23 July 2008

An Interesting Question

Pr. Wilken posed this today on Issues, Etc. I wonder what you all think? He asked: Will the Missouri Synod ordain women? He thought it would; Jeff thought it wouldn't. I also tend to think it likely won't. Why?

Because rather than destroying the Office of the Holy Ministry by violating the Word of God with ordaining the fair sex, we are already well on the way to destroying it with the notion that those who have not been called and publicly set into the Office of the Ministry may preach and administer the Sacraments. It's as though AC XIV is an embarrassment and doesn't really norm our practice anymore!

If we're not to be LINOs (thanks Lito!) - that is, Lutheran In Name Only - then AC XIV remains in force among us, no matter what others do. To be Lutheran - and not only in name - is to assert that "no one should publicly preach, teach, or administer the sacraments who is not RITE VOCATUS." Period.


Chris Jones said...

Of course, if we overthrow AC XIV by allowing lay persons to minister Word and Sacraments, then we have compromised our confession of the Apostolic ministry, making a mockery of what we are doing when we do purport to "ordain." "Ordination" becomes a marker for regular, "professional" clergy as distinct from occasional and "amateur" clergy, rather than the solemn rite bestowing the office which Christ gave to His Church. That is not true ordination at all.

So yes, the Missouri Synod will probably eventually "ordain" women. But it will only be the bestowal of "professional" status, not a true ordination to the Apostolic ministry.

William Weedon said...

In which case, though, we will have long since ceased being Lutheran Christians at all. What's a comfort to me is how simple this is to many Lutheran laity - they get it: no "playing" pastor! They run from it as the fraud that it is.

Anonymous said...

This is where we need to heed Dr. Korby's wisdom. Watch our language. We need to quit talking about the "role" of women or men or pastors. "Role" is sociology and theatre talk. We speak of creation, vocation, call, ordination, and so forth. Role is at best sloppy talk.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

The only way Women's Ordination would happen within the next 25 years is if higher ups decided that it was time to force a split - because that is an issue that would get some of the (fill in the blank with a not quite accurate term) folks to leave.

As I think numbers are more important than social statements of "equality" to certain parts of the LCMS, this won't be done because it would look bad to loose that many folks - at least for another generation or so.

After that - who knows - the LCMS will either be on a pendulum swinging back to better theology, or there will be enough momentum away from Scripture where it all goes ker-thunk.

P.S. Oh, the term "lay" has nothing to do with whether a person is called according to the rite - it simply means that a person either:
A - is a guy, but hasn't gone to the Seminary so you don't have to pay him.
B - is a gal, and isn't supposed to do the stuff in worship, but she helps out in the Church, but didn't get her deaconess education.

It's not about the rite or manner of calling - it's about a lack of formal education, the avoidance of paying a decent wage, or both.

DB said...

I am not a Lutheran, but I read and enjoy this blog. I have a question about something I saw last summer in the Concordia Publishing House Catalog.

Here it is: If the LCMS is opposed to women's ordination for the pastorate, why do they sell "Clergy Girl Dolls" through their publisher? The dolls I saw in the catalog look like Barbie wearing the attire of a Lutheran minister (dark "suit" and white collar).

If you want girls to think of growing up to be a pastor, let them play with toys that make them think of doing that.

You train children in the catechism so they can know their calling as Chistians (as well as bringing them to worship where they can hear the Word and observe the Sacraments until they are confirmed) -- you let them play with appropriate toys so they will know their vocation in life.

orrologion said...

I led worship and consecrated communion when I was in WELS. While I was not ordained, they made sure to give me an official call letter to serve in this capacity under the guidance of a pastor and because there was no ordained pastor near NYC available to serve regularly. When an ordained minister was available, I did not serve.

orrologion said...

Question: Are sacraments performed by unordained Lutheran ministers affected by their lack of ordination? What is the purpose of being "called and publicly set into the Office of the Ministry"? Are there spiritual 'consequences' beyond 'right order'? For instance, a schismatic, defrocked priest does not perform a valid Orthodox Eucharist and any baptisms, tonsurings, etc. would be accepted by economia and not in and of themselves (e.g., acceptance of the St. Herman of Alaska Monastery back into canonical Orthodoxy).

