14 July 2010

Wednesday Evening

Busy day.  Floor nominations came out of the wood work and that took a LONG time.  Finally delegates grew impatient and called to end allowing them.  Now sitting on the Board of Directors is Pr. Michael Kumm (as in the man with Todd Wilken as associate) and Pr. Vic Belton (old friend from Bronxville and the seminary).  The entire slate of laity from the United List was also elected to the board.  Amazing.

Cin and I have enjoyed running into folk again:  today I finally caught up with Scott Yakimow for a moment and had a nice talk with Jim Butler.  It's been a delight to chat now and again with Dr. Mundiger and Judge Neely Owen.  Oh and whole bunch of others I'm not remembering at the moment.

We had dinner at a Chinese restaurant with the Bowers.  Looking forward to a quiet evening and early to bed, I think.  Tomorrow is another day...

Oh, and I must confess I have NEVER in the entirety of my years in the ministry felt more optimistic about the future of the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod.

26 comments:

Dan at Necessary Roughness said...

There's a lot of tares sown among the wheat over the last nine years that will need to be gently shepherded in the right direction. It will be natural for us to be impatient, wishing we could snap our fingers and have everyone sing out of the common hymnal, preach Law and Gospel to Christians, confessing the same things, and renewing our fealty to Scripture and the Lutheran confessions.

It's time. But it will take time. Likely multiple Harrison terms. :)

Pr. Lehmann said...

Reverend Chairman,

I move that the word "more" be stricken from the last paragraph.

:-)

Love ya!

Boaz said...

Somebody move to reconsider the ELCA separation plan motion. How can we have no criteria for deciding when to split?

Those opposed made exactly the same arguments elca folks are making to remain in the elca: the consequences of separating from the sin are too great and we can avoid any taint....
Wrongo buckos.

Besides, it would give us a chance to be ecumenical and forge closer ties while mercy working with new groups. Conservative anglicans, presbys, and even evangelical types would be good conservative partners as they seperate from their own liberal brethren, and could benefit from some exposure to strong doctrine minded folks like us.

Eucharisted said...

Episcopacy is probably the thing that keeps most evangelical catholics from leaving the ELCA... and keeping them from joining the MO Synod...

Ted Badje said...

My experience is that people don't leave the ELCA because of the open communion question, or that they have not forgiven Missouri for backing out of the LSB. I am for close communion, and happy with the current LCMS hymnal, which is more doctrinally sound. American Lutheranism, I tend to think, doesn't put as much stock in episcopism as Europe does, whatever is left of the Church in Europe. I believe the conservative Anglicans and such will come to Word-based authority in a few years.

Tim said...

Episcopacy is, accord to my ELCA friends, the only thing keeping them in the ELCA. I offten wonder why the LCMS doesn't make use of episcopacy and why the LCMS isn't in apostolic succession. I love the LCMS, however if I could change one thing about the LCMS it would be the lack of episcopacy and apostolic succession.

William Weedon said...

The ELCA doesn't have episcopacy in the technical sense; not when they keep electing their bishops. I do think that the MIssouri structural changes HAVE enormously strengthened the power of the president to the point where he is functionally now a bishop indeed - save, as in the case of the ELCA, standing for reelection. I just note that it was not the doing of the current President; who did not favor the changes. But he has to live with what we give him - and what we gave him was, quite frankly, the whole enchilada.

Eucharisted said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eucharisted said...

While I would grant that bishops in the ELCA should be elected for life, I fail to see how that disqualifies them from being "bishops" per se. By virtue of their consecration into the historic episcopate, ELCA bishops are really bishops.

William Weedon said...

Well, I think if you ran it by any of the truly episcopally structured churches, they'd tell you that a bishop that can be unelected simply at the pleasure of a convention (and not for cause) isn't a true bishop - despite the laying on of hands in succession.

By the bye, I love Piepkorn's observation that it historically in the Roman rite a GLOVED hand that was laid on - the point being that it was a designation: "this person" more than any mystical power imparted through hands touching head.

Eucharisted said...

Look, the fact of the matter is this: my father, who is an ELCA pastor, can preside at the eucharist in an Episcopal Church - you can't. Although, I'm beginning to wonder whether you even think that the Episcopal Church has historic episcopacy...

William Tighe said...

Really, I don't think that ELCA bishops are any more (or less) bishops than United Methodist Church bishops -- and in both cases (at least until recently) when one of their bishops retires s/he (!) is no longer a bishop.

And besides, my impression here in eastern Pennsylvania is that it is the practice of WO in the ELCA that keeps many deluded folk therein from going to Missouri.

Who'd want to preside in an Episcopalian eucharist today, anyway, things being what they are, any more than in a Unitarian eucharis tor (of old) in a Montanist eucharist?

Eucharisted said...

I was making a point about the recognized validity of holy orders in the ELCA...

Anonymous said...

What keeps the so-called "Evangelical Catholics" (and anyone else) from the ELCA out of the LCMS is the fact that they see us as half-witted fundamentalist Bible-thumpers. That and women's ordination, as Dr. Tighe pointed out. Yes, even the Evangelical Catholics generally favor women's ordination (it's what prevents some from going all the way to Rome, I believe). Anyway, as my ex-ELCA husband says, the LCMS is the "troll under the bridge" for ELCA people; we're scary, mean, and stupid and most would go other places far more quickly than they'd come here.

Bethany Kilcrease

William Weedon said...

Well, certainly the major bodies holding to the historic episcopacy do not and have not ever recognized the Anglicans as having the fullness of the episcopacy, no?

Chris Jones said...

There will always be a lot of opinions as to what makes for a "real" bishop. I would venture to say, however, that formal Apostolic Succession (i.e. a valid ordination into the historic episcopate) is not a sufficient condition for Catholic faith and order. If a Church body has effectively abandoned the Apostolic faith, it can hardly be called an Apostolic Church, even if its bishops' "apostolic succession" credentials are in perfect order. If there are ELCA folk who are staying in that body because of its purportedly valid apostolic succession, I think they are being foolish.

I have to disagree with my friend Fr Weedon, however, when he says that the organizational changes approved at the LCMS Convention make the Synod President "functionally now a bishop indeed." Historically the bishop was not the "pastor of the pastors" nor certainly primarily an administrator. The bishop was (and still should be) the shepherd of all of the Christians in his town or city -- not simply the "boss" of the clergy. Even with the structural changes, the Synod President is not the pastor of anybody. Like all Synodical officials, he is a pastor without a flock.

The "episcopate" in our Church body remains as it was: the parish pastor is our bishop, and we have no other (for good or ill).

Eucharisted said...

Well, I suppose that since the Orthodox church recognizes Anglican orders, that would seem to, in some ways, validate the ELCA's. Additionally, the so-called "Old-Catholics" are in full communion with the Anglicans, whose orders recognized by Rome.

As a side note, the only reason the Roman Church doesn't accept Anglican orders is because the rites themselves do not contain enough explicit references to eucharistic sacrifice and the sacerdotal nature of the priesthood. What the Romans failed to realize was that Anglican rites for ordinations were based on 4th century rites... ones that were once used in the Catholic West. This would then effectively invalidate the orders of Roman Catholic bishops...

Interesting stuff...

William Tighe said...

Some Orthodox churches, between the early 1920s to the late 1940s "recognized" Anglican Orders ("recognized" in the sense that if the, or any Anglican churches, wished to unite with the Orthodox effectively on Orthodox terms, then their clergy would not need to be reordained) -- while others refused to do so -- but no Orthodox churches recognized or accept "Anglican Orders" today, and some Orthodox are seriouslt discussing rebaptizing Anglicans who become Orthodox, on the grounds that the churches of the Anglican Communion have moved so far away from traditional orthodox (small "o") Christianity.

William Tighe said...

"As a side note, the only reason the Roman Church doesn't accept Anglican orders is because the rites themselves do not contain enough explicit references to eucharistic sacrifice and the sacerdotal nature of the priesthood"

This is not really the case, either. If one reads Apostolicae Curae, one sees that the reason for rejecting Anglican Orders involves both "defect of form" (the Rite itself) and "defect of intention" (the intention of the English Reformers, and especially Cranmer, who complied the rite) to eliminate the notion of a "sacrificing priesthood." Some Catholic commentators have been willing to accept that the Prayer Book Ordinal (at least from 1662) might be, considered in itself, a "valid" rite from a Catholic perspective.

