LTC Extra - Vacation Reverie: Aloha, y'all! All of us here at Lutheran (True!) Confessions are taking a short vacation, and we'll be back on or about Martin Luther's birthday.
Of course, while we're away, things keep happening, so here are some pointers to some interesting things:
ELCA Explained on YouTube: Pr. Erik Christensen sent us this link to a brief (7 minutes and 21 seconds) but comprehensive explanation of "ELCA Decisions". It's all here: from predecessor church bodies to two-thirds votes with detours through Book of Faith and Called and Gathered and Sent and more.
Pr. Sophie, who is known to be quite picky about this sort of thing, gives this video two thumbs up.
ELCA Explained in Sleepy Eye, MN: On the other hand, if you like your explanations in print, here's the word from Sleepy Eye, MN
I Would Rather Be Living in Philadelphia: Local Gay Pastors Welcome Lutheran Policy Change is the title of an article that appeared in the Philadelphia Gay News on October 22. The pastors interviewed for the article are Pr. Steve Keiser of Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion and Pr. Jay Wiesner of University Lutheran Church of the Incarnation. Both pastors are rostered with Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries.
Go to Church for Same-Sex Marriage: Everyone knows that on October 22 the General Synod of the Church of Sweden voted (176-62) to perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples. But did you know that you can go to church to support marriage equality in the U..S.?
Elections: The Lutheran World Federation elected Rev. Martin Junge of Chile to a seven-year term as General Secretary.
The Evangelical Church of Germany (EKD) elected Bishop Margot Käßmann, a Lutheran, to a six-year term as chairperson for the Protestant Church in Germany.
Are You Serious?: Speeches and photos from the September 25-26 Lutheran CORE Convocation in Indianapolis have been posted to the Lutheran CORE web site, and we're eagerly awaiting our DVD record of the proceedings.
On October 12, Rev. Dr. Stephen P. Bouman (pictured) who attended the convocation and who serves as Executive Director for Evangelical Outreach and Congregational Mission (EOCM) published an Open Letter to Lutheran CORE. Rev. Dr. Bouman's letter poses the question "Are you serious?" The letter reads in part:
I attended your conference in Indiana because my heart is with you and I honor and respect your significant place in the fabric of the flawed, beautiful tapestry which makes up the ELCA.
When one member of the body of Christ hurts, we all hurt. I was there to listen, to absorb with the heart as well as the head not only the pain but also the resolve to bear witness and plan for the future. It was a sobering experience....
I want to beseech Lutheran CORE to build your witness and your organization around truthful conversation, and not on caricatures of your church body or unfounded fear. We confess the truth, all of us in the ELCA, in the name of the One who is the way, the truth and the life.
So let me ask you about mission. Are you serious? In all of the speeches and conversation, mission was either not mentioned or mentioned as an afterthought, except when it came to the emotional response to mission pastors. In your year of discernment about whether to leave the ELCA, remain in the ELCA or disengage from the ELCA while remaining, will you be serious about mission?
... If you are serious about mission, God will find ways for us to continue to support the outreach God has given us in the midst of our communal agony, anger and even sense of betrayal. May the crucified and risen Christ hold us together in love and mutual respect and mission.
Augsburg Confession Not Foundational:
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Pr. Sophie is all a-Twitter. Again.
Pr. Sophie's Tweets:
Hot Dish Hotline: "We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." What have you seen or heard that other people really need to know about? Use the Hot Dish Hotline to submit your item online.
On September 28, the Commission for Theology (Kammer für Theologie) of the Evangelical Church of Germany (EKD) announced its decision that the Augsburg Confession should not be a foundational document of the EKD. The decision was accompanied by a 118-page "brochure" (EKD-Texte 103) which summarizes the issue under discussion and provides background information.
Because the Augsburg Confession is a foundational document for Lutheran churches, those who identify German Protestantism with Lutheranism were taken aback.
The EKD, however, is a federation of regional churches (Landeskirchen) that includes 9 Lutheran church bodies, 2 Calvinist church bodies and 11 united church bodies. Consequently, even though many of the EKD member churches are members of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), the EKD itself is not.
In deciding not to accept the foundational character of the Augsburg Confession, the EKD re-affirmed it's grounding in the Gospel and the historic Christian creeds:
Grundlage der Evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland ist das Evangelium von Jesus Christus, wie es uns in der Heiligen Schrift Alten und Neuen Testaments gegeben ist. Indem sie diese Grundlage anerkennt, bekennt sich die Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland zu dem Einen Herrn der einen heiligen allgemeinen und apostolischen Kirche. Gemeinsam mit der alten Kirche steht die Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland auf dem Boden der altkirchlichen Bekenntnisse.
Deep in the Heart of Texas: Lutheran CORE is not the only organization trying to re-structure American Lutheranism. In recent weeks, a group of Texas Lutherans have begun work to re-establish the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Texas (ELST), founded in 1851:
The Lutheran confessional movement in America is today presented with a remarkable opportunity for revitalization and growth. The Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Texas (ELST), originally founded in 1851 in Houston, is now being re-established to lead the renewal of American Lutheranism, by example.
Lutheranism in America, and in Texas, can become a growing, thriving movement again only if confessional Lutherans, not bound to the extremes of left or right, join together in a God-pleasing church which confesses the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in accordance with the historic doctrine and biblical teachings of the symbolic books of the Lutheran church. These doctrines not only preclude the ordination of practicing gays, but also command an open, loving church consumed by passion for the Gospel, and the care of all people and all creation. Some call such a church and people Lutheran traditionalists.
The ELST web site does not state which of traditional Lutheranism's historic doctrines precludes the ordination of practicing gays. In listing "additional statements of polity and theology", however, the ELST web site declares:
The Statement of Visions and Expectations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as in effect prior to its 2009 Assembly expresses the policy of this synod.
The first Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Texas was started by young pastors from Europe (six new graduates from St. Chrischona Theological Seminary in Basel were sent to Texas in 1851). In his brief history of the Lutheran movement in Texas, Bishop Mike Rinehart notes: These men were pietists who stressed evangelical fervor over theological sophistication.
In 1853 the First Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Texas merged with the General Synod. In 1867, the General Synod split and the Texas Synod affiliated with the General Council. In 1895, the Texas Synod left the General Council to become a district in the Iowa Synod. In 1930 the Iowa Synod merged with other synods to become the American Lutheran Church, which after more mergers became the American Lutheran Church, one of the predecessor church bodies of the ELCA.
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