William Weedon said...

Christopher O,

It is a most interesting and VITAL question. As I understand it, there are largely two answers. First, there are those who hold that God honors the promises of His Word even when we are abusing the very order by which He established for it to be delivered; as Pr. Webber says: "He has to hold his nose, but He still honors His promise." I think you see this position in Marquart's book *The Church*.

Others, I'm thinking of my good friend, Pr. Heath Curtis, will argue that the mandate (the "how" of the delivery) is very much a part of the promise, and therefore we would have no assurance that a person who is not a pastor is actually dispensing our Lord's body and blood. The element of "not sure" there is enough to simply rule the practice utterly inadmissible. The further one strays from the Lord's mandated way of delivering His gifts, the more wobbly things become.

As long as the matter remained a theological speculation among Lutherans, they could argue about it until the cows came home. But in this day and age we've moved beyond speculation: it is actually happening. You provided such an instance in WELS; examples also happen in Missouri.

Just to be clear: this is not a question of POWER (along the lines of the character indeliblis of Rome), but of AUTHORITY - has Christ authorized this Eucharist? As Christopher Jones pointed out on a discussion earlier - there is only One Priest and the offering is His and His alone. He alone can make the bread to be His body and the wine His blood. The question becomes: "Is He doing this through those whom He has NOT publicly set into office to accomplish this?"

I tend to think that rather than saying He is or He isn't, the only honest answer is: "We don't know." And that alone makes the matter intolerable in the Church. We know (speaking as a Lutheran Christian) when a man has been called and ordained that Christ through His Church has set that man into the office that has AUTHORITY for the public, responsible proclamation of the Gospel and the administration of the Holy Sacraments. There can be no justification for imposing upon the people of God a situation where they are asked to do something that Christ has not authorized them to do and which consequently we cannot say anything certain about.

Anonymous said...

Out of curiosity, what you do you all think of lay people teaching theology in our synodical colleges and seminaries--Portland has a lay theologian (can't remember his name off hand), Ft. Wayne has Dr. Francisco, and St. Louis has Dr. Siemon-Netto? Or since these are auxilliary institutions does it not fall under AC 14?

orrologion said...

Thanks, Pastor. I think your comments explain very well - with different theological particulars, details of theological perspective and where "playing" pastor/priest begins and ends - the Orthodox view of sacraments performed outside of the Orthodox Church. 'We don't know' is an honest, and yet frightening answer to the questions raised.

Todd Wilken said...


As you recall, my prediction that the LCMS will ordain women has little to do with the LCMS’s abandonment of AC XIV (but I completely agree with you that the LCMS has abandoned it).

My prediction is based on the LCMS's slow-but-steady abandonment of the historical reading of Genesis 1-3, and thus the biblical Order of Creation.

Paul’s commands about women in the Divine Service are built on the historical reading of Genesis 1-3 (1 Corinthians 11:2ff; 1 Timothy 2:11-14). Without this reading of Genesis 1-3, Paul’s words regarding women in the Divine Service make no sense. “Ordaining” a woman to Christ’s Office is an attempt to relocate her in the Order of Creation. Impossible.

It is now commonplace in the LCMS for pastors and the laity to deny the historical reading of Genesis 1-3. Without this, it is only a matter of time until we abandon Paul’s words regarding women altogether. (It is reported that the CTCR's discussions with the advocates of women's ordination were dominated by one subject: the Order of Creation)

I don’t think the LCMS will stop short of ordination. Ordination, however defined (and it is being redefined), confers the veneer of legitimacy.

Just as homosexual acitvists refuse to settle for “unions” but insist on “marriage,” so will those determined to have pastoresses will refuse to settle for mere “permission,” but will insist on ordination.

Time will tell.


George said...

