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Thread: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

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    From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    Some of the interesting highlights:
    * You should never rebaptize
    * Celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday
    * Must be ordained to administer the Eucharist

    The conversation from the class will be continued at the Nazarene Liturgy Project
    http://nlp.thescarletts.info/index.php

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    Re: M11 conference

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Clees View Post
    Some of the interesting highlights:
    * Must be ordained to administer the Eucharist
    This is simply untrue in the Church of the Nazarene. A licensed minister can administer the sacraments in their church if they are an assigned pastor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Church of the Nazarene Manual 2009-2013 Page 204-205
    429.7. Licensed ministers shall be vested with authority to preach the Word and/or to use their gifts and graces in various associate ministries in servant ministry to the Body of Christ; and, provided they pass annually the required studies in a validated educational program and are acting as pastors, or are involved in an active and assigned ministry recognized by the district on which their membership is held, they shall also be vested with authority to administer the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper in their own congregations, and to officiate at marriages where the laws of the state do not prohibit.
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    Re: M11 conference

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Rector View Post
    This is simply untrue in the Church of the Nazarene. A licensed minister can administer the sacraments in their church if they are an assigned pastor.
    And Brent stated that, but in his opinion you need to be ordained
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    Re: M11 conference

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Clees View Post
    And Brent stated that, but in his opinion you need to be ordained
    That would certainly create a logistical nightmare, especially when you pair that with Brent's opinion on the frequency of communion. This probably doesn't play out much in Nampa (or near any Nazarene school for that matter), but there are a lot of places where licensed ministers are serving as the pastor and the closest ordained elder is quite a drive a way. I was fortunate in Wisconsin because I had a retired elder in my church but when he wasn't there, the next closest elder was 45 minutes away. If I had to serve communion weekly like Brent wants AND have to be ordained to do so I would have been in a BIG catch 22.

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    Re: M11 conference

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Rector View Post
    That would certainly create a logistical nightmare, especially when you pair that with Brent's opinion on the frequency of communion.
    And that came up during the discussion...sadly it was near the end of the session and Brent didn't get to spend too much time on it. It would certainly open up a can of worms on my district where there are quite a few licensed ministers leading congregations.
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    Senior Member Eric Frey's Avatar

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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    In theory...

    *true (though I would nuance that one "cannot" rebaptize - ie rebaptism is by definition no possible)
    *true (it is certainly the early church practice, and was certainly Wesley's practice)
    *true (to do otherwise is it devalue ordination - which is ironically the most sacramental of all the rites we have in the CotN -- including baptism and communion)
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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Frey View Post
    In theory...

    *true (though I would nuance that one "cannot" rebaptize - ie rebaptism is by definition no possible)
    Eric, Brent's point on rebaptizing was that were you (parties involved) suggesting that God didn't get it right the first time. I had a friend who was re-babptized in the Jordan for no other reason than they thought it was cool to get baptized in the Jordan. The things we will do in the name of coolness!

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    Senior Member Craig Laughlin's Avatar

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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    Okay I must have missed the day we covered this in seminary but explain to me why one must be ordained to administer the sacrament?
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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Laughlin View Post
    Okay I must have missed the day we covered this in seminary but explain to me why one must be ordained to administer the sacrament?
    Craig, we can take it further and ask why have ordination at all?
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    Re: M11 conference

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Rector View Post
    That would certainly create a logistical nightmare, especially when you pair that with Brent's opinion on the frequency of communion. This probably doesn't play out much in Nampa (or near any Nazarene school for that matter), but there are a lot of places where licensed ministers are serving as the pastor and the closest ordained elder is quite a drive a way. I was fortunate in Wisconsin because I had a retired elder in my church but when he wasn't there, the next closest elder was 45 minutes away. If I had to serve communion weekly like Brent wants AND have to be ordained to do so I would have been in a BIG catch 22.
    I think of places in India where they have over 250 churches led by District licensed and lay pastors and only a handful of ordain clergy(less than 25). It would NEVER work and would stifle the work of God there. May it never be.
    This sounds like someone who has spent way too much time in the American college town bubble.
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    Senior Member Eric Frey's Avatar

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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    Traditionally a deacon is someone ordained to the "service of the Word" (ie authorized and empowered to preach); an elder is ordained to the "service of the Table" (ie authorized and empowered to sacramental ministry). Additionally elders are first ordained as deacon then elder and as such are consecrated to "faithfully preach the Word and rightfully administer the sacraments."

