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Author Topic: Lutheran to Orthodox Converts: Share Your Stories  (Read 5005 times) Average Rating: 0
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Luckster
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« 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."
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« 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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« 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 Smiley 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.
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« 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.
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« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2012, 11:11:29 PM »

Born and raised Lutheran. If you want to read about how and why I became Orthodox, go here:

http://myorthodoxjourney.blogspot.com/2009/07/so-why-did-you-become-orthodox-part-1.html
http://myorthodoxjourney.blogspot.com/2009/07/so-why-did-you-become-orthodox-part-2.html
http://myorthodoxjourney.blogspot.com/2009/08/so-why-did-you-become-orthodox-part-iii.html
http://myorthodoxjourney.blogspot.com/2009/08/addendum-to-why-i-left-lutheran-church.html
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« 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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« 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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« 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.
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« 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.
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« 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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« 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.
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« 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.
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Luckster
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« 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.
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« 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.
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« 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.
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« 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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« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2012, 01:58:30 PM »

These blog posts pretty much detail our journey:

http://forheisgoodandlovesmankind.blogspot.com/2011/07/conversion-story-but-not-one-you-think.html

http://forheisgoodandlovesmankind.blogspot.com/2011/05/anniversary-sort-of.html

http://forheisgoodandlovesmankind.blogspot.com/2010/12/entering-holy-catholic-church.html

And this one details my thoughts on the Lutheran Church (spoiler -- I'm not one of those angry converts who looks back with disdain):

http://forheisgoodandlovesmankind.blogspot.com/2011/04/thank-god-for-lutherans.html
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« 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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« 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.
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« 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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« 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).
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« 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. 
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« 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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« 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.
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« 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.  

Smiley

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.
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« 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. 
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« 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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« 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)
Cool  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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« 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)
Cool  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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« 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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« 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.
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« 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.  Grin 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!
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« 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?
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« Reply #40 on: July 01, 2013, 10:43:26 AM »

I shared my story here:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20150.msg947004.html#msg947004
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« 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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« 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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« 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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