they don't want to do the hard and dirty work of trying to apply the principle to our lives in this world. They want a clear cut line (yes in the church, no in society) to make things easier. They can't stand simply leaving it up to conscience and allowing different people to come to different sanctified judgments.

But no one ever promised that our lives as Christians in this sinful world would be easy and neat and clean.

Anonymous said...

Example of irony:

"The only explanation I can come up with for why people seek to limit this principle is that they don't want to do the hard and dirty work of trying to apply the principle to our lives in this world."

Let me see here, what have I been trying to get you WELS doctrine defenders to do...DUH, get you folk to apply your "principle" it! (Or at least own up to it.)

Example of ignorance:

"I can never understand why people, like Deuce, would claim that the principle of head/helper does not extend to society. Don't all principles of God extend to all aspects of our lives?"

I said the "WELS principle" doesn't apply because it is wrong. The Biblically elucidated relationship does. And what is this business about "principles", you mean "law," right?

Examle of putting one right down the middle:

You write, "Can anyone think of any other Biblical principle that only applies to us in some parts of our lives and not others? I can't."

Here's one that FF and the others are doing, the WELS view of the "principle" of the role of women in society! You equivocate ad nauseum when asked to apply it! (One example of this hypocrisy, the WELS Q/A says that a woman can vote in a national election if she does so submissively but she cannot vote in church submissively.)

The Deuce

Anonymous said...

"Let me see here, what have I been trying to get you WELS doctrine defenders to do...DUH, get you folk to apply your "principle" it! (Or at least own up to it.)...You equivocate ad nauseum when asked to apply it!"

But this is exactly the problem. You want a one-size-fits-all official application. Sorry, but it doesn't exist. There are just as many applications as their are situations.

Anonymous said...

"There are just as many applications as their are situations."

Situation ethics.

Anonymous said...

Dear Texas Pastor, let's add one more issue which the WS has to deal with in the right now future: Christology (which encompasses the other things you mentioned). Here's an outfit that has trouble finding Jesus in the texts of Scripture. What other Lutheran group still argues that Jesus is not the Good Samaritan? Here's a quiz: Why is Jesus the Prodigal Son? And why is that comforting for prodigals like us? Hey, Ben T! Pull out your C.P. Krauth and start reading. He's the only American Lutheran theologian of the 19th and early 20th centuries who captured the Sacrament of the Altar in its fulness.

Fr. Pietrus Mons

Anonymous said...

joe biden....rrrright

Anonymous said...

"let's add one more issue which the WS has to deal with in the right now future: Christology (which encompasses the other things you mentioned). Here's an outfit that has trouble finding Jesus in the texts of Scripture."

Wasn't it Luther who said that Christ was all over Scripture, but he wasn't hiding behind every rock? To claim that the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son are pictures of Christ completely contradicts the context in which Jesus told both stories. We are to find Christ in Scripture, but we are not to wedge him in where the context doesn't allow. To do so, we would be guilty of Medieval allegory, which the Lutheran Church has always stood staunchly against.

Anonymous said...

"Wasn't it Luther who said that Christ was all over Scripture, but he wasn't hiding behind every rock?"

No I think that was Kuske. Luther said the Scriptures are "pure Christ."

When the WELS, as the person above, denies the Christological nature of the Scriptures they deny that the Scriptures are breathed out from the Spirit of Christ. Thus in an odd way the WELS denies either the inspiration of the Spirit of Christ or somehow Gnosticly denies that the Spirit is not of Christ. The WELS' view of the Scriptures is Calvin's, a bunch of nice stories on how to behave.

Secondly what WELS pastor, for example, doesn't say that the oil in the virgin's lamp is not faith/indwelling of the Spirit. To be consistent you should accuse them of allegory, "Where is the Bible passage that says this?!"

In this regard you say "To claim that the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son are pictures of Christ completely contradicts the context in which Jesus told both stories." The context of the story, the Gospel and the Scriptures clearly show that Christ is the Good Samaritan, as Luther and all the great church fathers knew. You, on the other hand, just don't know this context. And finally, if Christ is not the Good Samaritan, then salvation is by works for that then is your interpretation.

Juanita

Anonymous said...

Sadly, Luther could never quite shake free of the medieval allegorical method that he had been trained in and warned against. For example, yes he did say in a sermon that the Good Samaritan was Christ. In that same sermon, he also said the donkey and the innkeeper and the inn itself were Christ too (there may be others, it's been a while since I read it).

I'll admit that each of those things has characteristics which can be used to describe who Christ is and what he has done. But none are the main point of the parable. The main point (as Luther also points out) is to drive the lawyer to despair of his works, not to comfort him with knowledge of a Savior.

Finding allegorical allusions to Christ in Scripture seems pious because we're talking about Christ. But in the end, it inevitably leads away from Christ since it distorts and reads hidden meanings into the clear and simple word of Christ.

Freud said, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." Well, sometimes a donkey is just a donkey.

Anonymous said...

"Sadly, Luther could never quite shake free of the medieval allegorical method that he had been trained in and warned against."

Is this official WELS doctrine? If so, I may need to find something else.

Rob

Anonymous said...

You have yet to show from Scripture that this is not about Christ. All of Scripture tells us that it is Christ, as Luther clearly showed, you say that Christ did not preach the Gospel to this man. You teach that this parable teaches salvation by works. Only a legalist would not find Christ here. What do you believe Christ meant when he said to the lawyer after he recited the passages from Deuteronomy and Leviticus "you have answered correctly, do this and you will live"?

Now, what was the question the lawyer asked after that? It was "who is my neighbor." And what was Jesus answer to that, dear legalist? Who is the lawyer's neighbor?

You also have the bizarre understanding that Christ is like this Samaritan, who presumably is to be you, so, then, Christ is the icon of you!

And back to my questions about the oil in the lamp. What is it. Sometimes oil is just oil, huh?

Juanita

Anonymous said...

"you say that Christ did not preach the Gospel to this man."

No, he didn't. Christ preached the law to this man. Which is exactly the proper thing to preach to someone who trusts in their own works. To say that Christ is preaching the gospel to this man would be to accuse him of confusing law and gospel by preaching the gospel to an unrepentant sinner.

"You teach that this parable teaches salvation by works."

Yes, that's exactly what it teaches. Christ wanted to show the man what perfect obedience to the law looks like, thus showing him that he had not obeyed the law perfectly.

"What do you believe Christ meant when he said to the lawyer after he recited the passages from Deuteronomy and Leviticus "you have answered correctly, do this and you will live"?"

He meant that if the man had perfectly fulfilled the law, he had earned his own salvation. Jesus then told the parable to show the man that he actually hadn't fulfilled the law perfectly.

"Now, what was the question the lawyer asked after that? It was "who is my neighbor." And what was Jesus answer to that, dear legalist? Who is the lawyer's neighbor?"

The lawyer felt that his neighbors were fellow Jews. He had restricted the law in order to make it easier to follow. Christ pointed out that the lawyer's neighbors were all people.

"You also have the bizarre understanding that Christ is like this Samaritan, who presumably is to be you, so, then, Christ is the icon of you!"

Huh? No. The Samaritan is a character in a story meant to illustrate who our neighbors are. That's the point of Jesus' story! Can you apply him to Christ? Yup. Can you apply him to us? Yup. But neither are the point of the story. Jesus told the parable to lead the man to see how all-encompassing the law is, hopefully to drive the man to despair of his own works.

"And back to my questions about the oil in the lamp. What is it. Sometimes oil is just oil, huh?"