    In this traditional view only those who have been ordained elders could administer the sacraments. This is why Communion became a quarterly thing in the Americas -- there were only enough ordained clergy to get to each church about 4 times per year. Quarterly observance was a concession to the norm made out of necessity. The allowance of the unordained to celebrate communion, was likely a similar concession (made to address the same problem of lack of ordained elders). I think that in the US today, that problem does not exist. I suspect that there are enough ordained elders in the CotN in the USA to see to it that every church receives every week.
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    Senior Member Eric Frey's Avatar

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    Re: M11 conference

    Quote Originally Posted by Dale Cozby View Post
    I think of places in India where they have over 250 churches led by District licensed and lay pastors and only a handful of ordain clergy(less than 25). It would NEVER work and would stifle the work of God there. May it never be.
    This sounds like someone who has spent way too much time in the American college town bubble.
    1) for most of us, the US is our context; not India.
    2) I don't know about India, but I know it is working out alright for the Anglicans in Africa and South America.

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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Frey View Post
    Traditionally a deacon is someone ordained to the "service of the Word" (ie authorized and empowered to preach); an elder is ordained to the "service of the Table" (ie authorized and empowered to sacramental ministry). Additionally elders are first ordained as deacon then elder and as such are consecrated to "faithfully preach the Word and rightfully administer the sacraments."
    Of course traditionally you had to be ordained by a bishop that had been ordained by a bishop to maintain apostolic succession. This puts virtually every Nazarene elder out of the loop of tradition.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Frey View Post
    I think that in the US today, that problem does not exist. I suspect that there are enough ordained elders in the CotN in the USA to see to it that every church receives every week.
    There are places in the US where this is not a problem, there are also many places in the US where this is a problem. I can think of, off the top of my head, three churches I know of that are pastored by licensed ministers that are at least 30 minutes or more from another Nazarene church.
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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Clees View Post
    Eric, Brent's point on rebaptizing was that were you (parties involved) suggesting that God didn't get it right the first time. I had a friend who was re-babptized in the Jordan for no other reason than they thought it was cool to get baptized in the Jordan. The things we will do in the name of coolness!
    I know several people who were "re-baptized" in the Jordan river and found it to be an incredibly moving means of God's grace in their lives. While I am of the mind that in general people need not (and maybe even should not) be re-baptized there are some moments when it might impart more grace to do so than to forbid it.
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    Senior Member Craig Laughlin's Avatar

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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Clees View Post
    Craig, we can take it further and ask why have ordination at all?
    Okay... my question was pretty specific. I'm guessing you understand ordination to be about more than authorization to administer the sacraments as do I. (If not then I apologize and will give you a more complete answer. I don't know you but based on just a couple of posts I'm making this assumption) Respectfully, this was not an answer and felt more like a shot.
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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Frey View Post
    Traditionally a deacon is someone ordained to the "service of the Word" (ie authorized and empowered to preach); an elder is ordained to the "service of the Table" (ie authorized and empowered to sacramental ministry). Additionally elders are first ordained as deacon then elder and as such are consecrated to "faithfully preach the Word and rightfully administer the sacraments."

    In this traditional view only those who have been ordained elders could administer the sacraments. This is why Communion became a quarterly thing in the Americas -- there were only enough ordained clergy to get to each church about 4 times per year. Quarterly observance was a concession to the norm made out of necessity. The allowance of the unordained to celebrate communion, was likely a similar concession (made to address the same problem of lack of ordained elders). I think that in the US today, that problem does not exist. I suspect that there are enough ordained elders in the CotN in the USA to see to it that every church receives every week.
    Thanks Eric that is helpful.

