Author Topic: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories  (Read 30821 times)

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Offline Luckster

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Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« on: May 06, 2012, 04:20:38 PM »
I figured since we had a thread for the Latins who returned to Orthodoxy, we should create one for the Lutherans!

I have an empathy towards Lutheranism, despite never actually being Lutheran. My dad is LCMS. I grew up in Montana with the nearest Orthodox Church being two hours away, so my family only attended twice a month and feasts. The other Sundays I attended his LCMS church. I attended a Lutheran camp.* My best friend growing up was LCMS, so I even attended some catechism classes. I showed the students a news clip of my Billings church and entertained a few questions.** When my dad's church built an expansion, I volunteered (read: forced by parents). When I was looking for colleges, I knew I wanted to go to a small, religious school. My dad showed me the university my grandfather briefly attended when he was interested in becoming a Lutheran pastor (the college is/was known for its pre-seminary program). The theology students and faculty had many questions about Orthodoxy, which led me down an unexpected path. In an attempt to answer their questions, I had to do research. This increased my own knowledge of Orthodoxy and introduced me to the various Orthonet communities.

*I was in fifth grade when I attended this camp. At the time, my church didn't have its own building, so it was using a Catholic one at the time. I met this counselor who happened to attend this Catholic church and he told me, "So you're the guys who are always using our building!" Also, once my church started putting on its camps, I stopped going to the Lutheran one, and then, when I reached high school, I attended Camp Emmanuel in WY and CrossRoad in 2004.

** I'll never forget that Wednesday evening. They asked, "What's in the Cup?" "Communion," I told them. "They let kids take Communion?!"

I have another side story. While I was in college, Fr. John Fenton recanted of his Lutheran beliefs and ordination vows. This caused a ripple effect in the LCMS Great Lakes areas. He once ministered a parish close to the university, so he knew the theology faculty very well. They did not look highly upon his decision. In fact, when I attempted to press one faculty member for more information, I was instructed to drop the subject entirely.

For any LCMS reading this, I may or may not have endorsed Virgilicious at the time. "Invoking the Father, I will cense your altar."

Offline katherineofdixie

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2012, 01:27:32 PM »
I was born and raised Lutheran, as they say in the old ALC. Although Lutherans were a rare animal in the Deep South, except for North and South Carolina. My family were German Lutherans for centuries, and my grandmother would frequently change churches if the preaching wandered too much from the Book of Concord, in her opinion.
I had the usual stereotypical college drift, but when I came to my senses, there was never any doubt that I would go back to the Lutheran church. There simply was no other church.
For years, I was active and involved in my church: singing in the choir, youth adviser, church council member, worship assistant, homilist etc. etc. I even did light construction work and laid tile when we were building a new sanctuary.
I always was a bit of a theology geek, and at some point came to believe that I wanted to go to seminary to explore a call to the ordained ministry. I was accepted and after a meeting with the bishop, he suggested that I work with my pastor to see if I really wanted to do this kind of thing. I did and thoroughly enjoyed it. My pastor also suggested that I read Christian history and the Fathers, knowing my love of history and theology.
What I discovered there, and talking with a Greek Orthodox couple whose daughter was my husband's client, along with my congregation calling a pastor who subsequently broke his promises to the congregation, as well as (IMHO) his ordination vows, sent me on a serious search for the church that I found in history and the Fathers.

My husband fell in love with Orthodoxy and was chrismated almost immediately whereas I took almost a year of studying and dithering. In many ways, it was a terrible decision to leave my Lutheran roots, but it was also worth it.
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Offline PrincessMommy

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2012, 06:24:46 PM »
I was not born Lutheran but did do a 4yr stint with the LCMS while I was climbing the liturgical latter from Charismatic to Orthodoxy.  My BIL is an LCMS pastor (fairly well known in those circles) and a friend of Fr. Fenton.  Yup- I remember when that happened.  Actually, he was better treated than *some* who just thought about going Orthodox and were set out to roast.  It was ugly and definitely didn't fill me with love for the Lutheran church when I saw how they treated their own.

Unfortunately, (or fortunately) I wasn't too steeped in the Lutheran faith.  Our Lutheran pastor wasn't really a catechist and is a bit theologically wishy-washy (he strongly supports open communion and woman pastors).  However, he was committed to the Liturgy and the Eucharist each Sunday, and at that time THAT was important to me.  We live in very liturgically liberal area for Lutherans and it was hard to find a parish committed to the faith of their fathers.  For example, when I left our parish to become Orthodox they were beginning to throw out the Gospel readings and replacing them with "dramatic interpretations"  Our pastor is also a peacemaker and if all the ex-hippies want to try something new with the liturgy - why not??  Ugh.  My husband says they went back pretty quickly to the "old" way of doing the Gospel :) But, it was too late for me by then.  Everyone at my former parish (except a small minority) were huge Kieschnick fans.  And, I remember when I took it upon myself to read portions of the Larger Catechism and the Book of Concord and being appalled by some of what I read.

But - I did learn the liturgy from them and that actually made it a lot easier when I finally went back to looking at the Orthodox church.  Before I had just been your regular Charismatic/Baptocostal Christian so the liturgy was just a big confusing experience before that.    Because of my sister and her husband I do hear of the happenings within the LCMS fairly regularly, but I usually just try to avoid all talk of the theological nature with my BIL.  Lutherans are very good theological debaters and I just don't want to be sucked into those kind of conversations.   It's kind of sad for me too.. I used to love talking church history and theology with him, but now it's just frustrating.

Offline Punch

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2012, 07:26:07 PM »
My mother was German Lutheran and my father was Baptist when they married in Germany.  I was Baptized in either the ALC or LCA when I was one year old.  My father became more interested in church matters when he got back from Viet Nam in 1965, and became active in the LCMS.  He later became an elder in the LCMS and Sunday School was an every week affair for me.  When I finished 5th grade, my father felt called to become a minister and the family moved from Texas to Springfield, Illinois so my father could attend the Seminary.  We had dabbled around in the Charismatic movement, and this continued on during our time in Springfield.  I attended Lutheran Parochial School from 6th through 9th grade, and was as active in church as a teen could be.  In 1976, my father received a call to a small church in Anna, Illinois.  I continued some involvement in the Charismatic movement, but started to find it increasingly incompatible with my (and my parents) more conservative leanings.  The mid-1970’s were a tumultuous time in the Lutheran Church, and there was quite a battle between the ELIM factions of my father’s parish and those loyal to the LCMS.  The LCMS won, and ELIM became part of the new apostasy known as the ELCA.

I moved to Wisconsin after I graduated from college and was married.  My wife converted to the Lutheran faith and I was active in the LCMS while in Wisconsin.  My parents moved to Wisconsin before I did, and I attended my father’s church.  I was exposed to the WELS while there, and when I moved to Omaha in 1989, it was a WELS church that I started to attend.  The Pastor at the WELS church put me in charge of the Adult Bible Study, and I was later elected to be the Chairman of the Board of Elders.  I had started reading from the early Church Fathers, and started studying with the intent of becoming a Lay-minister in the WELS.  Instead, I managed to attend an Antiochian Liturgy, and from then it was pretty much a done deal that I was going to become Orthodox.  From the Antiochian Church, I went to ROCOR (the Antiochian seemed to be heading down the same path as the ELCA at the time, and was nowhere as conservative as the LCMS or WELS), and now attend a Serbian parish.
I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.


Offline Peter J

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2012, 09:34:45 AM »
And, I remember when I took it upon myself to read portions of the Larger Catechism and the Book of Concord and being appalled by some of what I read.

You mean directly? Or indirectly i.e. appalled that it wasn't consistent with what was being practiced?
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Offline Peter J

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2012, 09:42:31 AM »
(the Antiochian seemed to be heading down the same path as the ELCA at the time, and was nowhere as conservative as the LCMS or WELS)

Apples and oranges, Punch, apples and oranges.
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Offline Punch

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2012, 10:10:19 AM »
(the Antiochian seemed to be heading down the same path as the ELCA at the time, and was nowhere as conservative as the LCMS or WELS)

Apples and oranges, Punch, apples and oranges.

Not really.
I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.

Offline PrincessMommy

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2012, 12:02:58 PM »
And, I remember when I took it upon myself to read portions of the Larger Catechism and the Book of Concord and being appalled by some of what I read.

