Full Text for Fellowship Issues and Missions (Text)

Volume 702 April UW)6 Table of Contents Office of the Holy Ministry Joel P. Okamoto .......................................................................... 97 The Office of the Holy Ministry According to the Gospels and the Augsburg Confession David P. Scaer ............................... ... ......................................... 113 Augsburg Confession MV: Does It Answer Current Questions on the Holy Minktry? Naomichi Masaki. ................................................................... -123 Fellowship Issues and Missions Klaus Detlev Schulz ............................................................. 161 Book Review .......... , .......................................................... .. ............. 187 The Book of Proverbs: Chapters 1 - 15. By Bruce K. Waltke ...................................... Andrew Steinmann Fellowship Issues and Missions Klaus Detlev Schulz The Ecclesio-political and Ecumenical Setting Nowhere is the question of fellowship and unity more urgently raised than where it was thought that doctrinal squabbling and disunity among Christians would become a hindrance to a uniform message of the church to the world. Hermam Sasse illustrates the problem Four churches [Andachtstattm] stand a hundred yards distant from each other, in a large city in India. Each of these churches is, on any given Sunday, only half filled. Each has a pastor with insufficient members. Each finds itself all too often in endless controversy, not against the sin and the pain that rules around them, but rather against the sup@ distortion of the faith and practice of the others. Seven mission societies work frantically among a population of a million people. Five of them maintain that they alone possess the truth of the gospel, and therefore claim the right to work and found churches everywhere. Where the gospel has found entrance, there the fragmentation of the church has placed an impediment in front of the non-Christian Thoughtful men ask why we demand devotion to the one Christ and yet at the same time we worship separatelv and narrow-mindedly seclude ourselves from one another in these most holy dealings. These divisions perplex the thoughtful seeker. Which church should I join? This is the question the converted ask1 Divisiveness is not exclusiveIy Christianity's problem, it is the problem of other religions as well. Christianity is concerned about its segregated existence because it stands in stark contrast to the unity Christ himself prays for: "that all of them may be one" (John 1721). On what exactly should Christianity unite? Interdenominational discussions of fellowship reveal the disturbing truth that there exists among Christians different ideas on what the church (ecclesiologv) is and what constitutes its 1 Herrnann Sasse quotes these sigruhcant and marked words of an Anghcan bishop of Domald, India uttered at Lausanne, World Conference, 1z7. Hennann Sasse, 'The Question of the Church's Unity on the Mission Field," hgia 7 (Holy Trinity 1998): 54. - - - - - - - --- Klaus Detlm Schuk is Associate Professor and Chairman of the Pastoral Ministry and Missions Department at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana. 1 64 Concordia Theological Quarterly 70 (2006) fellowship. In other words, the principles of orientation are not shared by all denominations. To be sure, all believe in something-non- confessionality does not exist-but this confession varies, which makes some principles of orientation more inclusive than others. Within Lutheranism, there is a general consensus that the marks of the church (notae ecclesiae), the preaching of the gospel and the administration of the sacraments, constitute the church and its fellowship. In terms of spea%cs, however, they disagree. The Wisconsin Sjmod, for example, would add to the marks praver and "practices that demonstrate a common faith."2 The Evangelical ~ktheran Church of America (ELCA) has made advances toward the Moravians and Episcopalians, making it seem to us in The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) that they do not take the marks seriously. The Reformed would agree with us on the marks but would add a third component: church discipline. The Roman Catholics adopt the classical marks of the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed - one holy, catholic, and apostolic-but would have them gravitate exclusively around the primacy of the pope and thus, remain, to be frank, only guardedly ecumenical. And finally, the Orthodox churches of the East argue for the visible principle for unity, namely, the apostolic succession of the sacramental centered office and faithfulness to tradition. The most striking and perspicuous quests for unity and fellowship are those of a visionary nature. Movements whose principle of orientation painfully remind us of the provisional end of denominational separation in light of the eschaton (the end to come), which to varying degrees, seek to preempt the heavenly oneness in terms of a corporeal vision now. The World Missionary Conference of Edinburgh 1910 was the first grand scale initiative that incorporated as many church bodies as possible to materialize a vision of "world evangelization in this generation." It never happened. Christianity is perhaps further removed from accomplishing world evangelization than it was in 1910. But such a vision spumed on ecumenical movements such as the World Council of Churches (WCC) which, together with its subsidmy bodies, the International Missionary Conference (MC) and "Faith and Order," pursues the grandest ideal of unity of all: a koinonia that culminates "in one faith and in one eucharistic fellowship, expressed in worship and common life in Christ, through The firisconsin Synod's understanding of church fellowship is based on a "unit concept, covering ever). joint expression, manifestation, and demonstration of a common faith." Four Statements on Fellou~ll~p presented by the consfifumf synods of the Sywdical Conference for study and discussion (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, I-), 9.4447. Schulz: Fellowship Issues and Missions 165 witness and senice to the world."3 The Lausme Movement, founded in 1974, uniting all consemative evangelicals runs a close second, but with the intent of preserving a few more traditional doctrines for a united message to the world.4 The International Lutheran Council (KC), has become the voice of all confessional Lutherans in this world of which the LC36 is an active member.' It offsets the hegemony of the Lutheran World Federation's (LWF) unifying agenda and is, unlike the LWF, more content with just being a union of partnership churches rather than staking claims for an ecclesiology. Mission and Fellowship Comprge in Ecclesiology The Evangelical Lutheran Church places the question of fellowship in ecclesiology. The doctrine of the church is defined in the Augsburg Confession (CA), article W: "Likewise they teach that one holy church will remain forever. The church is the assembly of saints in which the gospel is taught purely and the sacraments are administered rightly. And it is enough for the true unity of the church to agree concerning the teaching of the gospel and the administration of the sacraments" (CA W, 1-2)P Here the issue of fellowship also converges with the mission of the church, which according to CA W is a "kerygmaticsacramental act." As the church reaches out to humanity, it, too, is bound to the purity of preaching the gospel and administering the sacraments. As it practices this, moreover, the question of unity and fellowship around these very marks 3 The KC corporeal interests are evident "It will be necessary to realize that the spiritual dimensions of catholic unity cannot be opposed to the visible manifestation of the Church as koinonia, but must be rethought to include all of its corporeal dimensions, including the intimate connection between the sacrament of the Eucharist and the sacramentality of the Churrh." Patrick W. Fuerth, The Concept of Cntholicity in lk Documents ofthe World Guncil qf Churches (Rome: Editice ANeImiana, 1973), 247. One may also see, Peter Steinacker, Die KerrnzachPn dPr Kirche (Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1982)' 50. + John Stott, ed., Mnking Christ Kncrum: Historic Mission Documents from the Lausanne Ahxmmt 1974-1989 (Grad Rapids. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 19%), xiii- Xiv. 5 The ILC has a membership of twenty-nine confessional Lutfieran churctres that embraces approximately three rnillion Christians. Though codssid Lutheran missions has taken a foothold all over the world for more than 150 years, many areas, as in former communist states, are encountering it for the first time. At Me last convention in ZWl, the LC36 deckid fellomship with three churches: the Lanka Lutheran Church of Sri Lanka, the Lutheran Church of Lah-ia, and The Luherm Church of Lithuania. 6 Robert Kolb and Timothy J. Wengert, eds, The Book of Concord: Ihp CaCafk_n'm~ of the Erangelzcal Lutheran Qrurdr, tr. Charles Arand, et at. ~plis: Fortress ks, m), a. 1 66 Concordia Theological Quarterly 70 (2006) become pertinent. This means that in pioneer situations where no other churches exist, Lutheran missions will speak on behalf of the church of Christ but it does so by purely preaching and rightly administering the sacraments. In this task, therefore, her goal is implied: Through preaching the Lutheran faith will emerge, and eventually develop fellowship around the truths of the gospel and the sacraments.' Where other churches exist, Lutheran mission will seek ways to underscore the ecumenical witness of the gospel. Simultaneously, it will limit its fellowship to those who also emphasize the truth of the gospel and the saaaments as the means God chooses to bring salutary faith. The mission of the church thus becomes a litmus test of the church's sense for a clear message and true oneness in Jesus Christ. The Evangelical Lutheran Church accepts an understanding of fellowship that plays itself out on a broader level, which embraces all . . Chmtmns who tnrly believe and confess the triune God. Since violation of this fellowship would be syncretism, fellowship must be withheld from those who use the name of the triune God in blasphemy, and as I will demonstrate, must avoid syncretistic notions by constantly being reminded of her faith in the triune God.8 Second, there is also a concentrated ideal of fellowship that embraces believers' concerns for purity and clarity of message a&, hence, seeks a visible fellowship with one another around a consensus of doctrines (umsensus de doctrim). The practical expression of this fellowship makrhkes in a wmmunio sacris, a fellowship around the holy or sacred hngs; a violation of this would be dehed as unionisn9 The Confessional-Lutheran Mission Sodety called Lutheran Church Mission (formerlv known as the Bleckaar Mission) adopted three important theses to indicate the confessional nature of her missionary task "The Lutheran church can pursue only Lutheran mission work," "Lutheran mission work can only be pursued by the Lutheran church;" and "Lutheran mission work must lead to a ~utheran church" Friedrich Wiklrn Hopf, ed., Lutheri-sche Kirche treibt Luthm'srhP Mission: Festschrift zum 75 jiihn'gen Juh'kium der Blechmrer Mission, 1892, 14 Juni 2967, Hrsg ~rn Friedrich WiUlelm Hopf (Bleckmar iib Soltau: Mission EvangeiisdtLuhrkher Freikirchen, 1%7), 13. 8 Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR), Theology of FelhJIip (St. Louis: The Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod, I%), 11. 9 The main, otliaal sources pertaining to the isme are: CTCR, Tlreology of Fellaoship; CTCR, A Luthpran Stance toulard Ecumism (St. Louis: The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, 1974); CPCR, The Nature and Implications of fhe Conqt of Fellazoship (St. Louis: The Lutheran Church-Missouri Sjmod, 1981); CTCR, Inter-Chrisiinn Relationships: An Instrument for Study (St. Louis: The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, 1991); CTCR, The Lutheran Unhtanding ofchurch Fellowship: Study hhterials and Summary (St. Louis: The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, 2000); CTCR, Lutheran Understanding of Schnlz: Felloyyship Issues and Missions 167 L The Broad View of Fellowship: The Doctrine of the Trinity in Ecclesiology The O.ne Holy and Catholic Church: Faith in the Triune God According to the watershed statements on the church made in Articles W and Vm in the Augsburg Confession-which, according to Sasse, were never as well articulated until that time in church history-the Evangelical Lutheran Church reflects a thm1ogical chariky that acknowledges the existence of a body of true believers within the segregated denominations of Chnstianity.'o They share a common faith in the triune God. This church is defined as the una sun&, the cangtegafio sancforum. The existence of he true faith that unites all believers is an article of faith and thus a my-stm'm known ody to God." And yet, while this true unity is seen only by God, the faith of this una mcta is believed to exist where there is a visible expression of faith, even if its lowest common denominator is the ecumenical creeds or similar statements made to that effect. It is no PIatonic entity; rather it exists wherever there is the preaching of the gospel and the administration of the sacraments. Theological concession to an ecclesial breadth stemming from the concept of the urn sancta has always been part of the theo10gical hentage of the Lutheran Church. It may be considered a provision of charity because it was, admittedly, defined against the backdrop of the declaration of Luther as a heretic. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Reformation emerged from a chwch body that cldd Christology with mariology and justification with meritorious practices. Still, the Augsburg Confession cod- a fenowship of faith that crosses all boundaries. One of the first attempts to provide a concrete assessment of this broad fellowship, while at the same time also casting a missionary perspective on it, came from an influential authority in the seventeenth century: the orthodox theologian Fellm&ip: Report urr Synodical Discussions (St Louis: The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, ZOUl). Further documents dating to fellowship issues are: CTCR Thwlogy and Pmctice of tfre Lord's Supper (St Louis: The Lutheran Church-h.iissouri Synod, 1983); CTCR Admission to the brdj Supper: Bush ofBiMical nnd ConCon&~~l Tenclung (St. Louis. 7he Lutheran Church -Missouri Synod, 1999). = Hemrann Sasse, "ICkhe und -" in Credo Ecclesiarn (Giitasloh: Bertelsmann Verlag, lm), 357. " The CTCR, Lutheran Undmtrmding of Qlurch Fellou~ship (2000), 4, for example acknowledges that the "the Holy Trinity is the source and pattern for the fellowship Christians have with one another in the 'one holy Christian and apostolic a\&," Although much 04 hat faith is ad as a given and not explained any furtfier. 168 Corulordiu Tlreobgical Quarterly 770 (2006) and famous hymmlogist at Hamburg, Philip Nicolai (1556-1608).'? In his book entitled Cornmenturii de regno U~nsti (Commentaries on the kingdom of Chist, 1597), Nicolai offers a panoramic survey of all regions of the world and chronicles how the remotest regions have already heard the preaching of the apostles. With somewhat incredulous descriptions Nicolai perpetuates the common tradition that the apostles had reached all parts of the world.13 Newly discovered regions such as Brazil, Peru, and the West Indies were also in possession of the Christian gospel, even if it meant only a breeze of it14 More important, however, is Nicolai's astounding ecumenical openness by recognizing the work of his opponents, the Roman Catholic Jesuits, who did work out of reach to Lutheran influence.f' He and others within orthodoxy had access to reports on mission work in the East such as those made in 1564 by a Jesuit missiomq to Japan, Johannes Baptista Montius. What Nicolai established from these reports was that the Jesuit missionaries were actually m&mg proper Urristians. They ascertained from these reports that they were instructing heathens in the fundamental . . Chmban doctrines such as the Decalogue, the Apostles' Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and Baptism; they also abstained from the errmmus docki~es on the primacy of the pope, purgatory, indulgences, and merits. The faculty of Wittenberg in 1651, almost one hundred years later, similarly concluded that the Jesuits were not making papists "much less a Jesuit, but a " Willy He@, Dus Mjssioncdmkm bei Philip Nicohi (Hamburg Friedrich Wittig Verlag, 1962). Wolfgang GriiBel, Die Mission und die mngelische KircJle im 17. jahrhundprt (Gotha: Friedrich Ank Perks, 19%) 9. 13 This tradition rests on Ps 194-5; Rorn 10:18, Col 1:6, and in historic "ports attributed to the historian Ewbius of Caesarea (260-339). See GrW, Die ;Wcsion und die mangelkche Kirrhe, 8; and He%, Das Missiotr~~ bei Philip Nicnlai, 92. 