04 January 2011

Quia Quatenus

I've suggested before that I think the whole quia/quatenus thingy is rather broken in our churches.  What I mean is, when you talk "quia" (I subscribe to the Confessions BECAUSE they agree with the Word of God), this all the way back to Walther (and maybe earlier than he) has been rendered rather useless by saying:  "I mean, of course, the doctrinal content of the Lutheran Symbols."

Okay, well, what do you do when what's doctrinal content to X is not doctrinal content to Y, and both are claiming "quia subscription"?  Some turn to the statements in the AC about what our churches practice regarding the Lord's Supper and say:  this is our Confessions; this we do.  Others dismiss all such statements as "descriptive not prescriptive."  In other words, that was a description of then; it need not be taken as a confession of how things ought be now. This gets messier and messier.

No, I'm not even talking about things like perpetual virginity of Mary!  I'm thinking of the fact that the CTCR could declare that "in the absence of any Scripture to the contrary" it was okay to suspend AC XIV - "no one is to teach, preach, or administer the sacraments without a rightful call."  Doctrinal content or not?  Well, it's among the DOCTRINAL articles, no?  But that seems not to matter too much to some.  Similarly with the bold statement in the doctrinal article that follows - that our churches teach (that would be the doctrine word, no?) that human ceremonies that can be kept without sin ought to be kept.  "Practice" we are told; "not doctrine."

A wag friend of mine once made the frustrated comment:  here, let me hand you my Book of Concord so that you can highlight the parts for me that I'm not subscribing to.  And surely even as soon as I post this, someone will be writing about magnets and garlic to prove the point that we don't subscribe to anything but the doctrinal content of the Symbols.  Sigh.

Do you see why I think we need a rethinking of this whole area?  I am a rather simple man and my approach to the Symbols is to take them as they stand as the Confession of my Church.  When I hear a "we" in them, I want myself and my parish to be included in that we.  If it doesn't seem to describe us at the moment, it sure gives us something to work towards.  That's how a standard functions, no?  If we keep slicing and dicing the standard to justify current practice and thinking and never allow it to challenge what we've become, what on earth good is it anyway?

Fire away, folks.

49 comments:

Mike Keith said...

You have raised some very good points and have made me think. Thank you.

Pr. H. R. said...

I, for one, think the problem is not so much in Walther's understanding of subscription - his essay on this topic is wonderful.

I think the problems you point out are a lack of any real canon law in our midst.

I think we can view the Missouri Synod as a grand experiment in a new and free land. In the old country, the church had an enforced canon law to govern how the faith was lived out. The rubrics had the force of church law - do them, or you will not serve in the church. I forget the fellow's name - but some chap in the 17th century was reprimanded (maybe even tossed from his parish?) for not using enough water at a baptism. It was a valid baptism of course - but he didn't follow the rubrics.

In this new country we tried something else. We tried to have a society, a denomination, instead of a church. What I mean is that the Missouri Synod was sort of founded on the honor system. If you agree with us, and like our practice, and want to do it as well: let us rejoice that we are in fellowship. No canon law. No nasty bishop who can tell you to follow this rubric or else - just a president who, well, presides at meetings.

The hope was that in a free society, people of a similar mindset would all so similar things. Love, and not canon law, would compel people to stay in harmony with one another. If I know a practice of mine would offend my brother - I wouldn't do it. At least that was the hope.

I think the experiment has failed. How many of our disagreements and heart burn are over matters that other church's SIMPLY DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT because they have canons - that is, rules of the game - and referees to enforce them?

I am well aware of the problems on the other side of the fence. I am well aware of the need for evangelical understanding among the bishops. But I think that perhaps we need to rethink how we live together in harmony.

Maybe I'll dust off my proposed canons for an evangelical Lutheran church over at Gottesdienst. . .

+HRC

Anonymous said...

Thanks for bringing up this important topic.

Regarding the example of the Lord's Supper:

AP XIV: "For among us masses are celebrated every Lord's Day and on the other festivals, in which the Sacrament is offered to those who wish to use it, after they have been examined and absolved."

