Friday, June 29, 2012

The Next Conference of Intrepid Lutherans...

Commentary in Rev. Spencer's recent post, Ambivalent, seems to have gone in two directions; the first (naturally) is commentary regarding the topic of the post, the second (which is mostly my fault) is commentary responding to questions regarding the Next Conference of Intrepid Lutherans. So I am creating a post dedicated to soliciting comments from our readers regarding our next Conference, so as to avoid distracting from the important issues Rev. Spencer wanted discussed following his post. I'll start with my comments from his post:
    Mr. Douglas Lindee said (June 27, 2012 2:52 PM)...
      I'll also very emphatically add, regarding Conference attendance, that not only were we pleased with attendance, but that, given the number of signers we are privileged to have, given their disparate locations, and given the location of the Conference itself (in an area we were relatively certain would draw few supporters, but hopefully more of those opposed to our mission and message), our expectations were, in fact, vastly exceeded. We planned and budgeted for almost half the attendance we actually received, and were not confident as we planned that we would receive even that. Our Conference attendence thus turned out to be a great blessing to us, and a strong affirmation of our purpose.

      As for our attendees, I was more than gratified to learn that the nature of the issues we represent and the content of the presentations we offered were of sufficient weight to draw concerned Lutherans from all over the Midwest -- from Michigan to western Minnesota, to Iowa. It was quite a humbling experience to have been a part of it.

      It is clear to us, especially from the discussion among attendees during the Open Forums at the Conference, as well as during informal discussion with individuals throughout the Conference, that the issues we presented are recognized as substantive matters, and are of great concern to many. Thus, we are already in the very preliminary stages of planning our next Conference. We have discussed holding the next one further west than WELS NWD. We have also tossed around topics and a date.

      Do any of our readers have suggestions for location, date, and topics?

    Mr. Douglas Lindee said (June 29, 2012 9:21 AM)...
      Dutch, Christian, Lee, Perry, Daniel -- Thank you all for your suggestions! And keep them coming everybody! ...Here are a couple more questions:

      1. How long would you be willing to spend at such a conference? One day is not enough -- we know that now. Is two days enough? Is four days too much? And when during the week? I'm thinking a Thursday-Saturday conference, followed by the full Divine Service at the host church the following Sunday morning. This would mean Wednesday and Sunday are travel days for most folks. Probably doable for students and maybe pastors, not so much for regular folks with only two or three weeks vacation a year. I am assuming that summertime (with kids and teachers out of school) is the best time of year. What do you think?
      2. Would our readers be offended if we declared the IL conference a "Free Conference" so that we could invite confessional Lutheran speakers outside ELS and WELS? This could be done if we kept a DS, joint prayer, etc., off the agenda (while offering Matins/Vespers/DS as off-agenda opportunities for those desiring to attend). I ask since there are some topics, like Vocation for example (which should definitely go on the list of topics), for which I personally know of no competent speakers in WELS, much less competent speakers willing to appear at a conference hosted by Intrepid Lutherans. Potential speakers from the ELS may be a different story, but if not, then we may feel compelled to look outside WELS and ELS. If we want the best speakers on the topics we choose, we may have to go outside WELS. What do you think?
      3. Finally, I might as well ask this, too. For a multi-day conference, what would be the maximum you would be willing to pay, per day, assuming we also provide light breakfast, lunch and dinner?

So the questions we would like our readers to consider and answer for us can be summarized as follows:
  1. Time of year
  2. Duration of the Conference
  3. Location
  4. Topics of Interest
  5. "Free Conference" so that non-WELS/ELS speakers (experts in a particular topic) can be invited?
  6. Cost

Here are some responses we've had on these questions, so far:
    Christian Schulz said (June 27, 2012 3:52 PM)...
      Somewhere in Minnesota would be great, although that's just because I'm living there! But at the same time it would be nice to see if some MLC, Bethany, and Bethany seminary students could be recruited to come (that is, if the date were during the school year).

