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casisthename
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« on: February 11, 2011, 11:41:17 PM »

Good evening,

I'm new to Orthodoxy and have a few questions on the faith. First, and this may sound silly could someone summarize the rules to fasting especially during Great Lent? I've read various things on the net and I've come to the conclusion that I've simply become more confused.

Second, what is the Orthodox interpretation of Old Testament law in the New Testament church?

Third, and maybe this is silly...Catholic Saint does not equal Orthodox Saint after 1054 correct?

Finally, anyone know any books which give an overall general synopsis to Orthodox Christianity?
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« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2011, 11:49:17 PM »

Good evening,

I'm new to Orthodoxy and have a few questions on the faith. First, and this may sound silly could someone summarize the rules to fasting especially during Great Lent? I've read various things on the net and I've come to the conclusion that I've simply become more confused.

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Fasting

Basically, if it comes from something that bleeds, you don't eat it during the fast.

Quote
Second, what is the Orthodox interpretation of Old Testament law in the New Testament church?


The whole OT is the archtype of the NT, so the OT is not understandale without the NT.

Or do you mean, for instance, the Kosher laws?  What is fulfilled passes away.

Quote
Third, and maybe this is silly...Catholic Saint does not equal Orthodox Saint after 1054 correct?

Basically.

Quote
Finally, anyone know any books which give an overall general synopsis to Orthodox Christianity?
What kind of synopsis are you looking for?  Something like this?
http://books.google.com/books?id=WpE8MwHLffEC&printsec=frontcover&dq=the+orthodox+way&hl=en&src=bmrr&ei=IQNWTbiAOMHLgQf86Jn9DA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCcQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false
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casisthename
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« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2011, 12:36:05 AM »

Thank-you for the help.

About the above question, does this mean all fish are also out?

Also, I grew up a "heritage" Lutheran. Any advice on how to discuss leaving the Lutheran church with my parents? They are my parents and therefore I ought to respect and obey them but my folks are not comfortable with this. Part of it , is most likely things stemming from Romeaphobia which they assume the Orthodox Church also holds. Especially, those beliefs/practices which the Lutheran church has misrepresented/misunderstood of the Orthodox Church.  Which , granted my parents were worried about me becoming Baptist/ non-denom as I attend a very protestant university. I don't think they would of even considered the possibility of me becoming Orthodox. So this is a bit of a shock to them. Obviously, it's not fair for me to say I'm Orthodox yet since I'm not. But they are very worried about me so much as attending an Orthodox church.
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« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2011, 12:46:38 AM »

We converted from the Lutheran tradition as well.  Two books I can recommend are Father Anthony Coniaris' "Introducing the Orthodox Church: Its Faith and Life" and Bishop Kallistos' "How Are We Saved?: The Understanding of Salvation in the Orthodox Tradition."  They can be found, respectively:

http://www.amazon.com/Introducing-Orthodox-Church-Faith-Life/dp/0937032255
http://www.amazon.com/How-Are-Saved-Understanding-Salvation/dp/1880971224

We didn't have the issues with conversion you did -- our parents had watched us convert Lutheran from Baptist, so this was a pretty natural transition.  We had a LOT of theological issues to sort out, though.  These two books helped me along quite a bit.
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« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2011, 12:56:44 AM »

Thank-you for the help.

About the above question, does this mean all fish are also out?
Only ones with a backbone, technically.  Eating lobster nowadays everyday of the fast is hardly fasting, though: the money you save is supposed to go to alms.

Quote
Also, I grew up a "heritage" Lutheran. Any advice on how to discuss leaving the Lutheran church with my parents? They are my parents and therefore I ought to respect and obey them but my folks are not comfortable with this. Part of it , is most likely things stemming from Romeaphobia which they assume the Orthodox Church also holds. Especially, those beliefs/practices which the Lutheran church has misrepresented/misunderstood of the Orthodox Church.  Which , granted my parents were worried about me becoming Baptist/ non-denom as I attend a very protestant university. I don't think they would of even considered the possibility of me becoming Orthodox. So this is a bit of a shock to them. Obviously, it's not fair for me to say I'm Orthodox yet since I'm not. But they are very worried about me so much as attending an Orthodox church.
It was tense for a while. If they know you are attending, they must suspect where it's going.
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« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2011, 02:24:43 AM »

Finally, anyone know any books which give an overall general synopsis to Orthodox Christianity?

Welcome to the forum! I would recommend James Payton's book Light from the Christian East. Payton was not Orthodox when he wrote this book (have no idea if he ever converted), but he is very positive about the Orthodox faith and in this book he lines RC/Protestant up on one side (the West) and eastern Orthodoxy on the other (the East). So if your parents think you are becoming "Catholic" (in the Roman sense of the word), it might help them to read it from this perspective. Just a thought!
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« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2011, 10:40:34 AM »

About the above question, does this mean all fish are also out?

In the Greek tradition - yes, in the Slavonic - no.
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« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2011, 11:03:52 AM »

I was a Lutheran briefly before becoming Orthodox and my brother-in-law is a Lutheran pastor of some notoriety. 

As far as fasting goes, you really need to speak with a priest.  Often times they will counsel you on how to slowly incorporate a fasting rule into your life.  Remember, fasting is a tool of the church - not a law.

As to talking with your parents.  I would recommend going in slowly and with much prayer.  It depends also on how much exposure they've had to Orthodox beliefs.  I would avoid any comparisons with the Catholic church.  "A Light from the Christian East" is a very good book for non-Orthodox if you feel they'd be interested in reading something.  Conairis' book is quite well done too.    But, for an inquirer, I would recommend you attend as many services as you can.  Reading is good, but one needs to "come and see" to fully understand the Orthodox faith.  Besides, I heard it said that the only Catechesis a person needs for the Orthodox faith the Liturgy.

Good luck with your journey.
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« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2011, 05:35:14 PM »

Welcome, casisthename. 

I was Lutheran too before I became illumined in the Orthodox faith. I understand where you are coming from in wanting to be respectful to your parents and the beliefs they hold.  My parents, also, believed that Orthodoxy was basically Roman Catholicism in a more ethnic guise. 

I began my inquiry a long time ago since I was always a student of history and what I found was not corresponding with what I had been taught in Sunday School.  I would ask questions about why the mass wasn't retained, why the honor to the saints was scrapped, why fasting and confession were considered bad just because the Catholics did it, etc.  So, I went on a journey to find the Church which combined faith, doctrine and praxis and that was only the Orthodox Church.  On a personal note, I find it interesting that those Lutherans, like myself, who really wanted to reclaim Lutheranism's heritage when it came to the church disciplines such as fasting and confession and desired the Liturgy be celebrated were actually more Lutheran than the quasi-Baptists and quasi-Methodists that still make up the population in the various Lutheran denominations. 

As far as your questions go with regards to fasting, do not just enter into it.  If you do not combine fasting with prayer and almsgiving under the direction of a spiritual advisor (i.e. your priest), then your fast will focus on the wrong things.

With regards to Catholic saints after the schism, that may be the terminus but not always applicable.  I would regard Edward the Confessor, the last king of England, an Orthodox saint though he reposed in 1066.  But for some saints such as Francis of Assisi or Catherine of Siena, that's more clear cut.

As far as books go, there are many.  Some people have already suggested Bishop KALLISTOS' The Orthodox Church and Fr. Anthony Coniaris' INtroducing the Orthodox Church.  Both are excellent.  I would also encourage you to read some of +Fr. Alexander Schmemann's books, especially his Great Lent.  His books are very readable and filled with great insights.

Good luck with everything.
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« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2011, 08:59:03 AM »

But, for an inquirer, I would recommend you attend as many services as you can.  Reading is good, but one needs to "come and see" to fully understand the Orthodox faith.  Besides, I heard it said that the only Catechesis a person needs for the Orthodox faith the Liturgy.

I absolutely agree with this.  As I said in another thread, we read - a lot - at first.  But in the end, we had to put the books down and be instructed by the Church.  I actually told my wife last night after leaving Vespers that with every service we attend, whether it's a prayer service or a Liturgy, I am more convinced our conversion was right. 

Orthodoxy can be understood.  But primarily, it is lived.

I was Lutheran too before I became illumined in the Orthodox faith. I understand where you are coming from in wanting to be respectful to your parents and the beliefs they hold.  My parents, also, believed that Orthodoxy was basically Roman Catholicism in a more ethnic guise. 

I began my inquiry a long time ago since I was always a student of history and what I found was not corresponding with what I had been taught in Sunday School.  I would ask questions about why the mass wasn't retained, why the honor to the saints was scrapped, why fasting and confession were considered bad just because the Catholics did it, etc. 

This was largely our reason for converting as well.  I found it odd that the mass WAS retained in the Confessions, but not so much in Lutheran parishes.  I found it odd that private confession and absolution WAS upheld by the Confessions, but not so much in Lutheran parishes.  I found it odd that weekly celebration of the Eucharist (and on appointed feast days) WAS upheld by the Confessions, but not so much in Lutheran parishes.  I became convinced - rather quickly - that requests for saintly intercession were not only right and proper, but in fact historical, and I found it odd that Lutherans seem to have a firm belief that the Saints in heaven DO intercede for us, but had this medieval reactionism that said "you cannot ask them to do so."

Regarding Orthodoxy being Roman Catholicism in a more ethnic guise, something that helped my wife and I was a discussion we had about "should we stay (Lutheran) or should we go (Orthodox)."  We came to the issue of Lutherans splitting from the Roman See, and I asked my wife why they did it and what about Roman Catholicism bothered her.  We made a list.  Every single item on the list, from universal Papal jurisdiction to purgatory to the immaculate conception to mandated celibacy of the priesthood, was something not found in Orthodoxy, or at least not to the extent it was in Western Catholicism (i.e., Orthodoxy still has a celibate episcopate, but not a celibate presbyterate, etc.).  We also noted that in some cases, the Eastern Catholics mirrored the practice of the Eastern Church, which told us there was an historical basis for the Orthodox practice, and of course the Papal issue would keep us from becoming Eastern Catholics.
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« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2011, 03:36:14 PM »

Thanks for all the great suggestions and advice. I have been attending a parish with a girl on my floor at school. An Orthodox Christian Fellowship is also starting in a week and a half on my campus and I hope to gain more insight there.

Though, I do have one more question. Has anyone heard of Orthodox having conflicts with certain organ transplant procedures? A friend showed me something on the internet off the Orthodox wiki that has me concerned. I talked with the priest at the parish I have been attending this semester and he told me he would have to do some research since the issue had never come up before.
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« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2011, 04:55:41 PM »

An Orthodox Christian Fellowship is also starting in a week and a half on my campus and I hope to gain more insight there.

Nice!  We live in a town with a state university, and I hope we can get an OCF going here someday. 
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« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2011, 07:36:22 PM »

Perhaps someone more eloquent can explain this better, but I've been told that Orthodox do not do heart transplants, as the heart is our spiritual center. Not only that, but there is something I've read that some of those who have had heart transplants
have changed, with taking on some personality traits of the donor. Who knows?
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« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2011, 07:40:51 PM »

Not only that, but there is something I've read that some of those who have had heart transplants
have changed, with taking on some personality traits of the donor. Who knows?