To those who argue that our Confessions are "merely descriptive" I respond: surely, if they are descriptive, they describe the doctrine and practise of the holy, catholic, and apostolic church. So, then, if the Confessions are not descriptive of you, too, then you have a big problem...

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

I don't think it is that we have no "canon law" or rules. . . it's just that we in the LCMS do not enforce them anymore.

Are we not all supposed to use only synodically approved hymnbooks and worship materials? That would provide a licit list of acceptable things in worship... yet, when is that enforced?

Instead, we let things get out of hand, and then decide to try and slap dash together something from CPH so that those who don't want to use what is approved might at least use something we can stick our finger in.

We are only supposed to use rostered pastors... yet that is ignored. Were congregations and encouragers of this removed? No - instead, we try to some how sanction it at Wichita, try to tie it to the Sem through SMPP.

I don't know if we need a new canon law - perhaps just a reversion to what we had a few decades ago and actually enforce it. No pastor, person, or congregation has a fundamental right to be in the Missouri Synod - but it seems as though membership is the great birthright we all claim no matter what we think or teach.

Anonymous said...

The Confessions state we should have
Holy Communion every Sunday. They
also state no one should preach
or administer the sacraments unless
he has a divine call. However, in
the 21st century the Missouri Synod
takes a cafeteria approach to these
two situations and picks and chooses
according to individual taste. We
have no head bishop with any power
or authority over the Missouri Synod
to enforce the Lutheran Confessions.

Anonymous said...

Robert Preus taught the Confessions
at St.Louis in the 1960's and spent
much time lecturing about the
difference between quia (because)
and quatenus(in so far as). His
contention was that LCMS was quia
and the ALC and LCA were quatenus.
He felt this difference was the
major divide in American Lutheranism.
Our subscription to the Book of
Concord must be united BECAUSE of
its Biblical content.

Anonymous said...

Surely there are parts of the confessions that are descriptive. When the confessions say this issue is not a matter of doctrine that binds consciences, like Sunday worship, but that current practice is to worship Sunday, you can't claim the confessions bind consciences to Sunday worship!

The confessions interpret themselves.

Our confessions clearly distinguish between practices binding for all time and those contingent on circumstances in time and place necessary to avoid offense, citing the covering of women's heads and eating blood sausage as the latter type. This is a scriptural confessional distinction, and those refusing to acknowledge that ceremonial rites are of the latter type are the ones ignoring the confessions. Sure the church could make rules requiring obedience to rubrics, but the confessions prohibit binding consciences to them, and only permit such rules if needed to avoid offending weak Christians. Quia, according to the confessions, does not mean agreeing which human traditions should be required to avoid offence or for good order. People disagree! Monstrous disputations! Quia requires not ensaring consciences on these issues.

You have to make the argument that a rule requiring traditional rubrics is necessary to avoid offense, not just cite how they did it in Germany sixteenth centuy. I don't know how you make that argument when rubrics and tradition are mote likely to cause offense and even the Catholics rarely follow them. Only the churches from the most uneducated and superstitious countries tend to insist on those forms.

If I'm wrong please explain why I can eat blood sausage and we dont make women cover their heads.

Bz

William Weedon said...

Boaz,

I'm not following at all. To bind consciences is to tell them that doing X or Y or believing X or Y is necessary to salvation, when in fact, it is not. But this discussion is not at all about that question.

The Symbols themselves assert that worship on Sundays is a human tradition. They assert that we keep that tradition. The problem is?

The Symbols themselves assert that headcoverings are not required and we'd be misreading 1 Cor. to assume they were. The problem is?

The Symbols do not merely argue for the traditional customs to avoid offense; they simply state that we keep them. We do not keep them as necessary to salvation. If you are not the "we" who keeps them, are you the "we" who speaks in the Symbols?

The Symbols assert that the Mass is retained among us and celebrated with greatest reverence. The Symbols also assert that the Church in every territory has the right to increase or decrease the number of humanly instituted ceremonies as may best suit the situation of the church in that area (i.e., Roman dietary laws cannot be imposed on Saxon Christians) - provided that all frivolity is avoided.

As Fr. Curtis pointed out, those who framed the Symbols ALSO wrote and enforced Church Orders within individual territories. They saw no contradiction in doing so.

