Both of the Plucked Chicken’s readers know that it tends to focus on matters of importance only within the ELS. In fact, a good bit of what I write about would be called “unimportant” by at least a few within the ELS. That’s why I write about such things. It’s why the Plucked Chicken exists. This is not a general-purpose blog, at least so far. I don’t have time for recounting much from my own life, nor do I really think anyone would want to read it. Most of my personal interests are rather esoteric, and would therefore not be of interest to the general populace (any more than ELS matters are). But every group of people has a tendency to bury some topics that should be discussed, possibly in the vain hope that ignoring something will heal it. That doesn’t work so well with infectious diseases or grave wounds in the body, and it doesn’t work so well either in a body like the ELS. Healing requires attention, just as adopting a doctrinal statement requires complete, careful, and mutual deliberation. Such attention and deliberation have been wanting in the ELS. Hence, the Plucked Chicken.
As I have the opportunity, I will note some improvements that could be made to the PMW. Here’s the first. It says (verbatim):
We reject the teaching that the Holy Spirit comes without the external Word but through their own preparations and works (AC V, Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary, 9).
That’s not really a quote from AC V. It’s a paraphrase. Do you see the problem? It says “but through their own preparations and works.” To whom does that pronoun refer? Hmmm. I’ll give you a minute to think about it.
Remember, this is the actual quasi-sacred text of the PMW adopted by the
ELS in 2005, the same text that, if challenged, can excite such written
exclamations as, “What further need do we have of witnesses?”
If you give up, and would like me to reveal the antecedent of the pronoun, read on.
Here’s the answer. The pronoun refers to a noun that did not survive the paraphrase. The antecedent is originally expressed in the phrase “the Anabaptists and others.”
My suggestion is this. Instead of paraphrasing that paragraph from AC V, include the whole thing, the way it’s actually written in the Hymnary.
We condemn the Anabaptists and others who think that the Holy Spirit comes without the external Word but through their own preparations and works.