Wow fascinating, I want to know more.
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« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2011, 08:33:11 PM »

Not only that, but there is something I've read that some of those who have had heart transplants
have changed, with taking on some personality traits of the donor. Who knows?

Wow fascinating, I want to know more.

Wishful thinking. No properly-conducted medical research has shown this to be the case. The heart is a very specialised muscular pump, wonderful in its simplicity and complexity, but "seat of personality" it ain't, I'm afraid. Where personality changes are observed can be attributed to the lowering of body temperature and reduced oxygen perfusion which is a consequence of the necessity to be hooked up to a heart-lung machine during open-heart surgery (this includes any cardiac surgery, not just transplants). On the whole, these "personality changes" disappear within a few months after the surgery.
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« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2011, 09:17:41 PM »

  On a personal note, I find it interesting that those Lutherans, like myself, who really wanted to reclaim Lutheranism's heritage when it came to the church disciplines such as fasting and confession and desired the Liturgy be celebrated were actually more Lutheran than the quasi-Baptists and quasi-Methodists that still make up the population in the various Lutheran denominations. 



I think Lutherans have become like Anglicans in that there are evangelical congregations (I'm using the American sense of the word here, where they are trying to imitate baptist megachurches), catholic congregations (where the mass is celebrated weekly and traditional vestments are used), and broad church congregations (where the basic liturgy is perhaps retained but less formal, and dominated by liberal theology).

Over the past few years I run hot and cold in terms of interest in Orthodoxy. Sometimes when I'm reading something by Ware, Schmemann, Guroian, etc., I'm ready to run down and start taking classes and become an Orthodox catechumen because I so deeply appreciate the theology and tradition.  Other times I remember that Lutherans broke away from Rome, my wife's family is RC, the culture is much more similar, so I back off and think that I ever convert, that will be the direction I will go.

So, in the meantime, I've tried to resolve myself to pray a lot, immerse myself in Scripture and the Fathers, and align myself with other evangelical catholic Lutherans so I will be spiritually fed and nurtured for now, and see if an ecumenical breakthrough is reached such as a Lutheran Ordinariate in the RC Church, or perhaps some substantial fruit from the dialogues started by Met. Jonah and American Anglicans.

Pray for me!       

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« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2011, 09:21:10 PM »

Yes, I'd like to hear more, too, if it's true. This, my dear hubby tells me, was a tv show where they interviewed donors and don-ees. Interesting, but not medically verified. However there is much written about the heart by the Orthodox and I feel it is more than just a pump. I could start looking for sources, but you could probably find them more quickly!
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« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2011, 09:50:51 PM »

  On a personal note, I find it interesting that those Lutherans, like myself, who really wanted to reclaim Lutheranism's heritage when it came to the church disciplines such as fasting and confession and desired the Liturgy be celebrated were actually more Lutheran than the quasi-Baptists and quasi-Methodists that still make up the population in the various Lutheran denominations. 



I think Lutherans have become like Anglicans in that there are evangelical congregations (I'm using the American sense of the word here, where they are trying to imitate baptist megachurches), catholic congregations (where the mass is celebrated weekly and traditional vestments are used), and broad church congregations (where the basic liturgy is perhaps retained but less formal, and dominated by liberal theology).

Over the past few years I run hot and cold in terms of interest in Orthodoxy. Sometimes when I'm reading something by Ware, Schmemann, Guroian, etc., I'm ready to run down and start taking classes and become an Orthodox catechumen because I so deeply appreciate the theology and tradition.  Other times I remember that Lutherans broke away from Rome, my wife's family is RC, the culture is much more similar, so I back off and think that I ever convert, that will be the direction I will go.

So, in the meantime, I've tried to resolve myself to pray a lot, immerse myself in Scripture and the Fathers, and align myself with other evangelical catholic Lutherans so I will be spiritually fed and nurtured for now, and see if an ecumenical breakthrough is reached such as a Lutheran Ordinariate in the RC Church, or perhaps some substantial fruit from the dialogues started by Met. Jonah and American Anglicans.

Pray for me!       


Have you ever had any contact with the Western Rite Orthodox?
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« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2011, 10:12:07 PM »

  On a personal note, I find it interesting that those Lutherans, like myself, who really wanted to reclaim Lutheranism's heritage when it came to the church disciplines such as fasting and confession and desired the Liturgy be celebrated were actually more Lutheran than the quasi-Baptists and quasi-Methodists that still make up the population in the various Lutheran denominations. 



I think Lutherans have become like Anglicans in that there are evangelical congregations (I'm using the American sense of the word here, where they are trying to imitate baptist megachurches), catholic congregations (where the mass is celebrated weekly and traditional vestments are used), and broad church congregations (where the basic liturgy is perhaps retained but less formal, and dominated by liberal theology).

Over the past few years I run hot and cold in terms of interest in Orthodoxy. Sometimes when I'm reading something by Ware, Schmemann, Guroian, etc., I'm ready to run down and start taking classes and become an Orthodox catechumen because I so deeply appreciate the theology and tradition.  Other times I remember that Lutherans broke away from Rome, my wife's family is RC, the culture is much more similar, so I back off and think that I ever convert, that will be the direction I will go.

So, in the meantime, I've tried to resolve myself to pray a lot, immerse myself in Scripture and the Fathers, and align myself with other evangelical catholic Lutherans so I will be spiritually fed and nurtured for now, and see if an ecumenical breakthrough is reached such as a Lutheran Ordinariate in the RC Church, or perhaps some substantial fruit from the dialogues started by Met. Jonah and American Anglicans.

Pray for me!       


Have you ever had any contact with the Western Rite Orthodox?

There's a parish about 90 miles away from where I live.  I haven't worshiped with them yet, but intend to at some point.  You're very perceptive in picking up from my post that the eastern cultural thing is an issue for me. It won't do any good for my head to convert to Orthodoxy unless my heart is there also. 

I read Frederica Mathewes-Green's book about her conversion, where she and her husband converted from Anglicanism to Orthodoxy.  It was a great book and I really enjoyed her writing style, but it kind of struck me as to how they seemed to forget their western roots and adopted not only the eastern liturgy, but also eastern foods and other cultural pecularities.  I am proud of my Danish/English heritage, so perhaps a Western Rite might make my heart go along with my head, if that is where God leads me.       
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« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2011, 10:19:38 PM »

  On a personal note, I find it interesting that those Lutherans, like myself, who really wanted to reclaim Lutheranism's heritage when it came to the church disciplines such as fasting and confession and desired the Liturgy be celebrated were actually more Lutheran than the quasi-Baptists and quasi-Methodists that still make up the population in the various Lutheran denominations. 



I think Lutherans have become like Anglicans in that there are evangelical congregations (I'm using the American sense of the word here, where they are trying to imitate baptist megachurches), catholic congregations (where the mass is celebrated weekly and traditional vestments are used), and broad church congregations (where the basic liturgy is perhaps retained but less formal, and dominated by liberal theology).

Over the past few years I run hot and cold in terms of interest in Orthodoxy. Sometimes when I'm reading something by Ware, Schmemann, Guroian, etc., I'm ready to run down and start taking classes and become an Orthodox catechumen because I so deeply appreciate the theology and tradition.  Other times I remember that Lutherans broke away from Rome, my wife's family is RC, the culture is much more similar, so I back off and think that I ever convert, that will be the direction I will go.

So, in the meantime, I've tried to resolve myself to pray a lot, immerse myself in Scripture and the Fathers, and align myself with other evangelical catholic Lutherans so I will be spiritually fed and nurtured for now, and see if an ecumenical breakthrough is reached such as a Lutheran Ordinariate in the RC Church, or perhaps some substantial fruit from the dialogues started by Met. Jonah and American Anglicans.

Pray for me!       


Have you ever had any contact with the Western Rite Orthodox?

There's a parish about 90 miles away from where I live.  I haven't worshiped with them yet, but intend to at some point.  You're very perceptive in picking up from my post that the eastern cultural thing is an issue for me. It won't do any good for my head to convert to Orthodoxy unless my heart is there also. 

I read Frederica Mathewes-Green's book about her conversion, where she and her husband converted from Anglicanism to Orthodoxy.  It was a great book and I really enjoyed her writing style, but it kind of struck me as to how they seemed to forget their western roots and adopted not only the eastern liturgy, but also eastern foods and other cultural pecularities.  I am proud of my Danish/English heritage, so perhaps a Western Rite might make my heart go along with my head, if that is where God leads me.       
Where are you located?

The WRO parish in Detroit, Holy Incarnation, is full of former Lutherans, including the priest.
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« Reply #20 on: February 13, 2011, 10:22:00 PM »


Where are you located?

The WRO parish in Detroit, Holy Incarnation, is full of former Lutherans, including the priest.

Near Omaha, NE. I believe the Western Rite priest there is a former Anglican.

Is the one in Detroit Fr. Fenton's parish?
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« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2011, 10:32:23 PM »


Where are you located?

The WRO parish in Detroit, Holy Incarnation, is full of former Lutherans, including the priest.

Near Omaha, NE. I believe the Western Rite priest there is a former Anglican.

Is the one in Detroit Fr. Fenton's parish?

I am a Lutheran convert to Orthodoxy living in Omaha.  My father is a LCMS pastor and I was an elder in the WELS at the time of my conversion.  I attended the Western Rite for a while, but my heart was not into it at all.  It reminded me too much of what I left.  I now attend St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church here in Omaha.  If you are new and inquiring, I would check out St. Mary's Antiochian in Omaha.  My wife attends there (also a convert from Lutheranism).  Fr. Don is himself a convert and is a good person to speak with about Orthodoxy from the perspective of a Protestant convert.
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« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2011, 10:45:30 PM »


Where are you located?

The WRO parish in Detroit, Holy Incarnation, is full of former Lutherans, including the priest.

Near Omaha, NE. I believe the Western Rite priest there is a former Anglican.

Yes, I know a family at that parish. They had converted here in Chicago, and when the Eastern Rite Church they went to in NE had a Da Vinci Last Supper and Western Wannabe Icons, they figured they would be better off returning to their roots.

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Is the one in Detroit Fr. Fenton's parish?
Yes.
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« Reply #23 on: February 13, 2011, 10:49:54 PM »

 On a personal note, I find it interesting that those Lutherans, like myself, who really wanted to reclaim Lutheranism's heritage when it came to the church disciplines such as fasting and confession and desired the Liturgy be celebrated were actually more Lutheran than the quasi-Baptists and quasi-Methodists that still make up the population in the various Lutheran denominations.  



I think Lutherans have become like Anglicans in that there are evangelical congregations (I'm using the American sense of the word here, where they are trying to imitate baptist megachurches), catholic congregations (where the mass is celebrated weekly and traditional vestments are used), and broad church congregations (where the basic liturgy is perhaps retained but less formal, and dominated by liberal theology).

Over the past few years I run hot and cold in terms of interest in Orthodoxy. Sometimes when I'm reading something by Ware, Schmemann, Guroian, etc., I'm ready to run down and start taking classes and become an Orthodox catechumen because I so deeply appreciate the theology and tradition.  Other times I remember that Lutherans broke away from Rome, my wife's family is RC, the culture is much more similar, so I back off and think that I ever convert, that will be the direction I will go.