    Edit - Shameful to admit but I never knew this. Not sure this is the way evangelicals look at Deacon and Elder today but understanding tradition is always helpful.
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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Rector View Post
    Of course traditionally you had to be ordained by a bishop that had been ordained by a bishop to maintain apostolic succession. This puts virtually every Nazarene elder out of the loop of tradition.
    Very true. Since the thread didn't discuss the role of bishops or apostolic succession, I didn't either. Regarding bishops, even in the CotN, an authorized representative of the church (usually a GS who acts for us as bishop -- in Wesleys understanding Superintendent and Bishop were synonymous and interchangeable titles for an office, as opposed to an order) always officiates, consecrates and lays hands on the ordinand. From a slighty different angle I would argue that it is always the church who ordains, and each expression of the church applies that accordingly. We do it by having all the elders lay hands. More high church traditions have a "bishop" who is the visible expression of the church in the same way the assembly of elders is for us...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Rector View Post
    There are places in the US where this is not a problem, there are also many places in the US where this is a problem. I can think of, off the top of my head, three churches I know of that are pastored by licensed ministers that are at least 30 minutes or more from another Nazarene church.
    I can think of many churches who have multiple ordained elders. Perhaps someone with a stats background could help out. How many CotN's are there in the US? and how many ordained elders? We could even do it by district and I bet that the big majority of districts have more elders than churches.
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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Frey View Post
    I can think of many churches who have multiple ordained elders. Perhaps someone with a stats background could help out. How many CotN's are there in the US? and how many ordained elders? We could even do it by district and I bet that the big majority of districts have more elders than churches.
    Yes, there are a lot of ordained elders. I have 3 in my church counting myself. But here's the rub, they are in my church not in the church two hours north of here that doesn't have any ordained elders in it.
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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Rector View Post
    Yes, there are a lot of ordained elders. I have 3 in my church counting myself. But here's the rub, they are in my church not in the church two hours north of here that doesn't have any ordained elders in it.
    ... the rub indeed. My only point was that there is not a shortage of elders. If it were important, we have enough to figure out how to do it.
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    Senior Member Paul DeBaufer's Avatar

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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Rector View Post
    Of course traditionally you had to be ordained by a bishop that had been ordained by a bishop to maintain apostolic succession. This puts virtually every Nazarene elder out of the loop of tradition.



    There are places in the US where this is not a problem, there are also many places in the US where this is a problem. I can think of, off the top of my head, three churches I know of that are pastored by licensed ministers that are at least 30 minutes or more from another Nazarene church.
    I can think of a church here in America that was led by a Locally Licensed Minister and was over 3 hours from the nearest Nazarene church. Is this congregation to never partake in the Eucharist? And for those who would say, "Yes," is that being true to what Jesus commanded?
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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Laughlin View Post
    Okay... my question was pretty specific. Respectfully, this was not an answer and felt more like a shot.
    Not a shot and I apologize if it came off that way! But Craig, isn't part of ordination authorization to administer the sacraments? If we allow a licensed minister to do it who is a head pastor why not allow any licensed minister to do it? Where would we draw the line? In the end if we start peeling back layers about why do you need to be ordained to do ________, then why have ordination at all?
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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Clees View Post
    Not a shot and I apologize if it came off that way! But Craig, isn't part of ordination authorization to administer the sacraments? If we allow a licensed minister to do it who is a head pastor why not allow any licensed minister to do it? Where would we draw the line? In the end if we start peeling back layers about why do you need to be ordained to do ________, then why have ordination at all?
    I think it's important to remember that in the vast majority of cases, licensed ministry is a pathway to full ordination.
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    Senior Member Craig Laughlin's Avatar

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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Clees View Post
    Not a shot and I apologize if it came off that way! But Craig, isn't part of ordination authorization to administer the sacraments? If we allow a licensed minister to do it who is a head pastor why not allow any licensed minister to do it? Where would we draw the line? In the end if we start peeling back layers about why do you need to be ordained to do ________, then why have ordination at all?
    Thanks for the apology I read you wrong and apologize as well.

    We currently allow licensed ministers to administer the sacraments in their own congregations.

    As to where do we draw the line, I think that is a good question. As Eric has laid out the tradition of the church is that the ordained administer the sacraments. I was going to chew on this a little more but since you brought it up, other than tradition why must one be ordained to administer the sacrament? Don't misunderstand, I'm not advocating moving away from the idea of the ordained doing this but I think my question is fair. Can we draw from scripture, experience or reason?

    I would like to think we can do better than the slippery slope argument.
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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Laughlin View Post
    Don't misunderstand, I'm not advocating moving away from the idea of the ordained doing this but I think my question is fair. Can we draw from scripture, experience or reason?
    Craig, perhaps we need to start with the Eucharist itself. What happens at consecration that someone ordained must be present?

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    Senior Member Craig Laughlin's Avatar

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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Clees View Post
    Craig, perhaps we need to start with the Eucharist itself. What happens at consecration that someone ordained must be present?
    Good question. I'm not sure I have a good answer.
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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Laughlin View Post
    Good question. I'm not sure I have a good answer.
    If we were Catholic and believed in transubstantiation we would certainly want someone ordained present to handle the real body and blood of Christ, but as Nazarenes (Wesleyan) how close to transubstantiation do we believe? It just doesn't represent the body and blood as some would say, Christ's presence is real.