No, the oil is clearly faith. That's the main point of the parable! Jesus told the parable, in context, to stress the necessity of faith. I would only have a problem if you started allegorizing beyond that main point, saying the lamps are our souls and the oil-vendor is the Holy Spirit, etc.

Each of these parables has one main point in context. To go beyond these points is allegorizing.

Anonymous said...

"Is this official WELS doctrine? If so, I may need to find something else."

Yes, "official WELS doctrine" is that Luther was not inspired. His writings and sermons contain errors. (gasp!) There were things from his Roman training that he could never fully get rid of (e.g., the perpetual virginity of Mary). There were things he said that were downright offensive and sinful (e.g., that Jews should be rounded up and arrested).

Anonymous said...

"Each of these parables has one main point in context."

As determinted by you, I suppose. Where is the Bible passage which says this? And where is the Bible passage that says "Each of these parables has one main point in context."

Son, the context is the Gospel, is Scripture, is Christ.

You are a heretic and blasphemer, for to teach that "salvation by works" saves, even theoretically is an offense to the mercy of God. It was never by works, even in the garden.

They key to the GS parable is the qeustion, who is your neighbor, legaist (of all time and ages), who is the one who helped you out of the ditch. The one who gives mercy, God in Chirst.

Juanita

Anonymous said...

"Each of these parables has one main point in context."

And who decides the one main point? You? The WELS?

Freddy said...

Deuce,

My apologies for contributing to what appears to be your ongoing frustration. When John asked, “Does the headship principal apply to roles in society?” I changed the question to expose the fact that relevant factors cover a much broader field than this narrowly framed question. The scope of the question must be expanded for relevant factors to meaningfully apply. This is not equivocation.

But, I will try to answer the question as you have posed it: “can a woman be in authority over man in society?” Of course, this is not John's question either -- headship is more broad than just the single aspect of “authority,” and it addresses more than just the position and role of the woman. Further, your question is not one of moral concern, but a question of ability (“can a woman...”). Nevertheless, the Bible seems to address this in Eph 5 and 1 Pet 3. When God addresses women in these texts and calls them to submit themselves, a few things are being told to us. One of them is this: the submissive role of a woman is not a characterization of her capabilities as innately inferior or limited in comparison to that of the male, since calling her to submit implies that she is perfectly capable of successfully functioning outside of this role. So, it seems that the Bible would answer your question in the affirmative, if indirectly.

But I'm not certain that was the question you intended to ask. If I may rephrase your question as “should a Christian woman be in authority over man in society?” my answer is, “No.” I interpret the WELS position regarding this question as “No,” as well. The term “should” obviously introduces the moral element which is at issue, and the qualifier “Christian” centers the discussion where the question of moral acts is relevant -- that is, which such acts best give witness to the Christian's faith and Confession. I reject the notion that the moral works of the unregenerate is relevant in the slightest, as they are destitute of any form of proper motivation to meaningfully engage in them.

And so, the answer “No” follows from what has already been written: it fails to give witness regarding what the Bible does say about God's design from Creation regarding the roles of men and women, it is not consistent with our Confession, it confounds the efforts of other Christians (such as husbands) who try to be consistent as they live out their callings within the framework of Biblical headship, it threatens the authority of husbands and of leaders in the Church, and fails to consistently display the woman's relationship with Christ, as He has called her to submission to her husband and to male leadership in the Church in expression of that relationship.

But what does this “No” look like in application? This is apparently where you get frustrated, and accuse of equivocation. “No” looks like every other compromise we make as we imperfectly use of God's law as a guide and balance competing principles in a fallen world. For example, applying this principle to the McCain-Palin candidacy, if the only issue involved regarding a vote for the Republican ticket was “whether I best represent my faith and Confession by knowingly placing a woman in authority over man,” then “No” would look the way one would expect in such a simple “Right vs. Wrong” dilemma -- a vote for some other candidate (or no vote at all). On the other hand, if there were only two issues involved in a vote for the Republican ticket, (1) “whether I best represent my faith and Confession by knowingly placing a woman in authority over man” with a vote for McCain-Palin and (2) “whether I best represent my faith and Confession by contributing to the election of a candidate who is openly in favor of Abortion” by a vote for some candidate other than McCain-Palin, then one is faced with a “lesser of evils” dilemma and forced into compromise. Of course, those in love with infanticide and murder of the unborn will not see compromise in this, nor will those with a cavalier attitude toward Biblical headship. In the comparison of these alternatives, the rest of us may not see it as much of a compromise at all, but in all honesty, we will have to admit that it is there. In the end, however, there are many principles to consider and balance in a way that is most representative of an individual's Christian conscience. This application is not a simple, single-issue, binary decision.

On the other hand, if you mean to ask, “Is it permissible [for] a woman [to] be in authority over man in society?” my answer is, this is an irrelevant question. Not everything legal is ethical. The moral question in this case is decided the same, irrespective of its permissibility.

Addressing other questions you raised, above:

You ask: “For you motivation is everything. OK. What if a woman's motives were pure when it came to deciding matters at church...”
My Answer: In a “lesser of evils” ethical dilemma, yes, motivation is key in determining what greater good is being served and whether it is moral, non-moral, or any “good” at all. Given a “lesser of evils” dilemma, even if motivations are “pure,” Scripture gives clear application of the principles involved in the context of the Church and home. Although I may be sympathetic to her concerns, I would not argue to place her in a decision-making or ministry role over men.

You ask: “Is this not similar to the logic that WELS uses for forbidding women to vote in congregations - that her vote is an exercise of authority over men?”
My Answer: It may appear to be similar, but in fact, no it is not. My statement was addressing women who chose to seek political office, not those who exercise their civic responsibility in society by voting. It is an important question, because a woman never stops being the wife of her husband. We cannot say that a woman is not her husband's wife when she at work, or that somehow headship within the marriage relationship is suspended because one or the other of them are seen in public or act in public capacity. Rather, I would submit, that as a picture of Christ and His Bride, quite the opposite ought to be the case. Acting under the headship of Christ, the Church is a herald of her unique relationship with Him before the World. So it should be of wives with respect to their husbands (and, yes, I am thinking of Katherina's concluding oration in Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew as a good example of this)

You state: “One example of this hypocrisy, the WELS Q/A says that a woman can vote in a national election if she does so submissively but she cannot vote in church submissively.”
My Answer: I don't see this as hypocrisy or contradiction, but then I don't choose to oversimplify the issues in order to make the accusation convenient. Although the issue certainly involves Headship, the contexts in which it is applied is different. In the first case, we are concerned with a woman's exercise of civic responsibility in a way that publicly honors the headship of her husband. She could choose not to vote (which would be considered poor citizenship by the state and society) or she could follow his guidance. Neither constitutes exercise of authority by her over other men in society, as her vote takes place at his direction. In the case of the congregation, however, no such responsibility is placed on the woman by Scripture (and thus, by the congregation) as it is by the State. Scripture places this responsibility on the men of the congregation alone. For women to demand the privilege of this responsibility in the congregation, or to otherwise be included in this responsibility, whether exercised “submissively” or not, is simply out of order.

You ask: “So if she 'suffers' by foregoing any role in society by which she exercises authority over a man, is that not a clear confession of the WELS position, which I assume you believe is correct?”
My Answer: No. A woman’s submission is a product of her relationship with her Saviour on the terms He has established, not of her relationship with or to any man, and is therefore engaged in voluntarily with a heart of joy and love for God. Living out her faith in a way that clearly represents her confession is not suffering. The “suffering in doing right”, rather, comes from the merciless persecution that believers endure at the hands of the World, as they dare to give public expression of their faith in word and deed.