You mean directly? Or indirectly i.e. appalled that it wasn't consistent with what was being practiced?

a little of both.  I really, really didn't like that it equated priests with demons (or some such - I can't remember exactly) and I also didn't like that what I read wasn't what was practiced.  And, it wasn't really just at my personal parish - the Lutheran church as a whole body is all over the map when it comes to practices and beliefs.  And it isn't like the jurisdictional differences we find in the Orthodox church.  It seems to depend mainly on the whims of the people and the pastor.  It seems to only be unified in name.

Offline Peter J

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2012, 12:51:43 PM »
(the Antiochian seemed to be heading down the same path as the ELCA at the time, and was nowhere as conservative as the LCMS or WELS)

Apples and oranges, Punch, apples and oranges.

Not really.

And it isn't like the jurisdictional differences we find in the Orthodox church. 

Exactly.
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Offline Punch

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2012, 02:33:45 PM »
  It seems to only be unified in name.

I would not even go that far.  The LCMS and WELS pretty much reject the other churches that call themselves Lutheran as being Lutheran.  Your observations on church order are pretty accurate except for possibly the WELS.  They seem to be a bit more homogeneous since they are rather small.  It is easier to keep order in a smaller organization that is not quite as far flung as the LCMS or ECLA.
I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.

Offline PrincessMommy

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2012, 03:49:55 PM »
  It seems to only be unified in name.

I would not even go that far.  The LCMS and WELS pretty much reject the other churches that call themselves Lutheran as being Lutheran.  Your observations on church order are pretty accurate except for possibly the WELS.  They seem to be a bit more homogeneous since they are rather small.  It is easier to keep order in a smaller organization that is not quite as far flung as the LCMS or ECLA.

Yes, I agree.  I'm not as familiar with WELS.  If we'd had one near us, though, I would have seriously considered joining them since they had a better reputation for being confessional.  I doubt there's any WELS congregation that practices open communion.  LCMS officially may reject ELCA, but I know my former pastor and his wife really liked ELCA as did a lot of the people in their circle of friends..  I suspect that when he retires next year he'll leave LCMS altogether now that Kieschnick is out.  My former pastor's wife would openly deride LCMS (she was a convert) saying things like "if I only knew what LCMS believed I would have NEVER joined them." etc. etc.  It was quite disheartening at times.

Offline Luckster

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2012, 10:25:16 AM »
I moved to Wisconsin after I graduated from college and was married.  My wife converted to the Lutheran faith and I was active in the LCMS while in Wisconsin.  My parents moved to Wisconsin before I did, and I attended my father’s church.  
If you don't mind me asking, where in Wisconsin did you live?

I'm currently in Madison, but as you might guess, I lived in Mequon during college.

From the Antiochian Church, I went to ROCOR (the Antiochian seemed to be heading down the same path as the ELCA at the time, and was nowhere as conservative as the LCMS or WELS), and now attend a Serbian parish.
Would you mind clarifying this? As far as I'm aware, the Antiochians seem to be most responsive towards meeting American needs in their evangelism and even left the NCC.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2012, 10:25:24 AM by Luckster »

Offline Punch

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2012, 11:22:20 AM »
Manitowoc.  I have a sister in Madison.

I was not looking for a "friendly to converts" Church.  I do not particularly like being around people, particularly Church people, so I am quite content to be at a parish where you work your way in slowly.  AT THE TIME, and I put that in caps since things have changed considerably since then, I felt that the Antiochians were more into getting numbers and not so much in to preserving the Faith.  I came in about the same time as all of the Evangelicals came in, and the Antiochians seemed to me to be Protestants with fancy clothes and censers.  I also got tired of trying to explain to my very conservative parents about the large number of Masons in the Church, as well as our membership in the WCC.  The ROCOR was a refreshing change for me and really left me nothing to explain to anyone.  It was the "Orthodoxy" that I read about, and that caused me to convert in the first place.  I still don't buy the "you can do whatever you want as long as you are in communion with the EP" vision of Orthodoxy, in case anyone has not noticed.

BTW - again, my comments regard a time 16 or so years ago.  My wife attends the local Antiochian parish with my full blessing, and my kids go there some of the time, too.  I currently attend the local Serbian parish. 

I moved to Wisconsin after I graduated from college and was married.  My wife converted to the Lutheran faith and I was active in the LCMS while in Wisconsin.  My parents moved to Wisconsin before I did, and I attended my father’s church.  
If you don't mind me asking, where in Wisconsin did you live?

I'm currently in Madison, but as you might guess, I lived in Mequon during college.

From the Antiochian Church, I went to ROCOR (the Antiochian seemed to be heading down the same path as the ELCA at the time, and was nowhere as conservative as the LCMS or WELS), and now attend a Serbian parish.
Would you mind clarifying this? As far as I'm aware, the Antiochians seem to be most responsive towards meeting American needs in their evangelism and even left the NCC.
I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.

Offline casisthename

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2012, 02:26:49 PM »
sort of raised Lutheran...anyhow went to an evangelical friends college at which anything high church was ...viewed as corrupted. Thus, I had to dig up explanations to many of my beliefs and I realized I couldn't defend several things historically. The girl across the hall was Orthodox, we started talking, I visited her church and well I was received into the church a couple months ago.

Offline scamandrius

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2012, 09:54:49 PM »
(the Antiochian seemed to be heading down the same path as the ELCA at the time, and was nowhere as conservative as the LCMS or WELS)

Apples and oranges, Punch, apples and oranges.

Not really.

When it comes to liturgy and praxis, I would agree that the Antiochians (in this country at least) are prone to innovate and make things up. But, when it comes to morals, I don't see the Antiochians as any different from any other Orthodox jurisdiction.  As long as the current leadership here in America stays, liturgical and praxis abuses will be overlooked.
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Offline sprtslvr1973

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2012, 12:19:54 PM »
I visited a Lutheran Church 9ELCA) this morning. It was nice. Left after the sermon. May look at going to a LCMS church next time
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Offline Tikhon29605

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2012, 01:16:24 PM »
Lutheranism is an interesting beast. Theologically it is unique and it defies easy classification. At risk of oversimplification, Lutheranism has one foot still in the Catholic Church and the other foot planted not too far from Geneva. This creates a tension within Lutheranism that exists to this day. There are Lutherans out there that are very comfortable with the sacramental, liturgical, catholic side of their heritage.  Then there are other Lutherans that are downright ashamed of that heritage and downplay it greatly. Those kind of Lutherans focus on preaching, preaching, preaching.  To them the liturgy is merely the "bag" that the sermon comes in.  The sermon is the main thing to them.  Other Lutherans will have the Eucharist every Sunday and cannot conceive of proper Christian worship without it. Some Lutheran groups do try to combine good solid preaching with liturgical worship, but these are getting rarer and rarer these days.  Historically, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod tried to combine a catholic form of liturgy with good preaching and excellent music and reverence. Some LCMS parishes still do this even today. However, a real anti-liturgy faction called the "Church Growth Movement" has developed within the LCMS and in many of these "Church Growth" parishes the "worship" is led by a "praise team/praise band" and no liturgy is used at all. Such worship would not be too different from a Baptist service (just minus the altar call). 

The sad thing is there is no predictability about Lutheran worship anymore.  Almost all of it used to be reverent and at least moderately liturgical 50 years ago.  Today you can have everything in Lutheran from a service that is very close to the Roman Catholic Mass to a service that almost resembles a Baptist revival meeting.  Its really quite bizarre.

Offline sprtslvr1973

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2012, 02:33:27 PM »
This honestly reminded me of my days in the ECUSA. The LCMS still holds to Baptism and RP, which show me anyway that there are some old guard with their heals in the dirt, not ready to give up just yet
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2012, 07:53:51 PM »
^That's true, but many LCMS churches look and act like Baptists.  It's a funny thing in Lutheranism that a Lutheran pastor and/or congregation can look and act Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Evangelical without converting, but if a Lutheran pastor and/or congregation has anything that looks similar to Roman Catholics and Orthodox, the charges of heresy and "abandoning Lutheranism" are thrown around without a second thought.
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Offline sprtslvr1973

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2012, 08:30:18 PM »
Before going in this morning I prayed, at least passively, that I could more of a fly on the wall. This is exactly what happened. After I left I wished I had stayed longer and dialogued
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Offline sprtslvr1973

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2012, 08:32:50 PM »
To me Holy mysteries are part of the Sermon in a sense; much like I believe the sermon to be part of the Divine Liturgy
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Offline Peter J

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #23 on: August 13, 2012, 07:36:30 AM »
It's a funny thing in Lutheranism that a Lutheran pastor and/or congregation can look and act Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Evangelical without converting, but if a Lutheran pastor and/or congregation has anything that looks similar to Roman Catholics and Orthodox, the charges of heresy and "abandoning Lutheranism" are thrown around without a second thought.

