Thursday, December 11, 2003

Social Statements

And while we're on the topic of social statements of the ELCA, here's further reflections on an onerous topic. The ELCA comes out with these with some regularity, as did its predecessor bodies. But the church almost always comes out with social statements rather than confessions. What is it about our church body that it feels completely comfortable making social statements, but can't get about the business of making confessions. In fact, the only thing that is done by our church by way of confession has to do with our ecumenical conversations, which don't end up being confessions in their own right because they are conciliatory documents.

I am happy when the unity of the church is encouraged and forwarded by ecumenical dialogue, no doubt. And I identify quite closely with many of the social statements the ELCA has made over the years. I probably lean slightly left of them, but only slightly, and then right on some others, and well, yada yada. The point is, there seems to be something wrong with the methodology. And the method of issuing the statements is further complicated by the fact that most of our churches and members don't read them in any event.

Which leaves me pondering a magisterium, and teaching authority in the church, and how there might be teaching authority in the church, and...

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