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Punch

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

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

David Garner said:
Punch said:
Keep in mind that Communion in the Orthodox Church IS the Body and Blood of Christ......
Lutherans actually believe the same thing.

...and taking it unworthily brings condemnation on both the person who takes it and the one who gives it.  It is an act of love that communion is withheld from the heterodox, not a judgement against them.  No Orthodox Christian, much less a Priest, wants to see anyone take communion to their own condemnation.
Exactly.  Those Lutherans who do practice closed communion agree with this.  I'm not sure how the real presence is reconciled with right pastoral care among those who practice open communion.
 

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

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

Therefore all the ancient Christian teachers expressly, and in full accord with the entire holy Christian Church, teach, according to these words of the institution of Christ and the explanation of St. Paul, that the body of Christ is not only received spiritually by faith, which occurs also outside of [the use of] the Sacrament, but also orally, not only by believing and godly, but also by unworthy, unbelieving, false, and wicked Christians. As this is too long to be narrated here, we would, for the sake of brevity, have the Christian reader referred to the exhaustive writings of our theologians.  
FC:SD VII 66.

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

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

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myrrhbear said:
Not only the treatment of the Elements, but the attitude about the altar area, or better, the Holy of Holies is different for the two churches, at least comparing the LCMS we left to our present OCA Church. Dare I bring up the performing of skits, with drums and guitars, movie screens that our former church performed behind the altar rail and installed all around the sanctuary? We came to strongly feel that either the sanctuary and altar area are to be treated reverently as Holy or they aren't. Should they be treated as such at one moment, then treated as any public arena another moment?
Similar to my last response, I consider this more a poor practice among Lutherans than a proper teaching of the Lutheran Confessions, but I agree with your premise.  We didn't have drums and guitars in the WELS parish we left, but we did have video screens behind the altar (and we didn't have an altar rail at all -- when the building was erected it looked pretty generically Protestant but for the altar and fount).  The LCMS parish we attended before we moved here was much closer to Orthodoxy (not only in this sense, but in many many other senses as well) than what you describe or what we received in the WELS.  And we left the LCMS for the WELS precisely because the LCMS parishes where we live now are exactly what you describe.

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

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

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PrincessMommy said:
As to praying with non-Orthodox - that seems to be one of those "ask your priest" things.  Each circumstance is unique. 
That's one of the things I like about Orthodoxy - there is dogma, of course, but many matters are appropriately left to the discretion of the priest in terms of how to advise someone in his care.
 

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

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

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

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myrrhbear said:
Same here, Princess Mommy, I may not have left if our Lutherans had been true Lutherans!
And I say if David Young were my pastor I might not have rejected Christ at around age 12 as a Baptist.

I find the conversion threads interesting, because they nearly always tend to show the richness and differences within "denominations" which, I tend to only know with a broad brush.
 

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

The problem is it would depend on who you asked.  There are some very traditionalist (conservative??) Lutherans who believe all of those, with the exception of #4 and others who would blanch at any of them.  I remember someone snickering at my LCMS parish about "those people who actually believe Mary was ever-virgin", but then I have family members who have an icon of her and reference her as Ever-Virgin.  This to me is actually a big problem - and not just with Lutheranism.  Much of it is cafeteria style but they can all be Lutheran.  This lack of catholicity is one of the reasons I eventually left and became Orthodox.
There are some who would agree with no. 4.  I was one of them, but then, I was well catechized by a Pastor who took the Confessions seriously.  Until we moved away from that parish, we were fine.  It's amazing -- it's all right there in the Book of Concord.  And so many of them throw it away with both hands.  I agree -- catholicity is the issue.  All other issues we encountered as frustrated Lutherans flow from that one.

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

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

The problem is it would depend on who you asked.  There are some very traditionalist (conservative??) Lutherans who believe all of those, with the exception of #4 and others who would blanch at any of them.  I remember someone snickering at my LCMS parish about "those people who actually believe Mary was ever-virgin", but then I have family members who have an icon of her and reference her as Ever-Virgin.  This to me is actually a big problem - and not just with Lutheranism.  Much of it is cafeteria style but they can all be Lutheran.  This lack of catholicity is one of the reasons I eventually left and became Orthodox.
There are some who would agree with no. 4.  I was one of them, but then, I was well catechized by a Pastor who took the Confessions seriously.  Until we moved away from that parish, we were fine.  It's amazing -- it's all right there in the Book of Concord.  And so many of them throw it away with both hands.  I agree -- catholicity is the issue.  All other issues we encountered as frustrated Lutherans flow from that one.