You ask (regarding my response to your abortionist example): “Whoa, don't you read the news? (They do, and your logic defends them.)”
My Answer: Yes I do read the news, and I should have been more precise. I should have responded, “The fact that most don't...” But again, you oversimplify in your accusation. The fact that some do commit murder to stop abortionists is not evidence of flaw in the logic, but evidence that some fools oversimplify the issues and make wrong decisions.

You ask (Re: the Deborah example): “So you assert that God can act contrary to himself?”
My Answer: No, I do not. I do however assert that we can't say that we know enough about God to tell the difference based on historical accounts. We know enough to say that He is knowable on the basis of His direct statements concerning Himself in Special Revelation, but we have no basis for claiming that our knowledge of Him is complete (“we see but through a glass darkly...”). Therefore, we have no basis for claiming that our knowledge of Him is complete enough for us to authoritatively determine what He means by His acts unless He tells us directly what He in fact does mean by them.

Finally, You State: “As I hope you can tell from my posts I do not agree that the WELS principle as it applies in society.”
My Answer: Yes, I can tell, as I can tell that there is much on which we do not agree. I further presume from your them/us rhetoric that you are not of our Fellowship. We stand separate for good reason.

Anyway, I'm sure that you have a long vitriolic response brewing at this point. I, for one, have exhausted my interest in this topic, for now.

Freddy Finkelstein

Anonymous said...

"And who decides the one main point? You? The WELS?"

The context of Scripture itself decides the one main point. To say otherwise would be to deny the perspicuity of Scripture. That's the danger of allegory. It opens Scripture up to numerous fanciful interpretations at the expense of the one clear meaning.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why Christ had to explain his parables to his disciples since what he said had only one clear meaning?

Rob

Anonymous said...

Now I'm sure that all those on this thread who have solemnly warned against the dangers of allegory in biblical interpretation, dangers which the stupid church fathers didn't see, are very well versed in the fathers. I'm sure that they all own "The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers" (Ignatius Press) and "The Ancient Christian Commentary" (Navpress) and that they have done extensive reading in these volumes. They must have because their warnings are so cocksure. Or could it be that some prof up at Mequon Bible College, who never read much of the fathers either, warned them about the evils of finding Jesus in the sacred texts, and that they're just regurgitating the vomit they once swallowed? I've read the fathers. I consult them and Luther for every text. Do they stretch it sometimes? Yes, but rarely. Even then I've never found harmful things. If SS Peter & Paul say that the Flood, Pillar of Cloud and Red Sea are baptismal, then they have set a hermeneutic for us. The Kuske hermeneutic ("The Only Right Way" - no arrogance there!) leads to the pallid preaching which one finds in abundance in the WELS, LCMS and ELCA. Mea Culpa for my part in all this. Time to graduate from "The Peoples' Bible" fellas.

Fr. Pietrus Mons

Anonymous said...

I'm a woman, used to be WELS, not am LCMS and I vote without guilt in all political elections.

I also a manager with men who answer to me.

I do not believe I am sinning in the least.

Anonymous said...

Life gets a lot easier when you realize that this man/woman thing is all about marriage and the iconic marriage of the Holy Ministry (Bridegroom) and the Bride (Church). This is not about every woman under every man. Who cares if the voters assemly decides to open a preschool. That's not about authoritative preaching and the administration of the sacraments, which the pastor (a male icon of the male Christ) does. That's about an instituion which she, a mother, ought to have a say. Who cares if a woman votes on who should be her next pastor, an icon of the Bridegroom. Didn't she have a say about her own bridegroom? Ah, the wels, making it harder than it ought to be (and it's hard enough). But what the heck, whatever floats your boat.

Fr. Pietrus Mons

Anonymous said...

Freddy says, "Anyway, I'm sure that you have a long vitriolic response brewing at this point."

Pretty pointless to discuss matters with an arrogant pup like you especially as you choose not not discuss the matters put before you, and on top of it go on at great lengths in avoiding them. Eg. "So, it seems that the Bible would answer your question in the affirmative, if indirectly." That after equivocation upon equivocation, post after post.

Anonymous said...

Wow Fred, you say,

"In the first case, we are concerned with a woman's exercise of civic responsibility in a way that publicly honors the headship of her husband. She could choose not to vote (which would be considered poor citizenship by the state and society) or she could follow his guidance. Neither constitutes exercise of authority by her over other men in society, as her vote takes place at his direction."

Wow, she can exercise authority over other men by voting (defined by the WELS as authority) if she does so under the direction of her husband? Try that one in Bible class this Sunday!

And Freddy, answer Deuce's questions without the straw man arguments you set up and not by twisting the questions so taht you can answer them, it is hardly manly to do what you are doing. It is not to hard to see through your bull.

I am Woman, Hear me Roar!

Anonymous said...

FF,

You argue "Neither constitutes exercise of authority by her over other men in society, as her vote takes place at his direction." That is a fine bit of word play. She can exercise this authority, as you say, over other men if she has her man's direction. Interesting, what if she is single, how does she, as you say, publicly honor her head? I guess she is out of luck here. And I suppose if in her wisdom she does not follow her husband's direction she sins both against him and the other thirty million men over whom she has exercised this authority, as the WELS logic goes, which I assume you accept.

Anonymous said...

If what this Fred says is reflective of Wisconsin Synod teaching on the role of women (she may not be in a position of authority in society and she must vote according to her husband's direction) then the synod's teachers must not A) be teaching this very well or B) not following up on all those who who do contrary.

(I suspect Freddy lives in a very small farming town in Wisconsin where the women folk know their place.)

Anonymous said...

Mr. Finkelstein,

You argue "Neither constitutes exercise of authority by her over other men in society, as her vote takes place at his direction. In the case of the congregation, however, no such responsibility is placed on the woman by Scripture (and thus, by the congregation) as it is by the State."

Accepting your premise that the Christologically iconic relationship of husband and wife extends to "men in the world and the Christian woman" and thus applicable in societies' functions you fail to see that even if the government places this "responsibility" of voting upon a Christian woman, it doesn't mean that she must accept it, if indeed, as you assert, this is an exercise of authority. Your distinction that she is simply doing so at the behest of her husband, and is thus absolved, is, frankly, quite silly.

But, of course, all this is academnic, for I suspect you do not know what the "authority" is that resides in this iconic relationship.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous writes,

"The context of Scripture itself decides the one main point. To say otherwise would be to deny the perspicuity of Scripture. That's the danger of allegory. It opens Scripture up to numerous fanciful interpretations at the expense of the one clear meaning."

Indded. Now of course, am I correct in noting that this is said in defense of not seeing Christ as the Good Samaritan etc.? I suggest to you to study the context of the Holy Scriptures, inspired by the Spirit of Christ which "testify of him" and you will discover from the context of Scripture, as did Luther and the fathers, that it is indeed "pure Christ."

It is funny :) if not sad :( that someone above who accepts that the oil in the virgin's lamp is faith (as do I) though a word from Christ, "the oil is faith" is lacking, but can assert so because of "context," myopically cannot see the Christological forest for the trees. (Translation: just because you don't see it, doesn't mean it is not there.)

Anonymous said...

FF,

One size does not fit all. You assert "A woman’s submission is a product of her relationship with her Saviour on the terms He has established, not of her relationship with or to any man, and is therefore engaged in voluntarily with a heart of joy and love for God."