      As far as topics go, I would really be interested in talking about justification thoroughly. Also, the Divine Service would be another great topic. Rev. Berg's presentation was outstanding. For next year, with Rev. Berg's presentation as the bread and butter from last year's conference, it would be great if it was more zoomed in on dealing with sectarian worship vs. the historic Lutheran Liturgy. Maybe expand upon the bound will and why sectarian worship undermines it as well as a treatise of Ap IV, 49. Oh! Maybe another topic could be on the Office of the holy Ministry? Those are just some very candid thoughts of mine...

    Dutch Gray Stoeberl said (June 27, 2012 4:05 PM)...
      What do differently...well.., my better half's (attendee) suggestions were, a pre conference packet for attendees. That way they know or can equate themselves with terms, topics, & information not readily available or known to laity. Speakers, notes, not word for word reading, from packet or prepared speech. More time for discussion & communication, per topic. Date, if it's a priority to you, you'll make a point to attend, like everything else. Location, it was 2 hrs for us. We would have gone to MI (never been), MN or IA. It's that important to us. Things happen, but it's about importance & priority.

    Daniel Baker said (June 28, 2012 10:06 PM)...
      ...I would like to see the next conference in a larger city. This will come off as biased, but to the best of my knowledge the greater Milwaukee area is (at least for now) considered the center of the WELS world; I think that it would make a more suitable meeting location, and perhaps facilitate a larger attendance. Alternatively, other centers of WELS life like Watertown and New Ulm would be amicable.

      I would also like to echo Christian's thought when it comes to furthering the examination of the Divine Service that we began at this conference. Aside from Justification, the matter of worship has to be at the core of our message. To that end, it seems to me that there is no better way to emphasize the importance of the Chief Divine Service than to actually celebrate it. As awesome as it was to experience the Divine Offices for the first time in a corporate setting, they pale in comparison to the Communion Liturgy. Just my two cents though. You also might consider consulting a more competent musician. ;-)

    Lee Liermann said (June 29, 2012 6:23 AM)...
      For the next conference I would like to hear an expanded discussion regarding Vocation.

Dear Readers, please let us know what you opinions are on these questions. We will use your answers as a basis for planning our next Conference.

Thank You!


Unknown said...

Time of year: Summer time, but in accordance with avoiding District & Synod conventions and meetings. Some pastors had an issue with other commitments in that regard, though the first weekend in June should avoid those meeting times.

Duration of the Conference: Two and a half days seems reasonable. I like the idea of ending at noon on the last day to travel home.

Location: I am biased too like Daniel; but I lean the other way. I like the smaller church venues and hospitality of those folks. Watertown and New Ulm are fine locations. Both are right at 300 miles for me here in Iowa.

Topics of Interest: The Divine Call, High Church or Low Church, Are the Lutheran Confessions being taught among us?, Topics to do with education in our synod...

"Free Conference" so that non-WELS/ELS speakers (experts in a particular topic) can be invited?: Sure

Cost: $75 sounds about right for 2.5 days. And a recommendation and arrangement for hotels / motels with discounted rates for the group at reasonable prices. At reasonable rates, seems like $250 - $300 in cost for the conference as a whole would be nice.

Anonymous said...

1) Whatever works best for others. Being a student I'm pretty flexible.

2) I like your idea, Mr. Lindee, of three days -- Thursday - Saturday.

3) Whatever works best for the majority of those who show an interest. It would, however, be nice to try to get more younger people (college age) there to catechize the next generation. That would probably mean New Ulm or Mankato (depending on the time of year). But Milwaukee being the epicenter of most WELS folk, that's a good idea as well, especially for during the summer.

4) I expressed my interest above although, I second the idea of the doctrine of vocation.

5) I wouldn't be offended at all. In fact, I fancy that idea.

Christian Schulz

WELS church lady said...