Pr. Lehmann said...

I'm with you, Bill, and I actually argued the very same point this morning (though less ably).

Thanks very much for putting it better than I did.

Anonymous said...

When the confessions say "we" keep a tradition-a matter that is not required for salvation- it is not saying it must be kept all times and places. The confessions say those things in the category of human tradition may or may not be kept depending on the circumstances. Circumstances may justify keeping a rule to avoid offending weak christians. That is a practical judgment to be made by those with authority in the church.

but you argue human traditions addressed or implied by the confessions are binding in all time and places! that does bind consciences and requires agreement, where he confessions have already said no conscience can be bound. it eliminates the difference between human tradition and scriptural injunction. it puts the focus on following rules and discovering historical practices rather than on whether what is going on in church shows Christs love to the weakest so they hear and understand.

Just like we don't hold up as ideal in all times and places now and in the future those apostolic rules meant to avoid offense and keep good order like requiring women to cover their head, we don't do that with any human tradition. The church always has freedom to readjust, adopting new rules and practices or abandoning old ones, as circumstances change.

The synod has no rule requiring use of rubrics, and we can disagree whether it would help avoid offending the weakest Christians to do so and remain in fellowship because the issue relates to he category of human tradition. That's what the confessions say. But they don't let you argue your rule is always required in all times and places because that is binding consciences and is against what the confessions say about human traditions.

If your interpretation was correct the confessions would hold up traditions like avoiding blood sausage as a helpful ideal for the church. It doesn't, it says look at that tradition that has been utterly abandond by he church, and understand that these traditions are contingent.

Just like all matters of Christian freedom, it can be abused. It's up to those with authority in the church to determine whether we should sacrifice freedom for the sake of those hurt by such abuse. But not by elevating human tradition to equal status with Gods law.

Bz

William Weedon said...

Not at all; I can accept a church discipline as just that - and not divine. Something I do as a member of a particular church, and for the sake of good order, but not as divine law.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Weedon,

"If you are not the "we" who keeps them, are you the "we" who speaks in the Symbols?"

Ultimately who is the "we" here. Is it solely comprised of those who have a quia subscription to the Confessions? Or can it safely and accurately be extended to include the holy, catholic, and apostolic church?

(the 3rd comment on this post is mine)...If my understanding is incorrect, please straighten me out.

William Weedon said...

"We cheerfully hold the old traditions made in the church for the sake of usefulness and peace. We interpret them in a more moderate way and reject the opinion that holds they justify...."

William Weedon said...

"Nothing in customary rites should be changed without a reasonable cause. So to nurture unity, old customs that can be kept without sin or great inconvenience should be kept."

Anonymous said...

Essentially, you are reading the confessions as a body of regulations to be followed and not as a correct theological treatise on law and gospel in scripture.

Bz

William Weedon said...

No, I'm reading them as MY confession.

Pr. Lehmann said...

Bz,

As William properly states, he is saying that the BoC is his confession. All pastors do this at their ordination (so long as they are ordained according to the church's usual order).

We say, "I make these confessions my own."

It seems odd to me in the extreme that someone would say that they make the confessions their own and then pick and choose what from them they consider to be binding.

Anonymous said...

So you confess that inthe future ceremonies may be added or subtracted given the circumstances, but you are lying because you are forever timelessly confessing with the original confessors and their circumstances never change.

Ok that makes sense....

So your confession to the confessions is nothing like the confessions confession of scripture, given that it admitted traditions change and may be totally abandoned.

It's not sinful or inconvenient for Christians to go back to avoiding blood sausage you know.

William Weedon said...

That herring is so red I can't believe it. The SYMBOLS assert that we do NOT have to make distinction of meats - that this is a tradition which we do NOT keep.

Larry Luder said...

I always thought the chief part of the Divine Service. So what the heck is Excursus: Use of the Divine Service without Holy Communion? Thanks be to God that our parish offer the Eucharist at each and every Service. Why would any bother gathering on Sunday without the Eucharist? I may be lacking the wisdom from above when I say it plausible that a rebellious parishioner would abstain from holy communion but the parish not offering the Eucharist is seemingly denying Christ to the faithful. Any thoughts on this?