Not so. Close, but way off. What you label "terms he has established" is the created image. Now, woman was not created (and recreated) in a vacuum as you suggest. A little biology here, you see where there is a head there is a body. Women are not interchangeable parts, a submissive body to all the heads out there. She stands in this relationship with Christ (thus, the one who stands in the name in and in the stead of him) and with her husband, not Joe Schmoe in the next cubicle or in the next pew as you suggest this (anything other than that is either "rape" or "adultery," depending on who is the instigator). These matters are a bit more subtle than you suggest with your simplistic interpretation.

California on my mind said...

John, you wrote: "...my sister was and is a member of that now independent congregation. She asked the MN presidium if she was sinning by having a position in authority in the workplace. The DP (now retired) said yes, vp said no, the 2nd vp was unsure. But St. James was booted out of the synod."

Your logic doesn't follow here. What I mean is this. St. James wasn't booted out of the synod, it's pastors were. The members of St. James decided to keep the pastors, so they had to leave. Nor was the issue your sister's question about authority in the workplace. After reviewing the history of the situation, it has been obvious to many that the pastors of St. James operated from a different hermeneutic. In other words, they used different rules of interpretation than confesisonal Lutherans normally have when interpreting the passages dealing with the roles of men and women.

I haven't read through all the comments. Maybe someone brought this up already. If so, sorry for wasting your time.

Anonymous said...

"In other words, they used different rules of interpretation than confesisonal Lutherans normally have when interpreting the passages dealing with the roles of men and women."

And what do you base this on. I have also seen the documentation, all of it, sent to me by Pr. Albrecht. What you say is not correct. What they did was questions the WELS isagesis of the passages in questions. The WELS Minnesota district praesidium refused to answer St. James' questions. They were simply asked whether they agreed with the WELS' position and would not agree to have it questioned.

And "had to leave" means they were booted.

Anonymous said...

Groups that teach women should not have authority over men in society:

1. The Quakers
2. The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (Warren Jeffs)
3. Fundamentalist Islam
4. The WELS and Freddy Finkelstein*


*If I may rephrase your question as “should a Christian woman be in authority over man in society?” my answer is, “No.” I interpret the WELS position regarding this question as “No,” as well.

Anonymous said...

"1. The Quakers
2. The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (Warren Jeffs)
3. Fundamentalist Islam
4. The WELS and Freddy Finkelstein"

Forgot one.

5. The Apostle Paul

Anonymous said...

"The Apostle Paul" Yeah, right. You got a passage for that?

(Seems like the rest of Christianity, current and historic missed that one.)

Anonymous said...

Since this argument in this string is not with respect to women voting WITHIN the church, I would like to express my opinion of the role of women in secular society.

Scripture tends to be silent about the specifics of the role of women in political or socioeconomic positions. Jesus did tell us to "Render unto Cesaer what is Cesaer's", and the apostle Paul wrote about slaves being obedient to their masters.

While Imperial Rome was a patriarchial society (no Roman senator or Emporer was a woman) women of the aristocracy did have enormous influence over such things as the running of large households (including male slaves and servants) and estates.

In addition, after the fall of Rome many cultures in Europe, the near East and North Africa had women in high political roles.

The biblical instructions definitely seem centered on the home and the church.

It is indeed a blessing from God that women can vote, own land, hold gainful employment, etc.

\

John said...

"it has been obvious to many that the pastors of St. James operated from a different hermeneutic. In other words, they used different rules of interpretation than confesisonal Lutherans normally have when interpreting the passages dealing with the roles of men and women." and how do you know this?

Life gets a lot easier when you realize that this man/woman thing is all about marriage and the iconic marriage of the Holy Ministry (Bridegroom) and the Bride (Church). Fr. Pietrus Mons

This statement does make a lot of sense. What I wonder is why I have nevery heard a WELS pastor speak about the role relationship from this perspective?


FF - you say
My Answer: Yes, I can tell, as I can tell that there is much on which we do not agree. I further presume from your them/us rhetoric that you are not of our Fellowship. We stand separate for good reason.


I am beginning to wonder if my postion on the role of women in society should have me to stand separate from the WELS?

Anonymous said...

"Life gets a lot easier when you realize that this man/woman thing is all about marriage and the iconic marriage of the Holy Ministry (Bridegroom) and the Bride (Church). Fr. Pietrus Mons"

"This statement does make a lot of sense. What I wonder is why I have nevery heard a WELS pastor speak about the role relationship from this perspective?"

Yeah, too bad when St. Paul discusses the man/woman issue, he doesn't base his argument on the picture of Ministry and Church. (By the way, I love how you subtly changed it from Christ and the Church to Ministry and the Church. Very Roman of you.) Paul uses the order of creation to support his doctrine of man and woman. "For men were created first, then women." According to Paul, God designed woman's submission from the creation of the WORLD (not the creation of the Church). From this it is clear that God intended this role to apply to society.

By the way, you mentioned that historic Christianity never understood it this way. Learn some history. Every society in history governed by Judeo-Christian values has naturally had men in authority positions and women in submissive positions. The only exception has been society in the last century, in which the politically correct has trumped Judeo-Christian values. Those who discount the order of creation are only doing it to more easily subject themselves to our modern politically correct society. Such a thing is extremely dangerous.

Anonymous said...

"The biblical instructions definitely seem centered on the home and the church."

True, but I would say it differently. Less "instructions" than "relationship." The "instructions," if you will, are how the relationship works. Additionally, the Christologically iconic relationship is not a rule for women on how to behave with men, but how she relates with her head. But here is where the WELS has it wrong. A woman (as I noted above) is in this relationship with Christ/her husband, with Christ/her pastor. She doesn't stand in this relationship with her male neighbor, co-worker or fellow citizen. She is not body to all those heads.

Addtionally, the WELS statements have it all wrong in regards to authority, thus the constant discussion in the WELS over whether a certain activity constitutes authority or not (along with the hilarious discussions over when a boy becomes a man, recall those, John, when we were told that the students are MLC are not men.) But that for another day.

The irony is, as you can see from the posts above, is that the WELS has this novel doctrine, as so clearly elucidated in the unbearably long and fustian posts by FF (a woman should not be in authority over men in society, i.e. they are by virtue of their maleness her head), but turns itself inside out trying not to apply it and then berates those who say it doesn't apply!

Anonymous said...

The WELS says it it is a moral principle that a woman not have authority over a man. This then is law. As this relationship is iconic of Christ and the church, our relationship with Christ then, according to the WELS, is one of living under the law, i.e. a "moral prinicple."

Dat don't seem right!

Anonymous said...

Wiconsin Lutheran Seminary (a.k.a. Mequon Bible College) professors say 1 Tim 2's injunction against women teaching men is not simply a matter for the church but for all of society.

Are there any WELS women who are college professors. I assume not (wink, wink).

Freddy said...

John,

Sorry to have left you out in the cold... I have been gone over the weekend, so haven't been keeping up. I am traveling again for work over the next couple of weeks, so will try to swing back through the comments above, and submit responses, if I get the time.

Honestly, I didn't realize you had a different position than the WELS. Obviously, as a member, your public confession is that of agreement, so I naturally assumed that you agree, but on this blog have been exploring questions you have with some of the more difficult teachings.

If your conscience is honestly that troubled, then I would recommend that you discuss these issues with your Pastor. Request that he make a close study of this topic with you. I have yet to meet a Pastor that wouldn't take seriously what is troubling you. It's his job. Finally, for what it is worth, while there is some usefulness in forums like these for the exchange of ideas, I wouldn't necessarily depend on them to provide the patient exploration of ideas, thorough study and teaching that is necessary to resolve difficult questions like the one's being asked.