Perry, 75$! If we are going to be good Lutherans, then how about charging no fee? The ever famous free-will offering;the Lord will provide! In regards to non-WELS/ELS experts, Mr. Leonard Sweet is a non-WELS/ELS "expert"(aka New Ager). Wouldn't the Church and Change guys be proud? Peraps Mr. Lund was talking about some of our trusted experts in the LCMS.

On a serious note, eduacation in our synod should be given top priority. Look what happened to Hope, it is not longer part of WELS. Some parish schools are dropping the "Lutheran" title.(sad!) Consolidating parish day schools is a mistake. Our children from these schools are the same ones who go on to the prepschools, MLC, and WLS! Synodical held schools and colleges are not luxuries, not, the are VITAL. Less they become Chrsitian in name only. Places like Baylor and SMU in Texas have become completely secularized.

Thanks you Intrepid Lutheran Leaders, your work had not gone unnoticed.

In Christ,

AP said...

I was not able to attend the recent conference due to a work commitment, but I'll certainly try to make the next one.

Time of Year--Summer for sure, maybe mid to late June.

Duration--2 to 3 days would allow for a range of topics to be covered.

Topics--I'd agree with what has already been suggested. I might add something like the historical challenges to Lutheran orthodoxy (e.g. Pietism and such).

Free Conference--Sure, why not. Confessional Lutherans in whatever synod or independent church can no doubt learn a lot from each other.

Cost--No more than $100. Finding a location with onsite (or nearly onsite) housing for a multi-day conference would be ideal, and a higher fee might be warranted if such a facility could be secured.

Location--I would agree with Milwaukee. I'm biased too of course, but Milwaukee does have the advantage of a major airport, rail station, etc. Otherwise, how about Appleton!

Aaron Palmer

Daniel Baker said...

1. I'm personally open to any time of the year, though I do have to say that summer is probably the easiest to coordinate due to the break from school. Though if you were going to hold the event in one of the college towns, I think it'd be preferable to do so while classes are in session.
2. The longer the better. Mr. Lindee's suggestion sounds good to me.
4. I would also like to add the broad topic of ecclesiology to the list, particularly as it pertains to the Office of the Holy Ministry. I'd specifically like to see a presentation on the historic development of the bishopric office as a distinct hierarchical construct, and the evidence affirming the Lutheran position that bishop/presbyter/elder are all the same thing (tying this all in to Part II, Article IV, paragraph 9 of the Smalcald Articles and paragraphs 61-65 of the Treatise would be helpful too). On a different tangent, a general presentation on Patristics would also be very welcome.
5. I think it is imperative that we reach out to Confessional members of the various Lutheran institutions. Unity among like-minded individuals is much preferred to the current state of affairs where a multitude of theological opinion is tolerated under a single synodical banner. Long story short, yes, a free conference is a great idea, so long as the Divine Service could still be on the non-agenda.
6. Somewhere in the ballpark of $15-25 per day seems reasonable to me.

Warren Malach said...

4. Topics of interest: If it has not already addressed this topic, could Intrepid Lutherans address the topic of "Loehist" teachings on the doctrine of the Ministry (ONLY a pastor can forgive all sins while the laity can ONLY forgive sins commited against themselves and otherwise only ANNOUNCE that God forgives sins, because Christ ONLY gave the Keys to the disciples and pastors, and NOT to the Church; a pastor "becomes" or "is" Christ to his congregation, and is a "means of grace" to the congregation because of his monopoly upon the administration of the Means of Grace to the congregation such that there is in practice no "private use of the Keys" by the laity)? Prof. Brug in his THE MINISTRY OF THE WORD discusses the errors of the "Maximalist" or "Romanizing" views on the doctrine of the Ministry, and, as a new member of the WELS, it would be good to learn how pervasive these errors may be in the WELS under the guise of "confessionalism," even though TPPP clearly rejects the teaching that Christ gave the Keys to the disciples for their own use, rather than as representatives of the Church

Warren Malach said...