14 He certarnlv displays innovative thought to prove his point: The Brazilians, though being under Cod's wrath for having rejected the preaching. still perpetuate a ritual that is ~~ent of the form of Baptism as can be seen from their pagan priests' conduct in their temples who still wed the signing of the cross. See Walter Holsten. "Die Bedeutung der altpmtshntidwn Dogmatik fiir die Mission," m Das Ernngelium und dip I.701ker. Beitrage zur Geschid~te und TlzeoriP der Mission (Berlin-Friedenau: Verlag der Buchhandlung der Goswrkxhen Mission, 1939), 148-166. fi In the &enteen~h-cenhq, colonies and foreign lands mnained in Spanish and Portuguese hands and, in accordance with the cuis re@, eius religio agreed upon in the peace of Augsbq of 1555, Lukans had no claim on them. In contrast, the Rom catholic Ch&h &sued missions actively and expansively. To avoid &array and confusion within the ranks of its monastic orders as to who is to go where, Pope Gregory XV in 1622 passed the "Congregatio de propaganda fide," to streamhe its mission; Griikl, Die Mission und dip ernngeIidw Kirdw, 10. Sch* Fellowship Issues and Missions 169 Christian just as we are."l6 Such ecumenism was not out of the ordinary for Lutherans, nor was it a wholesale dismkd of its own particular doctrines. Lutheran orthodox). stood firmlv rooted in the tradition of the Augsburg Confession (CA VII), and thus considered that the preaching and the sacrament were still going on, and people still had faith in the triune God.'; This professed unity is incredibly important for relations to remain conciliatory on the mission field. It would be a mistake to consider the existence of this Christian fellowship as totally invisible without to some degree requesting proof of the veracity of the faith in the triune God and its practices. For against a confessed faith to the triune God and on the basis of its practice, Lutheran mission measures all ecclesial acts such as Baptism, Holy Communion, ordination, and joint prayer. Generally, if they pass the test, we accept their validity and refrain from actively proselytizing such Christians. As is well known, Baptism performed by other denominations is accepted less grudgingly by Lutherans than Holy Communion In the former, the validity rests on the words of institution in the name of the triune God, which w-e recognize is still confessed, whereas in the latter there are other weighing factors. Holy Communion as celebrated by Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox churches is generally accepted as efficacious, but whether the same applies to the Reformed is more difficult to sayP In the case of the churches of the l%Grc.jlM, Die ,%%_;ion und die mmgeliwhe Kirche, 84-89. JohBnn Gehd's evaluations are not much different "Ek his apparet, Jesuitirc in primis Chri~fianae ~~1igonis rudimentis trndendis a Pmztificiic trdintrihs et superstitionibus ~ihi temperare ac .fun&menta~ilrrcs Chricfirmae nrtimlk irnbu&, demIogn, -ynhlo "p"5tolic0, arafiDne Dominica mediocriter infmmtol baptixre, ut du&iurn nullum sit, pum plurim h- ratione Chris& lum:fki, pi pnpalia dqgmata pel non intrlligunt, ml in tentutiaum lgne d+ciunt," Lcx5 Theobgzci, ed. Preuss (Berlin: sumtibus Gust. Schlauritz, I$@), D:G2 See also Gal, Die i'IZi~~ion und die wangelisdze Kirdw, 18,89. :*- HeR, Dec %Gssh-- bpi Philip Xicolai, 160461. Though Nicolai's rnissiological influence was lost during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) and thereafter, his miss* ecclesiolog~r received renewed attention some two hundred and fift)- rears later by Willdm Liihe who cited major portions of "De Regno Chricfi" in his Three bookc about the Church, tr. ed. Jarnes Schaaf (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1969). Christian Ureber, ~=sionstfmlogie h5 WiUwlm fi: Au,@uch -ur Kitihe riPr Zukunft (Giitersloh: Giikrsloher Verlagshaus, 19961, 295. H&, Dm Missimdenh ki Philip Xicolai, 17-18. U'erner Rert picks up this moment of both Nicolai and L6k by caIIing it the "Ck@ impaapaa (mungeIisollPr An-tz) of Protestant Lutheranism, The Structure @Lutheranism, tr. U'aIter k Hansen (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing How, 1%2), I:385. lP Hermarm hsse, "Aben-gem-, Ghgern- und kkhkk FGderation," in Statu hefi.sionis, ed. Friedrich WikeLm Hopf (kh and Weswig- Holstein: Verlag die Spur GMBH & Co. Chrisdiche Buchhandels, 1976), R2@. The 170 CON& mological Quarterly 70 (ul06) Radical Reformation, any notions of a possible presence of Christ are completely removed by their disuse of the words of institution.19 What makes matters more confusing is that ~~c churches have emerged all over the world, particularly in Africa and South America, where the confession of the triune God, the centrali? of Quist, and the sacraments merge with active ancestor worship and animal sacrifice.m The missitmay sacrament of Baptism and the faith m the triune God is often concealed by such questionable practices. Upon close examination in mcreto, one discovers both confession and practices that are far removed from the faith confessed at the ecumenical couIlriIs and Chalcedon. One wonders, whether under such instances the salutary faith of the urn sancfa, could even exist. We would do well as Lutheran Cfrristians to respond to our mission obligation and alert others where such danga lurk. The church of today, is challenged more than ever in the area of Christian faith and fellowship in the triune God. Modem discussions on this subject draw our attention to this fact as well. RPaisiting the Doctrine of the Trinity in Contemporary Discussions Karl Rahner in his seminal tract, Ilw Trinity, observes that Wtians are hasically impotent to confess their faith in the triune Cod lucidly on the basis that: "Christians are in their pradical life, almost mere 'monotheists.' We must be willing to admit that, should the dockhe of the Trinity have to be dropped as false, the major part of religious literature could well remain virtually unchanged."n Rahner has a point, esp&a& in view of popular Unitarirtn expressions of Gad found even among Lutherans. incongruity between the two saaaments would be less evident, if one were to accept the valid? of both !kuaments on the basii of Luther's (and Augustim's) prh5pAe that "when the word is added to the element, a sacrament dts" (SA ID, vi, 1). 19 In South Africa the Refonned Anabaptists (known as the l3opp-s) celebrate communion without the use of tfie words of institution. %See J. S. Amanze, Botsuwna Ha- of Churdres (Gab-: Pula Press, 1994). Karl RahneT, 7h Trinity, tr. Joseph Domeel (New Yo& Herder and Herder, l970), 10-11; Carl E. Braaten, No OihPr Gospel: Qlnsrirmity among the World's Religions (Minneapolis: Fortrrss Press, 1992), 105. Carl Braaten quotes Dietrich Bonhoeffer who, after his xisit to the United States, observed this about Mcan theoAogv, which is by and large in want of a definitive auistoIog?.: "The r-on of On&xistology is characteristic of the whole of mt-day American theology. Christianity basically amounts to religion and ethics in American theology. Consequently, the person and work of Christ fall into the background and remain basically not undastood in this theology.'' Dietrich Bodmeffer, "Protestantismus ohne Reformation," in Ckwrnmelte Schriften, ed. Eberhard Bethge (Munich: Christian Kaiser Verlag, lm), 353-354, quoted in Braam No Other Gospel, 15. Schalz: Fellowship Issaes and Missions in Naturally, classical Christianity is categorized as a monotheistic form of belief, but if it is not cadd, warns bhner, QuisWty's monotheistic form of belief could become ils Achilles' heel. The mot of this problem lies in Christianity's dogmatic system w- Rahner claims, the doctrine of tfie Trinity occupies a rather isolated position. . . . To put it crassly . . . when the treatise [on the Trinity] is concluded, its subject is never brought up again . . . It is as though this mystery has been revealed for its own sake, and that even after it has been made known to us, it remains, as a reality, locked up within itself. We make statements about it, but as a reality it has nothing to do with us at aILD For other contemporary scholars such as Wolfhart Pannenberg, Robert Jmn, and Carl Braaten, Flahds invective has struck a cord, and in debating the subject further they have encountered a basic deficiency in the doctrine of tfie Trinity that applies to both the theologies of the East and West-a The doctrine of the Trinity in Western tendo om rests on a platform of struggIes against false concepts of the Trinity as dwe separate and independent gods, which resulted in the d&me of the unit>' of God: a monotheism that argues for an essential union of all three persons in the one true God. The Trinity thus becomes only of inkrest insofar as they ad se agree with the one divine essence of the triune God: Christ is homousios with the Holy Spirit and to preserve the third person's essential union he is confessed as "proceeding from both Son and Fak."24 From this divine unity, which is either viewed as Spirit (John 4:24) or as love (1 John 459, the West derived the plurality of Me &tzh pasons. The East in turn sees Me unity in the mdy of the Father. In the end, the Father is tfie persord God who is the source of both San and Spirit The Father alone has the freedom and privilege to be irreducible and becomes the only fbns (source) in the divinity. " Raker, Thp Trinify, 14. Wolffar& Pammberg Syskm~tir w, trtr. Geow- W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids: William B. Ekrdmms PuMisfiing Co., 1!99l), L36-336; RRobe W. Jmn, "Die trinitarkk Ckmdlegung dm hlogie. &tli.che und we&liche TriniMtslelue als ij- Prowern," Luk und die trim'taTisdre Idtion. Oh- uHd Phi--& Pw, Vmq der Luh-Akademie Ratzeburg Vol. 23 (- Martin Luk Verlag, I%), 9-23. See also Carl E Braaten and Robert W. Jenson, eds., -timr L)opnutirs (Philadelphia: Fartress Press, l%), k135-161. " See the decisions made bv the Cod of Nicea (325 and the Cod of Ccmstantirqle (381). 