How far are we talking here? For example, would something as simple as making the sign of the cross or saying the Hail Mary be consider too-similar-to-Catholicism/Orthodoxy?
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Offline PrincessMommy

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #24 on: August 13, 2012, 08:06:06 AM »
Lutheranism is an interesting beast. Theologically it is unique and it defies easy classification. At risk of oversimplification, Lutheranism has one foot still in the Catholic Church and the other foot planted not too far from Geneva. This creates a tension within Lutheranism that exists to this day. There are Lutherans out there that are very comfortable with the sacramental, liturgical, catholic side of their heritage.  Then there are other Lutherans that are downright ashamed of that heritage and downplay it greatly. Those kind of Lutherans focus on preaching, preaching, preaching.  To them the liturgy is merely the "bag" that the sermon comes in.  The sermon is the main thing to them.  Other Lutherans will have the Eucharist every Sunday and cannot conceive of proper Christian worship without it. Some Lutheran groups do try to combine good solid preaching with liturgical worship, but these are getting rarer and rarer these days.  Historically, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod tried to combine a catholic form of liturgy with good preaching and excellent music and reverence. Some LCMS parishes still do this even today. However, a real anti-liturgy faction called the "Church Growth Movement" has developed within the LCMS and in many of these "Church Growth" parishes the "worship" is led by a "praise team/praise band" and no liturgy is used at all. Such worship would not be too different from a Baptist service (just minus the altar call). 

The sad thing is there is no predictability about Lutheran worship anymore.  Almost all of it used to be reverent and at least moderately liturgical 50 years ago.  Today you can have everything in Lutheran from a service that is very close to the Roman Catholic Mass to a service that almost resembles a Baptist revival meeting.  Its really quite bizarre.

There's a positive trend currently within the LCMS synod.  Their new President (Harrison) is firmly in the traditional Lutheranism camp.  And they hired Pastor Weedon as the Director of Worship for the LCMS.  He is another traditional Lutheran.  One of Pastor Weedon's focus will be on training parishes on the liturgy and historical worship and he's not afraid to go speak to those who strongly disagree with him within the LCMS.  Whether he changes hearts and minds is another thing, but I think it looks positive for the LCMS (for now at least).

Offline David Garner

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #25 on: August 13, 2012, 08:44:13 AM »
There's a positive trend currently within the LCMS synod.  Their new President (Harrison) is firmly in the traditional Lutheranism camp.  And they hired Pastor Weedon as the Director of Worship for the LCMS.  He is another traditional Lutheran.  One of Pastor Weedon's focus will be on training parishes on the liturgy and historical worship and he's not afraid to go speak to those who strongly disagree with him within the LCMS.  Whether he changes hearts and minds is another thing, but I think it looks positive for the LCMS (for now at least).

Indeed.  I was as happy about Pastor Weedon being the new Director of Worship at the IC as anything I've seen in Lutheranism in years.  It is a very, very positive trend.

Pastor Weedon is Lutheran through and through, but he has a strong appreciation for patristics and liturgy, and is conversive with and knowledgeable about the Eastern Church.  He is, in every sense, the right kind of Lutheran.  He has also been a very good friend to me over the years, so I admit my bias up front. 

Offline scamandrius

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #26 on: August 13, 2012, 10:35:33 AM »
It's a funny thing in Lutheranism that a Lutheran pastor and/or congregation can look and act Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Evangelical without converting, but if a Lutheran pastor and/or congregation has anything that looks similar to Roman Catholics and Orthodox, the charges of heresy and "abandoning Lutheranism" are thrown around without a second thought.

How far are we talking here? For example, would something as simple as making the sign of the cross or saying the Hail Mary be consider too-similar-to-Catholicism/Orthodoxy?

Absolutely.  It's interesting that the new LCMS Hymnal, Lutheran Worship essentially takes a lot of material from the Eastern Rite.  The EVening Prayer is essentially an Orthodox Vespers with the Full Litany, Psalm 140, Gladsome Light.  However, the omissions definitely reveal their fear of going "too far" which may expose them to charges that they are not being anti-Roman or anti-Orthodox enough such as at the end of the Litany where we commemorate the most pure ever virgin Theotokos and ALL the saints, the LCMS version strips her and just says "all the saints." 

Luther himself, to the dismay of many Lutherans today, said the Rosary without the "pray for us sinners" part. 

I remember one time too (long before I was Orthodox) where I kneeled before I took my seat in the pew and made the sign of the cross. The director of my youth group came up to me after the service and told me that Lutherans "don't do that kind of garbage."

As already mentioned, the LCMS has done a number of things to get back on track.  Pr. Harrison is a definite improvement over the last president who wanted to make the LCMS into more of a Baptist entity.  Pr. Weedon, now director of the International Center in the headquarters at St. Louis, has routinely said that the Orthodox are not the enemy, but as traditional as he comes across, he won't make any changes to help restore things to the way they were in the 17th century, the golden age.  Also, the new hymnal has a lot of bad hymns and hymns not from the Lutheran tradition.  And you have to keep in mind that the Romaphobes and Orthodoxphobes still enjoy a lot of power.  The editor of Concordia Publishing (Pr. McCain) is deeply anti-Rome and anti-Orthodox (and not in any charitable way). He's frankly a jerk and he wields a lot of influence as far as what is published.

Despite the numerous indicators that things are getting back on track in the LCMS, I have no reservations about having left.  I'm much happier because of it.
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Offline David Garner

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #27 on: August 13, 2012, 10:46:08 AM »
Pr. Weedon, now director of the International Center in the headquarters at St. Louis, has routinely said that the Orthodox are not the enemy, but as traditional as he comes across, he won't make any changes to help restore things to the way they were in the 17th century, the golden age.

I think his example is strong enough to have some impact, though I agree with you that the LCMS has a long row to hoe to return to a true Lutheran confessionalism.

Quote
And you have to keep in mind that the Romaphobes and Orthodoxphobes still enjoy a lot of power.  The editor of Concordia Publishing (Pr. McCain) is deeply anti-Rome and anti-Orthodox (and not in any charitable way). He's frankly a jerk and he wields a lot of influence as far as what is published.

I think he also rubs enough of his own the wrong way that he's more marginalized now than perhaps was the case in the past.  The biggest problem Pastor McCain has is he's fundamentally dishonest in how he deals with other people, including his own.  The last time I spoke to him by e-mail, he decided that he knew "my type" and that supposedly justified his poor treatment of me, and he bragged about how many unique visitors go to his website and how many Facebook friends he had.  He then said he hoped my decision to become Orthodox "does not cost me my eternal soul."  That was after he un-friended me on Facebook and deleted all my posts because he didn't like the fact that I refuted his falsehoods about the Orthodox Church.  He's done similar things to other Lutherans (such as deleting comments on his blog that do not agree with his own thoughts) often enough that people know what he is.

Quote
Despite the numerous indicators that things are getting back on track in the LCMS, I have no reservations about having left.  I'm much happier because of it.

I told my priest this weekend that people who are not Orthodox have no idea how much I would have to give up to return to being Lutheran.  That's not a slight on Lutherans, but it is the truth.  What we have in Orthodoxy is so much richer that I can't imagine going back to a life without it.

Offline PrincessMommy

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #28 on: August 13, 2012, 11:10:03 AM »
There's a positive trend currently within the LCMS synod.  Their new President (Harrison) is firmly in the traditional Lutheranism camp.  And they hired Pastor Weedon as the Director of Worship for the LCMS.  He is another traditional Lutheran.  One of Pastor Weedon's focus will be on training parishes on the liturgy and historical worship and he's not afraid to go speak to those who strongly disagree with him within the LCMS.  Whether he changes hearts and minds is another thing, but I think it looks positive for the LCMS (for now at least).

Indeed.  I was as happy about Pastor Weedon being the new Director of Worship at the IC as anything I've seen in Lutheranism in years.  It is a very, very positive trend.

Pastor Weedon is Lutheran through and through, but he has a strong appreciation for patristics and liturgy, and is conversive with and knowledgeable about the Eastern Church.  He is, in every sense, the right kind of Lutheran.  He has also been a very good friend to me over the years, so I admit my bias up front.  

:)

Since he's family to me I'm biased too.... And yes, he is knowledgeable about the Fathers but he uses them to work the Lutheran theology.  We stay away from the topic.