Larry Luder said...

Meant to say I always thought the chief part of the Divine Service was communion.

Rev. David M. Juhl said...

Bad winkel today, eh?

Seriously, our seminaries should not let a man be certified for placement in the Preaching Office without reading Walther's brilliant essay already mentioned. Perhaps this could be part of the Koinonia project among pastors and teachers. If there are those who don't know why they confess what they confess, and they didn't learn either at seminary or while being trained as a day school teacher, then these brethren should receive some help out of Christian love and concern.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

I think that perhaps instead of saying that the confessions describe what must be, they describe what should be. We do not approach theology from an abstract, but we have inherited practices.

I confess the AC. I agree that the Mass should be retained and celebrated every Lord's day. Currently, at my parish, due it it's history, it isn't.

This accident of history does not mean that I pick and choose from the confessions. However, if I were to say that there is no point to having communion every Lord's Day, that is something else entirely.

To make the confession your confession is to say it is what you believe, teach, and confess, even if realities of life in a fallen world hinder or prevent some of the things.

William Weedon said...

Very well said, Pr. Brown.

William Weedon said...

P.S. Pr. Juhl, no Winkel today...

Anonymous said...

It's not a red herring.

The apostles instituted and preserved human practices and traditions for proper purposes: to avoid offense and so that the Gospel prevails over pointless controversies. These are stated in Scripture.

The reformers instituted and preserved human practices and traditions for proper purposes: to avoid offense and so that the Gospel prevails over pointless controversies. These are stated in the Confessions.

So we have two sets of practices and traditions instituted and retained for proper purposes. I want to know what obligation I have with regard to these practices and traditions.

You claim quia subscription means the traditions of the reformers must be repristinated exactly, or at least aspired to, and we can abandon all apostolic traditions that the reformers abandoned.

Did I get that right? If so, the argument makes no scriptural or confessional sense.

Why can the traditions and practices of the apostles be abandoned even though they are not inconvenient or promoting of sin? Why are the reformers' traditions and practices privileged and must be aspired to forever into the future? Is it sin to abandon those practices retained by the reformers if it causes no offense to weak Christians? I don't know how you answer these questions.

My view is simply that the the confessions teach our doctrine concerning tradition and practices, and when the confessions describe traditions and practices, they are subject to the confessions' doctrine regarding traditions and practices.

That doctrine needs a book, but lots of clear precepts contradict the argument that we must retain and aspire to those traditions and ceremonies retained by the reformers: (1) human traditions and ceremonies need not be everywhere alike (2) observance of human traditions cannot merit grace so we must not think such observances necessary acts of worship (3)we condemn teaching practices and traditions as though such works were a necessary because they burden consciences and place true faith in peril (4) it is not sinful to abandon traditions and practices if it causes no offense (5)the church has no authority to make traditions and practices necessary as though required by Scripture (6) it is helpful that traditions be occasionally abandoned "that men might have an example of Christian liberty" and might know that the keeping of traditions and practices are not necessary to merit grace (7) traditions and practices may be retained as necessary for peace and tranquility to permit pointless controversies to overcome the clear teaching of the Gospel (8) observance of traditions and practices must always be clearly distinguished from true worship of God, ie, mere observance merits nothing (9) good practices and traditions should be abandoned if necessary to avoid confusion or mistake that such practices or traditions are necessary to merit grace (10) those with authority in church at "every place and every time" may change or abandon traditions and practices to better profess the Gospel.



Bz

Pastor Peters said...

Pr Curtis, In order to have canon law, you have to have a church. The LCMS is congregational in structure and congregationalist in practice. Since congregation is the only church there is, there can be no canon law.

When the Confessions say "We do... keep... observe..." they are not merely descriptive. They had no conception of something other than this. It was not even possible much less permissible. Our current circumstances in Missouri and wider Lutheranism present perspectives which were foreign and alien to the framers of the Confessions.

Finally, we have got to stop doing theology from the point of view of the exception. Whether one survivor of a ship wreck may ordain the other and would it be valid...or whether a lone ship wreck survivor may baptize himself, and presuming he had bread and wine, commune himself, is ridiculous. Yet so often such extremes become the very premise that is used to break, flaunt, or bypass accepted belief and practice.