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    Senior Member Eric Frey's Avatar

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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Rector View Post
    I think it's important to remember that in the vast majority of cases, licensed ministry is a pathway to full ordination.
    Sorry, I just don't think the path one is on is relevant at all.

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    Senior Member Eric Frey's Avatar

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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul DeBaufer View Post
    I can think of a church here in America that was led by a Locally Licensed Minister and was over 3 hours from the nearest Nazarene church. Is this congregation to never partake in the Eucharist? And for those who would say, "Yes," is that being true to what Jesus commanded?
    I think this question is framed poorly. I would say (1) the pastor in question should never administer the sacrament. (2) it is the DS responsibility to make sure a qualified elder(are LLM's even allowed to pastor congregations? or administer the sacraments?) is available to meet the sacramental needs of the congregation.

    So no, the church should not go without the Eucharist. But no, a LLM should neither be pastoring a church or administering the sacraments.

    My bigger problem, however, is with a system that allows such a scenario to be possible.

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    Senior Member Eric Frey's Avatar

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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Laughlin View Post
    Thanks for the apology I read you wrong and apologize as well.

    We currently allow licensed ministers to administer the sacraments in their own congregations.

    As to where do we draw the line, I think that is a good question. As Eric has laid out the tradition of the church is that the ordained administer the sacraments. I was going to chew on this a little more but since you brought it up, other than tradition why must one be ordained to administer the sacrament? Don't misunderstand, I'm not advocating moving away from the idea of the ordained doing this but I think my question is fair. Can we draw from scripture, experience or reason?

    I would like to think we can do better than the slippery slope argument.
    This is a great question. Give me some time to put together a coherent and thoughtful reply...

    As I think about it, I would recommend Dennis Campbell's "Yoke of Obedience." It is a relatively brief theology of ordination from a Wesleyan/Methodist perspective.
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    Senior Member Craig Laughlin's Avatar

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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Clees View Post
    If we were Catholic and believed in transubstantiation we would certainly want someone ordained present to handle the real body and blood of Christ, but as Nazarenes (Wesleyan) how close to transubstantiation do we believe? It just doesn't represent the body and blood as some would say, Christ's presence is real.
    Yes, I think I get it from a Roman Catholic perspective. However as a protestant who holds to the priesthood of all believers I struggle with these sorts of things in our system. (This is not new, I drove Dr. Staples crazy a couple of times when I was in seminary) I am comfortable with mystical things but the move from mystical (these are not just symbols in the weak sense of the word) to practical (one has to be ordained to administer them) has always been a little tricky for me.

    Just haven't (Yet) found a strong case for it apart from tradition. (which is enough for the weak understanding of "administer" that we have)
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    Senior Member Benjamin Burch's Avatar

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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Frey View Post
    Sorry, I just don't think the path one is on is relevant at all.
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Frey View Post
    I think this question is framed poorly. I would say (1) the pastor in question should never administer the sacrament. (2) it is the DS responsibility to make sure a qualified elder(are LLM's even allowed to pastor congregations? or administer the sacraments?) is available to meet the sacramental needs of the congregation.

    So no, the church should not go without the Eucharist. But no, a LLM should neither be pastoring a church or administering the sacraments.

    My bigger problem, however, is with a system that allows such a scenario to be possible.
    I agree, here. Isn't the idea that the "path one is on" is one of being mentored? When I had my local as well as my district license I was expected to be ministering under another pastor who was ordained. The "path" is a path because they are being mentored and are not yet there.
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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    *In our tradition,* I think if we want increased frequency of communion, we need to make the concession that it's okay for *District* Licensed ministers who are on the "elder track" to be authorized to administer the sacraments. I don't think someone with a local license should be free to consecrate elements, administer baptism, etc, but they can certainly assist in those sacraments. But, at least on my district (southwestern ohio), there is a huge difference in terms of assessment and accountability between a locally licensed and a district licensed minister.

    Is it even possible to be assigned to a church (as pastor) without at least a District License? (I'm asking out of ignorance - I don't know of, or can't think of, any situation where at least this level of accountability and authority wouldn't be in place.) If not, then I think we have to make the concession; once you're licensed for ministry at the District level in the Church of the Nazarene, you are considered "Rev." - however questionable that may be to those who (like me) would hold to a "higher" (read: "more sacramental") view of ordination, that's our practice, and by implication, we should allow for District Licensed, elder-track, assigned pastors to administer the sacraments. Just my $0.02.