Until Later,
Freddy Finkelstein

Anonymous said...

"Every society in history governed by Judeo-Christian values has naturally had men in authority positions and women in submissive positions."

"Judeo-Christian." Yikes.

Yes, and most societies treated women like chattel, so what does that prove? That men make better leaders is unmistakable and undeniable (with many exceptions on both sides, good women leaders and bad men, Thatcher and Jimmy Carter for example), but we do not prove doctrine from history, that the opinio legis is the most popluar religion ought to settle that.

The issue is how and where the Christologically iconic relationship finds expression. Scritpures says the bedroom and confessional (i.e. church) and not the boardroom. You are saying that all women must be in submission to all men. Sorry, but my wife does not have a Christologically iconic relationship with the young man at work who has to do the work she assigns. As I wrote above,

"Here is where the WELS has it wrong. A woman is in this relationship with Christ/her husband, with Christ/her pastor. She doesn't stand in this relationship with her male neighbor, co-worker or fellow citizen. She is not body to all those heads."

Additionally when you write,

"According to Paul, God designed woman's submission from the creation of the WORLD (not the creation of the Church). From this it is clear that God intended this role to apply to society."

Not so, as I wrote, she is not the female body of every male head. Besides when God created Adam and Eve he created the Church. (Come on, that is Christianity 101).

Here is where you and the WELS confuse two kingdoms as well.

Anonymous said...

And John, if you tell me generally where you live I can refer you to someone who will show you from the Scriptures where the WELS has it wrong (as we have shown above) and that your wife is not sinning by voting for Nader if you want her to vote for Obama.

O-bama in O-eight!

Anonymous said...

"For men were created first, then women." Not what the Bible says. You pluralized it. Makes a big difference.

Anonymous said...

"Every society in history governed by Judeo-Christian values has naturally had men in authority positions and women in submissive positions."

Yeah! Men Rule!! Woo-hoo!!! Take take Deborah, Queens Elizabeth, Victoria, Isabella...

Anonymous said...

To any ELS lurkers out there... Would the ELS agree with the WELS on this? Publically I know that are bound to say yes, but in reality would ELS pastors say a woman should not be in authority over a man in the workplace and government?

Anonymous said...

"'For men were created first, then women.' Not what the Bible says. You pluralized it. Makes a big difference."

Great point, now why didn't I think of that? (I know, I know...)

John said...

Honestly, I didn't realize you had a different position than the WELS. Obviously, as a member, your public confession is that of agreement, so I naturally assumed that you agree, but on this blog have been exploring questions you have with some of the more difficult teachings.

Honestly, I have wrestled with this issue since the early 1990s and am trying to figure out if I do in fact disagree with the WELS teaching. I have worked through the pastor of my church and the district president as I mentioned. My, simple-minded, black and white understanding is that the WELS deems that the order of creation established the roles for men and women. Thus this role principle extends from home, to church, and into society. So this does seem black and white. Yet I’m told it is left up to each person’s conscience. For me to be in line with my conscience my wife must vote as I do in the presidential election which may not happen (she actually supports Chuck Baldwin). I recognize my headship in the home just as Christ is head of the church yet a presidential election is part of another kingdom. I am reluctant to say that the role authority extends into societal roles because it seems to me if I draw that line than I must work hard to teach others this principle. I have not seen any WELS pastor attempt to clearly and consistently teach this to all members. Shouldn’t each WELS pastor be bound to present this issue especially during the time of a national election?

The opposing view presented here seems to be rooted in the OHM. In that when God created Adam and Eve he created the church and the authority role of man does not extend into society as we look to keep the two kingdoms separate.

Still searching...

Anonymous said...

Some dude wrote,

"By the way,I love how you subtly changed it from Christ and the Church to Ministry and the Church. Very Roman of you."

Though I didn't write what this person finds as Romanism, the person who did is simply following the Augsburg Confession (V). Additionally, Christ is present in the ministry. So your problem is with Christ and Lutheranism, dude.

Anonymous said...

"I have not seen any WELS pastor attempt to clearly and consistently teach this to all members. "

Me neither.

Anonymous said...

John writes,

"Still searching..." Well, check out that conference in Kewaunee.

Anonymous said...

Those of you who disagree with the WELS position, kindly name any other principle established by God which only applies in certain aspects of our lives as Christians.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, and most societies treated women like chattel, so what does that prove?"

It proves that many men are idiots, nothing more. Just because some abuse God's principles, it does not make them void.

"Besides when God created Adam and Eve he created the Church. (Come on, that is Christianity 101)."

Yes, but he also created society. Why do you seek to artificially limit God's decree in this situation. Don't you apply all of God's other decrees to Adam and Eve to society (i.e. be fruitful and multiply, subdue the earth, etc...)? Or do you claim that only Christians are to multiply and subdue the earth?

"You pluralized it. Makes a big difference."

It does? Why? All men are sons of Adam. All women are daughters of Eve. The chastisement inflicted on Adam applies to all men. The chastisement inflicted on Eve applies to all women. Since you're so fond of the word "iconic", you could say that Adam's role is iconic of the role of all men in society and Eve's role is iconic of the role of all women in the world. This is exactly the point that Paul makes.

"Yeah! Men Rule!! Woo-hoo!!! Take take Deborah, Queens Elizabeth, Victoria, Isabella..."

Just because there have been abusive men and powerful women, this does not negate God's principle. It only shows that sinful humans living in a sinful world have rebelled against it.

"Though I didn't write what this person finds as Romanism, the person who did is simply following the Augsburg Confession (V)."

Oy very. Not even going there.

Anonymous said...

"Oy very. Not even going there."

Obviously, you won't go to the Lutheran Confessions because you disagree with them.

The pluralizing which you did is very welsian and is an error, which I assume you realize. Well, at least you realize the error in quotation, though I don't think you see the theological error. The wels all by its lonesome in Lutheranism sees Adam and Eve as "prototypes" of all males and females, which then gets the wels into exhaustive arguments over things like at exactly what age does a boy become a man and so on...

I'm not the iconic person, but since you brought it up, in some way Adam is an icon of all men (though this is a backward way of iconicizing, I'll go along with you for the ride), however, your reasoning does not hold up because not all men are fathers, as Adam was, nor are all men husbands, nor are all men priests. Same for Eve. Not all women are mothers or wives. Yet, all fathers, husbands, and priests (not universal) are icons of Christ. All mothers and wives are icons of the Church (Bride of Christ). Your iconography doesn't go back to the source-hint: the source is God.

You Biblicists have failed to give a single passage where this is applied to society; only those passages where it is used in the context of the Church and marriage. Was society created by God? Sure. However, you cannot divorce the relationships between Adam and Eve and say what God established in those iconic relationships (marriage and the Church) was all meant to apply generally to everything. Once the wels started doing that, they suddenly had big problems with several of the believing women of Scripture.

Oh, as to "be fruitful and multiply", I believe that was promised by God in the context of marriage for we humans, so yes, there's a limitation, not to just Christians, but to a specific relationship between humans.

Hagia Sophia

Anonymous said...

Someone wrote,

"Those of you who disagree with the WELS position, kindly name any other principle established by God which only applies in certain aspects of our lives as Christians."

And

"Yes, but he also created society. Why do you seek to artificially limit God's decree in this situation. Don't you apply all of God's other decrees to Adam and Eve to society (i.e. be fruitful and multiply, subdue the earth, etc...)? Or do you claim that only Christians are to multiply and subdue the earth?"

