New Entry in "Year of Grace"

I have just posted a new entry on my “Year of Grace” conversion retro-blog. It is a record of my experience at the 2000 LCA General Pastors Conference when they voted on the issue of Women’s Ordination. Ironically, the whole discussion and vote has just been repeated by this years Pastors Conference, with virtually the same result (see my blog on this below).

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2 Responses to New Entry in "Year of Grace"

  1. Alwaysyes says:

    Very interesting stuff David. I appreciate your Year of Grace posts very much! You wrote back then:

    Worse than ever, our pastorate is divided. More than ever it has shown that it is completely unable to discern the will of God, let alone able to direct the church in the application of his will.

    While I see your point, the Holy Spirit has clearly not led the pastors to pass WO. Because the vote is tight, it feels like the Holy Spirit only just chose to go that way, however this is not the case. There is a clear discernment of the will of God there – namely, no it’s not lawful to ordain women. That there is division beyond this is a reality of the Christian life.

    As for:

    [T]he teaching magisterium cannot be created by the church—it must be received by the church as a gift from the Lord.

    That may require a bit more thinking through on my behalf..

    Many thanks.


  2. Schütz says:

    Ok, let’s run with your argument, Tom.
    1) The LCA vote for WO didn’t succeed.
    2) Nothing happens without God’s willing it to happen.
    3) Therefore, it was God’s will that the vote for WO didn’t succeed.

    Or let’s try it another way:
    1) The Holy Spirit leads the Church into all truth;
    2) The vote, although close, means that Church is being led not to ordain women;
    3) The Holy Spirit led the LCA Pastor’s conference into the truth that women should not be ordained.

    Now, I reckon there are a number of problems with both these arguments.

    In the first argument, the premise that nothing happens without God willing it is flawed. Sometimes things happen that are against God’s will, but he allows it. This is especially the case in matters of the exercise of human free will.

    In the second argument, the fault is with that a promise made to the Church (that the Spirit will lead it into all truth) is applied to the institution known as the Lutheran Church of Australia.

    The fallacy here is obvious, although the truth is not so obvious.

    The obviously fallacy is that any ecclesiatical community can claim this promise as an imprimatur for its own decision making process. “Such and such was decided; Jesus promised that the Spirit would lead the Church into all truth; we are the Church; whatever doctrine we have embraced must be true.”

    So the Arians can claim that they were being led by the Spirit into all Truth. Or the Anabaptists. Or the Calvinists. Or the Anglicans (each and every party). Or the Lutheran Church of Australia. Or–for that matter–the Catholic Church.

    The question at issue is: is the institution in question the one to which the promise was made?

    So, the ELCA and the Church of England claim that women can be pastors and bishops. The Catholic Church and the LCA does not. Which community (or communities) is being led by the Spirit into all truth?

    As I said, the fallacy is obvious, the truth is not. But the answer lies in my other comment: The Church cannot create a magisterium, it must receive it as a gift from the Lord. This is a question of authority to teach, and such authority can only be given by the one who has it in order to be received and exercised by the ones who receive it. No one can “create” authority.

    Back in 2001, when I asked our Zone Pastor’s Conference where the LCA Synod got the authority to vote on a doctrine that the LCA itself at its inception declared to be “binding on all Christendom”, the only answer I received was that “Synod authorised Synod”. That, dear Tom, is not the way it works, and you know it.

    By the way, thanks for keeping us informed of what is going on in the LCA. Keep up the good work.

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