    I'm not saying that we can't be wrong in our traditions (i.e. "how we've always done things") - I think we probably ARE wrong in several areas (e.g. not making baptism a requirement for membership; not requiring a consecration of the sacramental elements - the bread and the cup of Communion, the waters of Baptism) - Brent's session certainly would have indicated so...and I think we should push for change in these areas. But right now, "only fully ordained ministers should administer communion / consecrate the elements" is not territory I'm willing to die over.

    by the way, the fledging Nazarene Liturgy Project has been relocated to http://nazareneliturgy.org.
    Thanks Paul DeBaufer, Bob Hunter, Susan Unger - "thanks" for this post

  33. #33
    Regular Member Brannon Hancock's Avatar

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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    (...of course, I may be saying all this simply because it'll be another 6 months or so before I'm fully ordained...)

    Brent's session rocked, by the way. Terry already flagged up the most provocative points, but less controversially (which is not to say any less challenging), he did a masterful job of describing why and how our liturgical and sacramental practice impacts the church's ethics and mission and evangelism.

    I'm working on uploading video from Brent's session - I recorded the last 40 min. of it, including the Q&A (which is where he "went there" the most forcefully on some of his more challenging points). Stay tuned - I'll post a link as soon as it is available.

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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Laughlin View Post
    ... other than tradition why must one be ordained to administer the sacrament? ... Can we draw from scripture, experience or reason? ...
    I think you've got it!
    says this non-pastor ;-)

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    Host Steven Martinez's Avatar

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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Frey View Post
    So no, the church should not go without the Eucharist. But no, a LLM should neither be pastoring a church or administering the sacraments.

    My bigger problem, however, is with a system that allows such a scenario to be possible.
    Just for clarification, the Manual would allow a LLM to serve as pastor in a supply manner only and as such would not have the authority to administered the sacrament. So technically they would be a supply pastor which in essence means they are allowed to preach and ofter spiritual guidance but the DS would be the official acting pastor. In is similar to an interim situation. The Manual stipulates that the DS should make arrangements for an ordained elder to visit the congregation to administer the sacrament.

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    Senior Member Rich Schmidt's Avatar

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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Burch View Post
    I agree, here. Isn't the idea that the "path one is on" is one of being mentored? When I had my local as well as my district license I was expected to be ministering under another pastor who was ordained. The "path" is a path because they are being mentored and are not yet there.
    Having a district license doesn't necessarily mean that one is being mentored. Many people serve as senior pastors for a couple years while district licensed before being ordained. I did. And most senior pastors aren't in any kind of formal mentoring relationship. They certainly aren't "ministering under another pastor."

    Now, I've had plenty of informal mentoring, especially with my dad being a pastor and my serving on his staff my first year out of seminary. But I know that's an uncommon situation.

  37. #37
    Regular Member Brannon Hancock's Avatar

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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    Good points, Rich.

    However (and this is more toward B. Burch's comment), I don't see what "being mentored" (as such) has to do at all with administering the sacraments. "Training" should be a requirement - both practical (liturgical) and theological - but mentoring doesn't strike me as having anything to do with whether or not a District Licensed minister has the authority to preside over the sacraments.
    Last edited by Brannon Hancock; February 24th, 2011 at 11:11 PM.

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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul DeBaufer View Post
    I can think of a church here in America that was led by a Locally Licensed Minister and was over 3 hours from the nearest Nazarene church. Is this congregation to never partake in the Eucharist? And for those who would say, "Yes," is that being true to what Jesus commanded?
    Paul you may not remember but there were time when pastor would give out local licensed to people who believe they were call to preach. John Hancock gave me my local licensed and I believe we have had preachers to pastor churchs with those local licensed this may not be happen now but it did happy in the pass.
    Thanks
    Larry

  39. #39
    Senior Member Todd Erickson's Avatar

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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    It seems that this requirement of ordination for Eucharist is sort of like gun control...it only hurts the people who will follow the law.
    Thanks Brannon Hancock, Kevin Rector - "thanks" for this post

  40. #40
    Regular Member Brannon Hancock's Avatar

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    Re: From M11 - Sacramental Theology

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Parsons View Post
    John Hancock gave me my local license
    Hey, that's my grandpa! Cool.

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Erickson View Post
    It seems that this requirement of ordination for Eucharist is sort of like gun control...it only hurts the people who will follow the law.
    This is an insightful analogy, Todd.

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