29 January 2014

Redeemer Free Conference Video

I heard today that Redeemer has posted the presentation I gave to their free conference titled: Why Remain Lutheran? It's All About Conscience.

I confess that it was one of the most emotionally difficult presentations I've ever delivered and was very personal. I offer the links below for those who would like to see it:

Presentation Part One

Presentation Part Two

This is not offered here to open up old wounds, to stir some debate between fellow Christians. It is offered to explain why I remain a Lutheran Christian and find that of value. I'd kindly ask that there simply be no debate in any comments that are made. Any comment attempting such will simply be deleted.


Trent Demarest said...

Dear Pastor Weedon,

This is simply wonderful. Can I get a copy of your patristic quotations on penal substitution? Those are golden.

Trent Demarest said...

I just now saw that you linked to Fr. Curtis's piece on my blog yesterday -- that explains my exorbitant hit count! I'm so glad you were able to publicize that paper further as it really is quite wonderful.

Your comments regarding Eastern Orthodoxy resonated with me quite a bit; I came close (at least it seemed close to me at the time) to swimming the Bosporus when I was a senior in college. Since that time I have been blessed to receive teaching from devout Lutheran pastors such as yourself who have reckoned with the temptation to go East, yet been stayed by a mighty hand. To a man, I think each would say that he is better for it. As wonderful a heritage as it is that we do truly share with the Christian East, the chasm that divides us is vast beyond telling.

I'm sure you know that your name has been taken in vain over in the comments of the blog of one Subdeacon Benjamin Harju, a former Lutheran pastor who went East. In any event, my cousin and I were attempting to engage in dialogue with Subdeacon Harju and his coreligionists last May and June on precisely the topic you touched on in your talk: who is reconciled to whom in the Atonement? Unfortunately, the conversation soured and Harju pulled the plug on the thread. Nonetheless, I was not done thinking about it. I continued to have discussions with friends and pastors about it ever since. One friend of mine -- currently a seminarian at CTSFW -- provided me with a rather lengthy response. I've linked to it here. I was wondering if you wouldn't mind perusing it.

And here are my own halfwit sophomoric thoughts from a few years ago on why I decided not to go East.

Lastly, I'm sure you don't remember, but I met you at Immanuel Church in Alexandria, VA (Pr. Esget's parish), last...spring I think it was? Not sure. Anyway, It was an honor. I really appreciate the work you do for our Synod. The LCMS may be just the "prettiest dwarf" of American Lutheranism, but emendations such as yours remind us all that she is an icon of the Bride of Christ, nonetheless. Thank you for your faithfulness. It inspiring in the true sense of the word.

William Weedon said...

Trent, thanks for kind words. I do indeed remember meeting you. Didn't we sit right behind you that day? You can find the quotes here: http://www.redeemer-fortwayne.org/news/patristic-passages-download

Trent Demarest said...

Thanks for the link. Yes, you and your family were sitting behind me and a friend of mine. We came and introduced ourselves after the service. Glad to know that you remember! I probably mentioned it then, but the work you do with the Church Fathers is especially appreciated by many of us who at one time or another have desperately needed to see the catholicity of Lutheranism established. And that is exactly what you have helped us see by standing in the tradition of Martin Chemnitz. It's not enough to say "Scripture says," of course, but rather, "This is what our fathers in the faith have said that Scripture says -- we are not alone." Indeed, it is no mere play on words to say that the problem with Roman Catholicism was that it was not (and is not) consistent with the genuinely catholic tradition of the Church. Rome is not Catholic enough! It is my firm belief that in this day when so many jaded evangelicals are bolting towards Rome and the East, the Lutheran Church must be the "catcher in the rye." It might not be a glamorous role, but If we're honest with ourselves, we know that subtlety has always suited us well. In the words of a friend, "Lutherans are like Hobbits." 'Nuff said.

William Weedon said...

I love it. Lutherans are like Hobbits is exactly right. :)

I've often wondered exactly what Tolkien might have been hinting at in his his varying descriptions of Rivendell vs. Lorien:

In Rivendell there was the memory of ancient things; in Lórien the ancient things still lived on in the waking world.

There are folks who would opine that it's Anglicanism vs. Rome. To me, its actually a bit the other way round. For in the Lutheran Churches there lives on in this waking world that Gospel which delighted the fathers, inspired the glorious liturgies of antiquity, and moved the people of God to vigorous witness. Sadly, in Rome (and the East), there is the preservation of the memory, but not the thing itself still living on in the waking world. Tolkien would be horrified that I'd think so, but so it seems to this Hobbit (who is no adventerous Took and despises being away from the shire).

William Weedon said...

P.S. That was sort of a riff on Elert's "evangelische Ansatz."

Trent Demarest said...

I've heard that Pseudo-Dionysius is really far more influential in modern Orthodoxy than any of the great Eastern Fathers such as Chrysostom, the Cappadocians, etc.

William Weedon said...

I'm not sure I'd put it so. Clearly the Plotinus that filtered through him was influential. Heath Curtis finally directed me to read him, and it was a bit of an aha. But both Chrysostom and the Cappadocians remain hugely influential, but the Orthodox emphasize different things in their writings than we do. Everyone (and I mean everyone) does a "pick and choose" job among the fathers, and that's to be expected. None of us believe that they were inspired. But we know that they were holy and we listen to them respectfully, even when we end up disagreeing with them (which, as Chemnitz rightly points out, THEY free us to do whenever they put forth an opinion that is not established out of the Sacred Scriptures).

Kathy Vinton said...

I loved these videos! I am a rural ranch wife who joined the LC-MS about two years ago. I have read Christian books and theology for decades. We live very isolated (church is 33 miles away), so books have been a lifeline for me. Now I try to read Lutheran writers, but have no direction. (I have some of Forde's writings--I noticed you did not think he was a good one to read.). Could you suggest the best books I could read to ground me in my new faith? I have an inner-ear issue and have not been able to attend church for nearly two years. I could really use some help to stay strong!

William Weedon said...

Hi, Kathy! Oh, so many to choose from.

Two I mentioned in the presentation:

Giertz' *Hammer of God*
Kleinig's *Grace Upon Grace* (I reread that a lot - very good, very deep)
Walther's *God Grant It!*
for daily prayers: *Treasury of Daily Prayer* (also available as a downloadable app: PrayNow)
Giertz' *To Live With Christ*

Very deep and very 19th century, but outstanding, is Krauth's *Conservative Reformation.*

Excellent over all: Sasse's *We Confess* series.

AND of course, the Reader's Edition *Book of Concord*.

Hope that helps!

Kathy Vinton said...

Thank you,

William Weedon said...

You're welcome!

Anonymous said...

Thank you pastor Weedon for the lectures. Just a few questions. Where is Anselm's understanding of the atonement taught in Holy Scripture or 555:5 LSB? Do you have any further suggestions of read? Books or articles? And secondly, in the East, who is the ransom paid to? According to St. Gregory the Theologian the ransom was not paid to the 'evil one' or to the Father (St. Gregory the Theologian, Second Oration on Pascha, chapter 22)

Anonymous said...

Thank you Pastor Weedon for your insightful presentation. You are a blessing to the church - and not just the Lutheran church.

I still am attracted to the Orthodox church. I love its beauty and reverence. But your presentation does make one ponder certain issues.

For those who love the study of theology and denominational differences, I'd love to see a cordial discussion between you and your Orthodox equivalent on the similarities and differences in the two churches. It would be fascinating.


William Weedon said...

Dear Anon, on Scripture, it is most striking what our Lord Himself teaches. He speaks of the cup HIS FATHER gives Him to drink; He quotes, and yet alters, Zechariah so that it is Yahweh who says He will strike the Shepherd and the sheep will be scattered, speak of His passion. Of course in Isaiah 53, we are told that it PLEASED THE LORD to crush/bruise Him and that the Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all. In 2 Corinthians 5, St. Paul teaches that He was "made sin" for us. In Gal. 3 that He became a curse for us.

On the question of to whom the ransom is offered, it is a question that I think the East likes to leave unanswered, recognizing that like all metaphors it has a point at which it breaks down. Yet, do note that Palamas speaks of "reconciling the Father."

William Weedon said...

Oh, one other thought. What does it mean that St. John in the First Epistle says that if anyone does sin, we have an advocate *with the Father*, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the Propitiation for our sins and not ours only but also for the sins of the whole world?

Anonymous said...