172 Cdia Theological Quarterly 70 (2006) Both of the above presentations have tfieir shortcomings: that of trying to derive the Trinity from the person of the Father, or the unity of the divine substance. The East looked at the West dumbfounded, unable to accept their scheme as anything ok than modalism; the West equally perplexed looked at the East as supporting subordination ism.^ Consequently, Pamenberg raises his concerns ova the systematic procedure the West has so readily assumed, namely, that of deriving the Trinity from the divine substance. Any talk about God that puts the doctrine of unity first that then advances by way of derivation to the Trinity could lead to the false assumption "that the trinitarian statmamts must seem to be more or less superfluous and an extend addition to the doctrine of the one God."26 If one actually follows this method, one should guard against the possible misconception of stating explicitly beforehand "that what is said about the unity is in itself insufficient" and "that trinitarian statements [must] supplement what is said about the one God."P Even the sixteenth- and seventeenthentury church fathers of Lutheran Orthodoxy, though speakkg of God within the framework of special revelation, began with Old Testament mon&ism and deTived the a-tes of God from the concept of God as supreme being or spirit- Only then would they advance to the dockrim of the Trinity. Thereby they, too, could not protect themseves from a misconception "that the one God can be better understood without rather than within the doctrim of the Trinity." This in turn conveyed the false impression that "the latter seams to be a superfluous addition to the concept of the one God even though it is reverently treated as a mystay of revelation"= Within a mission context, moreover, one is reminded of the words of Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760), who, as far as his 3 Pmbag, Systpmotic Theology, k29& "Any derivation of the plurality of trinitarian persons fmm the essence of the one God, whether it be viewed as spirit M love, leads into the problems of either moddkm on the one hand or mbordinationkm on the otfrer". SimilaT3y, Braaten, No Other Gospel, 112: "The . . . method of skating with the assumption of unity in the in- of a strict rn~~#)~m-whetfw of Javish, Greek, or Roman provenance-led to the Arian and Sabellian hies. Because the Western Latin tradition began with the assumption of unity and then proceeded to inquire into the Trinity it has produced an unstable record on the Trinity that has threatened to unravel into unitarianism with its lower accompanying Arian Christology, in which Chist is sometfung lower than God." 26 Pannenberg, Systematic TheorogY, 11283. 0 pmberg s~sfem~tic ~heolagy, ~m-283. 3 Pannenbag. Systpmntic Theology, lrn. Srhulz: Fellowship Issues and Missions 173 Christolog is concerned, ma!- still be considered a LutheranB He addressed his missionaries overseas, tcho were in the process of compiling a general catechism for the heathen (1740) with the following instructions and cautionac- words. He alerts them to two false methods of proclaiming the gospel among the heathen: 1) that one tells them too much about God and nothing about the Lamb and his reconciliation; 2) that in proclaiming the gospel one tells them first about the Father and then about his Son. "Therefore" he advises, we want henceforth to preach to the heathen first that the Creator of aU things, God, in whom they believe from nature, became man and poured out His blood for us. Aftencards, when they believe in His death and wounds, one savs to them that God has a Father, etc. . . . If one tells the heathen first about the Father and then about the Son, then one makes them into Arians who want to go directly to the Father and pass by the Son, but certadx- no one comes to the Father except through Him. At the same time, they &t an idea of subordination (i.e. that the Son is less than the Father). Although to some extent it has a basis, it is fittir~g onIy before brothers and sisters who look into the depth of the mvster).." I do not plan to equivocate the dockine of the TriniG-. To be sure, Chrktianit!-'s talk of God is alwax-s reflective of who God is as it engages the unbelief on the mission field: The nature of that talk depends on the context and is certainlv different from a pure 5)-sternatic reflection on the triune God in the c1as;room. Nevertheless, Zinzendorf and contemporary discussions do at least bring to our attention that the widely accepted procedure of talking about God ontoIogicalI~; in seeking common views on the identih- of God has its shortcomings. The dialogue of seeking to build bridges is Addled with problems if the discussion precludes the economy of God as Father, Son, and Holv Spirit and, especially, the status of Christ. If Christ is inserted at a later point, how could he be understood other than subordinate or peripheral to the common notion of a god?'l - - 3 Ham Schr+-arz, U1nstc7I~hy (Grand &q?ids: \ViIliam B. Eer- Publishing Co., 1998), 179. 9 ed. \\-enter Raupp (Hrsg.), Jfissiarz in QarLh~tcctrn. I-e~r lftr RL~mticm ki zur It>l.Cmi~sicm&onf2rt")~~ 1910 (Erlangen: \-erlag der E\-ang.-Luth. Mission and Bad LieheU: \'erlag der Liebenzeller ?rlission, 1'#0), 167, Pamenberg, 5usttmtic 7hrolcq. kLW. Studies in t?x comparison of religions do in fact demonstrate that most religiom have incorporated Christ in some form or another into their belief system. Thk would potentially opn up the economic Trinity for inter- religious dialogue. God could simply be spoken of-as the Sew Testament Ckpd narrati3-es por&av him. rather than king caught up in the usual philosophic debates about the being of God. Certain]!-, Christian talk of Father, Son, and Hal!- Spirit may Any talk of God, therefore, should speak of him as he revealed himself in the economy of salvation (Heil-komie). Speaking about the divine unity before the revealed economy of the triune God is provisional talk. Only after it has been presented in detail should one proceed to the unity and attributes of the divine essence. Pannenberg nrggests this procedure and actually follows it for his own Systematic nteDIogy: To find a basis for the doctrine of the Trinity we must begin with the wav in which the Father, Son, and Spirit come on the scene and relate to o& another in the event of revelation ...Christian statements about the one God and his essence and attributes relate to the triune God whom we see in the relation of Jesus to the Father. They can thus be discussed onlv in connection with the doctrine of the Trinity.= In the economy of salvation, moreover, the persons do not function as mere modes of being but adxdly as centers of action They present a concrete and intrinsically differentiated life within the unity but never beyond its essence. The Cappad& rule guards against possible tri- theistic notions: "the extemaI operations of the Trinity are indivisible," that is, they do not divide the essence of God. In this smse,"the doctrine of the Trinity is in fact concrete mono~"33 Learningfiom Luther and the Confessions The preceding presentation was not inserted merely for the sake of adding length. While it simply broaches the topic of modern discussions and forgoes the important task of discussing its scriptural and doctrinal propriety, its sentiments resonate with much of what Luther says about God in the Large Catechism, though with one important distinction: the nature of fellowship with God. We are given insight into the vestiges of the Trinity (oestigia Trinitatis): how he enacts fellowship and how he maintains it with the believer. Though often sc& for fMhg with tri-theism and for breaking the traditional twelve-fold division for a threefold, Luther did so, I believe, not only for pedagogical reasons but to offer insight into God, which was until then argued more or less in an almost philosophical way (as monotheistic). The external trinitarian works, as he describes them are not just incidental or salient variables. On the contrary, Luther makes presuppose a prior understanding of god. It is oLRious1y the God of Israel who -ealed himself as the one and only God for whom they struggled against the prevalent gods m their religious surrounding, and then, more specifically and especdly, the same Christian God who revealed himself in Jesus Christ. 