Watchman, what of the night?
I believe that we as fellow Christians,take little notice of our Lord’s teaching in obedience, even unto death. Those who practice disobedience to God’s Word are multiplying like rabbits and even among the clergy there is the taint of the self-will of “I know better”.
The deceptions of the Women’s Ordination [WO] supporters and the statements on their blogs have gone on for some time. As with all lies, if one repeats an untruth long enough people may believe it to be the truth. Only Christ Jesus is the Truth, the Way and the Life.
However, the un-biblical statements/claims of the WO faction are based on their conception that their writings are Lutheran; do not be deceived they are not Lutheran! I even doubt that their writings are even fully Christian.
First and foremost I must remind the WO supporters, their fellow travelers in the LCA, and all who call themselves LUTHERAN that as members of the LCA we are all bound by both clauses of the un-alterable Article II of the Constitution of the Lutheran Church of Australia:
1. The Church accepts without reservation the Holy Scriptures of the Old and the New Testaments, as a whole and in all their parts, as the divinely inspired, written and inerrant Word of God, and as the only infallible source and norm for all matters of faith, doctrine and life.
2. The Church acknowledges and accepts as true expositions of the Word of God and as its own confession all the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church contained in the Book of Concord of 1580, namely … and the Formula of Concord.
This is NOT repeatedly taught; nor taught often enough, in our Parishes/Congregations, and as a result of this, many may be unaware of the obligations involved in the membership of a Congregation or Parish of the Lutheran Church. Leading Lutherans have a duty here to proclaim our Lutheran identity through this and teach the Book of Concord to the laity, whether in the pulpit, or in time and in season, [a good layman’s ministry]. Some of our current problems – same as in Dr. Martin Luther’s time – are caused by either ignorance or unwillingness to submit to the Word of God. We as Confessional Lutherans [ordained and lay alike] can address ignorance by teaching the pure Word of God and our Word based doctrine; unwillingness remains just that, unwillingness to submit to the Word of God will only respond to prayer.
All the Lutheran Pastors and some of the lay people (like some Chaplains) have made the statement [promise] that they will adhere to the Constitution of the Australian Lutheran Church, in particular the two sub-clauses above, and ALL of them [both groups above] should be held to their promises or be de-authorised to act as a Pastor, Chaplain, or any other office in the LCA; and be prevented to continue in their role until repention and correction.
The teachings of the Lutheran expression of Christianity have been adulterated by those who replace our Bible based doctrines and dogmas by secular practices, and use standards that only have a place in the secular world; i.e. work place rules on gender equality, equal pay for equal work and the hours one must work for a nominated pay.
Some Lutheran Bishops/Pastors now tolerate or encourage the teaching of Alpha [of Anglican origin] instead of Martin Luther’s Catechism(s). Some have even gone so far as to introduce the theology of another denomination [e.g. “40 days of purpose” by the USA Baptist Pastor Rick Warren], either straight out or under the cloak of adjusting it to our practices/doctrine; a claim to the latter was made some years ago by a Lutheran Pastor [now an Assistant Bishop] who was rather weak in his knowledge of and adherence to our doctrine as in the second clause of our Confession. We must no longer tolerate or accept the authority in the LCA of those who openly, willingly and knowingly fail to adhere to their ordination/installation vows before God.
Two streams have developed in the LCA;
(i) Lutherans who loyally subscribe to Article II of our Constitution in full, and
(ii) those who cannot or will not subscribe to our Confession, they must realise and confess that in fact they are no longer Lutherans and consequently should be banned from taking any part in decisions that affect the life and teachings of the LCA.
The ‘white anting’ of our Confession must stop; if it is not stopped the LCA will, slowly but surely, lose its foundational doctrinal basis. The introduction of non-Biblical practices – such as WO – is one part of the rot that has crept into the LCA, it goes directly against a commandment from our Lord and against the Apostolic instructions that women are not to speak in the Church. It is like gangrene, the longer it is tolerated, the more damage it does, and consequently the more surgery is required to save the patient. In my opinion, this gangrene has already been tolerated far too long, has advanced too far; and hence, drastic surgery is essential for the life of the patient, in this case the LCA. I look forward to our College of Bishops to initiate the surgery to remove that which is NOT Lutheran. I pray for their intestinal fortitude to bite the bullet and remove the rot; we might end up with a smaller LCA, but it will be more true to God’s Word and its roots in the LCA. True adherents to Lutheran Doctrine will always understand and comply with Article II, others have no place in any position of authority in the LCA, be that a Bishop, a Pastor, a Chaplain or any lay person in a position of authority. It is time we act on that! If we do not act now, we cease to be the Lutheran Church of Australia, instead becoming the Liberal Church of Australia!