Father Weedon, Thank you for the video presentation. Do Lutherans include the filoque in the Nicene Creed? If so on what grounds historically, and exegetically? The filioque could never be included in the East since it was never included at an ecumenical council (Toledo, Spain through to the West is hardly ecumenical). And Holy Scripture teaches that the Spirit proceeds from the Father alone, SENT by the Son and in His Name (John 14:26,15:26, 16:7 [20:22]). Moreover, the Spirit does not send Himself, so why the double procession?

Trent Demarest said...

Hello James,

I'm going to be presumptuous and offer an answer to your question, even though it was addressed to Fr. Weedon.

If you're considering Eastern Orthodoxy, then I'm sure you're already somewhat familiar with the nature of the separation between East and West. In some sense we Lutherans don't make that much noise about the Great Schism of 1054 -- yes, we are historically a church of Western Christendom (we would say the true Church of Western Christendom), but we are not terribly enamored of either side's actions in the events immediately proximate to the schism, i.e., papal versus imperial pretensions, mutual excommunications hurled in the white-hot heat of pride, etc., etc. As Fr. Weedon has ably shown, however, we are in some ways nearer to today's Eastern churches than we are to Rome (I myself wonder if the Copts are actually our long lost cousins, but I might be alone in this, and I don't want to push my luck). At the end of the day, though, we're happy being ourselves.

So, yes, we confess the Filioque when we say the Nicene Creed. This is what was traditioned to us in the West, and we don't find the East's objections to its inclusion compelling. This article gets a little papist in places, but it is nonetheless a good summary defense of this practice in the West.

I don't know if that's really the sort of thing you're looking for. Frankly, the whole Filioque matter is absurdly complex to explain, which is why I won't attempt to do so, having neither the time nor the theological training to do so. It is, however, also somewhat simple at the very same time, as Bishop Kallistos Ware himself concedes:

"The Filioque controversy which has separated us for so many centuries is more than a mere technicality, but it is not insoluble. Qualifying the firm position taken when I wrote The Orthodox Church twenty years ago, I now believe, after further study, that the problem is more in the area of semantics than in any basic doctrinal differences." (Bishop Kallistos Ware, Diakonia, quoted from Elias Zoghby's A Voice from the Byzantine East, p.43)

Also, if you're interested in reading a Lutheran response to some of the main Eastern criticisms of our soteriology, I recommend checking out this piece by a Lutheran seminarian W√ľnderkind friend of mine, the same one I linked to in my first comment.

Glad to know that Fr. Weedon's presentation has given occasion for thought to so many others. God bless.

Under the +Mercy


William Weedon said...

Thanks, Trent. There is no way that we'd be able to cover the matter of filioque in a blog post.

I will note that I had a friend who used to be an Orthodox priest and he hammered home the importance of filioque. I can't help but think it was more important for him polemically than in point of fact, for now he is a Byzantine rite priest, and so in fellowship with the vast majority of Christians who confess filioque.

Trent Demarest said...

Would you mind fielding a question for me "off the record," Fr. Weedon? If you could shoot me an email, I would appreciate it. First name last name at gmail dot com; lowercase, no periods.

RomGabe said...

Thank you for the presentation and the links to the 2014 Redeemer Conference. You should seriously consider of making similar presentations on Eastern Orthodoxy vis-a-vis Lutheran confessions. Simply superb. You put words to the feelings, intuitions, and thoughts I had studying EO theology while at the same time discovering the Book of Concord. I grew up Roumanian Baptist then at 19 met a JW girl and became a Witness then realized it was a man-made club/religion and became Agnostic. While reading CHurch History (my favorite subject) I realized that if I was to choose a church for worship and grow in my knowledge of my Creator, I had to pick a Liturgical, Creedal, Sacramental church. EO and confessional Lutheran were the only options left (RCC looses out with their medieval and modernity innovations added to the Faith). It has been a great struggle, but I could not reconcile the BOC with the various mystical teachings of Constantinople and never swam the Bosphorous.

Thank you for your witness to the strenght of having a Bible-based confession (BOC) and to the enduring evangelical & lutheran witness of the Church Fathers. Thanks for The "Lutheran" Solas in the Fathers of the Church collection of quotes. Solus Christus, Gabriel from Denmark