32 Pannenfwg, Systemtic Theology, 1.299. 33 Pannenberg, Sysfemafic Theology, k335. Schdz FeUowship Issues and Missions 175 cormete staternents of God, statements which CA I makes only in abstract ways. Luther opens up a scheme that brings the believer concretely and existentially into a kllowship with the triune God and not only in a purely conceptual way. As %&mr notes: "The Trinity is not for us a reality which can only be expressed as a doctrine. The Trinity itself is with us; it is not merely given to us because revelation offers us statements about it. Rather these statements are made to us because the reality of which they speak is bestowed upon us."% In Luther's threefold presentation, the mystery of the Trinity is a mystery of salvation. The conversation here is about how Cod is not removed from us in heaven but is here on earth in fellowship with us. To use modem terminology: God is discovered in discourse." This begins chistocentric, or better crucicentric, centering on the redeeming work of Christ in whom we see a loving God and not the anp and terrible judge.% But Luther does not remain a christomonist, engaging in a "unitzimisrn of the second article;"3; he is quick to add the economy of the Spirit "neither could we know anything of Ch%& had it not been revealed by the Holy Spirit"38 For without the Spirit even Chtist's work would ha\-e "remained hidden and no one knew of it, it would have been all in vain, all lost" (LC II, 38).39 The belie\-er is thus told that he is taken up into the fellowship with the triune Cod as he relates to ecclesiology. Ihe church frrnctions as mother, it incorporates and nurtures the faith of every €histian "through the Word of God" "which takes place through the holy sacramen& and absolution as well as through all the comforting words of the entire gaspel" (LC II, 42,54)M For thiS reason the triune God and the community of believers cannot be separated; their conrwction has missiological and soteriological implications." The believer is brought into - - - - - - - - - " Ratmer, m Tri7rity, 39, a. 3 Jenson suggests this term in place of ttre term mp~tion; BraatEn and Jertson, Chrktian Dogmatics, E470. 3 ". . . H-e could ~-er come to remgnk the FaWs hvor and grace brae it not for tfre LoRDChskt, who isthe minrrrof&FaWsW Apart From him vrreseemthing but an angry and teniMe judge" (LC IT, 65); KoIb and Wengert, Emk qf-d, 44.0- A phrase coined by H. Rkbrd XieMu, see Braaten and Jeslxnt Christian Dopatic5, Ern. Braaten and Jeman, Christian -tics, I:-. 5 KoIb and Mrengert, Book of (bncord, 436. "For w-hse Christ is not peached, there is no~ol~~piritto~te,call,artd~k~~tian&~apart&~&m,one can come to the brd Christm (LC U, 45); Kolb and Mi- Bwk $Concord, 436. KoIb and R1eng&, &lok OfWmd, *,.u8. "Of this community I also am a part and member, a participant and cwpartner in ~~hlessingsitpssesses.I~~brou&t~o itbytfreHolySpiritandinco~tedinto itW~@~faatfiatIhaveManddhGod'sWo~whichistfre~ paint for enterkg it" (LC LT, 52); Kolb and Ww &mk uf Cmcmd, 4%- this fellowship and any separation from it would be an exclusion also from salvation (L.C I7,66)P \%%ere the church remains true to its proclamation, salvation is found. One is amazed today how this premiw is abandoned across denominations, em among Evargelicals, for a greater inclusiveness.~ Against the backdrop of an economic Trinity and an ecclesiology along with it, Christianity confesses an exclusive trhitiwim faith of an ecclesiocentric nature, which is explicitly defended already in the Athanasian Geed apmt mon~tic proposals of other kinds.% IL The Concentrated View of Fellowship: A Z)ocfrinal and Saaamental Reality Establishing Criteria for Fellowship Luther backs his ecclesiocentric perspective with a trinitarian tfieolw. The church serves as the custodian over the word through which the a Kolb and \Y*, 5mk qf Gncord, 440. To be sure, Ludwr's d& of vocation reminds us that Chr&hm are m every facet of their life in worship and fellowship with ttre triune God as his explanation to the First Comrnimdment holds: "An-ything on -&iih your Irearf relie md m. I q, that 1. reuliy your Giui" (LC I, 3); Kolb and Bod nf Concord, 386. * Though a Roman Catholic, Paul F. Knitter, in No Other Same? -4 Critiial Sur;.erl @f Uzrktinn Attitudes Tm-ard fhp Wrld Religions (Mqknoll: Orbis Books, 19%) qxesmts Protestant riews. A notable evangelical is John Sanders, No OfhPr Xm: An fnmtigufion info t/re Destiny qfh Umngelized (Grand Rapids. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1992). A survey of the position of Evangelicals is given in Grrgor)- A. Boyd and Paul R. Edd>-, Ams tfin Specfrurn: Urde&unding Issues in Exngelicol Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, m2). For the more traditional, exclusive arguments, om maF see Peter eerhaus. "Theologirh Verstehen nichtcWcher Religionen," Kerygmn und Dop 35 (April/Juni 1989): 106-127. See espeady his appraisal for past traditional chisbcentric supporters such as Karl Heim, Karl kh&m&b, Hendrik Kraemer, and Gerhard ~osenk-ak. * Unlike Luther. C4 I confesses God abstractlv: ". . . there is one divine essence . . . . Yet, there are th persons, coetemal and of the same essence and power" (C4 1,2-3); KoIb and U'engert, Bwk of Cmcord, 37. In doing so, however, it does not dismiss the ecciesiological implicatiom. For an exclusion from fellowship w<& the triune God is, at the same time, also an exclusion from the catholic hi& (from which the Mo- are also dismissed). After all, the artide frames its statement with "the chmhes among us teach . . ." (Ecc~sUIP mup cmmu npud m ¢. . . ; CA 1,l); Kolb and Wengert, Bwk qf Conmrd, 37. The Ahmsian Creed repeatedly makes statements to the dect-hat "whoever wants to be saved must, above all, hold the catholic faith" (Att.ianasian Creed, 1-2,26,27,4); Kolb and Wengert, Book of Concnrd, 24-25. People might obpct and insist that individuals could also live as Christiam without being in immediate contact with Me chun% Such lone individuals with a faith in Christ probably exist- It would, nexmtheless, be difhdt to fathom that tky became Chris- without an! contact with the church See Otto mr, "Die evangelische Kirdtenfrage der Gegmwart," in Credo Eciles~am, ed. Hans Ehrenberg (Giitersloh: C. Bertelsmann, 1930), 87. Sddc FeIlowship hues and Missions 177 triune God bestows his fellowship (GI m.6 It should be obvious then why the Evang~lical Lutheran Church has singled out the marks (notae peek) to define her dcwtrk of fellowship. Unlike all other activities, the preaching of God's word and the administration of the sacraments are the source and definitive means for other activities. Fellowship is theocentric not anthropocentric, dynamic not static, a gift rather than a work. The marks are the dividing line in the church between that which is holy and that which is profane. They establish an &ern& ccmrrnunio in To be sure, there is often a broadenimg of the marks with what one may call other attributes.