Thursday, August 26, 2010

Live From the NALC Constituting Convention Part II

Presentation by Ryan Schwartz

The future is partnerships of churches that have a:

Shared confession of faith
Shared understanding of Scripture
Shared ministry priorities
But not necessarily a shared denomination.

Further, current reconfiguration currently sees large numbers of traditional, isolated Lutherans now without congregations or feeling isolated within their congregations(Situation created by 2/3rds vote requirements, pastors who are overwhelmingly in favor of ELCA policies, etc.)
The future will see Lutheran congregational planting to meet these needs at a rate unseen for decades.

Reconfiguration is not limited to ELCA break-up and what NALC is doing, rather, there are 3 million other confessional Lutherans in America. So there are new discussions developing across Lutheran denominational lines, headed up frequently by LCMS.

The Future of Lutheran CORE
CORE will be a "Community" (members drawn from multiple church bodies, associations, organizations) Will provide fellowship for those who remain in ELCA and a way for them to network with others now outside the ELCA.

The NALC will be:
christ centered
mission driven
traditionally grounded
congregationally focused

Me: does this represent an attempt to fix an institution or a future oriented new way of doing things?

Mark Chavez comments:
NALC and CORE will work together, forming a new denomination but at the same time keeping ties with those who are not or cannot leave to form the new NALC. Lutheran CORE is working intentionally working to keep communication with other faithful, confessing Lutherans.

Congregations in NALC are asked to have a minimum of:
one direct relationship with one missionary or agency
one direct relationship with at least one mission congregation in NA

For work on theological education a joint commission is forming. We all need to learn from the best theologians in NA, both clergy and lay.

NALC/CORE will be servants to congregations. Make sure that congregations are connected to all the best publishing houses, resources, missionaries, mission agencies, etc.

NALC National Youth Gathering: Impact. next summer.

How is Lutheran CORE going to work inside and outside the ELCA?
Why would you have anything to do with the ELCA?

We are called to care for every member of the body Christ. This is our way of doing that. We are not abandoning the members who are left behind.

We cannot carve out a place where we are immune from all the destructive influences that are at work in the ELCA or other Protestant bodies. We are sinners and we are going to make our share of mistakes. We have to be realistic about the forces at work within North American culture. We believe in absolute truth, and we have a real challenge presenting that to our congregations.

There are those who believe that they are called by the Holy Spirit to continue to be faithful witnesses within the ELCA. We want to support them.

Some congregations are divided. It will be painful and will take years in some congregations to work through these issues. We want to support them.

The majority of ELCA congregations are not talking about the things we are talking about at this conference. Surely there are many individual members or even pastors of these congregations who know the truth but think that they are alone. We want to support them.

What doesn't it mean to work w/in the ELCA;
We aren't a coalition for reform any more. Since fall of 2005, CORE worked within the framework of the ELCA. That is over now. We have concluded that the ELCA has become so political and one sided in moving away from the rest of the ChrIstian Church. By working within them we are not partnering with them or supporting what they are doing. Working in for the sake of the genuine unity given us by God. We allowed our unity as Lutherans to be defined by a denomination. That is not what the Confessions say. Our unity is not in organizations or structures. Our unity is in our confession of faith in Jesus.

So CORE is changing its name: From Coalition for Reform to Coalition for Renewal: God will bring about, in the long run, reform. When God brings us back around to making disciples, there will be revival, renewal, and reform. So we are looking forward to God's renewal.

I have never been more hopeful for the future of a bold, faithful, Lutheran witness in North America. - Mark Chavez

Now we can focus on the future and the wonderful opportunities God has given us. It is going to be an exciting, joyful ride. - Mark Chavez

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