You can stop asking this and read the posts and you will learn. Your so called "principle" is that all women are the body and to be submissive to all men. That is not what the iconic relationship is.

You, if you are a woman, or your wife, if you have one, and your mother is not the body to Hank down at the factory or the local pub and he being your/their boss or you his does not create Christological relationship.

As was illustrated above no one in the WELS practices this and none really believes it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous responded to this of mine

"Yes, and most societies treated women like chattel, so what does that prove?"

By saying

"It proves that many men are idiots, nothing more. Just because some abuse God's principles, it does not make them void."

Well, DUH, that is precisecly what I said in response to you saying it does prove something.

Unbelievable...

Anonymous said...

"Oh, as to "be fruitful and multiply", I believe that was promised by God in the context of marriage for we humans, so yes, there's a limitation, not to just Christians, but to a specific relationship between humans."

Either you completely misunderstood the point or you are purposely changing the question. "Be fruitful and multiply" applies to all of society not just to the church. (The power of this command doesn't even just apply to marriage, since unmarried people are also fruitful and multiply, though this obviously is not God-pleasing.)

Think about it. Every single word spoken to Adam and Eve applies to all of society.

"Be fruitful and multiply" applies to society, not just the church.

"Fill the earth and subdue it" applies to society, not just the church.

"You will surely die" applies to society, not just the church.

"Pains in childbearing" applies to all women in society, not just in the church.

"By the sweat of your brow" applies to all men in society, not just in the church.

The fall into sin applies to society, not just the church.

The promise of the Heel-crusher applies to society, not just the church.

So then how could anyone claim that Adam as head and Eve as helper somehow doesn't apply to society, but only applies to the church?

Anonymous said...

"Unbelievable..."

No, what's unbelievable is your lack of reading comprehension. Read the following carefully.

The natural tendency for all human societies to have male leaders indicates that the roles of man and woman are woven deeply into humanity itself.

The natural tendency for men to abuse this leadership indicates the power of the sinful nature.

HOWEVER, this does not negate the fact that God has indeed woven these principles into humanity itself. As I said before, abuse of God's principles does not negate these principles.

Anonymous said...

"Be fruitful and multiply" applies to society, not just the church.--in marriage

"Pains in childbearing" applies to all women in society, not just in the church.--no, only to mothers

The promise of the Heel-crusher applies to society, not just the church.--it applies to the Creation, but not to all society. It applies to those in the Ark of the Church.

"So then how could anyone claim that Adam as head and Eve as helper somehow doesn't apply to society, but only applies to the church?"--That's not what people here are saying. You are seriously brainwashed. You are not able to defend the WELS' position. You do not know the WELS position very well. You are trying to make a law that does not exist. You are remarkably ignorant.

Anonymous said...

"That's not what people here are saying. You are seriously brainwashed. You are not able to defend the WELS' position. You do not know the WELS position very well. You are trying to make a law that does not exist. You are remarkably ignorant."

Well, I suppose I should take this personal attack as an indication that my point cannot be refuted using Scripture or reason. Rather than calling my names, why don't you demonstrate how what I said is incorrect?

Anonymous said...

""Be fruitful and multiply" applies to society, not just the church.--in marriage"

No, not just in marriage. God's powerful Word of blessing on the procreative power of mankind applies to all people. Those who aren't married are still able to reproduce. Thus, God's word here applies to all people. (Besides that misses the point anyway. The distinction we're talking about is between society and church, not unmarried and married.)

""Pains in childbearing" applies to all women in society, not just in the church.--no, only to mothers"

Again, this misses the point. It applies to all mother IN SOCIETY, not just in the church. All mothers experience pain in childbirth, not just Christian mothers.

The promise of the Heel-crusher applies to society, not just the church.--it applies to the Creation, but not to all society. It applies to those in the Ark of the Church."

Huh? It applies to all creation, but not to society? How does that work? Then you change and say it only applies to the Church? Really? The promise of salvation is only for those who have already been saved? You realize that's the false doctrine of limited atonement, right?

Again, I'll repeat the point. Everything God said to Adam and Eve applies to everyone in society. All people in society procreate, not just Christians. All women in society have pain in childbirth, not just Christian women. Thus, head/helper applies to society as well, not just Christians.

Anonymous said...

I repeat, you are remarkably ignorant. You have missed the point completely.

Not every woman is a mother, hence the pain in childbirth does not apply to all women but only to mothers. I do not care whether a mother is Christian or not. A mother is an icon of the Church, whether she knows it or not. For a woman to become a mother, she must receive a seed from a father. All fathers are icons of Christ, whether they believe it or not. This does not mean, as you say, that all men are in authority over all women in society and wherever else. We are shown God in these veiled pictures here on Earth. You cannot separate out maleness and femaleness from humans and their relationships to one another. Now, a non-Christological relationship would be something like being the night manager at Popeye's with employees under you.

And, no not ALL people procreate. There are many who live their entire lives without being mothers or fathers.

While the iconic relationships are present in the relationships of unbelievers, it is always in the context of a relationship. What the WELS says is that every man is in authority over every woman, ignoring any iconic relationships. This is not correct.

We are not arguing Church vs. society, as you seem to think. We are arguing the Christologically iconic significance of human relationships, something the WELS completely misses, as do you.

Anonymous said...

"Thus, head/helper applies to society as well, not just Christians."

Every man is the head of every woman. Every woman must be submissive to every man.

Un-freakin'-believable.

Have you ever heard of the two kingdoms?

Anonymous said...

OK, I'll do this one last time, then I'm giving up. You are completely misunderstanding the point.

"Not every woman is a mother, hence the pain in childbirth does not apply to all women but only to mothers."

Yes, I know! We all understand that not all women are mothers. But here's the point, and listen carefully. All women in society who give birth have pain. Thus, the principle established by God in creation applies to society, not just the church.

"And, no not ALL people procreate. There are many who live their entire lives without being mothers or fathers."

Again, you completely miss the point. All people in society have the capability of procreating (whether they use it or not). Thus, the principle of procreation applies to society, not just the church.

So my point remains. Everything God said to Adam and Eve applies to everyone in society. You can't dismiss the order of creation (used by Paul) by saying it only applies to those within the church. If that were true, then only those in the church could procreate, only Christian mothers would have pain, only Christian people would die because of sin, Christ only came for Christian people, etc. (By the way, you never withdrew your support of the heresy of limited atonement.)

"Have you ever heard of the two kingdoms?"

Yes, of course. You're the one who is confusing the two, claiming that Genesis 1-3 only apply to the Kingdom of God and not the Kingdom of the world, when obviously the reverse is true.

I don't know how much more clearly I can explain this to you. So go ahead and call me ignorant all you want and desperately say that not all people procreate (as if that had something to do with anything). I don't have the patience to keep explaining the same things to you over and over.

Anonymous said...

No one cares about your patience, only your brainwashedness. You are not getting this in the least.

The WELS says that every man is in authority over every woman. You have not proven its case in the slightest.

Try to follow: This is not an issue of Church vs. society. It's about Christologically iconic relationships given to us humans.

Your argument about mothers in the Church and society and fathers in the Church and society actually agrees with the point you are trying to argue against. All mothers are icons of the Bride of Christ. All fathers are icons of Christ. This is regardless of their beliefs. (both in the Church and in society)

However, that doesn't prove the WELS contention that all men are in authority over all women. It really works against the WELS because this is all in the context of an Christologically iconic relationship.