* A classic case of contention is prayer, as Hennann Sasse rerninds us: The question when and under what cimmsta~les joint prayer is possible cannot ke answered for certain But it should be stated that the celebrated prayer in the church's liturgy as pver of the Wv of Christ was seen since early times part of the communicatio in &, as the practice of the early church shows in which the prayer bgetkr with the euchrkt was held behind dosed doors and argued horn Mt. 66.47 The clarity with which fellowship around the marks is argued is noticeably absent in the question of prayer* This is partly because the histor)' of the LCMS reveals that its leaders at official meetings would at times abstain * KoIb and Ww Bwk Ljhni, 47. * Peter Steinacker, Die dPr Kirche: ei~ Stu& zu ihrer EinfLeif, HeifigkPrt, KathoIizitrft und ApmtoIizitrit, Theoloejschg Biiotek Topplemmn 38 (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1982), 28-29, In ttris serrse, the rejection of the LCA6's Cmstitution of all forms of unionism and n?mptism relates directly to the marks of Me church These prohibitions are "a) serving congregations of mixed confssion by ministers of dte chd b) Taking par! in tfie &es and sacramental rites of kkmdox congregations or of congregations of mhed codessim- c) Participating in heterodox tsad and missionary actixities are all related to tfie peachg of dte Gospel and Me lrteans of grace. (Art \Z 2)" 71he Lutfieran Ctruxh-Misxruri Synod, 11998 (St Lu- Church-.Mismuri Synod, I-), ll; CITR Lutfiemn Understanding of GUT& Felbdrp, MOO, 28. h, In St& Conconk*, I1240. In fact the CTCR corroborates this okration mi& rdm-mces to the Council of Laodicea, latter half of fcwth century, m-hkh forbade prayemi&e in its Eizmn XXXIII: "XO~ shalljoininpra~awi&M or sJskmab." CKR, hlogy OfFel-, ZL ~Frorn~0115mitfitfieW~~~Lu~ch~defineit as an hie- ht results fmm fellowshp already in place with God and with one another. Prayer is a Emit of faith, and &us a level lower &an that of the pre;tching of God's word and the administration of dte sacranwnts. This point continues to be made by Lutheran hrrrches in view of tfie Wironsin Synod's understanding of church fdb~5hip as a "unit concept, cmvrmg every pint -on, -tion a& demonstration of a common faith" See Four ~ta&ts on ~ehrdtip, 9.44-47. horn joint prays with leaders of ok dmmimtiom, even as dose as those from the Iowa and Ohio S+. Atstinmce from prayer in such imtance was used as a tool to eqrss one's dissatisfaction with the dackhd positions of the otlw partv.49 Prayer is God talk, addressing the triune God and thus dm& a context wftere such God talk is possible- By implication, joint prayers * place beyond such a context would have to be dismissed.3 Unfortunatelv, this view is easily abandoned for tfie sake of making prayer an eva~~&l&ic tool to witness one's faith to others. That would broaden the context ccmsiderably. But to have it assume a role as a means of grace, the preaching of the gospel, is indeed problematic." At best, one should regard it as a preparntw ezlmgelica, a petition to the triune God in the context of wmhip that he may open the harts and minds of the callous for the truth found only in Jesus Uwkt. Feuowship is seen particularly under the aspect of worship and the means of grace, but it is understood confessionally and doctridly." Though the doctrim mmgelii in CA VII is a smgdz tenn and pMy associated with the doctrine of justification, it permeates and influaces all other articles.5z Moreover, the Mna mmgelzi is the apostolic teaching, 49 This was argued with the use of Smptme and Lrom artides on that nrbprr see examples in Erwin L. Lueker, ed., Lufheron Cyrlopedin (9. Louis: Concordla Publishing House, 1954), L%. =&-tLutheranChurch inGmmany (hmwnastheSELK) hasin its recent official stas on Qnistian relations with M* in Germmy explicitly . . drmus~ed any joint -ces and prayer with adfterrnts of the Islam religion; See .. . Sebhdqp Evangdkb-Lutkkkn Kirche (SELK), Weguvisung $r Emgeliscfr- Lu%dre Christen filr dm Zusmndh mif h4uslimen in DeuM (Harmova. sel- E~+L~- -, am). 7. 3 Unfortunately, the CTCR operrs the door to such a thought by slating in regards to pint prayers at avic -en- "Tkse dons may pmvide opportunity to wiimss to the Gas@-" CTCR Ldzemn L2ndemfmrding ofchurch Few (2001), 10. " Such indications were always part of the church as Elert rightly points out with rgprd to the early church See CTCK, Tk httsmm UhWtng qf Uzurdr Few (ZOO@, u. " ffCR ThPobgy of Fellozmhip, 25. Hermarm Sasse sees unity possiMe only m an aepanent an all & &les of the Lutheran Confessions as tmeyrelate to the churcfily acs of p- *g, and the saaamm%. His negative opinion on the Brief Statement of the LCMS is renowm& see Sasse, In Statu Con&siOni~, EB7. Leif Gram holds a minimalist approach and dismisses any confessional reading of the doctn'na etymgdii because it stands in *iolation to Melanrhtfion''~ original k&r& which dden the ktire & ~LXMM mgelii (to agree concerning the teachings of the gospel) as refag to pmcbmation alone and r#rt to ccnrrct doctrine or sam&&g similar. Rather, aaodng to Grane, the CA could be characterkd as prt+canfessiodi& and pre- scfiiml and &us in no way envisions nor encompse the idea of a confession as a line of demarcation d orre denomination from mother. Lmif Gm, Ihe Augsbrrrg Cimf;.sian. Srhalz: Fellowship hues and Missions 179 the ta didaskalia, that is truthhdly explained in all articles of the Lutheran Confessions. CA X is, therefore, not an illegitimate aggrandizement of the dcrcfim mmgelzi but its corroboration: "For this reason the churches are not to condernn one another because of ddfaences in ceremonies when in Chistian freedom one has fewer or more than the other, as long as these churches are united in teaching and m dl the articles qf the faith" (SD X, 31).x Fellowship demands a confessional amt in aE artides of the faith as the church preaches (teaches) the gospel and administers the sacraments, which is pulpit and altar fellowship. From this emerged the noli tangere (do not touch) policy that also took &kt on the mission field. Ties with Lutkran mission societies of Leipzig, H-burg, and Neuendettelsau were severed. The LOdS mission work kegan with missionaries who defected to it from the Leipzig mission society. Franz Mohn and Theodor Nather among others disagreed with form mission colleagues on the mission field in India over doctrines such as verbal inspiration, &e&agungslehre (conferring the office), the status of the congregation in relation to church, and whether the pope is the antichrist. Both missionaries were enthusiasticaIly embraced and sum by the LCM3.5 Since then the mission field became the testing grounds for confessionalism in practices such as Bapism, exchange of pulpits, Holy Communion, and mixed marriages." In the discussion of fellowship the Evangelical Lutheran Church pays dose attention to the My of docirks (corpus do~~nne). The LM also has adopted tfie traditional orthodox division of the articles of faith (&mZi CLIfi&i). Thev were divided into a hierarchy of doctrims secondary KoIb and Wengert, Boak @Concord, 64; emphasis added. William J. M, ,"tnto All the World," in Mmzng Fmtim: Readings in the Histmy qf r)Ic? Lutheran Chur&-fi~ri Spd, ed. Carl S. Mwer (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1964), 299-303; firilldm Ckhler, Gedridrte dpr Deubdm Emgdi* fision (~adaa-~a ~~m F~~~OIZ, 1%9), I: m-ZLZ Fred W. Meuser's analysis also includes tfie LCMS's and its pv- dr& qinian of practice on the mission field, see "Das Roblem der Kind- und unter Lutk-anem in AmmSca," KirdrP ud Abendnsatrl. Studien und DokumenMion mr Frage dpr Abend~~gemeinxhnnxhnft irn Luthertum,ed Vilrnos Vajta @&in and Hamburg: Lutkrkks Verlaghus, I%), 211. Notwi~~ frequent critickwi from within Rlch as Edward L Amdt (1%1929), in hkwing Fmh, 306; and Dean Lucking. Mission in the Making (St Louis, Concordia Publishing House, 1%3), %.hi& is the of a comtani @t critque of the W ~sc~onalmission~. 180 Concordin Theological Quarterly 70 (#)(16) fundamental articles such as Baptism and Holy Communion were sorted around the primary fundamental articles like the d& of justification and the doctrim of the Trinity (arficuli fundmnenM& et nun fundmnentak). Ard the were clustered the mn-fundd dodrims, such as usun., which, though not a matter of indifference, do not if held in error necessarily terminate fellowship. J3ws.e distinctions within the artides of faith underscore the feliatv extended to those who, despite being subjected to abhorrent errors, w& still believed to be in possession of the salutary faith." More irnportantlv, however, this hierarchy in the fundamental articles of faith does not ktablish the des for fellowship, 3 that is, as if the primary fundamental ones were all that is needed. Certainly, Lutheran orthodoxy and the Lutheran Confessions always put Jesus first, but fellowship was not addressed with a minimalistic approach Fellowship practices on the mission field also reflected that concern. Baptism, even if it was defined as secondary fundamental, or only an ordained necessity, trecame the missionary sacrament for enacting fellowship: the wages of on@ sin and the Lord's command to baptize never removed its urgency. It remains the first visible enactment of fellowship with the triune God and the switch in dominion (Heftftaledw-% Thus the following rule for fellowship holds: Where the truth of the gospel and the saaaments are distorted through heresy, fellowship should not be practiced. At the same time, moreover, where the gospel has not been completely obliterated and the sacraments are still administered, there the una sancta also exists.60 Such a distinction is important for the practice of an inter-Christian relationship. Since missions takes its place in CA W as a kerygaaticsacramental ad it belongs to the communio in acn's, and thus can only be done by a Lutheran Church In distinction to this, 5 Lueker, Lufhan Cyclopedin, 320. See also Frands F'iepa, Ctr~~stian Dogmatics (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1950), I:80-93; and W. Rohnert, Die Dpfik der mngeli-xh-lutMs Kirche (Bramschw~eig and Leipzig: Hellmuth Wall- 1902), m 3 Cl-CU, Lufkrrm Understanding of Qzurch FeIIdip (2001), 4. 