So, in the meantime, I've tried to resolve myself to pray a lot, immerse myself in Scripture and the Fathers, and align myself with other evangelical catholic Lutherans so I will be spiritually fed and nurtured for now, and see if an ecumenical breakthrough is reached such as a Lutheran Ordinariate in the RC Church, or perhaps some substantial fruit from the dialogues started by Met. Jonah and American Anglicans.

Pray for me!        


Have you ever had any contact with the Western Rite Orthodox?

There's a parish about 90 miles away from where I live.  I haven't worshiped with them yet, but intend to at some point.  You're very perceptive in picking up from my post that the eastern cultural thing is an issue for me. It won't do any good for my head to convert to Orthodoxy unless my heart is there also.  

I read Frederica Mathewes-Green's book about her conversion, where she and her husband converted from Anglicanism to Orthodoxy.  It was a great book and I really enjoyed her writing style, but it kind of struck me as to how they seemed to forget their western roots and adopted not only the eastern liturgy, but also eastern foods and other cultural pecularities.  I am proud of my Danish/English heritage, so perhaps a Western Rite might make my heart go along with my head, if that is where God leads me.      

What about the 'eastern cultural thing' is an issue for you? Do you like the liturgy? Remember, Christianity came out of the east!  Wink
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« Reply #24 on: February 13, 2011, 11:40:02 PM »



What about the 'eastern cultural thing' is an issue for you? Do you like the liturgy? Remember, Christianity came out of the east!  Wink

This is not an exhaustive list, but here's what I am thinking:

- The eastern liturgy is beautiful, but I prefer the greater level of verbal interaction between the celebrant and the laity as found in the Anglican/Lutheran liturgies.
- It would be very hard for me to leave behind western hymnody.  I hope all you former Lutherans still have a soft spot in your heart for "A Mighty Fortress."  Smiley
- I have nothing against eastern culture, but its not who I am, and there are a lot of worthy Danish/English traditions that I would like to remember and observe, and would be lost to my descendants if I became culturally Syrian or Greek.   
- This isn't necessarily an east versus west issue, but a big concern I have pertains to what will happen in the event that the faithful Lutherans and Anglicans are absorbed into either the RC or EO churches and the remnant fades away into history. What happens to the worthy traditions and memories of those Lutherans and Anglicans who were faithful to God in their context?  IMHO, Bonhoeffer, Bach, Ramsey, Lewis, and numerous others in the Lutheran/Anglican churches have made great contributions to the church catholic.  I fear they would be forgotten unless there is something more along the lines of a corporate reunion.  On the RC side, we'll see how the Anglican Ordinariate pans out. On the EO side, the Western Rite's continued viability concerns me as long as it remains a smattering of scattered parishes - if there were to be a Western Rite diocese established, with its own bishop, then that would help.
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« Reply #25 on: February 13, 2011, 11:45:41 PM »


Where are you located?

The WRO parish in Detroit, Holy Incarnation, is full of former Lutherans, including the priest.

Near Omaha, NE. I believe the Western Rite priest there is a former Anglican.

Is the one in Detroit Fr. Fenton's parish?

I am a Lutheran convert to Orthodoxy living in Omaha.  My father is a LCMS pastor and I was an elder in the WELS at the time of my conversion.  I attended the Western Rite for a while, but my heart was not into it at all.  It reminded me too much of what I left.  I now attend St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church here in Omaha.  If you are new and inquiring, I would check out St. Mary's Antiochian in Omaha.  My wife attends there (also a convert from Lutheranism).  Fr. Don is himself a convert and is a good person to speak with about Orthodoxy from the perspective of a Protestant convert.

Wow, WELS to Orthodoxy!  That's a story I'd like to hear sometime.

Thanks to you and ialmisry for the help!

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« Reply #26 on: February 14, 2011, 12:02:34 AM »



What about the 'eastern cultural thing' is an issue for you? Do you like the liturgy? Remember, Christianity came out of the east!  Wink

This is not an exhaustive list, but here's what I am thinking:

- The eastern liturgy is beautiful, but I prefer the greater level of verbal interaction between the celebrant and the laity as found in the Anglican/Lutheran liturgies.
- It would be very hard for me to leave behind western hymnody.  I hope all you former Lutherans still have a soft spot in your heart for "A Mighty Fortress."  Smiley
- I have nothing against eastern culture, but its not who I am, and there are a lot of worthy Danish/English traditions that I would like to remember and observe, and would be lost to my descendants if I became culturally Syrian or Greek.   
- This isn't necessarily an east versus west issue, but a big concern I have pertains to what will happen in the event that the faithful Lutherans and Anglicans are absorbed into either the RC or EO churches and the remnant fades away into history. What happens to the worthy traditions and memories of those Lutherans and Anglicans who were faithful to God in their context?  IMHO, Bonhoeffer, Bach, Ramsey, Lewis, and numerous others in the Lutheran/Anglican churches have made great contributions to the church catholic.  I fear they would be forgotten unless there is something more along the lines of a corporate reunion.  On the RC side, we'll see how the Anglican Ordinariate pans out. On the EO side, the Western Rite's continued viability concerns me as long as it remains a smattering of scattered parishes - if there were to be a Western Rite diocese established, with its own bishop, then that would help.
That has already happened, the first Archbishop of Washington, D.C.
http://orthodoxhistory.org/tag/western-rite/
how that worked out has made many leery of repeating it.  It did work out eventually: Abp. Nichols, in addition to all the vagrantis he consecrated, consecrated Alexander Turner as his successor, who led them back into Orthodoxy as the WRO Vicarate of the Antiochian Archdiocese on North America.
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« Reply #27 on: February 14, 2011, 01:37:47 AM »

This is not an exhaustive list, but here's what I am thinking:

- The eastern liturgy is beautiful, but I prefer the greater level of verbal interaction between the celebrant and the laity as found in the Anglican/Lutheran liturgies.
- It would be very hard for me to leave behind western hymnody.  I hope all you former Lutherans still have a soft spot in your heart for "A Mighty Fortress."  Smiley
- I have nothing against eastern culture, but its not who I am, and there are a lot of worthy Danish/English traditions that I would like to remember and observe, and would be lost to my descendants if I became culturally Syrian or Greek.   
- This isn't necessarily an east versus west issue, but a big concern I have pertains to what will happen in the event that the faithful Lutherans and Anglicans are absorbed into either the RC or EO churches and the remnant fades away into history. What happens to the worthy traditions and memories of those Lutherans and Anglicans who were faithful to God in their context?  IMHO, Bonhoeffer, Bach, Ramsey, Lewis, and numerous others in the Lutheran/Anglican churches have made great contributions to the church catholic.  I fear they would be forgotten unless there is something more along the lines of a corporate reunion.  On the RC side, we'll see how the Anglican Ordinariate pans out. On the EO side, the Western Rite's continued viability concerns me as long as it remains a smattering of scattered parishes - if there were to be a Western Rite diocese established, with its own bishop, then that would help.

Keep in mind, ours is a convert parish (one of those that converted in the late '80s with the Evangelical Orthodox), but ours is also very, very traditional, so I don't think we're Protestantized by any means.  Having said that, my diet hasn't changed except on Wednesdays and Fridays, during Great Lent and Advent, and during the Apostles' Fast and the Dormition Fast.  We eat as we always ate other than the fasts.  Perhaps in some more ethnic parishes that might be an issue, but I wouldn't let it bother me all that much.  I think the fasting changes your diet more than ethnicity or culture.  We also have a high degree of interaction between the celebrant and laity.  I understand there are some Orthodox parishes where the laity don't participate as much, but I've visited 2 others besides my own (one other Antiochian parish and a Greek parish), and participation of the laity was high in both.

As to your concern about the Lutheran and Anglican remnants fading away into history, I don't think there is a great danger of that happening.  Honestly, I don't see any mass Lutheran and Anglican conversion anytime soon.  People cling to traditions for a lot of reasons, and not always those which are theological.  Even if convinced the Eastern Church is the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church in theory, there are many Lutherans and Anglicans who still would not convert for other reasons.  That's not a criticism -- I'm sure the same is true of Orthodoxy.  It's just the facts.

Re: hymnody, I confess I never missed it (and going in I thought I would).  The hymnody and Liturgy of the Eastern Rite is so rich, I just haven't yearned for any of those hymns at all.  That's not to denigrate them -- I love We All Believe in One True God, Thy Strong Word, Jesus Christ our Blessed Savior, On My Heart Imprint Thy Image, All Glory Laud and Honor, At The Lamb's High Feast We Sing, O Dearest Jesus, etc.  I particularly love the catechetical hymns like Lord Help us Ever to Retain and the particular communion hymns like Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent and even the dismissal hymns like Sent Forth by God's Blessing.  But I honestly never sat through an Eastern Liturgy and said "boy if we could just get some good Lutheran hymns in here...."  As much as I still love those hymns, once I was in the beauty of the Eastern Rite, they just weren't missed.

It sounds like you're a relatively content Lutheran.  There is much in that tradition to rejoice in -- I know I have taken much from it that is meet, right and salutary.  But you can't really become a "Lutheran Eastern Orthodox Christian."  The East is what it is, and what it is, we contend, is the Church.  If you prefer the Western Rite, that's available, but if you are having issues breaking from Lutheranism, it might just be that you are perfectly happy there and aren't really looking to convert fully.  If that's the case, I'd caution you to be very careful.  I fear you would be far worse off joining an Eastern parish and then lapsing back to Lutheranism than just remaining Lutheran.

That's just my $0.02.  Take it for what it's worth.

P.S., I also converted from WELS to Orthodoxy, but we were LCMS first and realistically that's where our heart was.  Which is to say, we converted from WELS for precisely the reason I suspect you find it odd that someone would.
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« Reply #28 on: February 14, 2011, 08:33:07 AM »

I have not found the Eastern cultural thing to be problematic.  I would say it's almost non-existent really.  Perhaps its more of an issue in an ethnic parish?  I still eat a pretty Americanized diet and like David said, the biggest difference is in fasting.

I think perhaps you have this idea that once you become Orthodox you will be expected to renounce your former cultural citizenship?  This just isn't the case.  Sure, there are fun traditions and new foods to discover but it isn't an either/or but a both/and.  I don't throw away my hot dogs and hamburgers, I get to have them with pierogies!   Wink

And I confess I do not miss hymns either.  Sure, many were very nice and occasionally I hum one or two ("Lift High the Cross").. but miss them as part of Liturgy?  No.  The hymns of the Eastern church is SO rich in beauty and full.

But, I will say it again - you can't really know these things unless you experience it.   I remember being very reluctant to becoming Orthodox because the fast seemed so overwhelming, rigid, and hard.  It wasn't until I became Orthodox and experienced the fast that I realized how silly those concerns were.  Well.. yes, it can be hard and a challenge (my first Lent was quite a spiritual battlefield), but not the way I thought it to be when I was looking in from the outside.
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« Reply #29 on: February 14, 2011, 08:45:36 AM »

I'm not offering arguments, but want to mention a few things. Being a former Lutheran, MS, I can say that my experience is that you don't give up the frequent interaction in the liturgy. We have congregational singing in our OCA parish, singing the entire liturgy, so we constantly interact with our priest.

