Conscience and Moral Honesty

In the public teaching of a Lutheran clergyman or instructor, he must interpret the Sacred Scriptures according to the Symbols [Lutheran Confessions] and not vice versa. This does not mean that he is in any way prevented from considering every possible legitimate interpretation that can be placed upon any given passage or group of passages of the Sacred Scriuptures. If in the process, however, he were to come to a definitive conclusion incompatible with the teaching of the Symbols, he would be bound in conscence and in moral honesty to withdraw from the church which imposes such an obligation upon him. On the other hand, the obligation to interpret the Sacred Scriptures according to the Symbols does not permit an individual to set forth as doctrine a position that merely reflects his understanding of the Symbols. (Arthur Carl Piepkorn, “Suggested Principles for a Hermeneutics of the Lutheran Symbols,” Concordia Theological Monthly, XXIX, 1 [January 1958])

If only all pastors in the LCMS felt themselves so bound in conscience and moral honesty.


Jesus Told Us To

You may have heard about Georgetown University’s Protestant Ministry kicking out all outside Protestant groups. There’s a number of stories here. There seems to be some confusion about the reasoning behind the decision.

Campus Ministry officials, meanwhile, have repeatedly assured students and alumni that the new policies are meant to bolster the university’s Protestant ministry within campus and make it less dependent on outside groups. Critics have accused Georgetown, which is Catholic, of quashing religious freedom by limiting the number of groups Protestant students may join.

Is there a difference between making the campus ministry “less dependent on outside groups” and “quashing religious freedom”? I don’t really know, and I don’t attend Georgetown, so I can’t tell you.

I just like the letter sent by the campus chaplain, “Rev.” Constance C. Wheeler. The best part is this: “While we realize this comes as a great disappointment, please know we are moving forward with this decision only after much dialogue with the Lord. We have enjoyed working with your ministries in various capacities over the years and will always keep your ministry in our prayers.” Now get out!

My question? What exactly was Jesus’ half of the dialogue?