Thursday, April 02, 2009

Catechism for Lent, Pt. 5



Anonymous said...

Wow. Way to take on a whole hornet's nest of issues.

1) On private and public confession. In public the confession is silent. So, later no one can say what he has heard. In private you can't be sure.

2) On communion. I always take it in other churches. Does the idea go both ways? I mean the ELCA churches that some of my husband's family still attend let anyone take communion. So does Church of the Nazarene where my in-laws attend. Even if their pastors and teaching are somehow flawed or mistaken on some points, it doesn't seem it should to be able to override God's power to work anyway. I can't say I ever had a bad conscience about it because I am not responsible for their faults or misunderstanding. Any ideas for clearer understanding?

3) On communing younger members. That is really tricky because lots of kids spend so little time learning about their faith. Does that matter? I mean a 7 year old can actually know quite a lot if taught. He could also know virtually nothing. Would lowering the age require some education requirement and some sort of meeting with the child beforehand, or am I missing the point?

RevFisk said...

The best resource available on the ancient position of "closed communion" is the LCMS CTCR document from the 80's. You can read it here:

The age of communion issue is a very deep one. The long and short of the argument rests on how much "faith" is a matter of "knowledge." But certainly, if we were to commune younger, we would also need to start instruction ASAP! :)

Anonymous said...

I can't open that document. It says I don't have permission. Is it available elsewhere online? If I had the title, I could maybe search for it. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Nevermind. I used to google to find another way to it and it opened. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Okay, now I am chuckling to myself. If anyone were to question the LCMS position, that document could be used as a rhetorical siege tactic aimed at exhausting the challenger! I will attempt to give it a read.

Thanks, I think.

Anonymous said...

I showed that document to my husband. He smirked and told me, "Yeah, he figures that will keep you quiet for a while."

Anyway, we made it through the end of the first paragraph on page 7, " To gather in disunity, then, is to contradict directly the very nature of the Sacrament and the purpose for which it exists." That is where we paused and looked at each other. He said yeah he knew that. I thought the statement sure seemed to have a lot of "we" ideas in it rather than "I" which is how I had been looking at it.

Kinda reminds me of the “incessant doctrinal purification.”

Well, who are the "we" I have communed with.

I googled for Nazarene communion. Ooh, whee. First thing I got was some poor pastor's blog wherein he argued for the real presence based on some essay by Benedict XVI. He admitted that his was a minority position in the Nazarene church.

Next, I found a Nazarene theology professor who practiced and advocated infant baptism with the caveat that parents teach the kids. That view is outside mainstream Nazarene practice. My inlaws didn't baptise their kids.

I figured the Nazarenes were okay because they remain inflexible on the the Ten Commandments, unlike the ELCA. Turns out they are like some sort of conservative unitarians. That is why they just pass the communion like and offering plate; they don't mind what folks believe. Okay, now I feel pretty stupid.

I think I am catching on to what the word "heterodox" really means here.

I read somewhere someone say that wherever orthodoxy is optional, it will eventually be prohibited.

Okay, only 50 pages left to go! ;-)

RevFisk said...

Well, I didn't really want to keep you quiet. It's just the best document I've ever seen on it. There are shorter ones, but they always leave me feeling a little less than convinced. (And this teaching takes convincing even for those who believe it!)

But you stop exactly on the very point. "Communion" is no accidental word. It's the core of the "commun"ity. It's not "me and Jesus," it's "Jesus making us."

So keep on reading and don't feel "foolish." If theology came naturally, we wouldn't need the Scriptures. :)

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