Correction to my last post: I meant to say "...even though TPPP clearly rejects the teaching that Christ gave the Keys ONLY to the disciples and their successors (pastors,) rather than THROUGH the disciples TO the Church, the disciples being representatives of the Church."

My apologies for the misstatement.

Mr. Douglas Lindee said...

Hi Warren, and thanks for posting.

Actually, at one point last Fall we were considering a conference devoted to a single highly-qualified speaker and the single topic of "Church and Ministry." It is one that should definitely be on the list topics to consider for our next conference.

Personally, I am entirely unaware of anyone in the WELS these days teaching or even hinting at "Loehist" teaching, as you describe it. With your background and sensitivity to the issue, though, my guess is that something you may hear among us would "smell" of "Loehism" in your former context, may in reality be a wholesome reaction to growing issues among us that are light years in the opposite direction -- issues which are being absorbed into the thinking of the laity and clergy through the importation of sectarian practices, issues which we have addressed on Intrepid Lutherans in the past. One issue is the treatment of human activity as "means of grace." For example, if you look at Chapter 48 in Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology, he lists eleven "means of grace." The first three are the Word, Baptism and The Lord's Supper (with an entirely different understanding of the Holy Spirit's work through them, of course), and the remaining eight include human acts, such as prayer, worship, giving money to the church (I'm not kidding!), evangelism, and lay ministry. Personally, I've heard evangelicals with doctrinal training simply reduce all of this to, "Christian's are God's means of grace." Practices and priorities of the Church Growth Movement, emphasizing the evangelical necessity of certain forms of worship, the financial support of the church, and lay ministry, cannot stand without carrying with them false ideas like these regarding the work of the Holy Spirit and the biblical Means of Grace. When we incorporate these practices into the life of the church, we absorb the teaching they are based on and which they reinforce. This is lex orandi, lex credendi at work. It may be an ancient liturgical principle, but it is also a valid principle of education and catechesis.

Continued in next comment...

Mr. Douglas Lindee said...

...continued from previous comment.

A second, and related, issue among us is the idea that "everyone is a minister." This teaching now emanates from all corners of the Synod. You'll run into it everywhere. The first time I heard this phrase, it was attached to a financial plan approved by the 2005 Synod Convention, called the "Fan Plan," which was supposed to assure the Synod's financial solvency into the future. The plan, among other things, called every congregation to adopt the mission statement, "Everyone a Minister," the idea being that if everyone engaged in ministry on behalf of the congregation, the congregations would grow, giving would increase, and Synod could pay it's bills. This is bald Church Growth theology in practice! I was a delegate to the 2006 District Conventions when this plan was explained in detail to the Districts, and defended. I couldn't believe my ears. Anyway, this idea has grown and proliferated and resulted in all forms of "non-traditional" lay involvement in the functions of the Office of the Holy Ministry, apart from the Divine Call, including lay led Bible study and lay preaching, and we have seen the proliferation of "cell groups" -- ecclesiolae in ecclesia. The connection to the defining elements of pietism cannot be more obvious. Having Synodical approval, "Everyone a Minister," along with its very predictable implications, has been disseminated among us and defended to the point where it seems to have nearly been normalized among us -- not terms of its practice, but its acceptability in principle. We at Intrepid Lutherans have attempted to address this phenomenon, as well, in the following two articles and elsewhere: Lay Ministry: A Continuing Legacy of Pietism and C.F.W. Walther on the Layman's Role in the Congregation's Ministry.

Again, thanks for posting, Warren, and welcome to the WELS. I hope this information helps a little. We will definitely keep "Church and Ministry" on the short-list of topics to consider for our next conference.

Daniel Baker said...

I heard it explained on a blog once (I think it was Gottesdienst) with this analogy: The Church has been given the Blessed Keys (as the Treatise confesses), but it is no more appropriate for every member of the Church to fully exercise the Keys than it is for every member of "We The People" to execute those things which belong to the office of the president.

Likewise, it is fitting to point out that the Treatise seems to equate the Office of the Holy Ministry with the Keys (cf. paragraphs 24-25); this should not be taken lightly. The Ministry certainly belongs to the Church, and she has the right to call and ordain its occupants (and defrock as necessary); thus, the Keys obviously belong to her - but does that give everyone the right to forgive sins in the stead of Christ and by his authority? This would be a great topic to address at the next conference.

Warren Malach said...

Mssrs. Lindee & Baker: Is there or is there not a "private use of the Keys?" May or may not a layperson--as long as they are not acting in opposition to the public administration of the Keys in the Church by the pastor, and the process of church discipline in the Church by the pastor with the "representative Church" of that part of the Church--able to forgive sins in Jesus' Name? I believe that THIS needs to be clarified when there is any discussion of the Office of the Public Ministry. There are "Loehist" pastors in the LCMS--if not in the WELS--who believe that ONLY a pastor can forgive ALL sins, that ONLY a pastor may pronounce Absolution "-I- forgive you your sins..." while a layperson can ONLY forgive sins commited against themself and otherwise only ANNOUNCE that God forgives sins, that a pastor "becomes" or "is Christ" to his congregation and therefore is a "means of grace" with a complete monopoly on the administration of the Means of Grace in the congregation, because Christ gave the Keys ONLY to the disciples and their successors in the Office of the Public Ministry, that Christ did NOT give the keys to the Church THROUGH the diciples as representatives of the Church.

Mr. Baker, TPPP clearly teaches that the Keys were given to the Church through the disciples as representatives of the Church.
The exercise of the Keys by those who hold the Office of the Public Ministry is a "delegated" power and authority coming from the Church which called the man into that form of the OPM, the laity of the Church retaining the private use of the Keys through the Royal Priesthood (1 Peter 2:9.) It is my understanding that this is the teaching of the WELS as drawn from Scripture and the Confessions. Am I wrong in understanding this?

Warren Malach said...

Mr. Lindee: "Everyone" in the Church is NOT a PUBLIC minister in the Church, but "everyone" DOES have the private use of the Keys and therefore is a PRIVATE "minister" in the Church, to carry out the Great Commission with the Keys Christ gave to the Church for BOTH a public and private use.
Is there confusion about this in the WELS?
In the LCMS the "Loehists" are either denying or minimizing any "private use of the Keys" by the laity, by denying that Christ gave the Keys to the Church through the disciples in Matt. 18 & John 20. Also in the LCMS, an attempt is being made to terminate the synod's "Certified Lay Ministry" program, rather than bring it into compliance with AC XIV by turning CLMs into called and ordained deacons under the supervision of a "bishop," something similar to the "perpetual diaconate" in other Churches. While it certainly can be said that "Lay Ministry" is an oxymoron if one is referring to "Lay PUBLIC Ministry," the value of an historic "auxiliary office" to the Church is being ignored or minimized by those who apparently don't believe that there is any "ministry" for someone who isn't "called and ordained" as a pastor.
A sad element of such a position is how patently "self-serving" to pastors it is when they are the ones promoting such a position. Shouldn't pastors also be concerned that the rights and responsibilities of the laity according to 1 Peter 2:9, and the freedom of the Church from "boasting in men" as per 1 Cor. 3:21-22, be defended?

The Office of the Public Ministry MUST be defended and upheld as divinely-mandated and necessary for the proper functioning of the Visible Church, but the "private use of the Keys" by the laity must ALSO be defended and upheld, NOT to promote a "lay ministry" contrary to AC XIV, but in agreement with the teaching of Scripture and the Confessions that the Keys were given to the Church and not to the "clerical estate."

Mr. Douglas Lindee said...

