Mark your calendar so you don't miss next year's ACELC Conference "Christ For Us: The Order of Creation" will be held August 29-30, 2017, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Lincoln Nebraska; the business meeting will be on August 31.
Read the Fraternal Admonition
Milwaukee? Can Anything Good
Come from Milwaukee? (Part 1)
Why yes, yes it can. In addition to Milwaukee being a beautiful city, the St. Louis Cardinals being in town, and the weather being unseasonably pleasant (This Pacific Northwesterner is a Midwest summer wimp.), there were all the normal blessings of Synodical Convention, i.e. the blessing of receiving Christ’s Word in daily worship, the blessing of meeting up with old friends and making new friends, etc.
But also, from the perspective of the mission of the ACELC (simply put: eventually to go away because our voice is no longer needed), there were some positive things which happened in Milwaukee this summer. One such positive thing involved the Synod’s position on the proper roles and service of men and women in the church.
In the ACELC’s original Fraternal Admonition, we noted: “Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions are very clear that life within the Christian congregation should be governed in accord with the doctrine of the Order of Creation. Today the LCMS has condoned and officially adopted a position in which women may serve as elders, congregational presidents and vice-presidents, may assist with communion distribution, and publicly proclaim the Word of God in worship services by reading Holy Scripture. Such changes within the LCMS represent a capitulation to the culture, deny the third use of the Law, and promote Gospel Reductionism, which our Synod previously rejected. We reject these errors.” (Error V: Service of Women in the Church – Order of Creation)
In Milwaukee, by a margin of 683 to 329 the synod, in convention, passed Resolution 5-14, “To Reaffirm Biblical Teaching on Man and Woman in the Church” which included the following:
Resolved, That the three specific recommendations from the 2005 Task Force Guidelines for the Service of Women in Congregational Offices (pp. 21–22) be commended: (1) “That the term ‘elder,’ in view of the use of this term in the Scriptures, in the history of the church, and in the Synod’s history, be reserved for that humanly instituted office in the congregation which has as its assigned duty the assisting of the pastor in the public exercise of the distinctive functions of this office” (i.e., Office of the Public Ministry) (2) “That lay assistance in the distribution of the elements in the celebration of Holy Communion, in order ‘to avoid confusion regarding the office of the public ministry and to avoid giving offense to the church,’ [1989 Res. 3-10] be limited to lay men” (3) “That, while situations exist in which the service of women in leadership positions in the congregation is desirable or even necessary, men be encouraged to continue to exercise leadership in their congregations even as they are encouraged to exercise their God-given leadership in a God-pleasing manner in their homes”
It seems that this is a step in the right direction.
Perhaps most encouraging is the final resolved of Resolution 5-14:
Resolved, That the LCMS, in convention, ask the CTCR, in consultation with the seminary faculties, to continue and complete (by the end of the triennium) a biblical, confessional, and historical study of the concept of the order of creation, examining its relevance to various questions about the service of men and women in the church and society today and also taking into account continued disagreements and discussion in the Synod about the service of women in certain lay positions and offices of leadership (e.g., congregational chairman or vice-chairman).
A survey of past CTCR documents on the topic of the roles of men and women in the church shows a steady and persistent dwindling and narrowing of focus of the theology of the order of creation. Completing a thorough study of this theological concept is important for our common understanding of the proper Biblical roles of men and women in the church.
Yes, good things came from Milwaukee this summer. I am thankful for the clarifying language of Resolution 5-14 (although there is still room for improvement), and I look forward to the results of the CTCR study and commend the upcoming work of the CTCR to our Lord in prayer. I encourage you to do likewise.
Rev. Daniel Freeman
Pastor, Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church, UAC
Just click on the link above under "Contact Information"
If you would like to sign up for website updates and other important information, please click HERE. This will take you to the page where you can add your name to that list. Signing up for e-mail updates does not necessarily imply that you are in agreement with what we are doing.
For those who wondered where they went, the ACELC News Releases now have a home. You will find them under the tab entitled "News" in the toolbar at the top of the page.