As already mentioned, the LCMS has done a number of things to get back on track.  Pr. Harrison is a definite improvement over the last president who wanted to make the LCMS into more of a Baptist entity.  Pr. Weedon, now director of the International Center in the headquarters at St. Louis, has routinely said that the Orthodox are not the enemy, but as traditional as he comes across, he won't make any changes to help restore things to the way they were in the 17th century, the golden age.  Also, the new hymnal has a lot of bad hymns and hymns not from the Lutheran tradition.  And you have to keep in mind that the Romaphobes and Orthodoxphobes still enjoy a lot of power.  The editor of Concordia Publishing (Pr. McCain) is deeply anti-Rome and anti-Orthodox (and not in any charitable way). He's frankly a jerk and he wields a lot of influence as far as what is published.

Despite the numerous indicators that things are getting back on track in the LCMS, I have no reservations about having left.  I'm much happier because of it.

Pr. Weedon most definitely is a Lutheran and has stepped on some Orthodox toes (especially) on his blog.  Like I said above, he isn't shy about using Orthodox Father's to make his Lutheran point.  Or he'll argue that the modern Orthodox made new theology (don't get him started on Ancestral sin)

McCain...is offensive.  That's about the nicest thing I can say about him.  Nuff said.  

I would have no reservations about leaving Lutheranism either.  While both Harrison and Weedon are good signs for the LCMS today there's no reason to think it's permanent.  I'm convinced they're just stemming the tide for now.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2012, 11:10:38 AM by PrincessMommy »

Offline Punch

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #29 on: August 13, 2012, 11:58:30 AM »
Another positive trend is that the LCMS is in fellowship with the conservative Germans.  I use a translation of the Brotherhood Prayer Book, and the Gregorian Chant and Calendar of Saints is something that I am glad to see.

There's a positive trend currently within the LCMS synod.  Their new President (Harrison) is firmly in the traditional Lutheranism camp.  And they hired Pastor Weedon as the Director of Worship for the LCMS.  He is another traditional Lutheran.  One of Pastor Weedon's focus will be on training parishes on the liturgy and historical worship and he's not afraid to go speak to those who strongly disagree with him within the LCMS.  Whether he changes hearts and minds is another thing, but I think it looks positive for the LCMS (for now at least).

Indeed.  I was as happy about Pastor Weedon being the new Director of Worship at the IC as anything I've seen in Lutheranism in years.  It is a very, very positive trend.

Pastor Weedon is Lutheran through and through, but he has a strong appreciation for patristics and liturgy, and is conversive with and knowledgeable about the Eastern Church.  He is, in every sense, the right kind of Lutheran.  He has also been a very good friend to me over the years, so I admit my bias up front. 
I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.

Offline scamandrius

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #30 on: August 13, 2012, 12:04:07 PM »
^Unfortunately, the new Lutheran Worship doesn't utilize any Gregorian chant whatsoever.  The psalm tones are horrendous.  Though Lutheran traditionalists are very good about liturgy; when it comes to music, they haven't a clue as to what is good Lutheran music or even good music...period.
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Offline Punch

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #31 on: August 13, 2012, 12:08:34 PM »
^Unfortunately, the new Lutheran Worship doesn't utilize any Gregorian chant whatsoever.  The psalm tones are horrendous.  Though Lutheran traditionalists are very good about liturgy; when it comes to music, they haven't a clue as to what is good Lutheran music or even good music...period.

The Psalm chants in the BPB are wonderful.  I have a copy of Lutheran Worship and I was very much underwhelmed.  I still use the hymns and often the services in the 1948 Lutheran Hymnal.

Take a look at http://www.llpb.us/
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #32 on: August 13, 2012, 06:18:14 PM »
Though they incorporated the Divine Liturgy of the 1948 hymnal into the new Lutheran Worship (it is Divine Service III), the Elizabethan language has been replaced and other parts have been horribly abbreviated.  The 1948 should have been kept.
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Offline PrincessMommy

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #33 on: August 14, 2012, 09:59:20 AM »
^Unfortunately, the new Lutheran Worship doesn't utilize any Gregorian chant whatsoever.  The psalm tones are horrendous.  Though Lutheran traditionalists are very good about liturgy; when it comes to music, they haven't a clue as to what is good Lutheran music or even good music...period.

I find this to be a very interesting observation.  Perhaps "good Lutheran music" is in the eye of the beholder?  Granted I'm not well versed in it myself.  My former parish preferred using the liturgy from ELCA (Augsberg Press) and didn't switch to the new LCMS hymnals until after I'd left.  But, what I hear is that most traditionalist are very happy with the new hymnal.

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #34 on: August 14, 2012, 11:53:49 AM »
The selection of hymns is fine for the most part but the drawbacks of the Lutheran Worship in my estimation are:
1)  Too many of the hymns lack the four part harmonization
2)  THe Elizabethan language is replaced
3)  There are 5 Divine services. 1 is based off the Deutsche Service of Martin Luther and one is from the 1948 hymnal which has more ancient roots.  The other 3 are just cut and paste jobs with no pedigree.
4)  Other services are included like "service of Preaching and Teaching" which is just made up and is not a divine service.
5)  The psalm tones are terrible.  WHy not just use the Gregorian melodies.
6)  The other anthems are just too modern.
7)  INclusion of too many non-Lutheran sources (particularly Methodist and Baptist and Calvinist; Catholic is fine as that is the historic root of Lutheranism)
8)  The traditional propers (introits, graduals, alleluia, tracts) are not to be found anywhere.

For something that was supposed to be reestabling tradition, it has a lot of modernization.  the 1948 should have been kept and retained unaltered.
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Offline David Garner

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #35 on: August 14, 2012, 03:19:08 PM »
The selection of hymns is fine for the most part but the drawbacks of the Lutheran Worship in my estimation are:
1)  Too many of the hymns lack the four part harmonization
2)  THe Elizabethan language is replaced
3)  There are 5 Divine services. 1 is based off the Deutsche Service of Martin Luther and one is from the 1948 hymnal which has more ancient roots.  The other 3 are just cut and paste jobs with no pedigree.
4)  Other services are included like "service of Preaching and Teaching" which is just made up and is not a divine service.
5)  The psalm tones are terrible.  WHy not just use the Gregorian melodies.
6)  The other anthems are just too modern.
7)  INclusion of too many non-Lutheran sources (particularly Methodist and Baptist and Calvinist; Catholic is fine as that is the historic root of Lutheranism)
8)  The traditional propers (introits, graduals, alleluia, tracts) are not to be found anywhere.

For something that was supposed to be reestabling tradition, it has a lot of modernization.  the 1948 should have been kept and retained unaltered.

I think you mean the Lutheran Service Book.  Lutheran Worship only has 3 DS's, (Common Service, "Divine Liturgy II," and the Deutsche Messe), and Vespers and Matins, along with some other minor prayer services.

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #36 on: August 14, 2012, 04:44:56 PM »
Whatever it may be called, i'm referring to the newly printed one  from 2010 (I think).
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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #37 on: August 14, 2012, 04:45:52 PM »
Whatever it may be called, i'm referring to the newly printed one  from 2010 (I think).

That's LSB.

Offline G.E.Hoostal

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #38 on: December 28, 2012, 05:41:58 PM »
Some of my ancestors were Orthodox, from Belarus. They had immigrated to a town in with no Orthodox church. They were also extremely poor—my grandmother told me the only Christmas gift she would get was an apple—and there were eleven children. So when they didn’t have enough food, and a Presbyterian minister and missionary came to town, he helped out their family and they moved to a town near his and joined the Presbyterian church. They sent my grandmother to live with his family when she was about ten. It was a strange thing, though, that he had gotten caught on the wrong side of the Old-School/New-School controvery. His family were practically Puritans, fresh from Scotland, and not only the ‘no drinking or dancing or card-playing on Sundays’ type but the ‘no drinking or dancing or card-playing ever’ type, but their church ended up in the PCUSA, the most left-wing group of Presbyterians.

My family did not leave it though and I was baptised into it by my foster-great-grandfather and brought up in it. He died when I was a baby and I was left with nearly no Christian teaching. Apparently my parents and grandparents thought the church was taking care of it. The church did not have catechism or any similar teaching, and although it had liturgy, it had no communion. I didn’t even believe in God, because I had been taught next to nothing about Him.

Eventually I married my husband who had been brought up Catholic and had fallen away from the church. One day he told me he was looking into Christianity; I didn’t understand why. Soon after, he began to go to a Lutheran church in the Missouri Synod and asked me to attend classes with him. I asked all the hard questions, and have probably begun to achieve notoriety among clergy for that.  ;D Soon we joined the church and began to read the doctrine. When I read the 95 Theses, I thought it made sense that Lutheranism was supposed to be just like the Roman Catholic Church except with those 95 items changed. We had found that church relatively unpietistic, having a traditional liturgy with chanting, but were still studying and trying to figure out what was correct.

