When 1% is 100%

No math wizard I.  No math would be more accurate, but riddle me this.  When is 1% a 100%?  When it matters the most.

The Pro-Life movement stands for babies in the womb.  The Pro-Abortion movement doesn’t recognize babies as babies till they’re out of the womb.  The Pro-Abortion crowd bangs the drum of pregnancy by rape or incest.  The Pro-Life movement responds, “That’s only 1% of all abortions.”  The Pro-Abortion movement counters.  “Fine, then at least recognize abortion is morally right in those circumstances.  Well pregnancies by rape and incest may be 1% of abortions, but it’s 100% of the argument.  If the Pro-Life cause says it’s okay to kill those babies in the womb resulting from rape or incest, they have no moral basis for opposing someone else’s reason for killing a baby in utero.

The Association of Confessing Evangelical Lutheran Churches can be read about here http://acelc.net. This is a group of LCMS congregations actually confessing what the LCMS supposedly stands for.  There “A Fraternal Admonition to Correct the Errors of Our Beloved Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod” is on their website. I agree with much of what it says.  There is a 1% I don’t because it is 100% of the argument.

Under the first section “Pure Doctrine,” the third point is this:  “Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions uphold the Order of Creation as the framework within which both Church and home must function in order for the home and congregation to properly reflect Christ and His bride the Church. Today some in the LCMS insist that if the Synod wishes to remain faithful, we must reevaluate how we interpret God’s Word in its teaching that women not be allowed to exercise the office of the pastoral ministry. We reject the toleration of this error.”  Under section 5 they also treat the Order of Creation.  I agree with what they say in both places as far as it goes.  But nota bene they say in neither place that the Order of Creation applies in the world.  They don’t say it does not, but that seems to be the implication of saying that “the Order of Creation is the framework within which both Church and home must function.”

Th 33% left out is 100% of the argument against female pastors and women congregational leaders.  Adam and Eve were the first home, church and state.  If you deny that the Order of Creation applies to the world, you have drawn an arbitrary line at the door of the home and the church.  To be sure there are all sorts of challenges, responsibilities, and rethinking connected to returning to the LCMS’ original position on the subject, but it won’t do to go halfway or two-thirds way.  If we’re in for a penny, we’re in for the whole pound.

The male-female relationship is a nucleus issues.  Erwin Chargaff comments on two other nucleus issues showing that when these issues are tampered with they set off chain reactions of untold, unintended, and unimagined consequences.  He says, “’My life has been marked by two immense and fateful scientific discoveries: the splitting of the atom, the recognition of the chemistry of heredity and its subsequent manipulation.  It is the mistreatment of the a nucleus that, in both instances, lies at the basis: the nucleus of the atom, and the nucleus of the cell.  In both instances do I have the feeling that science has transgressed a barrier that should have remained inviolate’” (in Jerry D. Salyer, “Where the Demons Dwell: The Antichrist Right,” Chronicles, August 2010, 20).

Three observations.  1) It is in the name of the social sciences that the nucleus of male-female has been tampered with. 2) It too involves a splitting of what God has joined together.  3)  The real implications of discarding the order of creation can be seen in the ruling for same sex marriage.  Judge Vaughn Walker, himself a homosexual by the way, said in part that the excluding same-sex couples from marriage “’exists as an artifact of a time when the genders were seen as having distinct roles in society and in marriage…That time has passed’” (Austin American Statesman, 8-7-10, Editorial, The New York Times, “Marriage is a constitutional right,” A17).

In regard to the ACELC’s admonition for the LCMS to do something now, I  imagine the newly elected LCMS conservative administration pleading, “Give us a chance.” I’d probably do the same, but I think the ACELC is to be applauded for offering a cure for what ails Missouri.  To often I am like C.S. Lewis said of one his detractors.  I assert many diseases without advising any cures (“Rejoinder to Dr. Pittenger, God in The Dock, 183).  I think there is real curative power in the stand this group is taking, but I’m nagged by that 1%.

About Paul Harris

Pastor Harris retired from congregational ministry after 40 years in office on 31 December 2023. He is now devoting himself to being a husband, father, and grandfather. He still thinks cenobitic monasticism is overrated and cave dwelling under.
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7 Responses to When 1% is 100%

  1. John Thomas says:

    Excellent post. I hope you will write the ACELC regarding the Order of Creation. Comments like this are welcomed by the ACELC.

  2. Pastor Harris . . . just for the record, we don’t disagree with anything you have written, and I have sent the link to your article to our full Steering Committee for consideration, but just speaking off the cuff . . . we were trying to specifically address only the one aspect of this issue and how it was playing out in the Church rather than to try and take on the full implications of this for society as a whole. We felt that how people viewed this Biblical doctrine playing out in the Church would also then impact how it plays out in the world. Thanks for your most excellent thinking on this subject!

    Yours in Christ’s Service
    Rev. Drew Newman
    Member, ACELC Steering Committee

  3. Rev. Sherman Stenson says:

    Brother Paul,

    Excellent observations. The ACELC’s statements in those areas would certainly be stronger if they included “the world” as a realm in which God’s Order of Creation ought to (and does) apply–though we recognize that the world, being the fallen world, has by nature rejected the Word of God as being authoritative for such matters, especially in the kingdom of the left. Yet the world is not exempt from that authority and will undoubtedly be held accountable to it, though the world deludes itself that if someone doesn’t believe something, it isn’t applicable to him/her.

    It’s interesting in the same vein to note that Judge Walker essentially stated that the male-female structure of marriage was an anachronism reflecting societal values and expectations which he believes do not apply today. What Walker and other advocates for same-sex marriage fail to acknowledge (and I wouldn’t expect otherwise of them) is the constancy of the eternal will and Word of Him who is the Creator and Bestower of that blessed structure of male/female, husband/wife, father/mother–apart from any given society’s contemporary mores.

    Blessings as you serve His Church!

    Rev. Sherman Stenson
    St. Paul Lutheran Church
    Austin, TX

  4. Scott says:

    Concerning your Abortion/Pro Life arguments, I have always been found of what Ronald Regan was quoted as saying in the New York Times on Sept.22 1980 when he said, “I’ve noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born.”

    The real issue confronting the Order of Creation doctrine and extending its realm to include the world seems to be similar to what Trinity confessed when they said “It is a heavy burden and responsibility to remain in an institution but not of it.” Due to this burden I believe many will shy away from this doctrine afraid of its full implications as the ACELC already has done by doing what you have suggested “drawing an arbitrary line.”

  5. Scott, you wrote: “Due to this burden I believe many will shy away from this doctrine afraid of its full implications as the ACELC already has done by doing what you have suggested “drawing an arbitrary line.”

    I’m not so sure this is totally fair, Scott. If you read my initial, off the cuff, response, I said I agree with what Pastor Harris has written, and I suspect the others would say the same. Our goal was simply to address one aspect of this issue as it was playing out the errors we cited. We weren’t trying to write a new confession or seeking to address every implication of every doctrine . . . There are only so many hours in a day! 😉

  6. Ken Green says:

    Just as a point of clarification–is it your position that a woman should never exercise any authority over a man, even in a secular setting?

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