Polite Polity

Meanwhile, in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, this.


8 Responses to “Polite Polity”

  1. ruth b. Says:

    Leave a Comment…. Yes!! I do have a comment to leave. What is wrong about having a discussion about the role of women in lcms? How about a conversation explaining the practical, social, emotional status of men only in certain positions in the church? I did a tiny bit of research in St. Louis Post Dispatch files of older stories…. I think a conversation, a discussion would be a wonderful way to share lcms with a broad community.

    • mrpaulnelson Says:

      That’s the difficulty I have – how are such conversations to be had within the Church faithfully and in love for one another as well as in respect of Church doctrine?

      The article is confusing – Dr. Becker is ordained but it doesn’t indicate that he is fulfilling a pastoral role, but rather that he is a university professor. I tend to think that the university is a place where these conversations can and should happen. What I’m less confident about is how loudly such discussions should be broadcast beyond the classroom.

      I would also be very interested to learn how it is that Dr. Becker was cleared in previous investigations. Finally, I would think that this would be a chilling move for our Concordia systems, if LCMS professors recognize that they could be summarily defrocked for the questions they ask.

      It’s difficulty to maintain fidelity to one’s ordination vows while maintaining a position contrary to the one of the ordaining body. I’d be curious how Dr. Becker worded himself when raising these questions.

      Lots o’ questions, to be sure!

  2. Doug Vossler Says:

    If you’ve followed this case, you will readily see that there were multiple discussions over many years that took place prior to Dr. Becker’s resignation. The question in my mind is how long this conversation period (and use of the synod “political” process to extend it!) should have lasted after discussions with Dr. Becker made it clear that his positions on scripture and creation were at odds with the doctrinal position of the LCMS. I have no issue with a professor at a college having these conversations in an academic setting, but not as an ordained pastor in a church body which clearly teaches and professes differently. While I consider it unlikely, my hope is that Dr. Becker rethinks and changes his beliefs in these areas. Nevertheless, Dr. Becker is still able to teach at Valpraiso University where his views are not constrained and now plans to join the ELCA – a church body which more readily accepts what he believes.

    While the secular world disagrees with the LCMS view on women’s roles in the church, our belief and practice must be grounded in and guided by God’s word. Although it might be difficult, I agree a discussion in a broader setting would be beneficial as churches struggle with this topic. There is certainly much divergence in practice in the LCMS which unfortunately sends a very inconsistent message to those inside and outside the synod.

    • mrpaulnelson Says:

      Thanks Doug. I am aware that this has been an ongoing process, but I’m not aware of any of the particulars beyond the fact that he has now been “defrocked” from the LCMS. I would feel more comfortable about this reality if, in addition to the publicity about his dismissal, there was information about why the Synodical President did so despite Becker’s apparently being cleared by the appropriate investigative mechanisms. I presume the answer to that question is that our President feels that those mechanisms failed somehow, and I would be interested to know the details of that. I would also be interested to know if there will be a move to modify those mechanisms, and how.

      However, I don’t expect I will be made privy to those details. Which means I have only one half of the details necessary to know how I should feel about this situation, which is unfortunate on a variety of levels.

  3. Ruth b. Says:

    When I was a child, in the 1950’s, I attended LCMS parochial school. Women were not allowed to hold a “called” position. Women could not vote in congregational meetings. And definitely women did not read from the lectern during service. So something changed between then and now. A discussion / conversation about how and why those changes occurred might be helpful… I want to understand. Understanding can bring acceptance, at least for me….

    • mrpaulnelson Says:

      I suspect that the understanding is a complicated matter in and of itself, for people on both sides of the issue. Then again, life in general in our country in the last 60 years has been complicated, to say the least, with explanations on all fronts more lacking than not.

      I look forward to a time in eternity when questions are answered – at least some of them. When I have a clearer understanding of our Lord’s Word and how to apply it, and when I am aware once and finally of the many ways I erred in applying it. I hope that for people on all sides of this and other issues, that said moment of realization of the Law will be quickly ministered to with the blessing of the Gospel, so that we will be able to celebrate eternity with understanding, acceptance, and most importantly of all, true love for our neighbor and our God!

  4. Ruth b. Says:

    An addendum … Lest I give a wrong impression. I don’t alwways need explanation in order for there to be acceptance…. In matters of faith, gospel, salvation, and all matters of the soul, acceptance is there by by faith. Grace…Faith.

    • mrpaulnelson Says:

      Yes…agreed. Explanation is nice but even the best explanations fall flat or turn up inadequate at one point or another. I am grateful for the Great Physician who heals not just the wounds inflicted on me by others, but all the wounds I inflict on others either intentionally or accidentally!

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