Do the Confessions mean what they say or not. Do we mean what we say when we confess them.

Paul said...

Thank you Pastors Weedon and Peters for your most illuminating comments. As a brother on BJS noted, we are but "Congregations of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession". There certainly are no 100% money back guarantees in this life, even given bishops with(or without) apostolic succession. The whole quia/quatenus debate attempts to answer a prior question: what is the tie that binds? We certainly don't agree on the answer to that! Try to discipline a congregation or pastor in such an association as ours and they might simply leave. Instead of bishops, we have the Commission on Constitutional Matters. Bring on the "koinonia project" asap.

Jim Huffman said...

Pastor Peters -- very good point, as to "exceptions." I think this is a pattern in the MS that keeps continuing to cause problems, of setting church practice by way of exceptions, or emergency situations. Technically, no one in the LCMS is in an emergency situation, and should not operate as though they were.

Secondly (slightly off topic): is there a hierarchy within the BOC? In other words, specifically, does everything flow from the Nicene creed, and derive from that?

Anonymous said...

Pr. W et al,
Were the confessors themselves unconfessional when it came to ordination? Did they not say that they desired to retain episcopal ordination but no bishop was willing to ordain any of their priests? Yet I think I recall Dr. Tighe pointing out that there were bishops available to ordain but Luther chose not to go that route. Did he not thumb his nose at the received tradition?

Also, the tradition of the invocation of the saints, praying to them for their prayers...Wasn't a lack of support for it in the Scriptures a driving reason for the reformers to forbid its practice? How is its support unlike Luther's defense of infant baptism?
Thanks!
Dan

William Weedon said...

Yes, Dr. Tighe has shown that in the case of Luther personally; but Luther personally is not, of course, the whole of the Lutheran Church. I do not impute to the princes (or Melanchthon) duplicity about this. In line with the Augustana and Apology, for example, we have the Swedish council in Uppsala in 1593 confessing: "At first there was not the distinction which now exists between Bishops and ordinary Priests; but Bishop and Priest were both one and the same office, as may be well observed in many places in the writings of St Paul. Nevertheless is was not long before the distinction was made, so that those who had the care of only one Congregation retained the name of Priests, while those who were given authority over several Congregations with their Pastors and Priests took the name of Bishops. [After a reference to St Jerome that dissension and variance arose:] But to check and control such a lamentable state of things, these distressed Congregations with their Bishops and Pastors agreed that one Bishop among them should be chosen to have oversight over all the others with authority to ordain and govern both with the Priests and their Congregations, so that things might proceed in a better and more harmonious manner. … Therefore, since this ordinance was very convenient and without doubt proceeded from God the Holy Spirit (who giveth all good gifts), so it was generally approved and accepted over the whole of Christendom, and hath since so remained, and must remain in the future, so long as this world standeth; although the abuse, which hath been very great in this as in all other useful and necessary things, must be put away."

I believe the Reformers would all argue - to a man - that the matter of invocation of the saints (as they knew and experienced the practice) was in fact forbidden in the Sacred Scriptures. See Rhegius' little volume where he deals with this, tying together the invocation with pleading the merits of the saints (think of the Roman canon). So for the Reformers and their heirs, this is a different category from the matter of the Baptism of infants, which Luther held Scripture did not clearly command, but also did not in any way forbid.

William Weedon said...

P.S. Fr. Daniel (and any other Orthodox or Roman Catholic visitors), I do ask, though, that you please not derail a discussion that I wish to foster among fellow Augsburg Confessors. You are welcome to post, but I do not want to get into the whole why you think Lutherans should become Catholic or Orthodox or whatever, if you know what I mean, and how we're being terribly blind not see it, etc. Thanks in advance!

William Weedon said...

Boaz,

Because I confess the Symbols as my own, what in your list do you think I'd disagree with?