I look forward to a display of adherence to the Lutheran principle by our College of Bishops to the implications of adhering to Article II of our Constitution; Yes, gentlemen, both sub-clauses!
Christian P.J. Bahnerth
GradDipTh., MTh., PhD.
Author of “Order in the House” and “Service in the Household of God”. Published on the CLAi website. And “Public Service in the Household of God.” a development of the former two after further theological studies leading to his PhD in Biblical Studies.
Has the Christian faith become corrupted?
Do we still celebrate Holy Communion as Christ Jesus established?
- Real presence of Christ in the elements?
- Bread and wine as His body and blood?
- Real faith in the forgiveness of sins?
If you have any comments on this, please comment so that we can take the conversation further.
Reply to Amos (2012-07-22)
I regret the delay in responding to you but we have been away for over a month.
Earlier, in 1 Corinthians 14:33-38, St. Paul begins his teachings on the management of order in the Congregations of the Saints. St. Paul follows this up by more specific instructions in the Pastoral letters, which have taken much of our time and focus.
I have used 1 Timothy 2&3 in most of my replies as they go a little further in detail. Taking all the Divinely inspired Selection Criteria, we find that God is very selective in who may serve HIM as HIS Minister in the Office of administering the Word and the Sacraments; according to HIS will, not according to any secular or personal agenda. St. Paul is clearly inspired to stepwise define those who may speak and those who may NOT speak during worship – that is speak/preach, not pray or sing – c.f. 1 Corinthians 14:34. “the things I write unto you are the commandments from the Lord” v 37, the ‘things’ St. Paul refers to here are vv 34-38; and 1 Timothy 2:11 “how one ought to behave him/herself in the household of God.” v 3:15; referring here to Ch 2 & 3. First, St. Paul defines which gender may speak/preach, then he proceeds to lay down rules of conduct for those who may speak/preach; the women are not disenfrachised by this, their great Vocation can not be copied by males: from conception to childhood, the Mother is still the best person to care for the child – by Divine Design!
I cannot agree with you that I give the males a ‘free ride’; I did not write St. Paul’s Epistles, the Divine Criteria are strict enough in the texts focused on, and elsewhere in the Holy Bible to weed out undesireable males, c.f. also 1 Corinthians 5:11 and Ephesians 5:2-6, I merely try to comply with them. Rather, women – unless they choose to ‘outsource’ the care of the child(ren) – get a free period of influence on the impressionable children in the first dozen years of their life; where the father/husband/male consort is busy ensuring a lasting source of income for his family.
Please note that I have never stated that women cannot teach other women and children (I fully support the concept that they should indeed teach where capable males are not available/willing), for a child is best taught at her mother’s lap. The Epistle to Titus (2: 3-5) clearly teaches us first what the elder women ought to do, and then teaches us the tasks applicable to the younger women; this does not resonate with the critical tasks laid upon men who are called into the Ministry.
After your quote of 1 Thessalonians 5:12, I would have expected the completion of the sentence which runs over into verse 13 “and to esteem them very highly in love for their works sake.” I do not see that vv 12-13 are an authorisation to investigate a Pastor with many years service unless he misrepresents the teachings of the Holy Bible or commits actions unbecoming of his Office. Compare the Bereans on this in Acts 17:11. I believe that Parishes/Congregations have the option to assess the suitability of a candidate for a Call to serve in their Parish; for a ‘young people Parish’ has different requirements than a Parish with mainly people who are in the second half of their life.
Many Parishes set aside a group of trusted Parishioners – as a Call Committee – during the Call process just to do that. I have – in younger years – been a consultant to such a Committee and later a member of such a Committee. I can assure you that God’s Word and the adherence to it were the main criteria for the selection of the ordained candidate.
In the history of the Christian Church many have been appointed to the office of Bishop/Pastor, Deacon/Elder or any other leading role without complying with ALL the criteria in e.g. 1 Timothy 2 and 3; however, history has shown that, where the Word of God is not adhered to, HIS blessings are slow to follow.
I hazard a guess that you would be likely to agree with me that many false teachers have inserted themselves in the Christian Church, I pray to God that neither of us will be found among these heretics. I am reminded here of Matthew 7:21-23. There is no future for those who choose to go their way instead of HIS Way!