Just because we are not Lutheran now it doesn't mean we no longer sing  or appreciate our former hymns! We just don't sing them in Liturgy. However, as said already, with experiencing beautiful Orthodox hymns, the words of them especially during Christmas and Pascha, speak to your heart.

We still have passed along our German-Lutheran roots/culture to our children, but in other ways. In addition, our parish celebrates with a yearly ethnic fest where each family shares through food, music, displays, etc. our culture and sharing it with each other.

We haven't thrown out our Lutheran Gourmet Coffee mug, but we are now rejoicing with deeper relationship than we ever expected with the Lord.
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« Reply #30 on: February 14, 2011, 11:45:24 AM »


Wow, WELS to Orthodoxy!  That's a story I'd like to hear sometime.

Thanks to you and ialmisry for the help!


It is really not that hard to understand if you look at things from a historical perspective.  I was studying Lutheran Dogmatics in the hope of becoming a lay minister at the time of my conversion.  Martin Luther and Philip Melancthon were not trying to start a new Church, but were revolting against the excesses and heresies of the Latin Church.  In reading Luther’s writings, it could be seen that he had a very high regard for what he called the “Eastern Catholics”, and even went so far as to admit that they had kept the teachings of the Church far  more faithfully than the Roman Church.  I was told in my studies that Melancthon even had an Orthodox Priest from Serbia with him when he translated the Augsburg Confession into Greek for Patriarch Jeremiah.  My wife was told in the Antiochian Church that Lutherans make some of the best converts to Orthodoxy because they are so close in their beliefs already.

As to giving up your Lutheran traditions, it is really not necessary.  I was told by a Priest in the ROCOR (himself a convert from the LCMS and the son of a Lutheran Theologian) that there is no Typicon in the home.  After the Nativity Liturgy at that ROCOR Church, we went into the fellowship hall and sang the old Lutheran Christmas hymns, some of them even in German.  I still worship God at home using the hymns that I learned as a Lutheran, and I even use the old German chant melodies from the 1600’s when I read the Epistle in the Serbian Church.

One of my favorite of the Lutheran hymns was “Let the Earth Now Praise the Lord”.  The second verse is this:

What the fathers most desired,
What the prophet’s heart inspired,
What they longed for many a year,
Stands fulfilled in glory here.

This is how I felt when I entered the Orthodox Church.  What I had most desired as a Lutheran was to more fully understand God.  My heart longed for Him and my soul cried out for Him.  And it was all fulfilled the first time that I heard the words “Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages” at the beginning of the Liturgy.  By the time the Epistle was being read, I had converted.  What I most desired, and what my heart most wanted, was fulfilled in glory during that first Liturgy.  The last 16 years has just been polishing the details.  While I am no longer a Lutheran, and while I with my heart reject all heresies rejected by the Orthodox Church, I am forever grateful for the education that I received in Lutheran Parochial Schools, and the lessons that I learned in Lutheran Sunday School.  I also thank God for the sermons that I heard on Sunday by the conservative Pastors of the LCMS and WELS.  These instilled into my heart love for God, and for the Savior Jesus Christ.  I pray to God that one day it will be His will that my Lutheran brothers and sisters (and my parents) start to see what I have been shown, and that they and all of the Lutherans join themselves to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church that they confess belief in during their Liturgies.  May God one day grant this.
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« Reply #31 on: February 14, 2011, 01:45:10 PM »


Wow, WELS to Orthodoxy!  That's a story I'd like to hear sometime.

Thanks to you and ialmisry for the help!


It is really not that hard to understand if you look at things from a historical perspective.  I was studying Lutheran Dogmatics in the hope of becoming a lay minister at the time of my conversion.  Martin Luther and Philip Melancthon were not trying to start a new Church, but were revolting against the excesses and heresies of the Latin Church.  In reading Luther’s writings, it could be seen that he had a very high regard for what he called the “Eastern Catholics”, and even went so far as to admit that they had kept the teachings of the Church far  more faithfully than the Roman Church.  I was told in my studies that Melancthon even had an Orthodox Priest from Serbia with him when he translated the Augsburg Confession into Greek for Patriarch Jeremiah.  My wife was told in the Antiochian Church that Lutherans make some of the best converts to Orthodoxy because they are so close in their beliefs already.

As to giving up your Lutheran traditions, it is really not necessary.  I was told by a Priest in the ROCOR (himself a convert from the LCMS and the son of a Lutheran Theologian) that there is no Typicon in the home.  After the Nativity Liturgy at that ROCOR Church, we went into the fellowship hall and sang the old Lutheran Christmas hymns, some of them even in German.  I still worship God at home using the hymns that I learned as a Lutheran, and I even use the old German chant melodies from the 1600’s when I read the Epistle in the Serbian Church.

One of my favorite of the Lutheran hymns was “Let the Earth Now Praise the Lord”.  The second verse is this:

What the fathers most desired,
What the prophet’s heart inspired,
What they longed for many a year,
Stands fulfilled in glory here.

This is how I felt when I entered the Orthodox Church.  What I had most desired as a Lutheran was to more fully understand God.  My heart longed for Him and my soul cried out for Him.  And it was all fulfilled the first time that I heard the words “Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages” at the beginning of the Liturgy.  By the time the Epistle was being read, I had converted.  What I most desired, and what my heart most wanted, was fulfilled in glory during that first Liturgy.  The last 16 years has just been polishing the details.  While I am no longer a Lutheran, and while I with my heart reject all heresies rejected by the Orthodox Church, I am forever grateful for the education that I received in Lutheran Parochial Schools, and the lessons that I learned in Lutheran Sunday School.  I also thank God for the sermons that I heard on Sunday by the conservative Pastors of the LCMS and WELS.  These instilled into my heart love for God, and for the Savior Jesus Christ.  I pray to God that one day it will be His will that my Lutheran brothers and sisters (and my parents) start to see what I have been shown, and that they and all of the Lutherans join themselves to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church that they confess belief in during their Liturgies.  May God one day grant this.


Thanks for sharing that.  When I made the comment about WELS, I was thinking about how isolationist they are.  I am a traditionalist in the ELCA on various matters, but remain more ecumenically oriented than WELS or LCMS.  So, now that I think about it, perhaps it would be easier for someone in WELS to become Orthodox because you are more used to the idea of limited interaction with other Christians.   
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« Reply #32 on: February 14, 2011, 02:33:50 PM »

........ So, now that I think about it, perhaps it would be easier for someone in WELS to become Orthodox because you are more used to the idea of limited interaction with other Christians.   

 Huh  I interact with Protestants all the time.  My husband is still Lutheran...almost all our friends are still Protestant Christians of one ilk or another.  I still talk with my sister and parents who are Lutheran.  Orthodoxy isn't a cult where we renounce our family, friends and co-workers.  What do you mean by "limited interaction with other Christians".
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« Reply #33 on: February 14, 2011, 02:40:23 PM »

Thanks for sharing that.  When I made the comment about WELS, I was thinking about how isolationist they are.  I am a traditionalist in the ELCA on various matters, but remain more ecumenically oriented than WELS or LCMS.  So, now that I think about it, perhaps it would be easier for someone in WELS to become Orthodox because you are more used to the idea of limited interaction with other Christians.   

I assumed you meant WELS' inclination to be more low church pietist. 

Whatever one might say about the WELS' interaction with other Christians, I agree with PrincessMommy that the Orthodox are hardly exclusivist in their dealings with other Christians.  What do you mean by "limited interaction?"
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« Reply #34 on: February 14, 2011, 03:01:19 PM »

I don't think that lutheraninquirer meant that statement the way that you took it.  There are different kinds of interactions.  WELS and LCMS people interact with other Christians all of the time on a personal level.  Official interaction is far more reserved.  They, like the conservative Orthodox, do not participate in ecumenical activities, nor do they belong to inter-faith organizations such as the World Council of Churches or the National Council of Churches.  WELS is very much like the ROCOR of the Lutheran Church, although ROCOR has become more like the LCMS with its joining with the MP.  Ecumenism is a major heresy in the WELS, and also with the large part of the LCMS.  There is no rush to have "dialogue" with anything that moves since there is a good understanding that such dialogue seldom results in the conversion of the heretics, but more often results in the liberalization of the more conservative faction.  WELS and LCMS Lutherans see nothing to be gained by opening dialogue with other denominations since these denominations have the same scriptures that we use, but have chosen to reject them.  However, there is still considerable interaction with people of other faiths at the personal level, particularly in the LCMS.  There is a strong emphasis on missions to foreign countries and to the un-churched in this country.  While Lutherans believe that the Holy Spirit is who brings us to Christ, they also believe that the Word of God must be preached for the Spirit to be able to work.  Those that have heard the Word of God, but have chosen to belong to other denominations have rejected that Word.

It has been my experience that a person coming from the ELCA would be pretty comfortable in the Antiochian Church.  The Greeks are not that much different regarding ecumenism, but tend to be more ethnocentric (granted, not all of them).  A person converting from the LCMS or the WELS would likely be far more comfortable in the ROCOR.  Some of the Serbian Churches would also be comfortable for a WELS or LCMS Lutheran, too.  I know that in my case, that is what drove me out of the Antiochian Church so shortly after my conversion.  To me, it was simply ELCA with incense.  But, that was 16 years ago and my views have moderated somewhat.   



........ So, now that I think about it, perhaps it would be easier for someone in WELS to become Orthodox because you are more used to the idea of limited interaction with other Christians.   

 Huh  I interact with Protestants all the time.  My husband is still Lutheran...almost all our friends are still Protestant Christians of one ilk or another.  I still talk with my sister and parents who are Lutheran.  Orthodoxy isn't a cult where we renounce our family, friends and co-workers.  What do you mean by "limited interaction with other Christians".
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« Reply #35 on: February 14, 2011, 03:21:12 PM »

........ So, now that I think about it, perhaps it would be easier for someone in WELS to become Orthodox because you are more used to the idea of limited interaction with other Christians.    

 Huh  I interact with Protestants all the time.  My husband is still Lutheran...almost all our friends are still Protestant Christians of one ilk or another.  I still talk with my sister and parents who are Lutheran.  Orthodoxy isn't a cult where we renounce our family, friends and co-workers.  What do you mean by "limited interaction with other Christians".

That's not what I meant at all - I have lunch with Orthodox friends and talk about faith issues all the time.  Punch interpreted my comment correctly - I was thinking more along the line of issues like intercommunion, as a WELS/LCMS Lutheran would be used to the idea of closed communion, whereas that would be a big shift in miindset from someone going to the ELCA to Orthodoxy.   Plus, if I understand correctly, some Orthodox are hesitant to pray with other Christians, and this would be consistent with WELS practice as I understand it (and I freely admit I could be wrong).

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« Reply #36 on: February 14, 2011, 03:49:21 PM »

That's not what I meant at all - I have lunch with Orthodox friends and talk about faith issues all the time.  Punch interpreted my comment correctly - I was thinking more along the line of issues like intercommunion, as a WELS/LCMS Lutheran would be used to the idea of closed communion, whereas that would be a big shift in miindset from someone going to the ELCA to Orthodoxy.   Plus, if I understand correctly, some Orthodox are hesitant to pray with other Christians, and this would be consistent with WELS practice as I understand it (and I freely admit I could be wrong).

Ah, that makes more sense.

I don't know about Orthodox being hesitant to pray with other Christians -- honestly, it just hasn't come up in my short time as Orthodox.  Closed communion is something that must be dealt with, yes.  I don't view that as "limited interaction with other Christians."  It's just sound, historical pastoral practice.
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« Reply #37 on: February 14, 2011, 04:09:32 PM »

Prayer is one of those things that can be complicated.  Among the conservative Orthodox, a distinction is made between private and corporate prayer.  There is no problem with an Orthodox Christian praying with another Christian privately.  However, Orthodox Christians should not attend heterodox services if they can be avoided.  Likewise, it is very appropriate for those who are enquiring into the Church to attend the first part of the Liturgy (through the reading of the Gospel).  In this case, you would be technically praying with us.  Closed Communion, on the other hand, is pretty much universal among the Orthodox, although not to the extent of the WELS.  Most Orthodox will commune other Orthodox, unlike the WELS that will not commune other Lutherans.  Keep in mind that Communion in the Orthodox Church IS the Body and Blood of Christ, and taking it unworthily brings condemnation on both the person who takes it and the one who gives it.  It is an act of love that communion is withheld from the heterodox, not a judgement against them.  No Orthodox Christian, much less a Priest, wants to see anyone take communion to their own condemnation.

........ So, now that I think about it, perhaps it would be easier for someone in WELS to become Orthodox because you are more used to the idea of limited interaction with other Christians.    

 Huh  I interact with Protestants all the time.  My husband is still Lutheran...almost all our friends are still Protestant Christians of one ilk or another.  I still talk with my sister and parents who are Lutheran.  Orthodoxy isn't a cult where we renounce our family, friends and co-workers.  What do you mean by "limited interaction with other Christians".

That's not what I meant at all - I have lunch with Orthodox friends and talk about faith issues all the time.  Punch interpreted my comment correctly - I was thinking more along the line of issues like intercommunion, as a WELS/LCMS Lutheran would be used to the idea of closed communion, whereas that would be a big shift in miindset from someone going to the ELCA to Orthodoxy.   Plus, if I understand correctly, some Orthodox are hesitant to pray with other Christians, and this would be consistent with WELS practice as I understand it (and I freely admit I could be wrong).


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« Reply #38 on: February 14, 2011, 04:22:26 PM »

Keep in mind that Communion in the Orthodox Church IS the Body and Blood of Christ......

Lutherans actually believe the same thing.

Quote
...and taking it unworthily brings condemnation on both the person who takes it and the one who gives it.  It is an act of love that communion is withheld from the heterodox, not a judgement against them.  No Orthodox Christian, much less a Priest, wants to see anyone take communion to their own condemnation.

Exactly.  Those Lutherans who do practice closed communion agree with this.  I'm not sure how the real presence is reconciled with right pastoral care among those who practice open communion.
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« Reply #39 on: February 14, 2011, 05:00:22 PM »



That's not what I meant at all - I have lunch with Orthodox friends and talk about faith issues all the time.  Punch interpreted my comment correctly - I was thinking more along the line of issues like intercommunion, as a WELS/LCMS Lutheran would be used to the idea of closed communion, whereas that would be a big shift in miindset from someone going to the ELCA to Orthodoxy.   Plus, if I understand correctly, some Orthodox are hesitant to pray with other Christians, and this would be consistent with WELS practice as I understand it (and I freely admit I could be wrong).




Yes, thank you for the clarification.   Open communion is a pretty new occurrence in this age of "all truth is relative".  But, I do understand that closed communion can be a painful issue for many people.  As to praying with non-Orthodox - that seems to be one of those "ask your priest" things.  Each circumstance is unique. 
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« Reply #40 on: February 14, 2011, 05:22:04 PM »

Actually, they do not - at least not to the extent that it is believed in the Orthodox Church.  This is one of the things that bothered me in the Lutheran Church.  Being an Elder, it was my job to dispose of the left over wafers and wine.  I found it odd that one could believe that they were handling the Body of Christ, yet people would unceremoniously put the wafers back into the box and put them back in the fridge and pour the wine back into the bottle.  Procedures for dealing with spilt wine and dropped bread were also considerably different in the Lutheran Church, and those of us who practiced more conservative customs were called "closet Catholics".  There is a difference, however subtle, between saying that there is a "real presence in and among" the elements (sacramental union) and the acknowledgement that the bread becomes the real Body of Christ and the wine becomes the real Blood of Christ (transubstantiation) .  There is no veneration of the elements after consecration in the Lutheran Church, whereas the Orthodox Church (at least among the Slavs) show great reverence, to the point of worship, of the consecrated elements.  I have been told by some Lutheran pastors both in the WELS and the LCMS that the presence of Christ in the bread and wine are dependent upon the Faith of the communicant.  This is not the teaching of the Orthodox Church (and not the teaching of all Lutherans).  Perhaps this would explain the actions of those who practice open communion.  They would tend closer to the Calvinistic understanding of Communion.

I should point out that I have found a greater variation of what is believed about the Body and Blood of Christ in the Lutheran Church, varying from just short of transubstantiation in the more conservative German Lutheran groups in heavily Catholic areas to nearly Calvinistic "representation" among more liberal factions, including many in the ELCA and more liberal LCMS areas.  Many of the seeds of my Orthodox understanding of Holy Communion came from Lutherans who were converts from Roman Catholicism.  One such pastor had very close ties with the Russian Orthodox Church and was one who treated the consecrated elements as the real Body and Blood of Christ (transubstantiation).


Keep in mind that Communion in the Orthodox Church IS the Body and Blood of Christ......

Lutherans actually believe the same thing.

Quote
...and taking it unworthily brings condemnation on both the person who takes it and the one who gives it.  It is an act of love that communion is withheld from the heterodox, not a judgement against them.  No Orthodox Christian, much less a Priest, wants to see anyone take communion to their own condemnation.

Exactly.  Those Lutherans who do practice closed communion agree with this.  I'm not sure how the real presence is reconciled with right pastoral care among those who practice open communion.
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« Reply #41 on: February 14, 2011, 05:40:00 PM »

Not only the treatment of the Elements, but the attitude about the altar area, or better, the Holy of Holies is different for the two churches, at least comparing the LCMS we left to our present OCA Church. Dare I bring up the performing of skits, with drums and guitars, movie screens that our former church performed behind the altar rail and installed all around the sanctuary? We came to strongly feel that either the sanctuary and altar area are to be treated reverently as Holy or they aren't. Should they be treated as such at one moment, then treated as any public arena another moment?
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« Reply #42 on: February 14, 2011, 05:44:53 PM »

Actually, they do not - at least not to the extent that it is believed in the Orthodox Church.  This is one of the things that bothered me in the Lutheran Church.  Being an Elder, it was my job to dispose of the left over wafers and wine.  I found it odd that one could believe that they were handling the Body of Christ, yet people would unceremoniously put the wafers back into the box and put them back in the fridge and pour the wine back into the bottle.  Procedures for dealing with spilt wine and dropped bread were also considerably different in the Lutheran Church, and those of us who practiced more conservative customs were called "closet Catholics".  There is a difference, however subtle, between saying that there is a "real presence in and among" the elements (sacramental union) and the acknowledgement that the bread becomes the real Body of Christ and the wine becomes the real Blood of Christ (transubstantiation) .  There is no veneration of the elements after consecration in the Lutheran Church, whereas the Orthodox Church (at least among the Slavs) show great reverence, to the point of worship, of the consecrated elements.  I have been told by some Lutheran pastors both in the WELS and the LCMS that the presence of Christ in the bread and wine are dependent upon the Faith of the communicant.  This is not the teaching of the Orthodox Church (and not the teaching of all Lutherans).  Perhaps this would explain the actions of those who practice open communion.  They would tend closer to the Calvinistic understanding of Communion.

I should clarify -- the Lutheran Confessions make rather clear that the bread and wine in the Eucharist "is" the true body and true blood of Christ, in a real, physical sense (though, as those confessions state, not in a "Capernaitic" sense).  

Quote
Therefore all the ancient Christian teachers expressly, and in full accord with the entire holy Christian Church, teach, according to these words of the institution of Christ and the explanation of St. Paul, that the body of Christ is not only received spiritually by faith, which occurs also outside of [the use of] the Sacrament, but also orally, not only by believing and godly, but also by unworthy, unbelieving, false, and wicked Christians. As this is too long to be narrated here, we would, for the sake of brevity, have the Christian reader referred to the exhaustive writings of our theologians.  

FC:SD VII 66.

What various Lutherans do with that true body and blood may give a greater or lesser confession, as you rightly note, and worse, what various Lutherans actually believe over and against their own confession is another matter as well.  The dumping of individual communion cups in the garbage was a huge issue I had with our WELS parish.  Our prior LCMS parish wouldn't even dream of such a thing -- there was a piscina with a drain that went straight to ground (i.e., not into the sewer or septic system) and the chalice and all individual cups were washed to ground after as much of the elements were consumed as possible.  When I noted to our WELS Pastor that dumping the cups (with unconsumed but consecrated leftover wine) into the garbage was a poor confession of what we believe, my concern was acknowledged, but upon repeated follow-up attempts to clarify this practice, I was unable to get any further and as far as I know that practice continues today.  That wasn't the only issue, but it was a really big issue.

Regarding spilt consecrated wine, there is a quite famous story of Luther accidentally spilling some of the wine, literally getting on the floor and lapping up what he could, then using a planer to shave the wood from the chancel, which was then (I believe) burned.  While the LCMS parish we were confirmed in probably didn't go quite that far, the elements were respected far more than either my later experience or your experience.  It appears many Lutherans have become receptionists.
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« Reply #43 on: February 14, 2011, 05:52:52 PM »

Not only the treatment of the Elements, but the attitude about the altar area, or better, the Holy of Holies is different for the two churches, at least comparing the LCMS we left to our present OCA Church. Dare I bring up the performing of skits, with drums and guitars, movie screens that our former church performed behind the altar rail and installed all around the sanctuary? We came to strongly feel that either the sanctuary and altar area are to be treated reverently as Holy or they aren't. Should they be treated as such at one moment, then treated as any public arena another moment?

Similar to my last response, I consider this more a poor practice among Lutherans than a proper teaching of the Lutheran Confessions, but I agree with your premise.  We didn't have drums and guitars in the WELS parish we left, but we did have video screens behind the altar (and we didn't have an altar rail at all -- when the building was erected it looked pretty generically Protestant but for the altar and fount).  The LCMS parish we attended before we moved here was much closer to Orthodoxy (not only in this sense, but in many many other senses as well) than what you describe or what we received in the WELS.  And we left the LCMS for the WELS precisely because the LCMS parishes where we live now are exactly what you describe.

In our first LCMS parish, one would not enter the chancel without bowing first and usually making the sign of the cross.  And one would not enter the chancel without a pretty good reason for doing so.  There certainly were no skits, drums, guitars, video screens or other nonsense going on there.  It was set aside as sacred space.  Again, much closer to what we have now in Orthodoxy, though there are certainly still differences in praxis.
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« Reply #44 on: February 14, 2011, 07:09:52 PM »

Similar to my last response, I consider this more a poor practice among Lutherans than a proper teaching of the Lutheran Confessions, but I agree with your premise. 

