Full Text for Editorial: Toward Denver (Text)

Vol. XSSIII Spring, 1969 0 . 1 TIIE SPRIXGFIELL)ER is published quarterly by the faculty of Con- cordia 'Theological Semindry, Springfield, Illinois, of the Lutheran ~ l l u r c h - ~lis;ouri Synod. EDITORI:4T2 CO%lhIlTTEE EI:IC:H . ~ I E I ~ T Z E S , Editor R , I Y ? ~ ~ O N D F. SURDGRG, Book Re?.iav Editor DAVII) P. ~ C A E R , 'tssociate Editor MARK j. STE ECE, L4.;.$ociate Editor PHESIIIEXT 1. A . 0. F ' B E ~ S , E X ~ f f i c i o Contents RF:SPOASES TO "THE L)OCTRIKE OF T H E CHURCH I N 'I'H F f_LyTHEl:rih COSFE,SSIC)SS'' I O H K F. IOHXSOX . . . . . 28 J~ar1:s \ ~ < E I S . . . . . . . 34 1nJc.ueci i ~ ; INDEX TO RELIGIOUS PERIODICAL ITERA-, published by the Amcricali Tl~eologicul Library :Issociation, JlcCor~nicls Se7ni>in?-? L~hrar?, Chicago. ; l l ~ ? z o ~ ~ . Clergy changcs of .~ddress reported to Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, Missouri, will also cover mailing change of The Syri~zgfielder. Other changes of address should be sent to the Business Manager of The Springfielder, Con- cordia Theologic,tl Seminary, Springfield, Illinois 62702. Address con~rnunications to the Editor, Erich H. Heintzen, Concordia Thee logical Seminary, Springfield, Illinois 62702. Editorial Toward Denver N THIS ISSUE the Springfield faculty is presenting a series of I studies on the subject tha t is uppermost in the minds of all of us as we approach the Denver Convention, namely, the question of fellowship with the American Lutheran Church. Our faculty has been shldying the essays prepared by the commissioners and are herewith presenting a series of reactions which had been presented to our faculty. They were received with such interest that we felt they deserved a wider audience. YoU will notice that there is a con- siderable range of opinion among the faculty From a position favoring fellowship to a position disposed to selective followship to a position calling for declining fellowship on the part of our church. W e are presenting these essays in o rde r to give the church an oppor- tunity to look at all sides of the question. We feel that in so doing we are serving the church which is going to have to make this monu- mental decision. It has been notable in most of the papers of the church, official and unofficial, t h a t usually there has been a party line and that the recommendations have been either entirely pro or entirely con. We feel that in presenting a spectrum of opinions we are giving our members a n opportunity to evaluate the various positions which are offered. It is my personal opinion t h a t the Synod has about five possible courses of action. T h e option chosen wilI reflect the thinking of the delegates. MTe could vote for fellowship not only with the ALC but also with the LCA, and go o n to the LWF and the World Council of Churches. There is no th ing to prevent the church from doing these things if it so chooses. T h e second option is that we would stop at fellowship with the ALC and delay action on the other matters for further study. A third option is selective fellow- ship in which part of the church would practice pulpit and altar fellowship with part of the American Luthcran Church. A fourth option is to delay action until a later convention, and the final option is that the Synod could decline fellowship. One of these things will take place. The delegates at Denver face a tremendous responsibility. We come out of a tradition which has believed in the clarity of Scr ipture and thus the possibility of pure doctrine. \&'e thus face t h e question of whether or not the doctrinal position of the ALC ( in connection with which we also must consider the fellowship of the ALC with the LCA) is suffi- ciently clear, Biblical and Confessional for us to establish pulpit and altar fellowship. This should be a time for prayer, for earnest study, and for application of t he finest minds in our church to a matter which is of utmost importance, namely, our theological heritage. May keep us i n His Word and in faith. J. A. 0. PREL'S