You can Learn a lot from an Aristotle

Aristotle said it first, and I think this is what the Association of Confessing Evangelical Lutheran Churches with their Admonition is seeking to avoid.

Aristotle said, “The occurrence of an important transition in customs often passes unnoticed” (Politics 1302 a 22). C. S. Lewis pointed this out in a letter dealing with changes being advocated in the liturgy of the Anglican Church.  He sagely observes that “there are two ways in which a controversy can cease: by being settled, or by gradual and imperceptible change of custom.”  Lewis concludes, as I think the ACELC does, “I do not want any controversy to cease in the second way” (God in the Dock, 335).  I agree.

I don’t want the controversy over open communion to conclude as it has for 30 years with those who believe, teach, and practice it doing so as part of the LCMS.

I don’t want the controversy over praying with pagans to conclude as it has since 2004 with a public absolution of sin neither admitted nor confessed and a document that says there may be some circumstances and some way to pray with pagans that serves the Gospel.

I don’t want the controversy over the order of creation to conclude with women being allowed to hold any manmade congregational office and to serve as lectors, communion assistants, and ushers.

I don’t want the controversy over who can judge pastors and by what standards to conclude as it has since 2004 that sheep can’t by the Word of God but ecclesiastical supervisors armed with the Commission on Constitutional Matters’ decrees and the Commission on Theology and Church Relations’ reports can.

I don’t want the controversy over Contemporary Worship to conclude with going from uniformity in worship being an ideal to diversity in worship being the goal.

These transitions not in custom but in doctrine may not have passed by unnoticed but they have certainly passed by undiscussed by the majority of the LCMS.

Aristotle and I applaud the ACELC’s Admonition.

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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