With reference to your last part of the email: I have had and still have the courage to tell my Pastor where and when I did/do not agree with his interpretation of the Word of GOD. The earliest instance caused me to be outed from the leadership of a Congregation due to my opposition to foreign doctrine; the latest case has not gone that far yet but is in danger of the same thing. So, please do not say that I do not have the courage to point out errors to the ordained leaders of my denomination; where rightly or wrongly their interpretation of the Word varies from mine, even the National President of my Denomination receives my comments where I do not agree with him: he knows this and can also expect this in the future. I believe that all Christian religious matters need to be resolved by Scriptural guidelines only and not by secular conveniences to satisfy someone’s agenda; the SOLA SCRIPTURA principle. Some of today’s ordained clergy can (sadly) only be seen as paid employees of the Church rather than as servants of the Most High; as a result of that, they bow to their employer’s rules even when these rules do not resonate with the Word of God, they follow policy rather than the Word of God.
In the end I must mention Matthew 7:21-27: 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
Finally when we pray the Lord’s Prayer we ask clearly for God’s will to be done on earth and in heaven, IMHO it is NOT God’s will to go against HIS commandments! Liked or not, 1 Corinthians 14:33-38 is a commandment of God which we ignore to our own destruction.
A reply to “Amos Love says: 2012/07/17 at 07:01”
I wrote earlier “reply in progress …” 2012/05/01.
At that time I was coming out of a time of enforced inactivity and I was in the process of trying to ‘catch up’ on my many writing tasks. That period of inactivity and the very slow return to ‘normal’ was unplanned and unavoidable on my part.
Just for a little detail, I am a Baptised Christian, in my early years influenced by the Roman Catholic denomination, as were many early Lutheran writers, then through my contacts with Protestants of the Calvinistic variety, I was considered for ordination. However, I could not see that their doctrine resonated closely with the Word of God; in Holy Communion etc. Due to Lutheran Pastors of increasing Confessional opinion, my wife and I became Lutherans. Further training at the Charles Sturt University’s School of Theology – which has a majority of Anglican [Episcopalian] students – I learned a lot more about Christian Doctrine and the ways people employ to sidestep the Word of God. Further studies have since made me very wary of those who treat the Word of God lightly, and have their own agenda to suit a particular view on HIS Word. As a Christian I am involved in the Lutheran Church of Australia, as an appointed and installed Pastor’s Aide and as a lay Hospital Chaplain, I have been a Chaplain for many years, including as Chaplain – now Emeritus – for the Southern half of NSW AU for the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Assoc. Inc whose membership contains many returned and long serving soldiers, many who suffer from Post Trauma Stress Disorder in which I am experienced in ministering to.
Now to start answering your questions:
Re BUT DO NOT … The word “Pastor” is Latin for Shepherd, and the first mortal ‘spiritual Shepherd/Pastor’ was St. Peter when the Risen Christ commanded Peter: “Feed my sheep!” ; c.f. John 21:15-17.
- Why, as a Lutheran … ? I do not fully grasp your phrases “Why do male leaders get a free ride? And “here are just three qualifications … “ 1 Timothy 3 lists more than 3 requirements; in addition to the ones you quoted there are;
- Husband of one wife, NOT spouse of one spouse, NOR partner of one partner, but specifically gender prescribed “Husband of one wife”. A requirement that is repeated in Titus 1:6.
- Able to teach, this implies knowledge of the Word of God and the ability to expound it; the ability to expound requires that the teacher must be a learned person, either by formal religious education, by serious and concentrated self study or a by combination of both. Now this is not to mean or imply that females cannot learn the Word of God, they can and indeed must; but it does take into account the limitations that apply to those who are able to teach. After all, females are to teach other females and children, a child learns best in her mother’s lap.
- Take care of the Church of God … . This involves the spiritual care of all under his Episcopacy, under his duty of caring for the souls. Pastors nowadays are overly involved with the secular running of a Parish, for this they have resources such as Elders, Deacons and other helpers “who serve at tables”. But their first call is to be the spiritual leader of the Parish. Others can take care of administration and maintenance.
- Not a novice. … This has in cases proven to be to the detriment of Christianity when inexperienced ‘soul carers’ were given too much authority.
- Now let us come to the three ‘requirements’ you have isolated from the others; i.e. Blameless, Just and Holy. Reading 1 Timothy 3:1-7 again, only the first of them appears as a qualification; hence, I will not address the two you introduced.
- Verses 6-7 as you quoted agree with Holy Scripture, your quote of verse 8 is questionable.
- So let us see what the Lutheran Study Bible says about this: “Therefore an overseer must be above reproach” i.e. “not able to be taken hold of” v2. The footnotes in this – LC-MS accepted – Lutheran Study Bible have quite a bit to say about this and are too long to repeat here.