No, Mr. Malach. To my knowledge, there is no dispute in WELS regarding the "private use of the keys," and to my knowledge no one among us is advocating the notion that only pastors can ever issue absolution. The emphasis we are seeing is completely in the other direction, that all laymen, by virtue of their membership in the Universal Priesthood of all Believers, are ipso facto, Ministers of the congregation -- whether carpet cleaners, floor sweepers, dish washers, grounds keepers, or teachers, catechists, evangelists, cantors and preachers -- they are all equivalent as Ministers of the congregation, even apart from a legitimate Divine Call, or process where the congregation, in good faith, goes through an orderly procedure of identifying a ministerial need that their pastor is unable to fill, of determining qualification criteria, and on this basis selecting from among themselves an individual most suited to serve the congregation in that capacity. Hence, the growth in lay-led Bible studies, lay preaching, lay distribution of the sacrament, and the importation of ministries formerly peculiar to non-Lutherans, like "Ministers of Music" (which are frequently justified among Evangelicals and others by referring to the choirs of the Levitical Priesthood, a justification formally rejected by Lutherans of the past, at least according to Kretzmann). The struggle for us seems to be returning to the notion that, in the context of the congregation -- that is, in the context of the Public Ministry -- the functions of the OHM are reserved to its occupant, the pastor of the congregation, instead of being shared across the laity of the congregation. This is why I think Walther's solution to the problem of lay ministry in the Old Norwegian Synod, referenced in my previous response, is helpful for us today.

It seems like there is confusion over this among us, certainly among those advocating CGM practices, whose borrowed practices, being mostly from Evanglicalism, completely dispense with the notion of the Pastor as Christ's Representative or as anything other than a hireling, really. Hence, the "paster as CEO" who mobilizes the "subordinate ministers" of his "organization" in various forms of "kingdom work." I can't say for sure, but I tend to think Brug's recent book on the subject was written because there was a recognized need for it (a book I admittedly have not read, but have only heard good reports on from trusted sources -- for what that's worth).

Hope this helps.

Warren Malach said...

Mr. Lindee, it would be helpful in this discussion of the Ministry if we had some specific theses and antitheses so that we clearly understand what ONLY the person holding the Office of the Public Ministry in the Church should do in the public administration of the Keys, and what the laity MAY do privately upon the basis of their possession of the "private use of the Keys."

Such theses and antitheses should also take note of the "ordinary" and "extraordinary" public use of the Keys, in the latter category being the question of whether or not a layman may EVER, under ANY conditions, consecrate the Sacrament of the Altar when no pastor is available, such a layman acting with permission of the congregation with what amounts to an "assumed" or "temporary" call--similar to that exercised by a retired or candidate pastor who does not have an AC XIV call to the congregation whose pastor is not available. I would hope that those who believe that such an "extraordinary" practice is absolutely prohibited could prove their position from Scripture and not simply from "tradition," keeping in mind what Christ said to the Pharisees when His disciples plucked grain on the Sabbath (Mark 2,) and avoid "rationalistic" arguments such as that there is "no need" for the Sacrament of the Altar in the absence of a pastor, the Sacrament otherwise being praised for its blessings and frequent Communion encouraged--as long as a pastor is present. Again I stress, this is an "extraordinary" situation and can by NO MEANS be used to excuse such a practice on an "ordinary" basis when a pastor is present or available, although I believe that it still begs the question of how a pastor without an AC XIV call is permited to consecrate the Sacrament as a visiting pastor, but a layman who is a member and even an officer/elder of the congregation should NOT, even with the permission of the congregation, be permited to do so.

I believe that the IL Statement begs the question of the clear statement of SPECIFIC situations such as that raised above, lest the Statement be dismissed as being "too general" in nature. Those who might want to join IL (and I tried seveal times online, but couldn't get past the "robot") have the right to know where IL stands on SPECIFIC examples of false doctrine or practice in the WELS. It would be helpful if such SPECIFIC situations were stated in the body of the IL Statement.

Mr. Douglas Lindee said...

