- Dr. Becker expresses a theology that more and more resembles what I thought we battled and put to rest in the 1970's (more or less). He does not seem to like the idea of a fully infallible and inerrant scripture, preferring to retreat instead to a culturally conditioned message of questionable relevancy (for some sections of scripture, at least.)
- Although he quite willingly airs his views publicly and forcefully (on his blog and in other forums such as Gottesdienst, ALBP and Steadfast Lutherans), knowing that they are in opposition to the official stance of the Synod, he seems nevertheless quite defensive and indignant that his views would be challenged to such a degree. Does he realize that the appeal for women's ordination, according to Synod, is no longer an issue of debate? As Dr. Gard expressed on the ALBS site: "Please try to understand that for the vast majority of Synod this is a dead issue. It is settled. Missouri does not and will not ordain women."
- He seems to believe that certain topics of theology are never quite decided in a definitive way, such as the issue of the role of women in the church. I am all for open discussion in order to learn. Yet even the ancient church drew a line at some point and said: "Decided!" It reminds me of children who believe that an absolute "no" should always be open to appeal, at least until they get it changed to a "yes."
- Although Dr. Becker believes that Luther and the Confessions support his convictions, one might still legitimately question whether his theological home is more comfortable with the ELCA or the LCMS. Unless one believes that a sizable number of people in the Synod agree with him and it is up to him to fight for the right to change. Or, is it a matter of "This is my home too and I should be able to stay whether the powers that be agree with me or not"? In the end what does Dr. Becker hope to gain? Any reasonable look at Missouri will tell you that if his view were to prevail and the Synod did eventually ordain women, many, many pastors and laity would most likely leave. I can hardly think of a more divisive decision at present. This, for a number of clergy, is the 'deal breaker' of whether to stay or leave the LCMS (although some would argue that other issues should have long ago fulfilled this role.) Does Dr. Becker want to push the issue until this happens? Obviously he is not content simply to achieve an "agree to disagree" stalemate in the debate. To stop at this would still leave the apparent injustice in tact. He must push until the goal is reached. Yet many women who wished to be ordained have quietly moved on to other denominations that were open to this, and it would seem that they are pleased with their move. Or do they feel disenfranchised and wish to have someone like Dr. Becker rectify the injustice? Is he the chosen champion, the one elected to be the public voice for an unseen mass that are simply waiting for the chance at victory? The questions elude me.
- Some of his thinking, especially as it touches on Christology, appears to be wandering into areas that do not seem at all orthodox. A while back I commented on his remark about an "androgynous Christ." Recent remarks on sites referenced above move in similar directions where the maleness of our Lord is considered, philosophically speaking, an "accident" to the real "substance" of what it means to be the Redeemer. In other words, the fact that He was born a man is really neither important nor critical to who He is or what He did. To assert that Jesus' maleness is at all important to the essence of who He is, Becker would claim, is itself to wander into areas less orthodox. I do not see how, considering the very clear biblical identity of God as Father and the second person of the Trinity as Son, that we can claim his maleness as "accidental" to who He is. Am I missing something here?
Sunday, August 7, 2011
An Interesting Discussion/Debate with Dr. Matthew Becker
On many occasions this blog site has highlighted and critiqued Dr. Becker's own blog posts and other comments. Recently one of his posts spilled over into the realm of the Brothers of John the Steadfast site. He also made an appearance on the ALPB site under the thread "Women's Ordination in the LCMS." The dialogues have been spirited, to say the least. After reading many of the posts on both sites (which I encourage readers here to review as well), a few thoughts occur to me: