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lutheraninquirer
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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). 

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(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.

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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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