- “If a Pastor/Leader/Elder/Overseer does NOT meet the [‘tough’] Criteria … “ You write “should they not be honest, and remove themselves?” This is a problem in many denominations and even in some Lutheran Synods. If a Pastor promotes any practices that are diametrically opposed the Word of God, then IMHO he should be given the opportunity to repent, and if he does not mend his ways he should be encouraged to join a denomination that resonates with his ideas or if he remains stubborn be defrocked. This sounds terse and rough, but the Christian Faith has suffered enough under false teachers.
- “Are you a “Leader?” An Elder? … I am a layman, an appointed and installed Pastor’s Aide and a lay Hospital Chaplain, I have been a Chaplain for many years, including as Chaplain – now Emeritus – for the Southern half of NSW AU [an area of 440,722 Km2 or 156,264 square miles] for the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers NSW Assoc. Inc. whose membership contains many returned and long serving soldiers, many of whom suffer from Post Trauma Stress Disorder (PTSD) a condition in which I am experienced in ministering to.
- Your last question asks “Is your Pastor 1 – Blameless, 2 – Holy, 3 – Just?” My Pastor is a tested, trained, called and ordained servant of the Word and the Sacraments, he manages his household well, he is not a recent convert, and he is loved by our Parish. Above all, him being a Christian as I am, he loves God and our Lord Jesus Christ! However, he is not perfect, nor am I; who is perfect, are you?
In HIS love and service
Is God male?
A recent blog [K&M 2012-05-16] on this started with:
Tell a girl she CAN’T have it…
Ohhhhh… Watch how she gets it
This was accompanied by a picture of a scantily clad woman [Superwoman complete with rope]
Notice how it says: “Watch how she gets it!” Now watch the picture that came with it.
Does a woman really have to get down to bra and panties to get what she wants?
What an example!
Well, obviously, I do not have a blind spot as some blogger has claimed, one can clearly see that the female sexual attractiveness is used to help her get it!
I replied to that blog [K&M 2012-05-17]: “Tell a girl that she cannot be a father, a brother, an uncle etc … “ But then again, I cannot be a mother, a sister, an aunt, a nun, or a prioress.
It is not our personal/individual choice at birth [or rather at conception] as to what gender we are blessed with; on the basis of chromosomes the human father has a significant influence at conception.
Then the K&M blog continues [on 2012-05-17] with my statement; “Of course God is male … , Those who deny this make God a liar.” Please note that I did not call any participant in K&M’s blog a liar! I stated my belief that God is male and that Christ Jesus – Who calls God FATHER – said; “I am the Way, the TRUTH, and the Life.” God does not lie, nor does the Son of God!!! It is outright heresy to say that any person of the Holy Trinity could be or is a liar.
Then, on 2012-05-18, M.R. Baker [MRB] joins in; firstly doubting my seriousness regarding my comments and secondly asking if I have done any exegesis lately. The answer is; “Yes, thanks also to checking up on statements and references on K&M’s blog I have indeed; yet, I have NOT done any ‘eisegesis’, I leave that to those whose agenda is not based on the very Word of God.
MRB states later in her comment that God created mankind in two genders, she is right in that; however, can MRB not see that God had a reason for that? Can she not read from Gen 2 that woman was created from man’s rib to be a help suitable to him? Would God not have created mankind [anthropos] as being of one gender if male and female were to be equal/identical with identical vocations?
MRB states; “God is described as a woman in labour (Isa. 42:14)”; now let us have a look at what the Holy Scripture really says in the quoted verse:
“I have held My peace a long time,
I have been still and restrained Myself.
Now I will cry like a woman in labor,
I will pant and gasp at once.
This does NOT say that God is a woman, it says that He cries like a woman.
Furthermore MRB states; “and as a nursing mother, loving the child to whom she has given birth … (Isa. 49:15-16); again let us have a look at what the Word really says;
15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child,
And not have compassion on the son of her womb?
Surely they may forget,
Yet I will not forget you.
16 See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;
Here God is comparing Himself to a woman in compassion for her son, He says women may forget but He will NOT forget because “I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands” note God’s hands not the woman’s hands, as MRB writes!!!
C.f. And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, look it up, Isa 49:23.
Further on MRB states that I might be interested to learn that God has feet, eyes, … and a womb. Is MRB really serious? A male with a womb? Do show me where the Bible states that God [the Father] has a womb. Not as if He has a womb or like He has a womb, but that He has a womb!
The above is only a small example that MRB shows signs of feminist creativity and eisegesis to suit her agenda. This combined with MRB’s false statement that you [the contributors to the K&M blog and/or supporters of female ordination] were liars if you called God anything but male shows further her misrepresentation of what I wrote and the deliberate bias against the Word of God.
