Monday, June 28, 2010

From Generation to Generation - A Response

Lois Meyer Voeltz at The Creator's Tapestry posed a question based loosely on Psalm 145: Why are some stories and studies in the LCMS simply passed on unchanged "generation after generation"? Specifically she referenced the Synod's stance on the role of women in the church, a subject she and others would much like to see thoroughly overhauled. The premise behind her question invokes what she claims are the many studies already completed which support a change in the church's longstanding practice and teaching.

Ironically, her question utilizes the psalmist's words in a way that would have been unrecognizable to the author. His concern was the passing on of the great and unchangeable truths of the Word, not how we might challenge, once more, the interpretation of those Words. Forgive me, but I am struggling with the need of some to constantly challenge, "generation after generation," the time-honored teachings of my church body. If some people need and desire a practice where women are in leadership roles within a church body all the way to the ordained level, why is it so necessary to change the longstanding practice of a denomination that seems not to want to change? After all these "generations" of no change, why would one not simply "shake the dust from one's feet" and move on to a place more accommodating (or start a denomination to suit your views)? Or could it be that those seeking change feel that others have 'high jacked' their church body and imposed a minority opinion on the majority, a travesty they desperately need to rectify?

Personally I feel that the church has spoken enough and studied sufficiently this issue as to finally put it to rest (That is why the latest CTCR document she references produced nothing substantially new over what it has stated over the last two decades.) However, the need to question and challenge what we do not like will always exist in the church militant. It is hard to accept truth as absolute, especially in our postmodern culture. I am certainly not opposed to ongoing study of the truths of Holy Scripture. We will learn new insights until the end of time. Scripture is a well from which we can always draw new and refreshing water. That said, however, the recitation of the creeds each Lord's Day testifies to the fact that the church rests on unchangeable truths that can be known, accepted, and passed on without the need to question, challenge and change. With regard to the role of women, why is it that the greatest challenge to its historic position came only within about the last 100 years or so? Were the apostles and great fathers of the Early Church not in touch with the will of God as to accurately transmit in to future generations? Why, in our time, have we become so much more enlightened than our forefathers?

It is too bad that so many must remain so deeply frustrated within the LCMS, always seeking the new day of change, and always seeing it slip from their grasp with each released study and each convention. If Creator's Tapestry (both the blog and the official web site) exists as a sign that a new wave of protest and pressure is rising that will finally establish sufficient momentum to move mother Synod from her lethargic apathy on this topic, I fail to see it. Unless, of course, the momentum is largely behind the scenes away from the risk of exposure through the transparency of the comments section.

At any rate, the answer to her question is simple: These truths are passed on generation after generation because they are true, and they are true because they are based on the clear witness of Holy Scripture and the venerable practice of the historic church catholic. I think that's enough.


Jeff said...

What about those in the LCMS that are deeply frustrated over the proposals for change? There is a certain president of a certain synod that thinks change is good. He hand picked a task force that would conclude that change is good. Times have changed since 1847. The only good change is that which brings us closer to Walther, closer to Luther, closer to the Truth.

Dan at Necessary Roughness said...

Thank God that in his Word the faith once delivered to the saints does NOT change over time. If that were to happen, one day we'd wake up and Jesus no longer died for our sins.

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