I'm referring specifically to this:

(1) human traditions and ceremonies need not be everywhere alike (2) observance of human traditions cannot merit grace so we must not think such observances necessary acts of worship (3)we condemn teaching practices and traditions as though such works were a necessary because they burden consciences and place true faith in peril (4) it is not sinful to abandon traditions and practices if it causes no offense (5)the church has no authority to make traditions and practices necessary as though required by Scripture (6) it is helpful that traditions be occasionally abandoned "that men might have an example of Christian liberty" and might know that the keeping of traditions and practices are not necessary to merit grace (7) traditions and practices may be retained as necessary for peace and tranquility to permit pointless controversies to overcome the clear teaching of the Gospel (8) observance of traditions and practices must always be clearly distinguished from true worship of God, ie, mere observance merits nothing (9) good practices and traditions should be abandoned if necessary to avoid confusion or mistake that such practices or traditions are necessary to merit grace (10) those with authority in church at "every place and every time" may change or abandon traditions and practices to better profess the Gospel.

What on earth would ANY Lutheran say to that but "Amen?" But I take it you would not say a similar "amen" to the citations I provided from the Symbols about cheerfully keeping the old traditions, etc.? Or have I misunderstood you?

Anonymous said...

(as they knew and experienced the practice (i.e., the invocation of saints)
Is there another way to know and experience the practice that is evangelical?

William Weedon said...

Jimbo asks a very interesting question about whether there is a hierarchy within the BOC. I'd argue that indeed there is, and that after the Creeds, which reign supreme, the AC has pride of place, and this pride of place is vouchsafed it even in the very last Symbol to be adopted:

"First, then, are the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures of the Old and New Testament..."

"Therefore, we confess, in second place, the three Ecumenical Creeds...."

"In the third place... we also confess the first, unaltered Augsburg Confession as our symbol for this time."

Similarly, fourth for Apology; fifth for SA; sixth for the Catechism; etc. See Formula, SD, Summary, Rule, and Norm.

William Weedon said...

P.S. I'd also note the distinction that Krauth makes rightly from the Symbols: the sole Rule is the Sacred Scriptures; the CONFESSIONS of that Rule make up the Symbols. In saying that the Creeds reign, I was referring specifically among the actual Symbols, certainly not suggesting that they are above the God-breathed Scriptures.

William Weedon said...

Is there an evangelical practice of invoking the saints? Not one that I've seen. I'd argue that what seems to start out piously and beautifully enough (think the great Litany of the Saints at the Easter Vigil), becomes something far from evangelical in actual practice. But folks, again, let's not side-track the discussion of whether quatenus/quia is helpful and doing the job inside of the Lutheran Confession, with a discussion BETWEEN Confessions. It has its time and place. Not here.

mqll said...

What is interesting about the discussion is that it is given in terms of *binding*.

That is to say, what we are talking about here is not a matter of emphasizing the freedom that we have in Christ to act in a way that is the best that we think it to be -- Love God and do as you like -- but rather, we want to bind others so and say "You must do this!"

So, my friend, Fr Curtis, has that the problem of the LCMS is that we were free and the experiment didn't work. Now we need the law to keep all in line.

The whole point of the reformation was the rediscovery of the Gospel. I'm amazed that what we would refuse to allow happen in the life of our parishioners ("This Gospel freedom is a failed experiment; our congregation members don't give, don't come to church, they do what they please. We need to give them law!") we clamor to bring to the life of our church.

But I wonder if the Confessions really did want this kind of freedom. I wonder if the Confessions really don't mean to say "You must have communion every Sunday to be a Lutheran!" I wonder if they really do say "Do as you think is best for the people of God."

I wonder if the confessions really do mean to say "You are free; love God, so as you like."

And do not mean to say "Read us as a rule book."

Note: this is different from saying the confessions think that what we *believe* is open and best. The confessions do not say "Love God. Or Zoraster. And do what you like."

But maybe there is greater freedom there than we just want to admit. Going to the law is attractive when we want to control others; to manipulate others. And don't get me wrong, I dip that spoon as well.

But maybe quia is not really meant to be a chain. Maybe it IS meant to be a key.

William Weedon said...

Many years ago, I presented on the topic of what our Symbols require of us in the matter of worship. I was assigned the topic. I began by noting the question was backwards and wrong. I proposed that it should read:

How might what the Lutheran Symbols confess in regards to matters liturgical guide us into greater rejoicing in the gifts of Christ for His bride, the Church?

