Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Looking for a new direction in the future

This entry is not primarily theological, but a personal note. I just received word from the LCMS that I will be ineligible for ministry due to the fact that I do not hold to a literal 24 hour view of six day creation. This leaves me unsure of where to go from this point. Most of the other Lutheran bodies are either in agreement with the LCMS on the necessity of this issue, or ordain women and/or deny Biblical inerrancy. I do not believe that ordination of women is a Biblical concept. I also do not want to align myself with a denomination which denies the inerrancy of the Biblical text. Thus, it seems I am left with nothing.
The only other conservative denomination I have found which would allow me to preach so far is the AFLC. However, they have pietistic roots and only hold to the Augsburg Confession and Luther's Small Catechism as confessional documents.
Any help here would be appreciated. I ask for your prayers in this matter as I seek God's guidance which so often works contrary to our expectations.

25 comments:

dwcasey said...

Sorry to hear that, will be praying.

I started reading your blog after hearing you on issues etc. and enjoy what you write.

music*aL said...

Same here (that I started reading your blog after hearing your interview with Todd Wilken). I'll pray for guidance for you!

aL

Jordan Cooper said...

Thank you. I appreciate the support.

Anonymous said...

I heard you on issues etc. Nice job! I was raised Evangelical/Pentecostal. Then about 11 years ago I became a Calvinist. I wholeheartedly believe in the 5 points of Calvinism and would argue tirelessly with my evangelical friends and family against their arminian theology. But I remember at times asking myself how I KNOW I'm one of the elect. "If only", I remember thinking to myself, "I could be like the woman caught in adultery, or the paralytic, and hear Jesus say TO ME, 'Your sins are forgiven!" Oh what comfort that would be (for I know I am a great sinner). I knew I could not look at my own life/righteousness/faith and divine whether I was truly saved. I needed to hear it from Christ himself that MY sins too were forgiven. After finding Christian Dogmatics about 2 years ago in a used bookstore (just as I was coming to the end of my rope) I discovered that Christ does tell me PERSONALLY that MY sins are forgiven in the Word/Waters of Holy Baptism. I know MY sins are forgiven when He gives to me HiS Body and Blood that was given FOR ME for the forgiveness of all MY sins personally. And I don't worry now about God's unknowable election...
I only cling to Christ and I know I am His because he tells me I am.

Don D.

Anonymous said...

Jordan: I don't know you and have only just found your blog (thanks to your interview on Issues, Etc.). I just wanted to suggest a thought: If the Lutheran bodies/institutions that you respect for their stance on the authority of Scripture and their confessional purity all hold to that view of creation, shouldn't that say something to you? At the very least, I would imagine that it would drive you to study the issue again - and again - in depth to understand why their theology and approach to Scripture prevents them from accepting your point of view. Perhaps it's the very thing you respect them for that has led them to this point of conflict.

Anonymous said...

Are you currently in seminary and have been told you won't be certified? Or have you not started seminary yet?

I didn't believe in 6-day creation when I started seminary. I did by the time I went on vicarage. It might be worth your time to continue your studies and just be sure to be true to your conscience.

Anonymous said...

Do you plan on making your case (on your blog) for something other then the 6 day creation?

Eucharisted said...

Is it possible for you to "recant," so to speak, and accept young-earth creationism in order to pursue ordination? The AFLC is very "loose;" I don't know if you like that or not, but they are deeply rooted in pietism.

One possibility is the AALC. They may not require subscription to young-earth creationism, but are in full communion with the LCMS. In fact, their seminary is on the CTS-FW campus, I believe. It might be worth looking into, and would subscribe to the entire Book of Concord.

Jordan Cooper said...

I have not started seminary yet. I was going to wait until next year until I went. I am not sure if it would be worth going through the program if only to find out I still do not agree with six day creationism. I don't know if I could be convinced, as I heard all of the arguments growing up in evangelicalism. Most of the exegetical presuppositions behind the position, at least as I have seen it, are those of evangelical fundamentalism, not reformation theology.
I may do a post on exactly why I do not agree with six day creation. However, it may not really be worth it since I do not see it to be that big of an issue. It is certainly not one worth fighting about. I also do not want to convince anyone of my position who is going into ministry with the LCMS. I would hate to put someone else in this position.
Eucharisted, I will check out the AALC, I have not heard much about them. Why do you say the AFLC is very loose? I do not know much about them either, it was just an option I was throwing out there.

Eucharisted said...

Well the culture of pietism is different, and tolerates a diversity of opinion on issues like worship and church polity, in contrast to the LCMS. I'm not saying that you ought to rule out the denomination, but it's definitely different from Lutheran confessionalism.

Anonymous said...

Just out of interest Jordan, do you believe in a literal, historic Adam?

I personally hold to the, 'Framework Hypothesis,' view of the creation account but I would still say that Adam was the literal first man as to say otherwise does damage to the doctrine of imputated sin and obviously righteousness, therfore I would see the Gospel as being at stake over this issue.