The best book on all this is Francis Clark's *Anglican Orders and Defect of Intention* (1956).

Eucharisted said...

You should know that the Orthodox Church in America is considering full communion with the new Anglican Church in North America. That would seem to imply that they recognize the validity of their orders, since I don't think they'll go around re-ordaining everyone.

By the way, "Defect of Inention" doesn't sound very "ex opere operato"-ish to me...

Chris Jones said...

the Orthodox Church in America is considering full communion with the new Anglican Church in North America

This is a highly misleading way of describing the situation. The OCA is not considering full communion with ACNA as that body now is. In his address to the ACNA Assembly, Metr Jonah offered a dialogue with ACNA with the goal of full communion; but he very forthrightly stated the basis for such full communion, which is nothing less that full agreement in the faith.

A much less misleading way of putting would be that the Metropolitan of the OCA has invited the ACNA to become Orthodox, at which time there can be full communion.

Tim said...

I still don't understand why European Lutheran use Episcopacy and believe in apostolic succession, but American Lutheran don't.

Eucharisted said...

Then, Chris, I was mislead by an Anglican priest. There is some truth to what you say however: the ACNA has decided to remove the filioque from a forthcoming edition of the BCP. Would that be basis enough for full communion between the two bodies? I don't know, but my point remains that there are Orthodox who take seriously Anglican claims to historic episcopacy.

The point that I tried to make with my original response was that the wider ecclesiological implications of the polity and governance of the LCMS are a major road block to many evangelical catholics making the switch. Ultimately, Orthodox or Catholic recognition of the ELCA's bishops is irrelevant, since it seems to us that the ELCA has realized fully the implications of what the Apology means by the retention of "canonical government."

Chris Jones said...

Would that be basis enough for full communion between the two bodies?

By no means. The standard for communion in the sacraments for the Orthodox is full agreement in the faith. That means, among other things, that the astonishing variety of theological opinion and teaching in Anglicanism is not acceptable. If you review the video of Metr Jonah's address to ACNA, he clearly lays out a number of issues (seven, I think) where Anglicans would have to change their teaching and/or practice in order to come into full communion with the Orthodox. I don't remember them all, but two that I do remember were an end to the ordination of women and an un-ambiguous rejection of "the heresy of Calvinism" (those were Metr Jonah's very words).

The sort of Anglicans who make up most of ACNA are pretty comfortable in their identity as Reformed Christians with a Catholic-style liturgy. I'll be shocked if they are willing to give up being Reformed to please the OCA.

Chris Jones said...

there are Orthodox who take seriously Anglican claims to historic episcopacy.

That is true, but it is not worth as much as you might think. From the Orthodox perspective, "valid" bishops in Apostolic Succession really don't mean anything unless the Church which they lead has maintained the Apostolic tradition in its fulness. They certainly don't see that in (any variety of) Anglicanism.

Sbn John said...

Eucharisted,

I think you have been mislead indeed. We do not, as a whole, recognize Anglican orders or, really, in a conciliar way, the orders of anyone outside the canonical boundaries of the Orthodox Church, although Catholic priests are sometimes received by vesting, at the discretion of the bishop.

Even in the 1920s, when there was some optimism about relations between the Orthodox and the Anglicans, still, Anglican clergy who converted were chrismated and reordained.

Our understanding of apostolic succession is quite different than what you're assuming here. We do not view episcopacy to be some magical power passed on merely by the laying on of hands, devoid of the content of a person's faith.

While we maintain cordial relations with some of the breakaway, more traditional Anglican groups, we don't recognize even their orders, and we certainly would have major problems with either the EC or the ELCA.

As a case in point, a few years ago, a Continuing Anglican *bishop* converted to Orthodoxy. Not only was he not received as a bishop, but he and all his people had to go through a period of being catechumens before being chrismated. Fr. Alban was then retrained and then ordained a deacon and then a priest.

Grace and peace,
Sbn John