Monday, January 11, 2010

What Shall We Teach?

My church, an ELCA congregation, is being asked to vote to join the LCMC while remaining ELCA. There are two flaws to this possibility: theological and functional. The first drives the second.

Having been in Bible study with a considered group of Lutheran men for the past 7 years, and teaching the high school youth with an enthusiastic group of adults for that same period, I have come to differentiate matters of theology from those of faith when assessing, sometimes shaping, another person’s opinion. Even when discussing interpretation of the Bible, literal vs relational, there’s a way to do that and keep it nice, whether acknowledging both as valid views or moving on to broader shared points. Of which there are many!

Mark 10:15 (NIV)
“I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."

I take this to mean that we should all hold our faith dear, grow in it as best we can, but also remain in awe of God, aware that His intent may be beyond our current understanding. With that in mind I compare here the published LCMC & ELCA thinking on the Bible:

From the ELCA Website: “Dig Deeper/The Bible”

“Lutherans believe that people meet God in Scripture, where God’s heart, mind, relationship to - and intention for - humankind are revealed. Through an ongoing dialogue with the God revealed in the Bible, people in every age are called to a living faith.”

“The Bible’s authority rests in God”
“ELCA Lutherans confidently proclaim with all Christians that the authority of the Bible rests in God. We believe that God inspired the Bible’s many writers, editors and compilers. … At the same time, we also find in the Bible human emotion, testimony, opinion, cultural limitation and bias. ELCA Lutherans recognize that human testimony and writing are related to and often limited by culture, customs and worldview. … Because Biblical writers, editors and compilers were limited by their times and world views, even as we are, the Bible contains material wedded to those times and places. It also means that writers sometimes provide differing and even contradictory views of God’s word, ways and will.”

From the LCMC “Consider Your Options” Brochure:
“We reject the notion that science, personal experience, tradition, or other human endeavors have equal footing with the Bible. We are certainly aware that these endeavors contribute to our conversations and deliberations, but the Bible must be our final authority in matters of faith and practice.”…

…“Congregations have significant latitude in ordering and shaping ministry in their local setting, and we intentionally have made joining and leaving the association simple. We have also agreed to a disciplinary process for addressing congregations whose actions violate our agreed upon statements of faith and practice.”

I find conflicts in these two theologies, primarily that the LCMC places the Bible as the final authority (as per their rather strict interpretation witnessed by their representative in our sanctuary), while the ELCA says that the Bible’s authority rests in God (and is sensed in the reader’s relationship with God as found in Scripture). The unfortunate sum of this equation is that the ELCA inclusiveness allows for the LCMC thinking but the LCMC righteous certainty rejects without recourse the ELCA’s more open theology. It is an untenable situation.

So, I ask, what shall we teach?

For your further thinking, all quoted text from: and


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11/14/2017 1:34 AM  

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