I think you're on the right track, Pastor Weedon. Instead of arguing over the details of whether or not sacraments performed by laity or women 'pastors' are valid, we should focus on the authority. Did the Lord give it to them to do these things? And if not, then one is left in doubt about the gifts & promises of God. And as Dr. Nagel always said, "The Lord doesn't leave us in doubt." And why should the Lord's Church be in the business of leaving God's people in doubt about His gifts?

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Wow. I recently got into rather a spot of trouble on a Lutheran blog for saying the same thing about rites not authorized by the Orthodox Church: we don't know. That was thought to be a dishonest ploy for the sake of charity. (Or, alternatively, was thought too brutally honest, at the expense of charity.)


George said...

I'd also agree with Todd. Those who desire women's ordination, or that is the overthrow of the order of creation, won't be satisfied until it's officially acknowledged & celebrated. And ordination of women would be part of that acknowledgment.

And they won't care that it will bring schism because they know better than the rest of us poor unenlightened traditionalists. Just like those in the Anglican communion don't care about their latest actions leading to schism. Can we say Gene Robinson?

Of course, they might wait until we in Missouri get to the same point as the Anglicans where practically nothing would cause us to break communion.

First, they started to question the veracity of the Bible, then they had bishops come out & actually deny the resurrection of Christ & His atonement for us, ala John Shelby Spong. Then they had women's ordination. Now, homosexual ordination is the problem. But if you've stayed in the communion despite all the stuff going on before, I don't see why people should get all upset now with gay ordination. It's just par for the course.

Jim Huffman said...

Wilken's right: this whole argument centers around order of creation discussions. A related issue is that of philosophical questions of "nature," which we as a society have lost the ability to discuss. Questions of "nature" ask what things work in the natural order, but we've gradually come to think of "natural" as meaning not "from the natural order" but "I think that's OK." The whole questions of nature are fundamentally rooted in a reading of Gen. 1-3, and I think that most people are timid about defending a historical reading of those chapters.

I also think you're right about Missouri ordaining women. There are plenty who advocate it within LCMS circles (one pastor argued with my wife that it was a good way to ease a shortage of pastors. She suggested that ordaining dogs would have the same effect, if numbers were what was desired).

As for those who argue that ordination of women would somehow split the LCMS: nonsense. First, those who will do will do so gradually, probably by ordaining one or 2 women. Conservatives will predictably erupt, with loud caterwauling on discussion boards. So-called conservative leaders will counsel patience, saying "we must stay and fight." They always want to "stay and fight," and over the months and years after that, more and more women will be ordained, and finally the seminaries will open M.Div. programs to women, all the while arguing that "it's just an academic program," and the conservatives will say, "We have to get good people elected for the next convention." Almost nobody leaves the LCMS. Those who do leave for reason of conscience get mocked and derided for having "given up the fight." No, no one will leave. The LCMS -- which already tolerates church growthers, charismatics, historical criticism, and clown ministries -- will certainly not split over such a "minor" issue as a few women on the roster.

Paul McCain said...

For the record, Concordia Publishing House has never sold, offered, advertised or promoted clergy girl dolls. So, DB, I have no idea what you are talking about. Your statement is false.

Thanks to one of my friends reading these comments for drawing this to my attention.

Perhaps you saw them at the Old Lutheran site?

We do sell bobble-head Katie and Martin Lutheran dolls. And you can pick up a pair of "Here I Stand" socks.

Girls could wear the socks though.

Anonymous said...

If you have not seen it already, please check out Father Hollywood's blog. Things keep getting stranger and stranger....


db said...

You are right and I was wrong about the source of the clegy girl dolls. Thank you for kindly pointing it out.

Wherever they come from, they are inappropriate. I'm glad Concordia isn't selling them.

Perhaps I could get a pair of those "Here I Stand" socks for my pastor. He could wear them in the pulpit next Reformation Sunday. :-)

Rt. Rev. Jack Bauer said...

Just look at DayStar. They are promoting a denial of the order of creation, a denial of the third use of the law. This is neo-gnosticism.