My husband applied to attend the seminary in another state and was accepted. Our pastor told us when we looked for a church there we would find all kinds, including ones with praise bands—which was a terrifying thought—and ‘even ones with incense’—which we were very excited about. When we got there, we didn’t find incense, but found a church which seemed otherwise to be transplanted (and translated) from 16th-century Germany. Unfortunately, it was too far away to drive to regularly. After trying another church, which was stuffily particularly pietistic, we decided to attend the local, not particularly pietistic one.

Within the year though, we discovered the Missouri Synod was considering changing the creeds to exclude Christ, because Mohammedans had come into one of the churches and began to feel ‘uncomfortable’, and still calling the creeds by the same names. Furthermore, we found that the Synod allows contraception, even telling married couples to ‘keep an open mind and make themselves aware of all forms of contraception’, and we found that while it disapproves of contragestion, it doesn’t condemn it.

Then we looked into the Wisconsin Synod, finding it more pietistic and about the same on contraception, and into the Lutheran Churches of the Reformation, which remain opposed to everything contraceptive and contragestive. We found the latter still somewhat pietistic (I continued to ask the hard questions, such as, ‘Why is the service no longer called Mass?’ Bach, a staunch Lutheran, wrote Masses. Answer, sadly, like that of any other question about reasons for pietistic practices: too Catholic.) but joined it.

Finally, my husband began to look into the Orthodox church. I was very nervous, clinging to the LCR like to a life-preserver in a sea of contraception, fearing my daughter becoming corrupted by the zeitgeist and my never having any grandchildren, finding it hard to believe any other church could be completely opposed to contraception, more opposed than the Roman Catholic Church. Of course, I was very relieved. We found the church to be just what we had been searching for—my husband has always thought ‘something was missing’ and I had discovered what was basically the Roman Catholic Church plus the 95 Theses, but better, obviously, because it is the true Church, with the true liturgy and unbroken Apostolic Succession. It was also shocking to discover that something we had left a church to avoid, changing a creed and calling it the same thing, had already happened centuries before and we had finally escaped the deception!

Offline David Garner

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #39 on: May 13, 2013, 02:18:29 PM »
I haven't heard that about the LCMS wanting to change the Creed.  I did hear a discussion of changing it to more "gender neutral" language (changing "for us men and for our salvation" to "for us humans and for our salvation").  That was nixed.  But I have seen nothing about removing Christ from the Creed because of Muslims.

Is there any information about this available online?
« Last Edit: May 13, 2013, 02:18:49 PM by David Garner »


Offline ialmisry

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #41 on: July 01, 2013, 10:49:51 AM »
Mental note to come back here and write it down when I get time.


But for highlights: I was burning icons before I went from Evangelical Lutheran to embrace (or be embraced by) Orthodoxy (and really didn't get the "Mary Thing" until years later, after listening to a Muslim girlfriend spout the Muslim story on her).

I made the jump when an agnostic friend had pointed out that I agreed with the Orthodox, although I stated I was Lutheran, and asked why I wasn't Orthodox.

That started from reading the article on Orthodoxy in the Encyclopedia Britannica in college (by Fr. John Meyendorff of blessed memory).
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #42 on: July 01, 2013, 09:21:39 PM »
Within the year though, we discovered the Missouri Synod was considering changing the creeds to exclude Christ, because Mohammedans had come into one of the churches and began to feel ‘uncomfortable’, and still calling the creeds by the same names. Furthermore, we found that the Synod allows contraception, even telling married couples to ‘keep an open mind and make themselves aware of all forms of contraception’, and we found that while it disapproves of contragestion, it doesn’t condemn it.

I've never heard nor experienced anything of this sort.  COuld it be possible your confusing something that is most likely going on in the ELCA, the left wing of Lutheranism in America?  I don't doubt that there might be a few individuals in the LCMS who would come up with this, but no where near the point that it would get the kind of traction and attention that such a movement would do in the ELCA.

As far as contraception goes, you're right.  I've been to enough Lutheran weddings to hear that marriage is a good thing, but having children, is not necessarily part of marriage.  I don't know the exact wording, but I know that every time I hear it, I cringe; to me, it sounds like an endorsement of not having kids.

I haven't heard that about the LCMS wanting to change the Creed.  I did hear a discussion of changing it to more "gender neutral" language (changing "for us men and for our salvation" to "for us humans and for our salvation").  That was nixed.  But I have seen nothing about removing Christ from the Creed because of Muslims.

Is there any information about this available online?

I think the LSB of the LCMS did make that change to the creed, but did not do the same for other parts of the liturgy or other famous hymns.
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Offline xOrthodox4Christx

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #43 on: August 13, 2013, 12:57:54 AM »
I was baptized Lutheran and went to Sunday School and didn't retain a lick of Christianity there.

The Pastor was a woman from what I can remember.

Anyway, I never actually knew anything about Christianity until I used the internet and read the Bible.

At that time, I was just a "Christian" because associating myself with denominations was dividing Christianity, when St. Paul was clear on division being from the Evil One.

Once I stumbled along Orthodoxy, I realized there was more to Christianity than the Bible and that's where I am now.
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I reject all that I wrote that isn't in accordance with the teachings of the Orthodox Church. Also, my posts reflect my opinions (present or former) and nothing else.

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Offline Shamati

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #44 on: February 02, 2015, 04:16:26 PM »
I havent converted to orthodoxy but I've been self-studying eastern orthodox works on asceticism & philosophy/theology for some couple of years.

I could never take lutheranism seriously after taking an actual interest in Christian teaching because I feel it's a creed that excludes asceticism as a consequence of it's basic creed. So spiritual life outside of the Reading of the Bible seems pointless if I were to take lutheranism really seriously. I believe in synergy.

I did give it the benefit of doubt though because it's My heritage but it was obvious that the church itself didnt take either lutheranism or christianity seriously. The archbishop'ess (a Woman btw) recently said that she wouldnt say that Jesus was more important for the church than Mohammed. They also perform homosexual Wedding ceremonies in the churches with priests or priestesses & since the church allowed female priestesses, almost all priests in the church are now females. I dont have any gripe against women, but it just seems alot more like paganism to me than the church of Christ when there are fully vested women in Mitre & with bishop staff's blessing the wedding of homosexual individuals. I asked the local priestess about these issues; what about the design of God? What about Sodom & Gomorrah? Were they just collateral damage? She said it was 'complicated' & that God was unconditional Love. I just couldnt bring myself to trust that they wholeheartedly believed the Bible was the Word of God or in christianity as I understood it from the letters of St Paul..

It's sad to see the church in such a state, although I disagree with it's theology, this is the state church & the only available option for most people here. It's understandable why it's losing members expontentially & new-age'ism is gaining ground as a new 'folk-religion'.

Pray for me that God may guide me onto His path.

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #45 on: February 02, 2015, 04:51:59 PM »
I havent converted to orthodoxy but I've been self-studying eastern orthodox works on asceticism & philosophy/theology for some couple of years.

I could never take lutheranism seriously after taking an actual interest in Christian teaching because I feel it's a creed that excludes asceticism as a consequence of it's basic creed. So spiritual life outside of the Reading of the Bible seems pointless if I were to take lutheranism really seriously. I believe in synergy.

I did give it the benefit of doubt though because it's My heritage but it was obvious that the church itself didnt take either lutheranism or christianity seriously. The archbishop'ess (a Woman btw) recently said that she wouldnt say that Jesus was more important for the church than Mohammed. They also perform homosexual Wedding ceremonies in the churches with priests or priestesses & since the church allowed female priestesses, almost all priests in the church are now females. I dont have any gripe against women, but it just seems alot more like paganism to me than the church of Christ when there are fully vested women in Mitre & with bishop staff's blessing the wedding of homosexual individuals. I asked the local priestess about these issues; what about the design of God? What about Sodom & Gomorrah? Were they just collateral damage? She said it was 'complicated' & that God was unconditional Love. I just couldnt bring myself to trust that they wholeheartedly believed the Bible was the Word of God or in christianity as I understood it from the letters of St Paul..

It's sad to see the church in such a state, although I disagree with it's theology, this is the state church & the only available option for most people here. It's understandable why it's losing members expontentially & new-age'ism is gaining ground as a new 'folk-religion'.

Pray for me that God may guide me onto His path.

You are absolutely right about ascesis.  Though the Lutheran Confessions say that there is nothing wrong with ascesis, as long as they are not mandated nor compulsory, their practice says the opposite.  Even though some monasteries came over to the Lutheran fold, they are all gone now except for a few in Sweden.  In his responses to the Lutherans at Tuebingen in the 1560s, Patriarch JEREMIAS II called them out for saying that though they applaud good works, the Lutherans have stripped away fasting, monasteries, feast days, etc.  basically, any discipline to mortify the flesh is seen as nothing more than us trying to get right with God rather than be dependent on God's grace.  Of course, we Orthodox do. Ot teach that such works are to get us right with God or save us or are necessary for salvation, but that they demonstrate that we too must work out our salvation.  But, diehard Lutherans are not going to listen.

As far as the other stuff you mentioned, it sounds like you are really considering swimming the Bosphorus.  I am just curious:  have you talked to your Lutheran pastor about this?  He/she may try to do everything to prevent you from going forward, but you should at least let him/her know first.

Good luck.

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Offline Alpo

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #46 on: February 02, 2015, 05:02:23 PM »
Lutheranism is a state church around here. Few people actually attend the services but something like 80% of the population are members. The number is constantly dwindling though. Anyway, I was baptized Lutheran as an infant but grew up Pentecostal since that's what my parents became when I was just few years old. Never really felt comfortable with it and rather attended Lutheran services when I got older. Did that few years somewhat regularly albeit never taking communion since around here Lutheran eucharist is officially speaking reserved only to other Lutherans and Anglicans through the Porvoo agreement and I wasn't neither. Nobody wouldn't have asked any questions about my affiliation or anything else for that matter but it just didn'seem right. I got interested in dogmatics at some point which pretty much inhibited me from actually becoming a Lutheran since it seemed fairly ahistorical once I started to dig up history. That and the fact I guess I never really found Sola Fide from the Bible. Pentecostalists areca bit ambivalent over it anyway so the Orthodox way didn't seem that dramatic that it might seem for a Lutheran or Calvinist for that matter.

Here's what local Lutheranism looks like in case anyone is interested. Could be fairly high church by American standards.

http://areena.yle.fi/tv/2491683
« Last Edit: February 02, 2015, 05:03:33 PM by Alpo »
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Offline Ansgar

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #47 on: February 02, 2015, 05:23:15 PM »
Lutheranism is a state church around here. Few people actually attend the services but something like 80% of the population are members. The number is constantly dwindling though. Anyway, I was baptized Lutheran as an infant but grew up Pentecostal since that's what my parents became when I was just few years old. Never really felt comfortable with it and rather attended Lutheran services when I got older. Did that few years somewhat regularly albeit never taking communion since around here Lutheran eucharist is officially speaking reserved only to other Lutherans and Anglicans through the Porvoo agreement and I wasn't neither. Nobody wouldn't have asked any questions about my affiliation or anything else for that matter but it just didn'seem right. I got interested in dogmatics at some point which pretty much inhibited me from actually becoming a Lutheran since it seemed fairly ahistorical once I started to dig up history. That and the fact I guess I never really found Sola Fide from the Bible. Pentecostalists areca bit ambivalent over it anyway so the Orthodox way didn't seem that dramatic that it might seem for a Lutheran or Calvinist for that matter.

Here's what local Lutheranism looks like in case anyone is interested. Could be fairly high church by American standards.

http://areena.yle.fi/tv/2491683

Very nice. I wish danish priests would wear vestments more often.
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Offline Alpo

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #48 on: February 02, 2015, 05:30:16 PM »
The most fancily dressed is a bishop. But yes, Finnish priests probably vest more often than Danish ones. An alb, a stole and a chasuble is a standard for the celebrant of sunday mass nowadays. Other priests wear an alb and a stole while altar servers are wearing an alb. That wasn't always the case though. AFAIK regular use of vestments have made a sort of comeback during recent decades.
But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Leviticus 19:34

Offline Ansgar

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #49 on: February 02, 2015, 05:40:46 PM »
The most fancily dressed is a bishop. But yes, Finnish priests probably vest more often than Danish ones. An alb, a stole and a chasuble is a standard for the celebrant of sunday mass nowadays. Other priests wear an alb and a stole while altar servers are wearing an alb. That wasn't always the case though. AFAIK regular use of vestments have made a sort of comeback during recent decades.

Yeah, I have noticed too that the alb and the stole has made kind of a resurgence in recent years. I kinda hope it continues in that direction. 
Do not be cast down over the struggle - the Lord loves a brave warrior. The Lord loves the soul that is valiant.

-St Silouan the athonite

Offline Shamati

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #50 on: February 02, 2015, 07:31:31 PM »
I havent converted to orthodoxy but I've been self-studying eastern orthodox works on asceticism & philosophy/theology for some couple of years.

I could never take lutheranism seriously after taking an actual interest in Christian teaching because I feel it's a creed that excludes asceticism as a consequence of it's basic creed. So spiritual life outside of the Reading of the Bible seems pointless if I were to take lutheranism really seriously. I believe in synergy.

I did give it the benefit of doubt though because it's My heritage but it was obvious that the church itself didnt take either lutheranism or christianity seriously. The archbishop'ess (a Woman btw) recently said that she wouldnt say that Jesus was more important for the church than Mohammed. They also perform homosexual Wedding ceremonies in the churches with priests or priestesses & since the church allowed female priestesses, almost all priests in the church are now females. I dont have any gripe against women, but it just seems alot more like paganism to me than the church of Christ when there are fully vested women in Mitre & with bishop staff's blessing the wedding of homosexual individuals. I asked the local priestess about these issues; what about the design of God? What about Sodom & Gomorrah? Were they just collateral damage? She said it was 'complicated' & that God was unconditional Love. I just couldnt bring myself to trust that they wholeheartedly believed the Bible was the Word of God or in christianity as I understood it from the letters of St Paul..

It's sad to see the church in such a state, although I disagree with it's theology, this is the state church & the only available option for most people here. It's understandable why it's losing members expontentially & new-age'ism is gaining ground as a new 'folk-religion'.

Pray for me that God may guide me onto His path.

You are absolutely right about ascesis.  Though the Lutheran Confessions say that there is nothing wrong with ascesis, as long as they are not mandated nor compulsory, their practice says the opposite.  Even though some monasteries came over to the Lutheran fold, they are all gone now except for a few in Sweden.  In his responses to the Lutherans at Tuebingen in the 1560s, Patriarch JEREMIAS II called them out for saying that though they applaud good works, the Lutherans have stripped away fasting, monasteries, feast days, etc.  basically, any discipline to mortify the flesh is seen as nothing more than us trying to get right with God rather than be dependent on God's grace.  Of course, we Orthodox do. Ot teach that such works are to get us right with God or save us or are necessary for salvation, but that they demonstrate that we too must work out our salvation.  But, diehard Lutherans are not going to listen.

As far as the other stuff you mentioned, it sounds like you are really considering swimming the Bosphorus.  I am just curious:  have you talked to your Lutheran pastor about this?  He/she may try to do everything to prevent you from going forward, but you should at least let him/her know first.

Good luck.


I never had a steady contact with a single priest or pastor since My confirmation. It's very unusual for people to have a spiritual Father or Mother over here, people basically go to see psychologists over existential matters. The church exists merely for "hatching, matching & dispatching" as they say :) lutheranism in Scandinavia looks pretty much like catholicism, especially after the catholics started holding Mass in vernacular. Theres still a eucharist & the great churches were all built during the catholic days & they still have Icon-screens above the altar, paintings etc. But it just feels like it's completely pointless since the catechism of Lutheranism claims that we are completely powerless to affect our own state. He (Luther) actually believed we humans were a "big pile of cow dung" & that is believing in the atonement of Jesus Christ gave us a 'covering' of His righteousness; but inside our human nature was completely corrupt & evil. Therefore it doesnt matter wether I fast, wether I pray, wether I raise a good family or give money to the poor or sell all that I have & goes to a monastery since it's only the act of belief in the atonement that gives man 'access' to the 'covering' (grace) which makes the completely corrupted, fallen human to be able to pass God's righteous judgement.

I cant accept this theology & I've told the local priest this but the ones I spoken to about this aspect of the church have said that these days it doesnt matter. Officially, we're lutheran still, but anything is as valid theologically. These gripes of mine give me doubts about the legitimacy of the anything about the church because it seems to me to be based on a faulty view of mankind that resembles gnosticism.

