Sunday, August 30, 2009

At what point would a pro abortion stance automatically excommunicate us?

This is something which ranckles me a little bit. You see, the LC-MS and the RCC, as well as the EOC have strong positions against abortion--it is simply a sin, though I think the EOC and LC-MS will permit an abortion in the case of the mother's life being at risk--I am not sure abou tthe RCC.

Now, I am not aware of any prominent LC-MS politicians which hold to a pro abortion point of view, though if they exist the same critique would apply to them. And if there are some, I would hope they are not as radical as Nancy Pelosi, Rudolph Giuliani and the recently deceased Edward Kennedy. For that reason I will concentrate on those three prominent RC politicians.

Each one is committed to a "pro choice" view, which is defined as intrinsically evil by the RCC. (And I am not really picking on the RCC here, it is just that I am more familiar with their "pro choice" public figures). I am not sure about Giuliani, but both Pelosi and Kennedy are and were in favor of public funding of abortion, which means I have to pay for acts which I believe are intrinsically evil. So, given that, how does Nancy Pelosi get a papal audience, receive communion and otherwise get to go around and parade her RCism in public and yet maintain a firm commitment to an intrinsically evil act? Edward Kennedy did more or less the same, and received a full RC burial, and was for all appearances a member of the RCC in good standing. Giuliani was, to my knowledge, specifically instructed not to receive communion by the cardinal. But if that is not true, the same critique applies to him.

So, what gives? how can one publicly maintain support for an intrinsically evil act and remain in communion with the Church? I always though public, flagrant sin was a cause for excommunication. Perhaps I am missing something.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

ELCA off the cliff

When I heard the news, I wasn't surprised, and only a little disappointed. I mean, it is not like orthodoxy was flourishing before now. The trends have been clear for a long while. And anyone who cannot see that the Scriptures do not permit a homosexual lifestyle is doing theological sophistry. If you want to allow things the Scriptures forbid, don't say your doctrine is based on the Scriptures and admit you disagree.

What will be the effect? The ELCA has by this action proclaimed openly what many have said about her before, she is just another post-modern, culture affirming liberal Church. Less liberal than some, to be sure, but that will change over time. By being in fellowship with so many, how can she speak for American Lutheranism? What do they bring to the table which the UCC does not?

Of course, I hope and pray that the people and clergy in the ELCA "fix" this, but I don't think the problem is gay ministers, but that there is functionally no doctrinal authority except the hierarchy itself. In other words, there is a lot to fix.


This is really interesting if it pans out. It appears that a freak tornado went through Minneapolis during the events described above, and shredded some tents and knocked the cross off a church used by the convention when the vote was to be taken.

Symbolism abounds. :-)

Friday, August 21, 2009

The President says I am a sinner....

"President Obama sought Wednesday to reframe the health care debate as “a core ethical and moral obligation,” imploring a coalition of religious leaders to help promote the plan to lower costs and expand insurance coverage for all Americans."


I don't think my religion should determine my politics per se, but I find it offensive that the President of the United States would basically call me unethical because I don't think the government is an efficient, or I daresay, ethical distributor of health care resources for the nation. We are supposed to care for our neighbor, but the government taking resources from one and giving it to another does not make the one whose resources are taken more "ethical", nor does it make the one doing the taking more ethical. Government is force, and necessary, but it is not necessarily a force for ethoical good.

In fact, I think this kind of government moralizing and doctrinizing is what got the LCMS started. "All you fuddy-duddy Lutherans better get with the program and unite with your Reformed neighbors and stop hanging on to your narrow doctrines...."


It gets worse:

""We are God's partners in matters of life and death," Obama said, according to Moline (paging Sarah Palin...), quoting from the Rosh Hashanah prayer that says that in the holiday period, it is decided "who shall live and who shall die.""

I don't find this comforting at all, not one little bit.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

This made me think of pomo worship

When I saw this video, I immediately thought of "contemporary worship". I know that isn't totally fair, but that is what came to mind with all the "relevance" and "packaging" and being "easy to follow".


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

When the facts are on your side....

I see a pattern in how any critique of RCism is dealt with by RC apologists. Let's suppose I wave 1 Clement 32 under an apologist's nose:

"Whosoever will candidly consider each particular, will recognise the greatness of the gifts which were given by him. For from him have sprung the priests and all the Levites who minister at the altar of God. From him also [was descended] our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh. From him [arose] kings, princes, and rulers of the race of Judah. Nor are his other tribes in small glory, inasmuch as God had promised, "Your seed shall be as the stars of heaven." All these, therefore, were highly honoured, and made great, not for their own sake, or for their own works, or for the righteousness which they wrought, but through the operation of His will. And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."

Well now, that seems pretty straight forward--we are saved by faith and not works--even our godliness and works done in purity of heart. So, Clement seems to have taught something like justification by faith alone, which is a torpedo amidships for accusations of Luther's "innovation".

Well, no, if you ask an RC apologist.

You see, Clement is RC, so he must agree with the current position of the RCC.

I think this is besides the point.

If I argued that Trent said justification by faith alone is the true doctrine of justification, RC apologists would not bother with "The writers of Trent are RC, so an RC interpretation is the correct one", they would argue from the words of Trent themselves. And they would be right, and it would be trivial to show I am wrong since justification by faith alone is explicitly condemned.

What I am getting to is this, there is an old lawyer saw that goes something like this:

"When you have the facts on your side, argue the facts. When you have the law on your side, argue the law. When neither is on your side, change the subject and question the motives of the opposition."

I submit that when an apologist, be he RC, EO, Lutheran or whatever, argues from generalities to make what is written mean something quite different from what seems to be the natural sense of what is written, he tacitly admits he does not have the facts on his side. I think something like this is going on with this Clement quote--the RCs have tacitly admitted the facts are on not their side, so they change the subject to "If Clement is RC he agrees with us..." This is a common tactic in my experience.

I also think pope St. Clement did teach something very like justification by faith alone.