I also wrote (and said):

Thus when the Lutheran Confessions state that the Mass is observed among us every Sunday and holy day, they are not making a legal pronouncement, but stating the joyful fact that the gift of Christ's body and blood as an individual seal of forgiveness of sins is available to the people on a weekly basis for their upbuilding in faith and love. When the Lutheran Confessions state that private absolution is not to be allowed to fall into disuse, that is NOT to satisfy some legal requirement that everyone must go to confession. Rather, it is because the joy of the gift of forgiveness in this personal form dare never be denied those among the people of God who wish to use it. When the Confessions state that our churches maintain the pericopes and the use of vestments and so on, it is not because we have it, but because we recognize in the wisdom of our fathers from whom we receive such gifts a usefulness and dignity becoming the service of the Gospel.

If you are hearing my words in contradiction of what I wrote above, you are not hearing me correctly.

William Weedon said...

And to quote a certain someone, it just MIGHT BE that the freedom with which we are concerned in the Christian faith is the freedom from death and sin which alone can enable us to love one another and not the "freedom" to devise new texts!!!

Jim Huffman said...

Of course, speaking of the Apostles, Nicene and Athanasian as "ecumenical" is something of a misnomer, though common enough in usage. The only one ecumenically received is the Nicene.

William Weedon said...

Correct - but I was using the designation the Symbols gave them (THEY thought of them as the shared heritage of the West - the East wasn't so much on the radar screen).

George said...

And of course there's the distinction of having someone bind you as opposed to voluntarily binding yourself to something. If I remember rightly from my ordination, nobody had a gun in my back forcing me to accept the Sacred Scriptures & the Confessions of the church as my own & forcing me to conform my instruction & practice to them. I think I did it freely. I could've chosen to not go through with it. But now that I did take that vow, I am bound by it.

Anyway, let's see who all here took a quia or quatenus confession of their wedding vows? Anybody?

And whether Brother Mark's reasoning regarding the Confessions would be acceptable if applied to wedding vows?

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

Following up on George, some of this discussion and dissagement flows from disagreement as to what you are binding yourself to when you make the confessions your own.

One might very well have a quia subscription, but then be told by another, "Ah, if you are following the confessions, you must _____" or "you ought then do ______." We can take what we derive from the Confessions as being proper and then fault someone for not having the same derivations as we do. I don't know if that is so much about subscription to the Confessions, always, as it is about how they are applied.

It is one thing to say, "In this point the Confessions are false." It's another thing entirely to say, "Um, what you say I must believe or do isn't in the confessions."

So, Pastor Weedon, is what I bring up here a different topic, a parallel topic, or an intertwined topic to your initial question?

William Weedon said...

Pr. Brown,

I'm not into derivatives from the Symbols; they say what they say; they don't address what they don't address. We must be very honest when we argue that we're moving in a trajectory on which they send us, but that the specific is not in them.

mqll said...

I dunno Will...it walks & quacks like a duck.

When you say "You must do this" you can't turn around and say "This is not a command-- it is a wondrous blessing!"

If a person doesn't do it--because maybe he doesn't see the blessing or maybe he just wants some other blessings--you can't tap him on the shoulder and say "You are not getting the right blessing" and pretend as though that is not throwing a chain on.

I mean, maybe I'm wrong...but Heath sure read your writings as such. Is he wrong too?

George

Eric says it better than I could. But I never confessed to the Confessions with the understandings that are passed on now.

George said...

Eric & Mark,

Certainly you have a valid point. It only goes so far though. Sure, the Confessions don't address every single point that could ever possibly come up. But that still doesn't give carte blanche to any practice you want to do while saying, Hey, the Confessions don't explicitly forbid it.

Timothy C. Schenks said...

Why do many of you believe the exact opposite of what Dr. Preus said about Walther?

http://user.txcyber.com/~wd5iqr/tcl/conf_sub.htm

Pr. Lehmann said...

Walther himself said that the perpetual virginity of Mary was part of his confessional subscription.

I dearly love Preus, but I think we should listen to Walther about what Walther thinks before we listen to Preus about what Walther thinks.