For now, Mr. Malach, we will settle for discussion of the doctrines themselves on IL, in the manner we have done so. There are over 300 postings now for newcomers to digest. Individuals can continue to study the issues we raise on their own, and/or agree or disagree. We expect that they will apply what they've learned to whatever situation they find themselves in. Our purpose beyond that is not to stake ourselves out so much as it is to raise awareness and concern of various issues among our brothers across the Synod, so that the process of orderly, formal discussion and resolution can begin to occur. Some of these issues, like the issue of CGM, have been brewing for decades. Except on rare occasions, as the circumstances warrant and permit it, we do not get into specific situations.

Your suggestion of a thesis/anti-thesis format is a good one, especially for certain highly contentious and/or complex issues. That may well be a good format for a some topics at our next Conference.

Thank you for posting, and Lord's Blessings!

Warren Malach said...

Mr. Lindee, where are the topics and posts on the doctrine of the Ministry in this forum? I have looked for them in the sidebar of the home page, and I have gone through the topics and posts for both this year and 2010. I did notice a 2010 thread with a discussion between Pastor Rydecki and Dr. Webber which, I believe from talking "off-line" to Pastor Rydecki, was instrumental in his decision to no longer approve of a lay consecration of the Sacrament of the Altar when a pastor was not available. Where is there a specific discussion of the distinction between the public and private use of the Keys?
Do I understand you correctly that there is absolutely NO evidence in the WELS of what Prof. Brug described in his THE MINISTRY OF THE WORD as "maximalizing" or "Romanizing" doctrines of the Ministry, referred to by some in the LCMS as "hyper-Euro", otherwise "Loehist" teachings? There has been no reaction to the "Everyone a minister" minimizing of the Office of the Public Ministry which has "gone beyond" a Waltherian model (as understood according to the WELS doctrine of the Ministry) into an "exaltation" of the Office of the Public Ministry "over" the laity by virtue of a "monopoly" upon the administration of the Keys because of the assertion that Christ gave the Keys to the Office of the Public Ministry and NOT to the Church? "Liturgical renewal" interests have NOT brought in their wake an approach to the doctrine of the Ministry which would be contrary to the public doctrine of the WELS?
May it all be so!

Warren Malach said...

I DID find the 2010 topics on "lay ministry' which included the exchange between Pastor Rydecki and Dr. Webber which I had previously mentioned. With reference to that discussion of a "lay consecration" of the Sacrament of the Altar under "extraordinary" conditions, I have to report that I find the "case" against such a practice to be very weak. Only 1 Cor. 4:1 was brought into evidence from Scripture, and no clear, specific prohibition of a "lay consecration" is present in that text, which begs the question of the meaning of the reference to "the mysteries of God" and whether or not it can be accurately applied to the Sacrament of the Altar apart from a "reading into" the text of the later Eastern Orthodox use of the term.
The appeal to the necessity for "pastoral oversight" in the administration of the Sacrament overlooks the fact that the pastor could leave instructions that administration of the Sacrament in his absence would be restricted to members of the congregation who are not under church discipline at that time.
Otherwise, the appeal is made upon the basis of "tradition," just as the Pharisees argued against the disciples when they plucked grain on the Sabbath (Mark 2.) Such appeals to "tradition" are only valid in a Christian context when 1 Cor. 14:40 is involved because of concern for the scruples of "weaker brethren" and the danger of division in the congregation, which begs the question of the need for prior congregational agreement regarding such an "extraordinary" practice, without which it should obviously NOT be done.

Other than these "lay ministry" topics, I am not aware of any other "Church and Ministry" topics in the IL forum.

Warren Malach said...

With reference to my previous posts, I heard back overnight from Prof. Brug that there is nothing in Scripture which directly, specifically prohibits a lay consecration of the Sacrament of the Altar, BUT, the consecration of the Sacrament SHOULD be "ordinarily" reserved to the person who holds the Office of the Public Ministry in the congregation. Does anyone disagree with this?

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