3 'Ihe Lutheran Confessions also have not vet appropriated such a disfincfion of the artides of faith. Baptism still rrmains an absolute necessity. The CA I1 and the SD XU, 11 dismiss all thoughts of mhing Baptism, even for chilh But the Evangelical Luutheran Church never followed that stringent line. Siding with Luther, it always took exception to the death of unbaptized children of Christian parents who are to be commended to the God of infinite mercy. See h8a-h Luther, "Sermon on John 19: 25- 37," in Luthers WerkP, Erlangen Second Edition (Frankfurt am Main and Erhngax Verlag von Heyder h Zimmer), 2,152. @ Sasse, In Statu Gm#ssioni.s, 11222'. Schalz: Fellowshin Issues and Missions 181 however, there are the matters of externals naakmg a moperatio in exbnis with other church bodies possible, where the true Evangelical Lutheran Church does not see its dackk and confession compromised or necessary for such inter-Christian action. This cooperation becomes a matter of -on and casukb-v and thus demands careful evaluation case by casecaSe61 Testing Fellowship with Holy C-.m The celebration of Holy Communion always becomes a test for the practice of church fellowship because of its central place in ecdesiology and is pwdly assaciated as the seal of agiement.62 Against the hackdrop of those who belong to kodox church bodies or among those who know the name of the triune God except in ignorance, a common missiological question is always this. "Should we admit someone who is not of our confession but who desires Christ in Holy Communion to participate in the altar" (1 Cor 1018), or should we dismiss him and send him back to where the individual comes from, to the false gods or to a church with heterodox dodrhes? Such a question dy poses tnro false alkmati~~es, assuming a terfium m datur. Practices of fellowship g~%~emed by ~~ visions often propose Gordian-hot solutions to a complicated issue. It should be obvious, narertMess, that lax practices in fellowship result ultimately in a counter-productive missionary witness of After cd evaluation of certain practices, Lutheran mission w-auld not engage m absolute separatism or isolation such as in mattas of Bible trmsIatio& -and humanitarian aid efforts. Xaturally, concessions tu such joint practices must be applied with ctixrrtion because it, too, could become subject to confusion and miscmeption See A Lutheran Stmrff tomd Ecu&sm, 11; and Inter-Chrtsi%m ~~,29,33.~Franzmann's~onbetweenMemextenured them khmm in this regard are not helpful. For the mtae ecckiae w-ere exkern&, too, but do not fit that category because of their indispemiabiliit).; see "What Kind of CoopeTation Is Possible of Dixussiom to Date?" in Tirard Cwperatirm Among Amerium Lu-c (St Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1%1), 18-22. 02 AUXES denominations the Eucharist is given central place m Me dhsion of fellowship. This is evident for Me BTCC in its CWKE statement ms_sion in Christ's kLrq "Mission in uni? requirrs Christians to work for the authenticity of the apostolic faith Doctrinal divisions, espe&lIv those that prevent the sharing of the eucharist . . . keep Ctuktians from making a common witness. The em&a&& which is Me most central sacrament of our faith, also is the place wk our divisions become nmst painfully apparent. . . . At the same time, in light of Me fact that manv people around us do not ex-en know the name of the Triune God except in blasphemy, we call in question the em&s debates and timpconswning preacmpations demadhg an 'open' eucharkt" klie Xewbigin, Missin in Mm, (&a: World Gnmdl of Chmdws, 1987, 7 I/. the church: It conveys the idea that variants to the gospel are allow-ed to coexist Holx- Chmmunion and its practice psuppuse orMy a preexisting Gclesial fellowship, and an a prion full amt in doctrine. Or&nadx7 because in view of confessional groups emerging within the state churches of Scandinavia, this principle might some dav be challenged. Even though the prospect that the LCMS and a ~candi&vian church mav enter fellowship, is highly improbab1e.a Gunk FVenz, in his TImlogy of the Confi!sswns qf the Lutheran Church, twists the ecclesiology of the Augsburg Confession to such a degree that it suppxdlv condones a heterodox communion fellowship. Standing in the tradition gf the henberg Conco~d of 1973, he condudes that participants have no obligation to cede anv of their doctrines or traditions while attending the Eus3xarist.M ~oli Communion is thus a declaration of fellowship ht unites all those in Christ (i.e. faith in the triune God), but simultaneousIv stands above all. differaces in dwirim, confes.sions, and teaching. In this sense, communion fellowship is considered as a remdhl means to assist in overcoming ecclesial dB-, if not also a means to ignore them. Equally disturbing are concepts of communion fellowship that are eclectic in their choice of doctrims and dismissive of okhzs. Robert Jenson, for example, in his much discussed Systematic 7hology approaches Roman Catholicism in propsing a Eucharist ecclesiology (what he calls also an menical cornrnuni~clesiolog?I) that gives the Eucharist central place. Protsknb will have little r- reason to sacrifice unity for truth if a few doctrkd differences were to be erased. Tn order to achieve the goal, he advances innovative corrections to a selected array of doctrines of his choice, which he considers as obstacles-the saints, Mar)., and the papal office-while other dodrks are made more or less dispensable.bj Conversely and just as problematic is the proposal from an evangelical front where the centrality belongs to pream but the Eucharist is placed on the hatchet block with the practice of open fellowship. Often the mnducatio irnpiorum (partaking of unbelievers) is invoked in this discussion, namely, that faith does not make the sacrament or the holiness Would the ordy interim solution ttten be a form of selective fellow-ship? That, too, must also be dismkd as the false alternative; CKR, The Nature ad Implicdions of the Ch+ cf FeWip, 27-32 M Gijntlw Wenz, Wlogie der BekenntnissschripPn dPr ewngeli-&-luthersirhe Kirche (5erlirc Walter de GeW, 1996), 134. +s Robert W. Jenson, Systenratic Theology: The Work qf God (New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), II:189-249. See also Braaten and Jmn, Ch+tinn Dognhcs, II:349-354. 5chdz FeUodp Issues and Missions 183 of the communicant. One is then referred to the great meals of Qrrist, his feUow-ship with sinners, and the large banquet to which people from all corners and streets were asked to come in Yes, thereby the ultimate criteria for admission becomes Christ's &ted grace or unlimited gospel. Consequently, that w-odd ekhate all attempts towards a practice of admission and discipline.& Naturally, one should not make fellowship an issue of theological sophistry or academic research. The LCMS's c-us doctrinne could invite the thought of inquisition, including that of its own members. To use a helpful Roman Catholic distinction, the! implicitn (blind obedience to the dwtrid position of the church) and the fides explicita (the faith that knows exactly all the dmtrines of the church)-often coexist.6: In regard to the realitv of a discerning faith, mav a nun liquet (not all is dear) policy even be considered, that is to sibr: Wlkn should a confession be considered good enough? with regard to Me fellow-ship of the altar, ~uther's quat to explain Christ's red presence as passionately as he did shows that a dear discerning faith between the Antiochatim or Alexandrinim theology matters in the practice of fellowship, * which would also include a proper dishdon of Christ's bodiIy presence (&a~pil,wv ~b crlrrpa, 1 Cor 1129). Pamenkg mmuslv takes I Corintbns 1127-31 far more leniently, proposing a ~elanchthonian solution, so to speak, to the mode of p-e: "Prerequisite for admission can only be that one seeks fellow-ship with Christ, that is the faith in the presence of Christ in the me& but not this or that theological interpretation of the mode of presence." On that basis it would also be far easier, as has become the fad in many circles, to support infant communion- "It is prm&sible as soon as a child can grasp the thought that Jesus is present in the celebration of the meaI as I+ CTCR, Theology and Practice ofthe Lord's Supper, 8. 