This newly warmed over gospel reductionism in "conservative" rhetoric is wooing many.

This is where Scott Murray's book on the third use of the law is very important.

This goes right along with the schwaermerei notion of an "internal call" to the ministry - feeling called. Did Jonah, Moses, Jeremiah or St. Paul feel called? It is about the externum verbum.

Denial of the third use, gospel reductionism and gnosticism all go together.

Anonymous said...

I will give this debate to Pr. Wilken simply on this basis:

If you were to quote AC XIV to the average pastor or lay person they would just scratch their head and say "what?"

Although I agree with Pr. Weedon's point, of course.

Jon Townsend

William Tighe said...

According to this document


there were in 1989 about 135 laymen in the Missouri Synod exercising a word and Sacrament ministry. Would anyone have an idea how many there might be today?

Jim Huffman said...

Neo-gnosticism? Maybe. More likely just plain old garden variety gnosticism. It was enlightening to read Presbyterian Philip J. Lee's 'Against the Protestant Gnostics' a few years back. A very fine treatment of the problem this man sees in American Protestantism.

As far as "internal calls," I suspect that the notion of an internal call came with a creeping feminization of American religious life, documented in Ann Douglas' 'The Feminization of American Culture.'

William Tighe said...

Here it is again:


Also, could anyone give me a thumbnail sketch of the differences and similarities in outlook, membership, purposes and goals of the "Daystar" and "Jesus First" organizations in the Missouri Synos?

William Tighe said...

One last time ...

From the linked document (1989):

"The supervising pastor will normally administer Holy Communion. However, "in exceptional circumstances, when no ordained clergy is available and the congregation would otherwise be deprived of the Sacrament for a prolonged period of time, the licensed layman will preside, when specifically authorized to do so by the congregation and with the approval of a supervising pastor and the District President."

Is this what is under discussion on this thread, or have the "exceptional circumstances" been given a wide latitude of interpretation by District Presidents?

George said...

William Tighe wrote: "...have the "exceptional circumstances" been given a wide latitude of interpretation by District Presidents?"

Short answer: Yes. The exceptional circumstance or emergency situation has basically been taken to mean do whatever you want & just call it pastoral discretion. This has led to laymen, including vicars, doing Word & Sacrament day in & day out even when the supervising pastor or other pastors are available.

I know this has happened numerous times in the Nebraska District when ordained ministers have been willing to help out congregations in need & the dp has just licensed deacons or vicars to do it instead.

One of the worst situations happened when an elder at St. John's in Seward consecrated & distributed the Lord's Supper when the vacancy pastor couldn't make it because of a snow storm. The really sickening part is that there were three ordained pastors, either professors at Concordia-Seward or district officers, in church that day, who were members of the congregation & none of them said a word. The excuse given afterward was that this was an emergency & the congregation had voted previously to allow elders to preside at the Lord's Supper if necessary.

Theoretically, that situation has been addressed, but it shows the callousness of many people's regard for the Office of the Ministry & the Lord's Sacraments.

Scott Larkins said...

Isn't this magic!?!



Past Elder said...

Anatasia makes a good point: the East generally offers a "We don't know" about the validity of Eucharists outside Eastern ordination. Rome, at least the Rome I knew, was characteristically more concrete: ordinations apart from a bishop in apostolic succession are no ordinations at all therefore the Eucharists performed by the ordinands are no Eucharists at all.

Thus, an EO priest is a true priest offering a true Eucharist, but an Anglican priest is not a priest and his Eucharist no Eucharist, though both are apart from Rome. Easy to see where a Lutheran pastor fits in this -- nowhere.

Coming out of Rome, I read Luther and the BOC as the works of others coming out of Rome. It seems to me they were at pains to maintain two aspects to this, as with most things, and if one ignores one of them, one ends up RC again, or if one ignores the other, ends up "Protestant" in the current sense.