It's very hard for the benedictine monks of the lutheran church to explain why they're monks while keeping to the lutheran creed. There was also a lutheran movement called pietism which tried to reconcile the must for good works with basic lutheranism but it becomes very complicated to do so & seems more honest to just admit that there is synergy between God & Man, even though "synergism" was condemned by reformers.

I think history has been tragic for the protestant part of christianity. I honestly dont think the movement would've gotten anywhere if it wasnt for the protestant teaching on the Absolute Divine right of kings because i dont think any monarch would find it beneficial for the spiritual health of the nation to impose such a strange dead-end theology on the nation.

I've been thinking about becoming orthodox for a time, but the church is a large part of the national heritage both in Scandinavia & orthodoxy..
« Last Edit: February 02, 2015, 07:37:09 PM by Shamati »

Offline Minnesotan

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #51 on: February 02, 2015, 07:53:02 PM »
I think history has been tragic for the protestant part of christianity. I honestly dont think the movement would've gotten anywhere if it wasnt for the protestant teaching on the Absolute Divine right of kings because i dont think any monarch would find it beneficial for the spiritual health of the nation to impose such a strange dead-end theology on the nation.

I've been thinking about becoming orthodox for a time, but the church is a large part of the national heritage both in Scandinavia & orthodoxy..

Not to mention the discovery of America was a major deus ex machina for Protestantism. The more idealistic Protestants (Roger Williams, etc.) who wouldn't have been able to get any kings or government officials on their side, would have had nowhere to go if this vast, sparsely populated new continent hadn't just been discovered where you could go and basically be left alone (at least, compared to if you had stayed in Europe). Also, many branches of Anabaptism might not have survived at all if it hadn't been for the New World.

I do think the Orthodox should probably be doing more to win over disaffected Lutherans in Scandinavia (of whom there are a lot, due to the recent stances the state churches have been taking on certain issues). Vagante groups like this one could easily be received into Orthodoxy as their doctrine and praxis is basically WRO. See, for example, this article on theosis from the NCC's website, which is not something you'll find either from the liberal established CoS/CoN, or from "confessional Lutheran" types in the USA whose theology is conservative but not catholic (small-c) or orthodox (small-o).
« Last Edit: February 02, 2015, 07:55:45 PM by Minnesotan »
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #52 on: February 02, 2015, 10:19:21 PM »
I think history has been tragic for the protestant part of christianity. I honestly dont think the movement would've gotten anywhere if it wasnt for the protestant teaching on the Absolute Divine right of kings because i dont think any monarch would find it beneficial for the spiritual health of the nation to impose such a strange dead-end theology on the nation.

I've been thinking about becoming orthodox for a time, but the church is a large part of the national heritage both in Scandinavia & orthodoxy..

Not to mention the discovery of America was a major deus ex machina for Protestantism. The more idealistic Protestants (Roger Williams, etc.) who wouldn't have been able to get any kings or government officials on their side, would have had nowhere to go if this vast, sparsely populated new continent hadn't just been discovered where you could go and basically be left alone (at least, compared to if you had stayed in Europe). Also, many branches of Anabaptism might not have survived at all if it hadn't been for the New World.

I do think the Orthodox should probably be doing more to win over disaffected Lutherans in Scandinavia (of whom there are a lot, due to the recent stances the state churches have been taking on certain issues). Vagante groups like this one could easily be received into Orthodoxy as their doctrine and praxis is basically WRO. See, for example, this article on theosis from the NCC's website, which is not something you'll find either from the liberal established CoS/CoN, or from "confessional Lutheran" types in the USA whose theology is conservative but not catholic (small-c) or orthodox (small-o).

I see that the Nordic Catholic Church (glad i hit the link. I thought you were referring to the National Council of Churches and knew that had to be a mistake ) identifies as an Old Catholic Church.  Many old catholic churches do not accept Vatican 1 (let alone 2) and also ordain women.  For many old catholics, women's ordination is their raison d'être.  They will accept pretty much every other doctrine and dogma, but i doubt they would become Orthodox if that meant giving up the female priesthood.

Edit:  is it scary if i see that their page on beliefs and principles is blank?  :D
« Last Edit: February 02, 2015, 10:20:43 PM by scamandrius »
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Offline Regnare

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #53 on: February 02, 2015, 10:24:39 PM »
I see that the Nordic Catholic Church (glad i hit the link. I thought you were referring to the National Council of Churches and knew that had to be a mistake ) identifies as an Old Catholic Church.  Many old catholic churches do not accept Vatican 1 (let alone 2) and also ordain women.  For many old catholics, women's ordination is their raison d'être.  They will accept pretty much every other doctrine and dogma, but i doubt they would become Orthodox if that meant giving up the female priesthood.

Edit:  is it scary if i see that their page on beliefs and principles is blank?  :D
The Nordic Catholic Church is part of the Union of Scranton (together with the Polish National Catholic Church), which is effectively the Old Catholic version of Continuing Anglicanism. That is, they have separated from the other Old Catholic Churches specifically because they do not ordain women or marry homosexual couples, and generally avoid liberalism. (The NCC itself is not originally Old Catholic, but a breakaway faction from the Scandinavian Lutherans that joined up with the PNCC and established the Union.)
« Last Edit: February 02, 2015, 10:34:16 PM by Regnare »
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Offline katherineofdixie

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #54 on: February 03, 2015, 10:57:26 AM »
... these days it doesnt matter. Officially, we're lutheran still, but anything is as valid theologically.

Yeah, that's pretty much the answer I got from my former American Lutheran pastor, when I went to him with my questions. One of the most difficult aspects of my conversion was my German Lutheran heritage, both cultural and religious. My entire family has been Lutheran for centuries - I think one of them supplied the nails for Luther to post his 95 Theses  ;) . It was so much a part of me, especially the music, that it was very difficult to let go. But the Lutheran Church of my ancestors and the one that I grew up in, sadly does not exist today.
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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #55 on: February 03, 2015, 01:08:57 PM »
the Union of Scranton

What an interesting place, that Scranton...
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Offline steido01

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #56 on: February 19, 2015, 11:52:29 AM »
Just read through this thread, and I'm impressed. I've been posting on a Catholic forum for some time, and I don't think our Roman friends have one-half-of-a-half as much understanding about Lutheranism and the various Lutheran communions as you Orthodox seem to. I'm trying to figure out if that's because there are former Lutherans who've made the swim, or if the Orthodox simply catechize better, or something else...
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Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #57 on: February 19, 2015, 11:58:10 AM »
Just read through this thread, and I'm impressed. I've been posting on a Catholic forum for some time, and I don't think our Roman friends have one-half-of-a-half as much understanding about Lutheranism and the various Lutheran communions as you Orthodox seem to. I'm trying to figure out if that's because there are former Lutherans who've made the swim, or if the Orthodox simply catechize better, or something else...
Well, that may be because many people here are converts from Lutheranism. I've never been Lutheran, so I know little about it, but I could tell you all about Independant Baptists which is where I hail from.  :P
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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #58 on: February 21, 2015, 11:27:20 PM »
Just read through this thread, and I'm impressed. I've been posting on a Catholic forum for some time, and I don't think our Roman friends have one-half-of-a-half as much understanding about Lutheranism and the various Lutheran communions as you Orthodox seem to. I'm trying to figure out if that's because there are former Lutherans who've made the swim, or if the Orthodox simply catechize better, or something else...

I think that there are a greater amount of Lutherans actually swimming Bosphorus than the Tiber at least in this country.  I know a fair share of LUtherans who became Orthodox, including myself.  Many have come from the ELCA but a good many have also come from the LCMS.  For many Lutherans, the one thing holding them back from going back to their "mother church" so to speak was the papacy, which, of course, was one of the big things that Martin Luther loved to decry and so Orthodoxy became the choice.  Also, I think that for many Lutherans who were trying to escape the "feel-good-ism" of modern Lutheran worship believe that they would not have found any solace in modern Catholic worship, which has also been infiltrated heavily by the same "feel-good-ism" that is practiced in many Catholic parishes.
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Offline Shamati

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #59 on: April 24, 2016, 01:38:21 PM »
I'm plagued from time to time by doubt in whether the Orthodox Church is the Catholic Church because of the term in the creed that says '..and in One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church'. In swedish the term "catholic" has since the middle ages been translated with a word that means universal, public or all-encompassing. The orthodox church don't preach the gospel & celebrate the mysteries to the christian public of the area in which it exists, which is implied as a mark of the church according to the creed. Because of this I've ended up not converting yet. What am I missing?