67 The CTCR raises the important d? of "ambiguous denominationaiism" nithin the LCMS: "Contemporary denominations tend to ding to ttteir traditional official formulations of doctrim and ceion, but nittiout taking them literally or expeckkg tfreir coNtituents to believe, teacIz and conks them with any deg~~ of cmsisfznq-." In&-tin Relah*, 5. t" CFCX. Admksim to the Lai'_s Supper, 47. I find it ratha odd that a church historian such as Alister *Ma&rath fails to see the connection between sacramentology and ChristoI08)- in the tfieon M-een Lutherans and the Reformed. Differences in the sxrament mesitably also lead to Christolog!-. That connection was made soon enough in the Formula of Concord, .Wes III and \TI. See "Chistolog-: Cm Leaning fm Histmy," in k%'hn you wy tfurt I ~rn7 Chm5@ and tk Church, ed Dodd [Gad Rap& \$-W 8. kdnmns Pub- Co., 1999). 8% rny&erious as it rnay still Otfiets in this cdon seek to establish a self-examination of sorts that preempts confirmation and to validate their case draw attention to Luther's statement in the Large Ca* to the effect that Baptism and not cmtion is admission (bapfimw est ndmissw) to Holy Communion (LC V, 87.2 Communion fellowship is thus t& between two crud questions, should the Lord's Suppa be considered a means of grace or a mans of church discipline? Cerbidv the former is prefd over the latter, but tfwn again it is for those-who repent of their sins and seek a life in forgiveness. It is not a means to cheap grace that makes concession to a murky fideism. Communion fellowship also has ethical ramifications. On the rnission field, there is the tendency to over-moralize the issue of fellowship: nowxrnoking and abshme from alcohol often become a-iteria as well (e.g. btswana, Haiti, and in large areas of Asia). How om walks this path heen church discipline (dtxtrhd or moralism) and grace is a difficult one. Perhaps, one could solve this issue from the dwbim of justification itself: Repentance is important and not the works or virtues of an individual. The early church practice of communion fellowship has taught us to draw distinctions -een the miss cafechufflenonrm and the missa fideliurn. TI& was done pmxis~1y with the purpose in mind that while the church pursued its missiormy obligation to the world outside, it was also repmible to its own people.3 As the preaching of the word and Baptism establish a fellowship in the triune God, th.e fellowship wrought in the Lord's Supper is confessed as special to the urhdieving world.z 3 Wolfhart P-g, Sysfemnti* h@ (- Vandenhwdc & Rupxht, 1988), lE364,359,362; my franslation of the ori@ Gaman text 7 Kob and Wenp-t, Book qf Crmrrard, 476. Suggestions to this effect are made by Gottfried Martens, -"Die Teihhme von Kindern an der Heiligen Kommunion nach dem Urteil der Lufh-khn Bekem~" Luther& BeitrZge 7 (February 2002): 97- 108. 2 "The prachmtion of the Gcrspel extea& to all people, over the unbaptkd and haw. In the proclamation of tfie word the worsfiip service is open for all people. Holy Communion is only for the bapixd. When the church celebrates Holy Cimmiunion. the doors to the world are dosed . . . Holy Communion is the spffific mearzs of grace for the already constituted conununity of disciples. The most d (EigentGmlickfe) of the wow service is mmgrnmble only in Holy Communion," Peter Bnmmr, "Das Wgen des ickhkfien Cdksdienstes," PRO ECCLESM (Berlin and Hamburg. Lu- Verlagshaus, 1%2), k133. 73 Walter Freytag, Redpn ulld Au@ze: Herausgegeben zwn Jan Hannelmk und Hans Jodwr Margull, TB 1311-2 (Mihchn: C. Kaiser, 1%1), 228; and "Verleiblichung des Lek aus Schh Fellowship Issues and Missions 185 Nonetheless, the church has recognized certain openings and exceptions to the practice of dosed cornrnunion7~ The clearer the church preaches and teaches, the more it is willing to address individual cases. But what kind of concessions should apply and to whom? Apart from campus and wartime situations, the LCMS allows also for rare and diffirult situations of prwnai need and of being in a state of confession Discretion to such exceptional cases resides with the church's pastor^.^ Hermann Sasse will have none of these apply not even in the case of perimlo mhs (in Me peril of death). He considers participation a confession If exceptions apply, these would deck the important distinctions between the Lutheran and sacramentology as irrelevanLT6 Amid a diverse mix of denominational and religious pluralism, indifference, apostasy, and polifid theism, we are to acknowledge a broader fellowship, based on the existence of salbific faith in the triune God. This faith is in constant jeopardy and should not be presumed a given, as most fellowship documents do. It must be a constant topic of discrussion in all facets of the church's life in order to be explained suc~~ and lucidlv in the ecclesial and mission emiTonment. More importantly, such discussions are ecdesiologically (and rnissiologicall~) grounded for the believer. In the economv of the Holy Spirit, the church becomes, through its -ks of word and sacrament, the instrument of salvation and fellowship. Surh fellowship takes place in its concentrated form, where, partik1:- in worship, it beco- a matter of confession to this triune God. ?Ks confession, moreover, embraces the doctrine of justification with all other artides of the gospel. Fellowship is a matter of a confessional custodianship over the marks though which this triune God works. As was demonstrated from the practice of the feUowship of the altar, the church is, nevertheless, never free from its challenges and complications. Quistus. Die Bedeutung des Aben- fiir die Gemeinde, vom -Missionsfeld her gesehen," Reden und ..lufriit-s Chr. Kaiser Verlag, 1%1), k236-24%. Though as presious1~- stated the men& might find a formal parallelism in 0th religions, they are unique to Quishnity in knns of content and the coznhnation of word and action One ma%- see Hans-- Bath, -ti&: E~mgelidrPr Ghk im KntPIt dPr ~'eitrp~ighzm (Giitersloh: Christian Kaiser/Ciitersloh Verlag, M01 j, 587-588. 74 See tlte cases of Mon in aCR, Infer-firm &la*, 30-31; and CTCR, The Lutkmn Udtmrding qf CIrurdr FeIke ILOOI), 11. - ,- CTCR, Inte~Clr~tim R~Lrtirmdnps, 31-32, $3; aCR, Arfn&Gvn ~LJ firr Lord's Supper, fT, -* Sasse, In Stnhr CmrCmrtE-5i~~, k1B. I have chosen to speak of the missiun of tfie church by task rak than locality. There is some truth in the fact that "[mlissions is no longer understood as a thing which plays itself owt chk& on the outer edges of Quistendom, but instead as a way of life or, rather, as a lifesdyle for every . . Chmhm congregation within its particular surrounding."^ Wacing missions into the definition of the church obliges both pastors and missionaries as overseers of the word and the saaarnents to address issues of both missions and fellowship irrespective to their locality.~ In 1%5 the LEMS convention expressly p;rssed a resolution &at "the local Chm& and pastox are ultimately responsible for preaching of the Gospel, mg pure doctrine, and practicing fellowship."79 Preaching and the gospel are not mere incidentals in the life of the church, jumbled together at good will; the three are all hatrimly linked in the life of the church Later, the 19n LCM3 convention passed a resolution to this effect stating " "[jiffidt problems on the mission field are to be answered within the framework on tfie Synod's confessional stance."@ \'ok Stone, 7hp Church Coma fra? AIZ 3biim1~: Lufh Tats on ,Mi_.+m, tr. Klaus Detl- Schult and Daniel Thies (St Louis. Conmrdia Publishing House, M03), 3; See also David J. Borh Wi-- to the bVmld: The CRrisfian mis*-iun in -cnl perspdizx (Ah* John Krw* Press, 1980), 46. "Aftex all, the Geat Commision (Matt 28:19) explicitl>- says: 'Go ye therefore . . . .' The locality, not the task, decided W-&r . . someone was missionary or not; he is a missionary if he is commissioned by the Church in one locality to go and work elsewhere. The greater the distance between these two pIacg,thecleareritistfiatheisa~~." The @XCR observes: "one finds, all too often, tfiat gxksing Lutkram hold positions and policies at vmane witkt the official confessional positiom of tradihonal Lutheraninn". It then concludes that "[iln cont~ast to the mid-19th century won when the Missouri Svnod was founded and its ch~relations principles were first articulated, we can no longer assume that denominational clearly and My idemtifies one's do&%-& positions and convictions." Inter-CRzisiian RPktim, 4. CTa logy of FelbLoJlip, 46-10%. CTCR, A Lutheran Sfnnce taMrd Ecrcmeni-w, 49-108b.