K&M in their blog dd. 2012-05-21 say; “a legacy of an antipodean Germanic church … “ K&M do you realise that this [Lutheran] denomination in its purest form arose as a response to the errors that had crept into the church of the day [Western Christianity], it arose to combat the scourge of the claimed ability to monetarily pay for the sins of self and for those who had died some time ago, by the inventions of ‘indulgences’ and other evil errors, whilst Christ Jesus has already paid for all our sins in FULL on the cross. The true Lutheran understanding of the Christian faith [as clearly described in the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, i.e. The Book of Concord] provides for a basis to further understand the Word of God and is to be accepted where it agrees with the Holy Scriptures.
Further to MRB’s response [2012-05-21]
Eve KNEW that she should not eat from THAT tree, otherwise the evil one would not have said; “Did God really say … ? She knew and made problems for her husband by offering him a bite of the proscribed fruit. As a husband of 50+ years, I know what it is like to go along with my wife’s wishes to keep the peace, even at times when we do not agree; and I think that Adam unfortunately did the same. Now we have the same evil words coming up again “Does God really say … ?” E.g. does God really say that women cannot be leading a Divine Service? God has clearly spoken on this through His Prophets and Apostles; however, this does not suit every one’s agenda; deviations from His Word have been known for millennia with examples of the results clearly shown throughout the Holy Bible.
MRB also states that “patriarchy was a CONSEQUENCE of the fall.” I do not argue that, but MRB what was the CAUSE of the fall? Was it not Eve’s seduction?
I will not enter into a discussion on the ramification of pornography [at this stage] which has no relation to the gender of God.
MRB comments that her elderly father is still very upset about her being disobedient to Scripture; that admission is very cathartic and it is commendable to MRB to be that open, IMHO her father is to be commended.
MRB do not be amazed that you are a female, gender is not a personal choice, serve God in ways appropriate to how He caused you to be created, serve God in ways that please Him, according to His Word – serve Him, His way not your way.
May God grant the understanding of His Word to you all.
Christian P.J. Bahnerth
GradDipMaintEng., GradCertMgmt., MACS.
GradDipTh., MTh., PhD.
Shirley Taylor wrote in “About bweBaptistwomenfor equality.wordpress.com“:
“I don’t want to preach. I don’t want to serve communion as a deacon.
Tomorrow we come together to reinforce what we already know about women’s equality in the church.
I just want to be able to walk into my church and not feel that my church holds it against me that I am a woman.”
The question here is; “are not all worshippers equal? I answered Shirley’s blog with; “Read Galatians 3:26 – 4:3.” Where the equality of believers in Christ [and His Word] are taught that all who believe in Christ Jesus are partakers of the Promise; that is, they all share the same Salvation as believers. However, the selfsame Christ Jesus teaches us in the Gospel that He will not recognise those who who do not do the will of the Father; Matthew 7:21-23.
In my Parish, women are equal as worshippers, they do not sit on one side only of the aisle, they do share in the responsibilities of being greeters and stewards, our Chair and Secretary positions are held by capable women in both Congregations in our Parish, as are many other positions of note.
As to preaching and serving Holy Communion, no man or woman other than our Pastor, administers the Sacraments or preaches. Even our Pastor’s Aide – a highly qualified person in theology and Biblical Studies, and willing to be ordained – may only read a sermon prepared by the Pastor and that only in the emergency where an ordained Pastor is not available. But many are called but few are chosen.
Shirley further comments that she is not sure what I am saying in my answer; however, I think that I have been clear enough in past responses to her blog [which see] for her to understand that I prefer to base my writings on the Scriptures rather than secular practices or warm feelings about what some denomination practice now. I refer again to Matthew 7:21-23, and also to the Divine Selection Criteria in 1 Timothy 3 and in Titus 1; where the gender of the spiritual leader of a Parish or Congregation is clearly prescribed.
I have been asked; “What about Jesus?” Yes, I have seen my Lord in more than one theophany, and His Word is the same now as it was then to me and is now for all who love Him and obey His Word.
To those who do not know me, I am a Lutheran, and according to Lutheran Doctrine, “We believe, teach and confess that the prophetic and apostolic writings of the Old and the New Testaments are the only rule and norm according to which all doctrines and teachers alike must be appraised and judged.” The Book of Concord, Formula of Concord, Part 1 Epitome, 1.
Originally posted on bWe Baptist Women for Equality's Blog:
I don’t want to preach. I don’t want to serve communion as a deacon.
Tomorrow we come together to reinforce what we already know about women’s equality in the church.
I just want to be able to walk into my church and not feel that my church holds it against me that I am a woman.