What's your take on it?

Jordan, I really feel God could make great use of your talents as a Pastor so I feel saddened that you may not continue in this direction - you will be in my prayers.

Stephen

Jordan Cooper said...

Stephen,
I agree that believing in a historical literal Adam is necessary for preserving the person of Christ as second Adam. This is necessitated not only by the text in Genesis, but also the way Adam is used in the New Testament.
It is not that I am giving up on being a pastor. It is just that I may not be doing so in the LCMS. I may also just go from my masters degree into doctoral studies and not seek ordination. I am weighing my options right now.

Eucharisted said...

What was the way in which the LCMS told you that you could not be ordained due to the fact you do not adhere to 6-day creationism?

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you applied to CSL. You should apply to CTSFW and/or St. Cats. I do not believe St. Cats (Canada) is bound to the Brief Statement.

Jordan Cooper said...

Well I contacted the admissions counselor at CTSFW and was told that if I were ordained I would have to affirm all LCMS positions, of which belongs the belief in 6 24 hour day creation.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your blog. I've learned so much from it. I'm WELS and I believe you'll make an excellent confessional lutheran pastor. Pray that God will open your heart to believe the truth about creation. I suggest you consider the fact that you are in agreement with the lcms on all other doctrines and maybe you should submit to your brothers in faith on this point. I have a science background and I've done this with six day creation. It takes time but God slowly changes your mind. Also remember that Paul tells us to submit to our elders and those who taught us the truth. I suggest that you submit to your lcms elders even though you have trouble believing them. I will pray for you.

David said...

Come to Rome sweet Home

Anonymous said...

Jordan,
One of my old Lutheran pastors wasn't really definitive when it came to the days of creation, but he seemed to favor the literal view.

I'm not sure the process of ordination in Lutheran circles goes, but I would speak with your Pastor about the whole process before disqualifying yourself in the LCMS.

JD

Nick said...

Hi,

I wouldn't be doing my duty if I didn't ask this: What's keeping you back from Catholicism?

I'd be interested in your 3 main reasons, even if just briefly.

The account you've given here is that of being in some sense abandoned by your own denomination, and now forced to choose from inferior options.

The Catholic Church doesn't operate that way, because Christianity wasn't ever about finding the denomination which fits one's schedule. One cannot be a 'Christian in general' seeking a denomination that they call 'home', because Catholics teach Jesus promised to never leave us orphans.

The way the situation is this: if the Lutheran Church is embracing the true Gospel, then you're the one not properly submitting. If they are embracing a false Gospel, you must seek a body that's been maintaining the Truth this whole time. I'm sure you agree that you have no right to set up your own 'true Lutheran church', despite the fact Luther himself operated in that manner.

Mike Hughes said...

Jordan, Please!

Don't you dare give up on the LCMS. Please consider calling the school and talking to a professor or something. It seems like you're giving up too easy. If you talk to a few people, someone may be able to help, but not if you just say "ok" and leave. Don't know if you ever saw the movie "Fight Club", but that was the entrance exam to join ... you were told "no" and anyone crazy enough to stand there for 3 days without food, drink or sleep, all-the-while being verbally abused, was admitted as a member. Or remember the Canaanite woman when Jesus called her a dog ... she wouldn't take "no" for an answer and her faith was commended. If you really try and it doesn't work out, at least you'll know you gave it your best shot. You're young ... I'm older and those kind of regrets stay with you.

Jordan Cooper said...

Thanks Mike. I have decided to follow the direction you have admonished me to. After looking into the other options, the LCMS is in my opinion, the purest form of Lutheranism in America.
I have talked to some people about the issue and it seems that I will still be able to pursue ministry within the LCMS. The information I heard from the admissions office at Concordia in Fort Wayne is wrong according to several pastors I have talked to.
Thanks a lot Mike. I appreciate the encouragement.

Mike Hughes said...

Swwweeeeeeeeet!!! That's great news ... I was actually thinking of trying to get Todd Wilken to talk to you or something ... hehehehe

Whew! You really scared me there @:}

Keep us posted.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to hear you spoke with some people about it. There is actually much worse things to worry about than if someone takes a literal view of the creation days.

Anonymous said...

Jordan,

You should read "Genesis One: A Look at the Creation Account through the Lens of Scripture" by Joel D. Heck. You can order the booklet through Concordia University Press (Austin, Texas). It is very cheap (<$10) and explains the text historically, culturally, and contextually.
I respect that you would not become a Pastor for this. Some people would conceal their beliefs and do it otherwise. I would like to hear more about why you think the text indicates a non-literal period?

Trey

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I was blocked from ministry in the LCMS BECAUSE I believed in a 6 day Creation. So I joined WELS instead.

The LCMS is increasingly feudalized. Without any universal, effective way of enforcing doctrinal standards, it has become "to each his own" and persons of influence have each carved off their own little spheres of control.