I've always wanted to pass out a quiz to my fellow Lutherans and ask them: (1) Which church believes that communion is the true body and blood of Christ? (2)  Which church believes that Mary was "ever-virgin"? (3)  Which church calls Mary the "Mother of God"? (4) Which church acknowledges that the saints pray for us? (5) Which church believes that the mass should be "held among us and celebrated with the highest reverence"?  Support for all of those propositions can be found in the Lutheran confessions, but my guess is that the vast majority of those polled would call most, if not all, of those beliefs Roman Catholic.
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« Reply #45 on: February 14, 2011, 07:13:01 PM »



 As to praying with non-Orthodox - that seems to be one of those "ask your priest" things.  Each circumstance is unique. 


That's one of the things I like about Orthodoxy - there is dogma, of course, but many matters are appropriately left to the discretion of the priest in terms of how to advise someone in his care.
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« Reply #46 on: February 14, 2011, 09:23:47 PM »

Similar to my last response, I consider this more a poor practice among Lutherans than a proper teaching of the Lutheran Confessions, but I agree with your premise. 

I've always wanted to pass out a quiz to my fellow Lutherans and ask them: (1) Which church believes that communion is the true body and blood of Christ? (2)  Which church believes that Mary was "ever-virgin"? (3)  Which church calls Mary the "Mother of God"? (4) Which church acknowledges that the saints pray for us? (5) Which church believes that the mass should be "held among us and celebrated with the highest reverence"?  Support for all of those propositions can be found in the Lutheran confessions, but my guess is that the vast majority of those polled would call most, if not all, of those beliefs Roman Catholic.
\

The problem is it would depend on who you asked.  There are some very traditionalist (conservative??) Lutherans who believe all of those, with the exception of #4 and others who would blanch at any of them.  I remember someone snickering at my LCMS parish about "those people who actually believe Mary was ever-virgin", but then I have family members who have an icon of her and reference her as Ever-Virgin.  This to me is actually a big problem - and not just with Lutheranism.  Much of it is cafeteria style but they can all be Lutheran.  This lack of catholicity is one of the reasons I eventually left and became Orthodox.
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« Reply #47 on: February 14, 2011, 10:56:42 PM »

Same here, Princess Mommy, I may not have left if our Lutherans had been true Lutherans!
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« Reply #48 on: February 14, 2011, 11:05:50 PM »

Same here, Princess Mommy, I may not have left if our Lutherans had been true Lutherans!

And I say if David Young were my pastor I might not have rejected Christ at around age 12 as a Baptist.

I find the conversion threads interesting, because they nearly always tend to show the richness and differences within "denominations" which, I tend to only know with a broad brush.
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« Reply #49 on: February 14, 2011, 11:29:25 PM »

I've always wanted to pass out a quiz to my fellow Lutherans and ask them: (1) Which church believes that communion is the true body and blood of Christ? (2)  Which church believes that Mary was "ever-virgin"? (3)  Which church calls Mary the "Mother of God"? (4) Which church acknowledges that the saints pray for us? (5) Which church believes that the mass should be "held among us and celebrated with the highest reverence"?  Support for all of those propositions can be found in the Lutheran confessions, but my guess is that the vast majority of those polled would call most, if not all, of those beliefs Roman Catholic.
\

The problem is it would depend on who you asked.  There are some very traditionalist (conservative??) Lutherans who believe all of those, with the exception of #4 and others who would blanch at any of them.  I remember someone snickering at my LCMS parish about "those people who actually believe Mary was ever-virgin", but then I have family members who have an icon of her and reference her as Ever-Virgin.  This to me is actually a big problem - and not just with Lutheranism.  Much of it is cafeteria style but they can all be Lutheran.  This lack of catholicity is one of the reasons I eventually left and became Orthodox.

There are some who would agree with no. 4.  I was one of them, but then, I was well catechized by a Pastor who took the Confessions seriously.  Until we moved away from that parish, we were fine.  It's amazing -- it's all right there in the Book of Concord.  And so many of them throw it away with both hands.  I agree -- catholicity is the issue.  All other issues we encountered as frustrated Lutherans flow from that one.

But then, were it not for being frustrated, we'd have never gone seeking the Church.  So in the end, I'm happy for the struggle.  It brought us right where we were supposed to be the whole time.
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« Reply #50 on: February 15, 2011, 08:42:25 AM »

I've always wanted to pass out a quiz to my fellow Lutherans and ask them: (1) Which church believes that communion is the true body and blood of Christ? (2)  Which church believes that Mary was "ever-virgin"? (3)  Which church calls Mary the "Mother of God"? (4) Which church acknowledges that the saints pray for us? (5) Which church believes that the mass should be "held among us and celebrated with the highest reverence"?  Support for all of those propositions can be found in the Lutheran confessions, but my guess is that the vast majority of those polled would call most, if not all, of those beliefs Roman Catholic.
\

The problem is it would depend on who you asked.  There are some very traditionalist (conservative??) Lutherans who believe all of those, with the exception of #4 and others who would blanch at any of them.  I remember someone snickering at my LCMS parish about "those people who actually believe Mary was ever-virgin", but then I have family members who have an icon of her and reference her as Ever-Virgin.  This to me is actually a big problem - and not just with Lutheranism.  Much of it is cafeteria style but they can all be Lutheran.  This lack of catholicity is one of the reasons I eventually left and became Orthodox.

There are some who would agree with no. 4.  I was one of them, but then, I was well catechized by a Pastor who took the Confessions seriously.  Until we moved away from that parish, we were fine.  It's amazing -- it's all right there in the Book of Concord.  And so many of them throw it away with both hands.  I agree -- catholicity is the issue.  All other issues we encountered as frustrated Lutherans flow from that one.

But then, were it not for being frustrated, we'd have never gone seeking the Church.  So in the end, I'm happy for the struggle.  It brought us right where we were supposed to be the whole time.

That's interesting... so did the pastor say you could ask for prayers from the saints? 
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« Reply #51 on: February 15, 2011, 10:27:56 AM »

That's interesting... so did the pastor say you could ask for prayers from the saints? 

No, the Lutheran take is the saints in heaven pray for us, but they won't ask for those prayers because there is "no promise from Scripture" the saints will hear and act on our requests.  So they don't believe in requesting intercession, but they do (or, by their Confessions and, honestly, from Scripture should) believe the saints in heaven pray for us.  The reference is to the Apology of the Augsburg Confession article XXI at paragraphs 9-10 and 27, where Lutherans grant that the saints and Mary pray for the Church, but in both cases indicate we are not to ask for their intercession.

Oddly enough, it is in part the diminishing of this point among Lutherans that caused me to begin to question their catholicity.  Most Lutherans don't know that the Lutheran Confessions concede that the saints pray for us even as they forbade requests for saintly intercession.  And even fewer understand that the problem the Lutherans had with the practice was the unsalutary application of merits to the saints which could then be accessed by the Church through prayer, indulgences, etc.  The Orthodox view doesn't even get into merits, and I'd wager a guess that if the Roman Church never had, the Lutherans would not have seen a problem with the practice.

I've said a lot that the problem in most Western theology is that merits are always assumed in one direction or another.  I think this is an example of that. In rightly arguing against the "merits of the saints" (in the sense that the saints are somehow earning our salvation through their righteous acts), Lutherans IMHO drove into the opposite ditch and said "because it's only Christ's merits that count, you can't ask the saints to intercede for you).  When you take merit out of the equation, as we Orthodox do (since even Christ's "merits" don't "earn" us heaven), that problem goes away entirely.
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« Reply #52 on: February 15, 2011, 11:19:07 AM »

That's interesting... so did the pastor say you could ask for prayers from the saints? 

No, the Lutheran take is the saints in heaven pray for us, but they won't ask for those prayers because there is "no promise from Scripture" the saints will hear and act on our requests.  So they don't believe in requesting intercession, but they do (or, by their Confessions and, honestly, from Scripture should) believe the saints in heaven pray for us.  The reference is to the Apology of the Augsburg Confession article XXI at paragraphs 9-10 and 27, where Lutherans grant that the saints and Mary pray for the Church, but in both cases indicate we are not to ask for their intercession.

Oddly enough, it is in part the diminishing of this point among Lutherans that caused me to begin to question their catholicity.  Most Lutherans don't know that the Lutheran Confessions concede that the saints pray for us even as they forbade requests for saintly intercession.  And even fewer understand that the problem the Lutherans had with the practice was the unsalutary application of merits to the saints which could then be accessed by the Church through prayer, indulgences, etc.  The Orthodox view doesn't even get into merits, and I'd wager a guess that if the Roman Church never had, the Lutherans would not have seen a problem with the practice.

I've said a lot that the problem in most Western theology is that merits are always assumed in one direction or another.  I think this is an example of that. In rightly arguing against the "merits of the saints" (in the sense that the saints are somehow earning our salvation through their righteous acts), Lutherans IMHO drove into the opposite ditch and said "because it's only Christ's merits that count, you can't ask the saints to intercede for you).  When you take merit out of the equation, as we Orthodox do (since even Christ's "merits" don't "earn" us heaven), that problem goes away entirely.

this is what I thought. If you were to sit down with many other Protestants and walk them through it I suspect they would admit to a similar belief concerning the prayers of the saints...since it's in the Bible  Wink

Interesting thoughts about merits...very perceptive.  I wonder, now that many Lutherans have a better understanding of the Orthodox faith and of Church Father's teachings, can the Confessions be changed or added to?  Could the Synod accept (as a whole denom.- not just individual pastors) some historical teachings like prayers of the saints and write it into their confessions and change their doctrines?
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« Reply #53 on: February 15, 2011, 11:26:26 AM »

this is what I thought. If you were to sit down with many other Protestants and walk them through it I suspect they would admit to a similar belief concerning the prayers of the saints...since it's in the Bible  Wink

Interesting thoughts about merits...very perceptive.  I wonder, now that many Lutherans have a better understanding of the Orthodox faith and of Church Father's teachings, can the Confessions be changed or added to?  Could the Synod accept (as a whole denom.- not just individual pastors) some historical teachings like prayers of the saints and write it into their confessions and change their doctrines?

They could, but historically what makes one a "Lutheran" is an acceptance of those Confessions as the clear and exact exposition of Holy Scripture.  Once I rejected portions of them, I knew I was no longer Lutheran.  Those Lutherans I know who have become Orthodox acted similarly -- instead of creating yet another Lutheran schism, they just joined the Church (some went to Rome as well, following a similar path).

Some who call themselves Lutherans hold what is called a quatenus subscription to the confessions, and I suppose those could decide "Scripture allows this, so we are going to call ourselves Lutheran but abandon this part or that part of the Confessions."  For me, once I no longer agreed with the Confessions, I felt it my duty to act honestly and find a tradition that squared with what I did believe.  This wasn't neat and clean -- at first I left because my parish didn't follow the Confessions as I thought they should, nor did any others around me.  After a time visiting the Orthodox Church, it became clear my theology was being conformed to Orthodoxy rather than me trying to squeeze Orthodoxy into a Lutheran box. 
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« Reply #54 on: February 15, 2011, 11:44:32 AM »

Perhaps it might be helpful to think of the guardian angel analogy. I know that protestants still talk about guardian angels, and that they protect us from harm, etc. Of course, they don't pray to them, no.