What the WELS does, and what you are trying even more poorly than sem profs to do, is say that all women are submissive to all men apart from any relationship between specific men and women. This cannot be found in Scripture, which is why you keep saying what you do: that the "principle" must apply in society, which completely misses the point.

For example, the WELS says that it would be wrong for a woman to have authority over a man by being a dept. manager at Target (they'll leave the weasel room of allowing for her to disobey the "principle" if she does it with humility). This is Kingdom of the Left. Employer-employee is not a Christological relationship. It doesn't have the significance as a picture of Christ and the Church like the OHM/laity or husband/wife or father/mother do (and yes, husband/wife and father/mother can be heretics and unbelievers, not just Christians, which I've said before but you seem to miss).

In your frantic and yes, ignorant defense of the WELS position, you have very helpfully shown that it is unsupportable from Scripture.

Oh, by the way, in the Church it's not just the women who are the Bride of Christ, it's the male laity too, which agrees with the Apostle Paul but not the WELS. That by itself is enough to dismantle the "principle", but you most likely have been drinking the Kool-Aid for long enough that you won't get it.

Anonymous said...

"You can't dismiss the order of creation (used by Paul) by saying it only applies to those within the church."

No one said that. If you're so sure someone did, quote it.

Anonymous said...

"(By the way, you never withdrew your support of the heresy of limited atonement.)"

Because that's not what I wrote. You were, I assume, just sloppy in your language when you said that the promised Savior was to all society, not just the Church, which would be universalism. As I said before, the promised Savior was for all Creation, yet not all people are in the Holy Ark of the Church, due to their own rejection of that Savior.

Anonymous said...

A@6:38,

Are you that crazy lady from LutherQuest?

Anonymous said...

And here is where you completely miss the point (you would think you would address this simple, but important issue). Your crash through open doors when you say

"You can't dismiss the order of creation (used by Paul) by saying it only applies to those within the church."

That is not true and since it has been said so often one is forgiven to question what is going on in your head. No one ever said this. This is a straw man you have set up. Of course what God says to Adam and Eve he says to all, but that is not the point. When he says that Eve will have pain in childbirth that does not mean that I, as a man, will. Absurd, of course. Just as absurd is that the head/helper relationship between Adam, husbnad and pastor, and his wife which applies to ALL husbands and wives, means that all women are the helper of all men and all men are the head of all women. This is what you miss.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, of course. You're the one who is confusing the two, claiming that Genesis 1-3 only apply to the Kingdom of God and not the Kingdom of the world, when obviously the reverse is true."

Where did I say that? Of course, I didn't but when you do not understand the matters at hand you resort to the straw man argument as you do.

What you fail to understand is that we live in both kingdoms. As a member of the kingdom of the left hand we put crimmals to death, in the right we forgive them. Ok? In Christ the pastor and husband is head of his wife, in the kingdom of the left hand that guy walking down the street is not the head of my wife or you as a woman (which I will assume you are).

Anonymous said...

"When he says that Eve will have pain in childbirth that does not mean that I, as a man, will."

Wow, talk about strawmen! Who ever said that? No one. But the point remains. What God said to Eve about pain in childbirth applies to every single woman who gives birth in all of society, whether married or not, whether in an "iconic relationship" or not, whether in the church or not.

By the way, for those who base their position on man/woman solely on the iconic relationship between Christ and the Church, remember that the roles of men and women were established BEFORE the fall into sin and thus before the relationship of Christ to Church (as we know it today) was established.

Anonymous said...

"Employer-employee is not a Christological relationship."

Umm, it's not? How many parables did Christ tell in which he was the employer or landowner or master of the house? Tons of them.

Learn Luther's doctrine of vocation. Every employer is iconic of Christ. When we serve our employer we are serving Christ himself.

"You were, I assume, just sloppy in your language when you said that the promised Savior was to all society, not just the Church, which would be universalism."

No you were sloppy in your comprehension. When the Lord came to Adam and Eve and promised to send a Savior, that promise was for the entire world. Now obviously some in the world have rejected that promise, but that doesn't negate the universality of the promise. That's not universalism at all. By saying that the Lord's promise to Adam and Eve only applies to those already in the church, you are teaching limited atonement--that Christ came only to save some people in the world.

Anonymous said...

"By saying that the Lord's promise to Adam and Eve only applies to those already in the church, you are teaching limited atonement--that Christ came only to save some people in the world."

Which I didn't. If I did, prove it.

"What God said to Eve about pain in childbirth applies to every single woman who gives birth in all of society, whether married or not, whether in an "iconic relationship" or not, whether in the church or not."

Here's where the wheels keep coming off for you. Read carefully, every mother is an icon of the Church. No matter whether that mother is Christian or not. This does not prove the WELS "principle" that every man is in authority over every woman.

"By the way, for those who base their position on man/woman solely on the iconic relationship between Christ and the Church, remember that the roles of men and women were established BEFORE the fall into sin and thus before the relationship of Christ to Church (as we know it today) was established."

This is what makes you not Lutheran. The Church was established before the Fall. Since you do not even know this, you had best keep your thoughts to yourself.

Anonymous said...

Not to muddy the waters even more, but wasn't there a Female WELS member who ran for political office (not sure if it was a state legislator position or the Federal congress) from Wisconsin not too long ago?

Was she censured by her pastor/congregation, or was her action deemed acceptable?

Honestly curious.

Anonymous said...

Ok I'm done. When I say

"When he says that Eve will have pain in childbirth that does not mean that I, as a man, will."

And you respond:

"Wow, talk about strawmen! Who ever said that? No one. But the point remains. What God said to Eve about pain in childbirth applies to every single woman who gives birth in all of society, whether married or not, whether in an "iconic relationship" or not, whether in the church or not."

Good heavens, I didn't say someone said that, it is obvious that was an absurd statement, that no one, not even you (tho' I am beginning to wonder) would make. But it was an illustration to show you that though words spoken to Adam and Eve apply to all, they apply where they are directed.

So, I'm done and I will sit back and watch the hypocrital WELS pastors let their women be in positions of authority in the world and do nothing of it and pray for the poor women who may believe this unscriptural doctrine and whose consciences are needlessly burdened.

Anonymous said...

"Was she censured by her pastor/congregation...?"

I will blindly bet you a hundred dollars she was not, nor any single woman who was in authority over men in the workplace or world since the WELS came up with this bizzare and novel teaching in the '80's .

Anonymous said...

Someone, incredibly wrote,

"By the way, for those who base their position on man/woman solely on the iconic relationship between Christ and the Church, remember that the roles of men and women were established BEFORE the fall into sin and thus before the relationship of Christ to Church (as we know it today) was established."

That is the most amazing statement I think I have ever heard. Wow. What sort of weird dispensationalism is this?

Anonymous said...

"By saying that the Lord's promise to Adam and Eve only applies to those already in the church, you are teaching limited atonement--that Christ came only to save some people in the world."

"Which I didn't. If I did, prove it."

OK, here's the proof.

You said: "it [the promise of a Savior] applies to the Creation, but not to all society. It applies to those in the Ark of the Church."

There you go. You said that the promise of a Savior applies only to those in the church, "not to all society". That's called the
heresy of limited atonement.

"This is what makes you not Lutheran. The Church was established before the Fall. Since you do not even know this, you had best keep your thoughts to yourself."

Did you even read what I wrote? I never, ever said the Church didn't exist before the fall. I said the relationship between Christ and the Church was drastically changed after the Fall. Before the fall, the Ephesians 5 iconic relationship you keep talking about did not exist, yet the roles of head and helper did exist.