Re ordination, that would be: maintaining on the one hand that a sacrament of holy orders is a fiction laid over the manner in which the church selects her ministers and is not Rome's to adjudicate or administer, but maintaining on the other that this is not to say the church does not have a manner of selecting her ministers or that one may so function independent of that manner, the call.

WELS elders quite commonly assist in the distribution of Communion, but not the consecration. I can understand that with a call letter this could be allowed in certain circumstances in WELS. The way it was explained to me, I as an elder and pastor as a pastor are no different in having the power or the ability to consecrate the Eucharist, however I as an elder have no call to do so and the pastor does, therefore I don't consecrate and he does.

I think this is what Pastor is getting at in distinguishing power from authority. We maintain there is both. Rome maintains there is both. But we no not maintain authority depends on Rome or that the power is derived from the conference of Roman authority. Unfortunately, I think there are those among us who -- similar to what happens in the "adiaphora" wars -- think that rejecting Roman authority and power means there is no authority.

So some head for Rome while others make us American evangelicals with more liturgy and sacraments than usual.

Meanwhile, real "Lutheranism", the correct exposition of Scripture in the BOC, lies there right under our noses.

Katie Wannabe said...

Here is what Luther says:
Now when the devil saw God building His holy church, he took no holiday but built his chapel next door, larger than God's church. And this is how he did it: He saw that God took outward things — Baptism, Word, Sacrament, Keys — and made His church holy through these means. Since he is always aping God and trying to imitate and improve everything God does, he, too, took outward things that were to be means to holiness. . . . Bells are to drive away the devils in storms; St. Anthony's knives stab the devil; the blessing of herbs drives away poisonous worms; certain blessings heal cows, ward off milk thieves, put out fires; certain writings give security in war and, at other times, against iron, fire, water, wild beasts, etc. Monastic life, Masses, and the like offer a more than ordinary salvation. Who can tell it all? Why, no need was so trifling that the devil did not institute a sacrament or a sacred charm (Heilthum) for it, whereby one may find aid and help against it. Besides, he has also had prophets, seers, and wise men who have been able to reveal secret things and restore stolen goods.
Oh, he is equipped far more than God with sacraments, prophets, apostles, evangelists; and his chapels are far larger than God's church; and he also has far more people devoted to his holiness than God has. Moreover, people believe more easily and more gladly in his promises, in his sacraments, in his prophets, than in Christ's. He is the great god of the world. Christ calls him "prince of the world" (John 12:31), and Paul speaks of him as "god of this world" (2 Cor. 4:4). (#1371 from What Luther Says).

A personal observation:
I once attended a Jesus First conference out of curiosity. I suggest watching the NWD for where Women's ordination will begin. While I was there, a presentation was given on ministry in the NWD (Northwest District). Basically, they said will use the excuse that the native people in Alaska are used to a martiarchal society, not a patriarchal one, therefore the women should be the "leaders" (president for now, pastors later?)of the congregations.

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

It's a bad argument, in any case. The largest Christian body in Alaska is the Orthodox Church. We're not going matriarchal.

orrologion said...

I would note that since the Orthodox Church is not congregational, allowing women on to the Church Council is not a big deal - it is merely advisory; like checking in with the leading lights of a congregation before making a decision, which is the bishop's and priest's alone. Perhaps, if a Lutheran pastor were seen to be the only real authority in the local congregation, then some of these issues would become moot.

Orthodox women in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska wield influence and 'authority' in the church in the same way as unordained men - through holiness, alms, investment of time, respect given them by others and earned by the person, etc. Women wield all sorts of influence, but in the same way that mothers, wives, daughters and sisters always have - even in 'patriarchal' societies.

Anonymous said...

The seminaries should never have started the vicarage program...

People see laymen who are attending seminary in the pulpit preaching and wonder why any layperson can't preach.

J.G.F. said...

I don't think I agree that the vicarage program is a problem. While not ordained, Vicars are supervised by an ordained pastor in a very close way-- I've always viewed it a bit like a paramedic- not a physician, but the eyes, ears and hands of a physician. I have always understood a Vicar's supervised preaching to be under the Pastor's call.

