Skip to comments.The Journey Home: A Lutheran Pastor becomes Orthodox
Posted on 03/21/2006 9:24:08 AM PST by redgolum
click here to read article
FYI ping to the three of you.
That's why I left Lutheranism 12 year ago and didn't look back. When the ELCA came within a hair of approving homosexual "marriage" in 1993, I said "I'm gone."
From the LCMS website:
Like the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church puts some traditions on a par with Holy Scripture, while the LCMS regards Scripture alone as the final authority for faith and life.
The Eastern Orthodox Church views salvation as a process by which the Christian becomes more and more like God through a combination of faith and love, while the LCMS believes that a person is saved by God's grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ. Justification is a declaration of God's grace, not a "process" involving a person's sanctification.
Differences exist regarding the number and nature of the sacraments. It teaches that no sacrament is valid unless administered by a properly ordained priest.
The Eastern Orthodox Church believes itself to be the true visible church on earth.
Differences exist regarding the nature and practice of the liturgy as "divine service." The Eastern Orthodox church practices veneration of and intercession to certain saints and angels, and encourages the veneration of "sacred" images and icons.
Thank you for a lovely story.
I have been in "deep lurk" mode on FR, not posting, since Lent began. But I came across this thread and will interrupt my Lenten non-posting to comment here.
I happen to know the author of this article, "Ezekiel." He was a fellow LCMS pastor until recently, and I filled in for him at his church several times.
While I agree with many (not all) of his criticisms of the LCMS as it is today, I do not agree with his renunciation of Lutheranism itself. I do not want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. What "Ezekiel" does not address is the central article of the Christian faith, namely, justification. Eastern Orthodoxy is not clear on this, and that, if nothing else, would prevent me from "going East."
Greeting Pastor Henrickson,
It is good to have your input. What I thought unusual is that in my experience LCMS Lutherans usually swim the Tiber not the Bosphorus while ELCA Lutherans usually swim the Bosphorus or join the LCMS (would this be "swimming the Rhine"?)
This is based on past experience.
Just like Catholics usually swim the Thames and become Episcopalian.
Have a blessed Lent.
Where did you land? Just curious, as you might recall Dr. Haas of Bioethics fame became Catholic and his nephew (who I know) becamse Orthodox...both came from the ELCA (or their predecessor bodies).
Just curious is all
I concur, as a Catholic naturally I'd love to have you all over on my side of the river, but I recently met a woman (ELCA) who's brother went WELS over the liberalism issue.
Interestingly enough she attended an Episcopal Church because of the full Communion agreement despite there being an LCMS Congregation two blocks from this particular Episcopal Church.
So do you "swim Lake Michigan" if you become WELS?
EO's justification is simply synergistic as traditons and hierarchies are elevated to equality with the Spirit.
Although it is not widely known in our Western world, the Catholic Church is actually a communion of Churches. According to the Constitution on the Church of the Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, the Catholic Church is understood to be "a corporate body of Churches," united with the Pope of Rome, who serves as the guardian of unity (LG, no. 23). At present there are 22 Churches that comprise the Catholic Church. The new Code of Canon Law, promulgated by Pope John Paul II, uses the phrase "autonomous ritual Churches" to describe these various Churches (canon 112). Each Church has its own hierarchy, spirituality, and theological perspective. Because of the particularities of history, there is only one Western Catholic Church, while there are 22 Eastern Catholic Churches. The Western Church, known officially as the Latin Church, is the largest of the Catholic Churches. It is immediately subject to the Roman Pontiff as Patriarch of the West. The Eastern Catholic Churches are each led by a Patriarch, Major Archbishop, or Metropolitan, who governs their Church together with a synod of bishops. Through the Congregation for Oriental Churches, the Roman Pontiff works to assure the health and well-being of the Eastern Catholic Churches.
While this diversity within the one Catholic Church can appear confusing at first, it in no way compromises the Church's unity. In a certain sense, it is a reflection of the mystery of the Trinity. Just as God is three Persons, yet one God, so the Church is 22 Churches, yet one Church.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes this nicely:
"From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which comes from both the variety of God's gifts and the diversity of those who receive them... Holding a rightful place in the communion of the Church there are also particular Churches that retain their own traditions. The great richness of such diversity is not opposed to the Church's unity" (CCC no. 814).
Although there are 22 Churches, there are only eight "Rites" that are used among them. A Rite is a "liturgical, theological, spiritual and disciplinary patrimony," (Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, canon 28). "Rite" best refers to the liturgical and disciplinary traditions used in celebrating the sacraments. Many Eastern Catholic Churches use the same Rite, although they are distinct autonomous Churches. For example, the Ukrainian Catholic Church and the Melkite Catholic Church are distinct Churches with their own hierarchies. Yet they both use the Byzantine Rite.
To learn more about the "two lungs" of the Catholic Church, visit this link:
The Vatican II Council declared that "all should realize it is of supreme importance to understand, venerate, preserve, and foster the exceedingly rich liturgical and spiritual heritage of the Eastern churches, in order faithfully to preserve the fullness of Christian tradition" (Unitatis Redintegrato, 15).
To locate an Eastern Catholic Church in your community, follow the following link:
A Roman rite Catholic may attend any Eastern Catholic Liturgy and fulfill his of her obligations at any Eastern Catholic Parish. A Roman rite Catholic may join any Eastern Catholic Parish and receive any sacrament from an Eastern Catholic priest, since all belong to the Catholic Church as a whole. I am a Roman Catholic practicing my faith at a Maronite Catholic Church. Like the Chaldeans, the Maronites retain Aramaic for the Consecration. It is as close as one comes to being at the Last Supper.
The Journey Home is a TV program on EWTN. Hosted by a former Methodist minister, the show features primarily former Protestant ministers who share their stories of becoming Catholic.
You Lutherans are of course fa,iliar with Jaroslav Pelikan. He has steadfastly refused to discuss his "conversion", but he did say this:
"I sort of discovered that I'd been speaking 'Orthodox' all my life. And so I didn't convert. To convert is to change. And I didn't change. I simply discovered the continuity that had been there all along."
Over the past couple of years here on FR, I have been surprised at the level of Orthodoxy I perceive in the theology expressed by various Lutherans on these threads and to a greater extent I have been impressed with the sincere desire to discover and learn about "O(o)rthodoxy" in both theology and praxis among Lutherans who have been exposed to the innovations of seeming large sections of modern Lutheranism. This brings me to my two final points.
"While I agree with many (not all) of his criticisms of the LCMS as it is today, I do not agree with his renunciation of Lutheranism itself. I do not want to throw the baby out with the bathwater."
Pastor, you really should read the correspondence between the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Lutheran Divines at Thubingen in the 16th century. Your comment about throwing the baby out with the bath water is ironic to say the least.
"What "Ezekiel" does not address is the central article of the Christian faith, namely, justification. Eastern Orthodoxy is not clear on this, and that, if nothing else, would prevent me from "going East."
Pastor, with all due respect to you and your laudable reticence to engage in discussion during Great Lent, before you make a comment like this, you really should read the Fathers, in Greek like Pelikan if possible. You will come to understand the meaning of the word justification as the Church has always understood it rather than the contrived anti medieval Roman Church innovation the Reformers came up with. You can start with +Ignatius of Antioch and move on to +Irenaeus of Lyon and if you want to avoid anything past the 3rd century, finish up with +Athanasius the Great on the Incarnation.
An Orthodox ping.
Sorry, R. I meant to say thank-you for the article. I suspect that this minister will find in Holy Orthodoxy something quite different, and immeasurably better, than what he thinks he has or will find. :)
Any comments from your WELS experience?
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