8/24/2009

Lutheran and Episcopal decriers not the same.

What to call them? Lutherans and Episcopalians who feel the votes taken by their governing bodies are unscriptural, immoral, theologically unsound, and flying in the face of world Christian opinion, both present and past.

These are not necessarily people who on other levels would be called conservative, although many are.

They are not all lamenting the decisions. Some believe the votes make clear genuine riffs in the community and are honest, if wrong.

But they all decry the decisions. So, let's call them decriers. They make public statements crying out against the changes as wrong, immoral, etc and say the Church is broken. They are crying out against what they perceive as the darkness that has overcome the Church.

In recent days the question has been raised concerning possible union of the decriers. If ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America) decriers and TEC (The Episcopal Church) decriers are unhappy about the same sorts of decisions, and knowing that ECLA and TEC are in full communion, might the decriers find common voice and cause as well? Could the ELCA decriers, who have formed an organization CORE (Coalition for Reform) find common cause with the American Anglican Council and finally with the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)?

ACNA is having troubles holding itself together given differences within its component bodies concerning the ordination of women and the continued semi-autonomy of several of its subgroups. But more importantly it grew out of the ecclesial sensibility of rather high esteem of the episcopate. The bishop's council and the form of governance provided in ACNA's Constitution all point to the essential and core role of the episcopate.

I don't know the inner workings of CORE or of the ELCA from which its members came, but I am hard pressed to believe that ELCA decriers would be very comfortable with the ecclesial positions given bishops in the ACNA scheme.

Beyond that, of course, there is the reality that the American Anglican Council is a propaganda front for ACNA and is thus of no use to the ELCA decriers, and ACNA is settling in to be a modestly revised version of others on the long list of Anglican-like entities in North America. See "The Episcopal Church, a Question." for some on that list.

The decriers are not the same. Two groups that dislike the same sorts of decisions are not thereby joined, for their dislikes come from different places and have different ends.

On the other hand, keep a watchful eye, for there is always the opportunity for mischief. Two groups crying fire can cause a bit of a problem down there on the main floor.

6 comments:

  1. I think those who wish to leave the ELCA will find an easier home with LC-MS (Missouri Synod) or Wisconsin Synod that in some splinter Anglican group...

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  2.      There has to be a lot more than just "disliking" something to hold a faith community together.

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  3. Mark, "The Episcopal Church: A Question" is a very good presentation. Thanks for that.

    The "decriers" (TEC and ELCA) come up with similar lists of heresies and apostasies which appall them, but it's all nonsense, of course. They refuse to admit it, but it's really just about gay cooties.

    I agree that it is difficult to imagine the CORE group being very comfortable with the ACNA group. Poor folks, it's also difficult to imagine them being very comfortable in the Missouri Synod either, as Kurt suggests, and as for the Wisconsin Synod....

    Mark, I think you and I are about of an age, and we remember when we really did have heretics and apostates in The Episcopal Church (and I suppose we still do!). But by God's grace +Katharine and Jake and Tobias and you and I are not among them!

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  4. Mark,

    ELCA decriers and TEC decriers seem different indeed. Many ELCA decriers are really unhappy with the TEC/ELCA covenant. Some of them have some of the NeoCon tones to them, but not with the same virility to them that you find in Viagraville or T19. It feels more like the "Old Lutheran" or "Norwegian batchlor farmers" group rather than the young hot-eyed super Republicans that you find in TEC.

    I have found among the "black shirts" a catholicism with a capital C that I would never have thought. But with a fundegelical bent. It is a strange mix.

    But the ones that I encounter on list serves are more frustrated with how to continue the Lutheran line in the light of post-modern biblical scholarship. How do you proclaim Law and Gospel or Sola Scriptura in a post-modern world? And that is the conundrum that we all face.

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  5. Kurt, the problems that ELCA folks have with going to LCMS or Wis. Synod are women's ordination and open communion. Like ACNA.

    It is easier for a congregation to leave and go to another synod, because there are provisions for that in the canons. The bulding goes with the congregation.

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  6. Bob McCloskey28/8/09 11:28 AM

    Mark, I'm your vintage as well and our paths have crossed in those early days when I was ordained in Boston.On Thinking Anglicans I replied to a small matter on ELCA bishops in which I anticipated the eventual re-allignment of Christians not by denominational affiliations but by theological persuasions.
    I think we both know TEC and former TEC clergy who are far more compatible with Baptist or Pentecostal or RC counterparts than their own 'brand'. We won't be alive to see it, but I truly believe that the church of the future will be cross-denominational alignments unlike anything we can now imagine. One of my reasons for thinking so, is the vast impatience and lack of interest in the current denominational uniquenesses and 'issues' facing our denominations [e.g. the gay issue]. I run across this in premarital preparation, confirmation/reception preparation [which I think should be dropped NOW] and other interactions with the current generation, including my own kids. IMHO we are headed for a post-denominational world. Call it syncretism, betrayal of our heritages or what have you, the attitudes I encounter in the present generation reflect how much of the early church faced local and regional differences [much of which has yet to get a proper hearing].

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