The question remains though, why not? If they are present around you to protect you and intervene if you are in trouble, couldn't they also hear your pleas for help? I think the saints are no different in this respect, except for the fact that they know what it is to be human, which is a comforting thought, imo.

I think that protestants automatically associate prayer with worship, and this is not necessarily the case. As mentioned above, it is no different than conversing with someone who is assigned to watch over you.
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« Reply #55 on: February 15, 2011, 12:14:39 PM »

Perhaps it might be helpful to think of the guardian angel analogy. I know that protestants still talk about guardian angels, and that they protect us from harm, etc. Of course, they don't pray to them, no.

The question remains though, why not? If they are present around you to protect you and intervene if you are in trouble, couldn't they also hear your pleas for help? I think the saints are no different in this respect, except for the fact that they know what it is to be human, which is a comforting thought, imo.

I think that protestants automatically associate prayer with worship, and this is not necessarily the case. As mentioned above, it is no different than conversing with someone who is assigned to watch over you.

I think that's right.  Something that helped me along in this regard was to hear Scriptural citations where St. Paul used the word "pray" to mean something other than "worship."

"Pray" means to ask.  Understanding that rightly helps keep the cart and the horse in proper orientation where saintly intercession is concerned.  This blog post by Father Gregory Hogg (a Lutheran convert himself) and the attendant comments I think get to the heart of it:

http://frgregory.blogspot.com/2010/08/subterranean-scribbling.html
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« Reply #56 on: February 15, 2011, 01:23:24 PM »

The main problem with the Lutheran view of intercession of the Saints is that they take literally the story of the rich man and Lazarus.  The dead are done with this world and there is no communication between those among the living and those who have passed on.  The Saints pray for the Church as a whole, but there is no individual relationship between people on Earth and individual Saints in Heaven.  There are numerous scriptures that are used as a proof for this (I don't have them at hand since my copies of Pieper's Dogmatics and Lenskys Commentaries are at home and I am at work).  The Lutherans have a hard time with praying to anyone other than God, since Jesus Christ is "the only mediator between us and the Father".  When I was in the Lutheran Church, I was pretty well taught that since we can talk directly to God through Jesus Christ, why do we need to pray to anyone else?  I must confess, I still have problems with this and find it difficult to pray to the Theotokos or to certain Saints.  It has become easier with time, and I have been helped by the prayers of the Saints.  I guess to put it clearly, prayer to the Saints or to Mary, in the eyes of a Lutheran, is a rejection of the doctrine that Jesus Christ is the mediator between us and the Father.  Also, to a conservative Lutheran, prayer to Saints and to Angels is a form of idolatry.  Since it was Christ who died for us, and Christ who rose from the dead, why would it be necessary to pray to anyone other than Christ God.  To further complicate things, I was taught that the majority of my prayer should be praise and thanksgiving rather than only praying for God to do things for me.  So, to a Lutheran, prayer IS a form of worship, and a very big part of private worship.  Worship is due only to God. 

Again, these things are what I learned as a Lutheran, and as has been said before, there is a wide range of things that one can believe and be “Lutheran”.  For my part, I tended to consider the Book of Concord and its interpretation by Pieper to be the final word on what is Lutheran (and that is pretty much the way both the LCMS and the WELS see it, at least at their seminaries).   Since I could not come to terms with everything in these writings, I, too, had to admit that I was not a Lutheran but something else.  I also saw in my years in the Lutheran Church that there are a LOT of people that did not believe everything that Luther taught.  I came of age, and my father was ordained a pastor, during the time of the big schism in the LCMS that led to the creation of ELIM, and the subsequent combining of ELIM, LCA and ALC to become the ELCA.  To further complicate matters, my father was a convert from the Baptist Church and a Charismatic Christian, which often put him at odds with the more conservative factions of the LCMS.
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« Reply #57 on: February 15, 2011, 02:02:08 PM »

To further complicate matters, my father was a convert from the Baptist Church and a Charismatic Christian, which often put him at odds with the more conservative factions of the LCMS.

That's interesting.  We converted from Southern Baptist to Lutheran, and I think it made us more conservative (or, at least, more confessional).  We had no desire to return to that type of worship experience.  I freely acknowledge we were in some pretty bad Baptist churches toward the end, but one of the reasons we looked outside Lutheranism is it was beginning to look more like the more generic American Protestants like Baptists.
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« Reply #58 on: February 15, 2011, 02:27:50 PM »

To further complicate matters, my father was a convert from the Baptist Church and a Charismatic Christian, which often put him at odds with the more conservative factions of the LCMS.

That's interesting.  We converted from Southern Baptist to Lutheran, and I think it made us more conservative (or, at least, more confessional).  We had no desire to return to that type of worship experience.  I freely acknowledge we were in some pretty bad Baptist churches toward the end, but one of the reasons we looked outside Lutheranism is it was beginning to look more like the more generic American Protestants like Baptists.

We converted from Charismatic/Reformed to Lutheranism.  I became more liturgically conservative and my husband, who is still Lutheran, did not.  When my BIL complained about "guitars at the Liturgy" at some Lutheran gathering my husband response was: "So what?? what's the matter with guitars at Liturgy??"  Sigh. ...You really can get a wide range of responses even within one household.   Cheesy
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« Reply #59 on: February 15, 2011, 02:37:50 PM »

Another thing that I learned - Conservative has many meanings!  My father was very conservative when it came to Scripture and the like.  During the schism, he kept his parish with the LCMS even though about 1/4 left for ELIM.  He also excommunicated Masons and would not put up with dancing and other such things in the sancuary.  He was branded as a "Liberal" by some factions of the faculty at Springfield because of his sympathy and former involvement in the Charismatic movement, and for daring to ask during a class if the Book of Concord was infallible like Scripture (he did not get an answer).  However, by the end of his ministry, he could not get a call to Nebraska because he was considered too conservative for this district, and was considered conservative even by Wisconsin standards.  So, I learned that the terms "Liberal" and "Conservative" can have many meanings.  I ran into the same problems in the WELS.  My first pastor was much like my father and we got along fine.  The next pastor was super conservative and had no problem telling you that the Book of Concord was infallible, and that there was no salvation outside the Lutheran Church (which meant the WELS, of course).  Needless to say, I did not last very long as the tension between him and the Chairman of the Elders (me) was pretty thick.  Most of the Elders wanted me to stay and fight.  I refused and told them that it was not the pastor that was un-Lutheran, but it was me.  As such, I needed to be the one to go.


To further complicate matters, my father was a convert from the Baptist Church and a Charismatic Christian, which often put him at odds with the more conservative factions of the LCMS.

That's interesting.  We converted from Southern Baptist to Lutheran, and I think it made us more conservative (or, at least, more confessional).  We had no desire to return to that type of worship experience.  I freely acknowledge we were in some pretty bad Baptist churches toward the end, but one of the reasons we looked outside Lutheranism is it was beginning to look more like the more generic American Protestants like Baptists.
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« Reply #60 on: February 15, 2011, 02:54:13 PM »

Another thing that I learned - Conservative has many meanings! 

This is true.  I have said on many occasions that among Lutherans, conservatism is the enemy of Confessionalism.  I have found that to be quite true.  As one example, how many Lutheran parishes continue bi-weekly communion "because that's what we've always done," even though the Confessions could not be clearer that "among us masses are celebrated every Lord's Day and on the other festivals, in which the Sacrament is offered to those who wish to use it, after they have been examined and absolved?"  (Ap. XXIV).
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« Reply #61 on: February 15, 2011, 02:59:58 PM »

So outside of monasteries, are daily liturgies and masses actually against tradition?
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« Reply #62 on: February 15, 2011, 03:21:46 PM »

This continues to be a great discussion - thanks.  I have a couple of additional thoughts:

(1) It was interesting to read how some ended in Orthodoxy because they started disagreeing with some portions of the Confessions.  I am a descendant of Scandavian Lutheranism, as opposed to German Lutheranism.  If I understand the distinction correctly, I believe that in conservative German Lutheranism (the LCMS being descendants of that strain of Lutheranism) the Book of Concord was accepted in its entirety on an equal level, whereas in Scandanavian Lutheranism, the Augsburg Confession and the Small Catechism are placed on a much higher level in terms of authority than the other parts of the BOC, which we would view more as commentary on the AC and SC. The AC and SC are fairly irenic and ecumenical, as opposed to the more polemical Smalcald Articles (when Luther was getting cranky and old Smiley) or the Formula of Concord (written by the heirs of Luther who were taking Lutheranism in a more rationalist/systematic direction IMHO).  So, I don't place as much stock in the more vitriolic language against intercessory prayer of the saints found in the other confessional writings.

(2)  Another thing I have noticed in this thread, as well as in other stories about converts to Roman Catholicism or Orthodoxy, is that many seemed to have started in some sort of evangelical or reformed church, became more attacted to liturgy and tradition, so became Lutheran or Anglican, and then went on Orthodoxy or Catholicism when Lutheranism/Anglicanism turned out not to be quite as liturgical or traditional as once believed. This goes back to my earlier comments about it being somewhat of a cultural thing for me - not only am I a lifelong Lutheran, but I've got nearly 500 years of Lutheranism to deal with on my Danish side of the family.  So, at least part of me feels obligated in a sense to try and stick around and preseve the catholicity of Lutheranism.
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« Reply #63 on: February 15, 2011, 03:29:55 PM »

Yes, the alternating services were common.  In the larger Churches, we would have two services on Sunday.  We would alternate the Page 15 service (Old Hymnal) with the Page 5 with one sunday having the Page 5 for the early service and the next having the Page 15 for the early service.  For those Churches that had only a single service, the Page 5 and Page 15 were alternated weekly.  We tried to get the Page 15 (Communion) for every Sunday, but the people would revolt.  Page 15 was just too long for every Sunday (they should have gone through a Russian Orthodox Vigil to see what long is).  Keep in mind that while the Book of Concord seems to support weekly Communion, some of Luther's writings lean toward less frequent Communion with more preparation.  I knew a lot of Germans who held to the "four times per year" formula because "Luther said so".

I like the way you put that - "Conservatism is the enemy of Confessionalism".  How true!  


Another thing that I learned - Conservative has many meanings! 

This is true.  I have said on many occasions that among Lutherans, conservatism is the enemy of Confessionalism.  I have found that to be quite true.  As one example, how many Lutheran parishes continue bi-weekly communion "because that's what we've always done," even though the Confessions could not be clearer that "among us masses are celebrated every Lord's Day and on the other festivals, in which the Sacrament is offered to those who wish to use it, after they have been examined and absolved?"  (Ap. XXIV).
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« Reply #64 on: February 15, 2011, 03:30:23 PM »

This continues to be a great discussion - thanks.  I have a couple of additional thoughts:

(1) It was interesting to read how some ended in Orthodoxy because they started disagreeing with some portions of the Confessions.  I am a descendant of Scandavian Lutheranism, as opposed to German Lutheranism.  If I understand the distinction correctly, I believe that in conservative German Lutheranism (the LCMS being descendants of that strain of Lutheranism) the Book of Concord was accepted in its entirety on an equal level, whereas in Scandanavian Lutheranism, the Augsburg Confession and the Small Catechism are placed on a much higher level in terms of authority than the other parts of the BOC, which we would view more as commentary on the AC and SC. The AC and SC are fairly irenic and ecumenical, as opposed to the more polemical Smalcald Articles (when Luther was getting cranky and old Smiley) or the Formula of Concord (written by the heirs of Luther who were taking Lutheranism in a more rationalist/systematic direction IMHO).  So, I don't place as much stock in the more vitriolic language against intercessory prayer of the saints found in the other confessional writings.

