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Theology of Inexpedience

Two Case Studies in 'Moderate' Congregational Dissent in the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

Theology of Inexpedience

Two Case Studies in 'Moderate' Congregational Dissent in the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

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Hardback

£66.00

Publisher: University Press of America
ISBN: 9780761808688
Number of Pages: 184
Published: 05/05/1998
Width: 14.4 cm
Height: 22.1 cm
This study examines the history of Article VII, tracing its roots to the early beginnings of the Synod, and its redefinition and expansion in the early twentieth century during a period of Americanization and great growth in the Synod. The book also examines the function of Article VII in the life of the Synod through a study of two theologically moderate congregations in conflict with the Synod during the conservative-moderate debate which raged from 1969 to 1981. The key to Article VII is the meaning of the word "inexpedient". Article VII was born of the socio-spiritual turmoil in the Saxon colonies in Missouri as a result of the deposition of Martin Stephan, the leader of the colonies. Stephan's hierarchical ecclesiology, supported by his autocratic and charismatic leadership, was viewed with suspicion by lay leaders in the colony who advocated a congregational polity in which the laity were given the right and the responsibility to judge doctrine and practice. This polity was codified in the synodical constitution. In the early twentieth century, it became necessary to redefine and reemphasize the Synod's decentralized polity. It is here, in the English translation of the German constitution, that the word "inexpedient" is first used. First Lutheran Church and Pacific Hills Lutheran Church, both of Omaha, Nebraska, each entered into conflict with the Synod when it came to believe that the Synod had become a coercive power which imposed doctrine and practice on the congregation which was contrary to the sense of Article VII.

Jeffrey S. Nelson

Jeffrey S. Nelson is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Midland Lutheran College in Fremont, Nebraska.

Nelson has defined his subject discretely, pursued extant resources (including seventeen interviews with laity and clergy) diligently, written impartially, and dreated a valuable resource for historians of Lutheranism. -- James W. Albers, Valparaiso University Church History

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