Since you cannot even read with a shred of comprehension, you had best keep your thoughts to yourself.

Anonymous said...

Michelle Bachmann (sp?) is a US Congressperson from MN and a WELS member. No, I don't think she's been disciplined. She was featured in the last issue of Clearly Caring.

"I said the relationship between Christ and the Church was drastically changed after the Fall." Wrong-o. Christ gives, Church receives. Always. Even before the Fall. Go read Luther's Genesis commentary and the Lutheran Confessions. Currently, you are not Lutheran.

(sigh) Are you a WELS pastor? Boy, I sure hope not for the sake of your possible congregation. I wrote that the promised Savior was promised to the Creation. You are conveniently skipping over those words (even though you keep quoting them) and reading what you want to see instead of what is there. Indeed, as someone noted above, you are a dispensationalist.

You may be thoroughly WELS, but you are not Lutheran.

"Before the fall, the Ephesians 5 iconic relationship you keep talking about did not exist"

Ah, but it did exist! And we are all blessed because of that. And that is a major point which you consistently miss.

Hey, I don't care. Keep shooting your mouth off here. You are destroying the WELS position for all to see.

As for me, I know the WELS position is wrong, so I'll ride off into the sunset now (or at least get back to work) having once again gained more proof for my misgivings regarding the WELS.

John, you're right to have doubts about this "principle".

Anonymous said...

It appears this "discussion/debate" is going around in circles to the point it is becoming nauseating. It also appears to be fueling raw emotion as it has begun to degenerate into slinging personal attacks. Bailing Water at its finest, staying true to its roots!

Perhaps it's best to end this discussion.

John said...

I do certainly have doubts about this issue. There seems to be 2 polar opposite positions being presented above.

The WELS current position seems to be a parodox between presenting the principal and then applying the application to specific situations but still leaving it up to a person's conscience. So then do we fall in line with Luther and if I am going to sin I should sin boldy.. or is it my wife who is sinning by not voting for my choice..hmmm. That is a paradox.

A commenter asked about the ELS position on this issue. I'm wondering if the ELS does agree fully with the WELS position on this...?

Also, dare I ask about the LCMS position? I most certainly recognize the much larger issues that the LCMS is facing in regards to CW, communion, and the role of women in the church. So I don't believe the LCMS is a fit for my beliefs. So if my conscience doesn't agree with the WELS on this issue then what next?? Is the ELS an option or are there other options?

Is it possibly best to sweep the issue of the role of women under rug and hope that the WELS as a whole can maintain its Confessional identity?

Anonymous said...

My opinion John...but...

I don't think this issue will go "quietly into that good night" but will "rage, rage against the dying of the light".

Anonymous said...

John's question kind of sums it up for me: Is it possible to have total agreement with each and every doctrine or issue in whatever synod? I'd say no. When does this, then, become a fellowship or confession type of issue? What of those who don't even know the doctrines of their church? And so if you can't agree on everything, or understand everything, or know everything, how does that affect your standing within WELS?

Just curious.

Rob

Anonymous said...

Well, you can do what Greg Jackson has done and disassociate yourself from everyone and end up in "fellowship" with yourself.

Or you can find a church body whose public doctrine is in accord with Scripture and whose members will variously teach according to it and then try to find a pastor who does so and yet who needs to grow (as they all do) and who will accept conversation and correction on the same if needs be.

(By the way, ask just about any WELS minister whether he or she agrees that women should not be in authority over any man in her workplace and kingdom of the left hand and tell me how many agree with their public doctrine. I have.)

Dougie

Anonymous said...

I'm a lifelong WELS and, like most Americans, find this election very interesting. Almost ironic.

My point however regards the phrase that continuously pops up in this discussion: the "WELS Doctrine." Or "Luther says," or "Brug writes," or whatever.

In all our WELS piousness, we always forget a very important factor. WELS is an organization. We are humans. Sinful humans. So was Luther. So are each of our pastors. And in our sinfulness, no matter how biblically-educated we are, we are still limited in our understanding of God's word. We can never begin to know what God meant when he said the many things he did in his gospel. To think we can puts us at his level and into his mind. How blasphemous.

This also applies to our Bible as we read it today. Yes, the Gospel is God's inspired word. However, none of the translations are. Neither are our pastors' translations of the original languages. These are translations made by sinful beings who are not always correct in their interpretations of God's inspired word. How can they be? They are not God.

In that respect, I find the debates we WELS love to engage in, to be tedious and trivial. Our "always-right," and "only-ones-who-are-right" attitude is often detrimental to the faith of others.

Should I, a woman, vote for McCain or Obama? Do Scriptures answer this question for me? Not in a way I can understand. But, hey, I'm not going to sweat it. When I vote, I will do the same thing I do for the many other questionable things in my life. I will pray to God for his guidance and I will pray that my decision is pleasing to him.

Anonymous said...

I just saw the note on Michele Bachmann. I'm WELS, and I wouild never vote for her in a million years. In a public debate on local Twin Cities TV when she was running for congress, she was asked if her church body believed the pope was the antichrist. Her response was: "Oh, no! My church would never teach such a thing!" Either she was poorly instructed when she became a member at Salem in Stillwater, or she's a hypocrite like every other politician. She should have said, "That question has no place in this debate, since there is no religion test for public office."

Anonymous said...

"We can never begin to know what God meant when he said the many things he did in his gospel. To think we can puts us at his level and into his mind. How blasphemous."

Actually your claim is the one that is blasphemous. To claim that God's Word is somehow not clear or not understandable is to deny God's Word and God's love. He gave us his Word specifically so that we could understand it, and understand him. He would be unloving if he had given us a book that we were unable to understand.

Granted, some portions of Scripture are harder than others to understand, but that is not an excuse to disregard such portions as "tedious or trivial". Christ commanded his disciples to teach people to hold on to everything he had said.

Your line of argumentation is dangerous because it is the exact argument used by liberal churches to disregard almost everything in Scripture. When they come across something difficult to understand of something that contradicts their politically correct viewpoint, they simply throw their hands up in the air, saying, "Well, we can't really be sure what God is saying here. God isn't very clear about this. We shouldn't think about or discuss these trivial little things, etc..."

God's Word is a light, shining clearly and brightly. I warn you, my sister in Christ, not to give in to the darkness which tries to obscure or hide the piercing clarity of God's Word.

Anonymous said...

"or she's a hypocrite like every other politician"

Exactly. Someone wise once told me that by the time a person reaches the point of national politics, they have already sold out everything they once believed a long time ago.

Anonymous said...

"In that respect, I find the debates we WELS love to engage in, to be tedious and trivial."

You'll note in my post that I said our DEBATES are tedious and trivial. I, by no means, say portions of Scripture are trivial, as misquoted by the comment above.

I also must defend my statement of not sweating what I don't understand. Of course, I'll continue trying, but no matter what, I know I will never understand all of God's word. I'm human. But, what's really great is I know my lack of understanding does not preclude me from God's grace. God tells me to have the faith of a child. He tells me to trust and believe. And that, through Jesus, I can do. No sweat!

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, Proverbs 3:5.

Anonymous said...

Holy Moley! Heard about this blog and this discussion, and I read this from Freddy "Flintstone" Finkelstein,

"Neither constitutes exercise of authority by her over other men in society, as her vote takes place at his direction."

The canon lawyers would be pleased.

Just one question, Freddy, did your engagement involve a club?