(2)  Another thing I have noticed in this thread, as well as in other stories about converts to Roman Catholicism or Orthodoxy, is that many seemed to have started in some sort of evangelical or reformed church, became more attacted to liturgy and tradition, so became Lutheran or Anglican, and then went on Orthodoxy or Catholicism when Lutheranism/Anglicanism turned out not to be quite as liturgical or traditional as once believed. This goes back to my earlier comments about it being somewhat of a cultural thing for me - not only am I a lifelong Lutheran, but I've got nearly 500 years of Lutheranism to deal with on my Danish side of the family.  So, at least part of me feels obligated in a sense to try and stick around and preseve the catholicity of Lutheranism.
Speaking of the Danes, the first Orthodox priest assigned to the Eastern United States was Nicholas Bjerring, a Danish immigrant. He was, however, somehow, a communicate of the Vatican (he turned to Orthodoxy after Vatican I, only to return to the Vatican in the end of his days).
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« Reply #65 on: February 15, 2011, 03:45:23 PM »

This continues to be a great discussion - thanks.  I have a couple of additional thoughts:

(1) It was interesting to read how some ended in Orthodoxy because they started disagreeing with some portions of the Confessions.  I am a descendant of Scandavian Lutheranism, as opposed to German Lutheranism.  If I understand the distinction correctly, I believe that in conservative German Lutheranism (the LCMS being descendants of that strain of Lutheranism) the Book of Concord was accepted in its entirety on an equal level, whereas in Scandanavian Lutheranism, the Augsburg Confession and the Small Catechism are placed on a much higher level in terms of authority than the other parts of the BOC, which we would view more as commentary on the AC and SC. The AC and SC are fairly irenic and ecumenical, as opposed to the more polemical Smalcald Articles (when Luther was getting cranky and old Smiley) or the Formula of Concord (written by the heirs of Luther who were taking Lutheranism in a more rationalist/systematic direction IMHO).  So, I don't place as much stock in the more vitriolic language against intercessory prayer of the saints found in the other confessional writings.

Yes, the LCMS subscribes to the entirety of the BOC as being an exact and correct exposition of the Scriptures (on paper at least -- some within the LCMS do not). 

Quote
(2)  Another thing I have noticed in this thread, as well as in other stories about converts to Roman Catholicism or Orthodoxy, is that many seemed to have started in some sort of evangelical or reformed church, became more attacted to liturgy and tradition, so became Lutheran or Anglican, and then went on Orthodoxy or Catholicism when Lutheranism/Anglicanism turned out not to be quite as liturgical or traditional as once believed. This goes back to my earlier comments about it being somewhat of a cultural thing for me - not only am I a lifelong Lutheran, but I've got nearly 500 years of Lutheranism to deal with on my Danish side of the family.  So, at least part of me feels obligated in a sense to try and stick around and preseve the catholicity of Lutheranism.

For us, it wasn't being "attracted to liturgy and tradition" so much as being drawn by catholicity.  The LCMS Church we were confirmed in utilized a pretty consistent liturgy, either DSI or DSII in the LW.  So long as we avoided those "church growth" folks, when we traveled we could usually find a parish that did the same. The lectionary was the same.  The hymnody was drawn from the same part of the hymnal.  So the Church acted as one, not as a bunch of loosely connected folks each doing whatever they pleased.  There was comfort in this because it was historical.

When we moved, that was no longer the case.  EVERYONE did whatever they wanted, and we could not find a home parish where we felt like we were receiving that which we had previously been given.  So we moved to the WELS, which was better, but still not good.  We became Orthodox so we could be catholic.  Maintaining the liturgy is a side effect of that -- if all of Orthodoxy decided "we're going to form a new liturgy for the 21st century," that would be fine since it would be the Church acting in concert (we won't do that, but you get the idea).
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« Reply #66 on: February 15, 2011, 03:46:52 PM »

This continues to be a great discussion - thanks.  I have a couple of additional thoughts:

(1) It was interesting to read how some ended in Orthodoxy because they started disagreeing with some portions of the Confessions.  I am a descendant of Scandavian Lutheranism, as opposed to German Lutheranism.  If I understand the distinction correctly, I believe that in conservative German Lutheranism (the LCMS being descendants of that strain of Lutheranism) the Book of Concord was accepted in its entirety on an equal level, whereas in Scandanavian Lutheranism, the Augsburg Confession and the Small Catechism are placed on a much higher level in terms of authority than the other parts of the BOC, which we would view more as commentary on the AC and SC. The AC and SC are fairly irenic and ecumenical, as opposed to the more polemical Smalcald Articles (when Luther was getting cranky and old Smiley) or the Formula of Concord (written by the heirs of Luther who were taking Lutheranism in a more rationalist/systematic direction IMHO).  So, I don't place as much stock in the more vitriolic language against intercessory prayer of the saints found in the other confessional writings.

(2)  Another thing I have noticed in this thread, as well as in other stories about converts to Roman Catholicism or Orthodoxy, is that many seemed to have started in some sort of evangelical or reformed church, became more attracted to liturgy and tradition, so became Lutheran or Anglican, and then went on Orthodoxy or Catholicism when Lutheranism/Anglicanism turned out not to be quite as liturgical or traditional as once believed. This goes back to my earlier comments about it being somewhat of a cultural thing for me - not only am I a lifelong Lutheran, but I've got nearly 500 years of Lutheranism to deal with on my Danish side of the family.  So, at least part of me feels obligated in a sense to try and stick around and preseve the catholicity of Lutheranism.

(1) You are correct.  The Germans, particularly those that sought to escape the Prussian Union (LCMS), tend to see the whole Book of Concord as authoritative.  The Scandinavians did not.  I also think that the German Lutherans became more severe and anti-Roman after the horrors of the 30 years war, which I believe affected Germany more than Scandinavia.  

(2) I have 500 years of Lutheranism on my mother’s side.  Perhaps you can imagine the sadness that I carry in my heart that the Church that first taught me that Jesus was my Savior, and taught me to love God above all things, is not part of the True Church.  My parents and siblings are all Lutheran, and even my wife and children often miss the Lutheran Church (my middle son is even thinking of going back).  Conversion is not without its price.  I have to remind myself daily of the price that Jesus Christ paid for me.  If we are not willing to choose Him over our own families, we are not worthy of Him.  I expressed this sadness to my priest once, and he told me that the traditions of Serbia say that the conversion of a man to the Church can save seven generations before him.  He also said that I should never stop praying for my family, both the living and the dead, and that I should burn candles for them at the appropriate places.  Part of me finds this difficult to believe.  However, my second favorite verse in the Bible is “I Believe, help my unbelief!”  
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« Reply #67 on: February 15, 2011, 03:58:43 PM »

Just because we are not Lutheran now it doesn't mean we no longer sing  or appreciate our former hymns! We just don't sing them in Liturgy. However, as said already, with experiencing beautiful Orthodox hymns, the words of them especially during Christmas and Pascha, speak to your heart.
As a former Lutheran (as we say around these here parts, "Lutheran born and Lutheran bred, and when I die, I'll be Lutheran dead!"), and someone who has always sung in choir and cherished Lutheran hymnology, I haven't missed it at all, and I really thought I would. As a matter of fact, upon first hearing Orthodox hymns, I was a goner.

Quote
We still have passed along our German-Lutheran roots/culture to our children, but in other ways...We haven't thrown out our Lutheran Gourmet Coffee mug, but we are now rejoicing with deeper relationship than we ever expected with the Lord.
Same here. Orthodoxy is what I was always looking for, and didn't even know I was looking. When I attended my first Divine Liturgy, I knew that this was the Church.

That said, there's no way to sugar-coat your conversion. Your parents are bound to be at least a little hurt and bewildered. Mine were. Now we just avoid any discussion.
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« Reply #68 on: February 15, 2011, 04:03:42 PM »

(2) I have 500 years of Lutheranism on my mother’s side.  Perhaps you can imagine the sadness that I carry in my heart that the Church that first taught me that Jesus was my Savior, and taught me to love God above all things, is not part of the True Church.  
Well said, sir. This is my feeling also.
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« Reply #69 on: February 15, 2011, 04:22:46 PM »

(2) I have 500 years of Lutheranism on my mother’s side.  Perhaps you can imagine the sadness that I carry in my heart that the Church that first taught me that Jesus was my Savior, and taught me to love God above all things, is not part of the True Church. 
Well said, sir. This is my feeling also.

The RC Church, as I understand it, teaches that while Lutherans are not a "Church" we are an "ecclesial community" connected to the Church through our baptism, albeit not in full communion with the Church.

Is there anything analagous to this in Orthodox teaching?  I've heard the axiom of "We know where the Church is but we do not know where it is not" but don't know much beyond that about how Orthodoxy views those not in full communion with the Church.
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« Reply #70 on: February 15, 2011, 04:28:09 PM »

The RC Church, as I understand it, teaches that while Lutherans are not a "Church" we are an "ecclesial community" connected to the Church through our baptism, albeit not in full communion with the Church.

Is there anything analagous to this in Orthodox teaching?  I've heard the axiom of "We know where the Church is but we do not know where it is not" but don't know much beyond that about how Orthodoxy views those not in full communion with the Church.

It's not at all the same. We do know where the Church is, and we don't know where it is not, but at the same time, there is no such thing in Orthodoxy as an "ecclesial community" which is in some vague way attached. Or not. You are either in the One True Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church or you are not. There are no "sorta kinda" ecclesial communities. That said, we know that God will save whom He will save, and He has not put us in charge of that particular department.
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« Reply #71 on: February 15, 2011, 04:33:09 PM »

The RC Church, as I understand it, teaches that while Lutherans are not a "Church" we are an "ecclesial community" connected to the Church through our baptism, albeit not in full communion with the Church.

Is there anything analagous to this in Orthodox teaching?  I've heard the axiom of "We know where the Church is but we do not know where it is not" but don't know much beyond that about how Orthodoxy views those not in full communion with the Church.

It's not at all the same. We do know where the Church is, and we don't know where it is not, but at the same time, there is no such thing in Orthodoxy as an "ecclesial community" which is in some vague way attached. Or not. You are either in the One True Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church or you are not. There are no "sorta kinda" ecclesial communities. That said, we know that God will save whom He will save, and He has not put us in charge of that particular department.

What is the rationale and justification for accepting non-Orthodox baptisms given that position?
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« Reply #72 on: February 15, 2011, 04:42:04 PM »

It is the decision of the bishop but the general rationale is that Chrismation supplies all that was lacking in the previous baptism.
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