A vicar is undergoing specific and intentional training to be ordained. Somehow, I see this as different than a lay person with no training and no intent of ordination.

While some may argue there is no difference, I believe there is. You wouldn't have a pastor in the LCMS without him being a vicar first. Just food for thought.


J.G.F. said...

Just one post-script to what I wrote:

I have never witnessed anyone making the argument that because a vicar preaches that he also has the right to preach. I believe our congregations understand the role of a vicar vis a vis a "lay minister" (which I do believe is a contradiction in terms).

Sorry, don't mean to hijack the thread.... back to the discussion.

Blessed Lord's Day to all of you!


William Weedon said...

Dr. Tighe,

Daystar and Jesus First are two peas in a pod, apparently; but JF is the more popular front and Daystar seems to be less active at the moment (though it was more vocal about WO).

And as others have noted, yes. the DP's have driven trucks through that little loophole. The loophole itself is in utter contradiction to the Augsburg Confession.

Katie Wannabe said...

I once had the opportunity to ask a DP, "If a layman was (were?) president of one of our universities and he was asked to preach for a Concordia Sunday, what would you do?" The DP said that he could preach--after all, vicars preach, in spite of not being 'rightly called and ordained.'" So, I do believe that simply because these theologian-wannabees use the argument of vicars, we should seriously consider getting rid of the vicarage program. Besides, even some field workers deliver the absolution--which is no real absolution, imo.


Anonymous said...

Greetings in the Name of Christ Jesus!

This is a good question to probe and debate, since I too predict the ordination of women in LCMS. Time will indeed tell. I am a pastor in Lutheran Church-Canada, and we too have similar challenges. Pr. Wilken is correct to point out how those in favor of Women's ordination miss interpret the order of creation in Genesis 1-3. This becomes the lense by which they interpret the rest of Holy Writ in regards to the issue, including Galatians 3:26-28!!! Which by the way, has already been discussed by Pr. Wilken and Dr. L. Brighton on Issues etc. in early 2008? If you haven't already, go to the wittenberg trail and check out Pr. Mike Keith's presentation/disscusion on 'can a lay person consecrate the elements of the Lord's Supper?'

wmc said...

Strictly speaking, the LC-MS does not ordain but the churches that comprise the LC-MS do. That ordination is administered by the district president as "bishop" (loosely speaking), is de jure humano, of course.

The question is whether the LC-MS as an institutional body, governed by the consensus of its constituent congregations, will tolerate the ordination of women to the pastoral office. The traditionalist side of the ELCA seems able to have a measure of liturgical and confessional conservatism alongside the novelty of ordained females (see the Society of the Holy Trinity, for example).

What is likely to happen in the LCMS is the continual erosion of the pastoral office with its distinct authorities and responsibilities, as has been going on for decades, so that one will eventually have women doing pastoral things without being "ordained" into any particular office. I wouldn't be surprised if such things aren't already going on.

Since the LC-MS is held together by the consensus of its constituent churches (unity of doctrine and practice), a split over this issue is inevitable, as one side seeks to guard the traditional and catholic understanding of the pastoral office over and against the pragmatic protestantism that would like to obscure the boundaries of the holy office and turn it into a mere tasks and functions.

Unity with the ELCA also figures into this equation and should not be overlooked. Take careful note of the Lutheran Church in Australia for how two bodies on opposite sides of the women's ordination issue can come together. It would not surprise me if there are already discussions afoot to broker a mainstream merger of the muddy moderate middle of the ELCA and LCMS, with each side jettisoning it's "wing nuts," the ELCA on the left and the LCMS on the right.

Stranger things have happened.

William Weedon said...

Although, William, the interesting thing (so far) in the history of Missouri is that she has declined merger - oh, she'd accept others into HER - Suomi, the Slovaks - but she's never agreed to become other than the One doing the absorption. So, I'm skeptical about her "merging" with any faction of the ELCA. But these are strange times and what has never been may well yet happen.