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #60 on: April 24, 2016, 03:06:07 PM »
I was in college, Fr. John Fenton recanted of his Lutheran beliefs and ordination vows. This caused a ripple effect in the LCMS Great Lakes areas. He once ministered a parish close to the university, so he knew the theology faculty very well. They did not look highly upon his decision. In fact, when I attempted to press one faculty member for more information, I was instructed to drop the subject entirely.

For any LCMS reading this, I may or may not have endorsed Virgilicious at the time. "Invoking the Father, I will cense your altar."

Why did he revoke the orders?
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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #61 on: April 24, 2016, 03:19:11 PM »
I got baptized mainstream Lutheran and great grandpa was Lutheran pastor from the 1980s. I went to my grandparents Lutheran Church when visiting them.

From growing up there was no knowledge that the O. church existed until I was a teenager or so.

There was a sense that the RCs stuck close together apart from the rest of society, like in their own institutes and community. The problem with RCS that was presented to me was, iirc, that they had a system of tithing that forced people to give serious money to their Church. Also the RCs had priests who took your confession, but the problem is that there should not be an intermediary between you and God. You should be able to pray to God and get your sins forgiven directly. Also the RCS had rituals like crossing themselves that we do not do.

These were the kinds of things I heard when I was little. The big problem with using these kinds of things to judge theology for yourself is that they are unsympathetic hearsay. You really need to hear for yourself from RCS what they think on these topics rather than mold your perception based on 2nd hand claims against them.

For example, what is wrong with crossing yourself like the O.s and RCs any more than holding your palms to each other when you pray, or kneeling when you pray? I don't see a problem with the O. Practice of crossing oneself.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2016, 03:21:34 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #62 on: April 24, 2016, 03:56:43 PM »
The orthodox church don't preach the gospel & celebrate the mysteries to the christian public of the area in which it exists, which is implied as a mark of the church according to the creed. Because of this I've ended up not converting yet.
What do you mean?
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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #63 on: April 24, 2016, 04:13:39 PM »
Haven't seen or met anybody.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2016, 04:14:04 PM by WPM »
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Offline Shamati

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #64 on: April 27, 2016, 09:38:28 PM »
The orthodox church don't preach the gospel & celebrate the mysteries to the christian public of the area in which it exists, which is implied as a mark of the church according to the creed. Because of this I've ended up not converting yet.
What do you mean?
i mean that the only orthodox churches that exist where I live celebrate the Divine Liturgy & preaches the gospel in Slavonic languages. Most of the people at these churches speak Swedish but they also speak Slavonic so it's understandable why this is the case. But it's hard for a potential convert. Traveling an hour by car there is a Uniate Greek Catholic priest that celebrate the Divine Liturgy in Swedish, but that's not orthodox. Traveling 4 hours north there's Greek, Russian & Serbian orthodox churches ministering to the diaspora & their descendants & 3 hours north from where I am there is a Swedish speaking congregation.
 
Anyway, because of my own lack of steadfastness of will & faith, the lack of orthodoxy in a language I know increases my doubts. I have no doubts that the Orthodox Church is the most ancient form of Christianity that has kept the faith intact, inviolate, without ecumenically decided additions etc. it's just that the inconvenience of the situation places the Catholic Church in a more favorable light & thus I remain unconverted as I can't accept the universal papal monarchy & its Infalliability. So it becomes a doubt about the existence of a visible church that is One Holy Catholic & Apostolic. :/
I reckon an increasing number of Christian swedes are in the same position. The theology of Christianity has increasingly been steering towards the orthodox church for a century or so & this has resulted in large numbers of conversions to Catholicism while the Lutheran church has within it people who appear orthodox in faith, liturgy, prayer etc.

Ironically, in Finland there is a local Orthodox Church that celebrates the Divine Liturgy in Swedish & Finnish (because Finland was part of Sweden for 6-800 years until it was conquered by Russia).

I'm praying, asking God for guidance. Plz pray for me.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2016, 09:55:37 PM by Shamati »

Offline Diego

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #65 on: October 04, 2016, 01:27:02 AM »
Having read this thread thoroughly, I find myself in thorough disagreement with some of the "facts" contained therein. One of them being that there are only Lutheran monasteries in Sweden. In fact, there happens to be one in Michigan as well.

There are several other "facts" that are inaccurate as well, but I wish to thoroughly be able to refute them based on the Confessions, and I want to reread them before I attempt to do that. The last time I read the Confessions was nine years ago, and it was out a a translation from the German of 1580, and a rather stilted translation at that. I would rather use the new translation I have from the Latin of 1584 with the Lutheran Study Bible that I shall obtain tomorrow.

So, in about a week, I shall be ready to return to this answer. Until then, Peace.

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #66 on: October 07, 2016, 01:45:22 PM »
I would only note that this is the converts section, so I wouldn't recommend looking for a debate on these issues in this subforum. :)
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Offline howdydave

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #67 on: March 10, 2017, 05:54:32 PM »
I grew up in the LCMS.

I was going to Concordia Bronxville when the SemInEx walkout occurred in the seminary.
I knew very well that the people who were labeled as heretics were no such thing; after all:
1 of them Baptized me.
1 of them confirmed my father.
1 of them ran the parochial school that I went to.
1 was our local bishop.
(In simple terms, what happened in the LCMS is what happens when you put a politician in a pastoral church office.)

After losing my fervor for the Missouri Synod I joined AELC and later ELCA.

I had "insight" during a meditation period after a yoga class that was unexplained in anything I had ever heard about in Lutheranism or any other Christian philosophy.

I had an experience that put me on a path of Jnana Yoga (also called gyana yoga). It was a 10 year search in an attempt to answer the question "WOW! WHAT WAS THAT?"

For me, this took the form of a neti-neti (not this-not that) search which attempts to define something by eliminating what is definitely is not (process of elimination.)

It took me through the mystic theology of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism, Taoism, and finally brought me full circle back to Christianity where I found the answer in Eastern Orthodoxy.

I have described the internal sensation as: Imagine that you are alone, in Mammoth Caves, with all of the lights turned off. This gives a hint of the sense of immensity, absolute darkness, and absolute silence that I discovered WITHIN MYSELF.

I live in Rochester, NY where there is a home base for "Tibet in Exile" and we have visits from High Lamas and even the Dali Lama himself. One of them instantaneously told me "That was Inverted Samāadhi, a rare experience where one gets their insight at the beginning of their path."

Ever since my Inverted Samāadhi, I have the ability to "turn off my mind" when I meditate for several minutes and experience absolute silence in my mind. Everybody else tells me "that's impossible", so I just don't bring up the subject again.

My search lasted for 10 years because it is extremely difficult to get a handle on a phenomena when it is outside of any of your other experiences and you have no words for it!

I finally got a handle on it when I read what Pseuo-Dionysius (St. Dionysius the Areopagite) wrote about it when he called it THE DIVINE DARKNESS.

Orthodoxy has worked very well for me because it is also a mystic religion, allows me to use my perception of non-dualism, and also practices Apophatic Theology a.k.a. "Negative Theology."
« Last Edit: March 10, 2017, 06:16:01 PM by howdydave »
Dave

Recognition of the vastness of one's own ignorance
is the first step on the road to true wisdom!

Offline mikeyrobbie

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #68 on: April 18, 2017, 05:39:18 PM »
Hello everyone! I'm new here, an this is my first post. I grew up E-Free (EFCA) who are basically pietistic Swedish Baptists. Last year I converted to Lutheranism (NALC) because I was convinced that early Christian worship was liturgical. Since late November I've been attending a parish that's affiliated with the Greek Archdiocese. I'm currently a catechumen.

I've felt drawn to Eastern Orthodoxy for a while now, and I finally made the decision to become a catechumen early this year after reading Father Peter Gillquist's book Becoming Orthodox.

Offline biro

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #69 on: April 18, 2017, 05:48:00 PM »
Hello and welcome.
My only weakness is, well, never mind

Offline mikeyrobbie

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #70 on: November 12, 2017, 10:27:44 PM »
(Moderator, not sure where to put this, if need you can move it)

Hello friends, since I created this account, I have not used it much, but I am hoping for that to change. I wanted to share with you all that I was chrismated into the Church today on the Feast of St. Matthew. Before I became Orthodox, I was in a conservative ELCA parish (probably one of the few left). It is good to be home finally!

If you would please pray for me as I start continue my journey.

Offline biro

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Re: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories
« Reply #71 on: November 12, 2017, 10:34:08 PM »
Congratulations!
My only weakness is, well, never mind