Todd Wilken said...

I've been thinking more about this. The real strength of Pastor Weedon's argument is worthy of continued attention.

The LCMS has already demonstrated that it is willing to do (in principle) what every other mainline liberal denomination has done: Introduce new doctrines by introducing new practices.

Act first, cook up a theological excuse later. This is how we ended up where we are on AC XIV.

"Hey, we're already letting X and Y preach and administer the sacraments, how can we forbid Z to do it?"

"Oh, by the way, we really should find a way of institutionalizing this. How about a convention resolution?"

The long-liberal leadership of the ELCA, the PCUSA, the ECUSA and the UMC learned years ago that it is easier to use the "exception," the "emergency," the "expediency," and the "once in a life-time event" to discard old doctrines and introduce new ones.

It's the "We're already doing it, we can't stop now" argument.

J.G.F. said...

Hi Kate,

I think the problem you cite was with the DP's understanding of vicarage, not the vicarage program itself. Just because he doesn't understand or has an incorrect understanding of the role of vicar does not justify jettisoning the entire program.

Again, I see the vicarage program as different than simply a "lay person" functioning in the role of pastor. He is in training, he is in an accredited program, and he is fully intending to become ordained. He is also evaluated, and what the supervising pastor records is weighed heavily by the seminary faculty. He has been trained in homiletics and is approved by the seminary prior to assignment. He also bears the title of "Rev. Seminarian". While not ordained, that says something.

Believe me, being in the Atlantic District where we have had some very serious issues with lay folk assuming the role of pastor (to the point of even consecration of of the Eucharist) I stand against this violation of our Confessions. They do not have a regular call and it is sinful for them to do this. Our DP does his best to keep it under control, but it often happens behind his back.

No doubt there are abuses of the vicarage program, but the abuses should not dictate whether a program continues.

I do not see this as a confessional issue since the vicar is functioning under the supervision, direction, guidance and evaluation of the pastor, who is regularly called and ordained. Both pastor and vicar understand that if a vicar errs, it is the Pastor whom God holds responsible.

There is a balance that needs to be struck here-- How do we, on the one hand, not violate Augsburg XIV as antinomians but, on the other hand, not become so narrow or pharisaical in our understanding of AC XIV that we hurt ourselves.

Personally, I think that lay ministry gone awry violates AC XIV, but the vicarage program does not. I think we need to be careful that we don't become so legalistic in our interpretation that we hurt a program that is "meet, right and salutary" simply because there is misunderstanding or misuse occurring.

wmc said...

I agree with this. The LCMS institutionalizes changes in practice by recognizing the current practice(s) without dealing with the underlying doctrine.

One glaring difficulty on the women's ordination issue is that the discussion has largely gone 1) the Bible forbids it; 2) that settles it. This failure to speak positively and Christologically on behalf of a male occupied Office makes the entire argument one of Law. It's essentially a fundamentalist type argument that doesn't address or even acknowledge the Christocentricity of the pastoral office, nor does it fully unpack the typology of "male and female."

wmc said...

"Isn't this magic!?!

Off-topic, but as a guitarist, I welcome this publication with joy. John Kleinig's wife, Claire, did such a work for the Australians. Hopefully, this was chorded by a real guitarist and not a piano player transcribing chords, which is all too often the case. Piano players tend to overchord pieces. For some excellent guitar playing that honors our hymnal tradition, I suggest a listen to my friend Fred Baue (http://www.fredbaue.com/)

I'd be more concerned about this: http://www.lcms.org/pages/rpage.asp?NavID=13627

William Weedon said...

Well if you don't LIKE the way pianists chord things, I wish to high heaven that folks would stop ASKING this pianist to write the chords for them. ;) No, I had nothing to do with the work, but I do have a few folks (don't worry, Cindi and Crystal, I won't mention your names) who are always asking me to write in the chords for them - and I despise doing it precisely for the reason you mention: the guitar doesn't need all the chords and choosing which to leave in and which to drop is really a guitarist's business, not mine!