But then, were it not for being frustrated, we'd have never gone seeking the Church.  So in the end, I'm happy for the struggle.  It brought us right where we were supposed to be the whole time.
That's interesting... so did the pastor say you could ask for prayers from the saints? 
 

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

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

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

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

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

I've said a lot that the problem in most Western theology is that merits are always assumed in one direction or another.  I think this is an example of that. In rightly arguing against the "merits of the saints" (in the sense that the saints are somehow earning our salvation through their righteous acts), Lutherans IMHO drove into the opposite ditch and said "because it's only Christ's merits that count, you can't ask the saints to intercede for you).  When you take merit out of the equation, as we Orthodox do (since even Christ's "merits" don't "earn" us heaven), that problem goes away entirely.
this is what I thought. If you were to sit down with many other Protestants and walk them through it I suspect they would admit to a similar belief concerning the prayers of the saints...since it's in the Bible  ;)

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

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

Interesting thoughts about merits...very perceptive.  I wonder, now that many Lutherans have a better understanding of the Orthodox faith and of Church Father's teachings, can the Confessions be changed or added to?  Could the Synod accept (as a whole denom.- not just individual pastors) some historical teachings like prayers of the saints and write it into their confessions and change their doctrines?
They could, but historically what makes one a "Lutheran" is an acceptance of those Confessions as the clear and exact exposition of Holy Scripture.  Once I rejected portions of them, I knew I was no longer Lutheran.  Those Lutherans I know who have become Orthodox acted similarly -- instead of creating yet another Lutheran schism, they just joined the Church (some went to Rome as well, following a similar path).

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think that protestants automatically associate prayer with worship, and this is not necessarily the case. As mentioned above, it is no different than conversing with someone who is assigned to watch over you.
I think that's right.  Something that helped me along in this regard was to hear Scriptural citations where St. Paul used the word "pray" to mean something other than "worship."

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

http://frgregory.blogspot.com/2010/08/subterranean-scribbling.html
 

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

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

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Punch said:
To further complicate matters, my father was a convert from the Baptist Church and a Charismatic Christian, which often put him at odds with the more conservative factions of the LCMS.
That's interesting.  We converted from Southern Baptist to Lutheran, and I think it made us more conservative (or, at least, more confessional).  We had no desire to return to that type of worship experience.  I freely acknowledge we were in some pretty bad Baptist churches toward the end, but one of the reasons we looked outside Lutheranism is it was beginning to look more like the more generic American Protestants like Baptists.
 

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David Garner said:
Punch said:
To further complicate matters, my father was a convert from the Baptist Church and a Charismatic Christian, which often put him at odds with the more conservative factions of the LCMS.
That's interesting.  We converted from Southern Baptist to Lutheran, and I think it made us more conservative (or, at least, more confessional).  We had no desire to return to that type of worship experience.  I freely acknowledge we were in some pretty bad Baptist churches toward the end, but one of the reasons we looked outside Lutheranism is it was beginning to look more like the more generic American Protestants like Baptists.
We converted from Charismatic/Reformed to Lutheranism.  I became more liturgically conservative and my husband, who is still Lutheran, did not.  When my BIL complained about "guitars at the Liturgy" at some Lutheran gathering my husband response was: "So what?? what's the matter with guitars at Liturgy??"  Sigh. ...You really can get a wide range of responses even within one household.  :D
 

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


David Garner said:
Punch said:
To further complicate matters, my father was a convert from the Baptist Church and a Charismatic Christian, which often put him at odds with the more conservative factions of the LCMS.
That's interesting.  We converted from Southern Baptist to Lutheran, and I think it made us more conservative (or, at least, more confessional).  We had no desire to return to that type of worship experience.  I freely acknowledge we were in some pretty bad Baptist churches toward the end, but one of the reasons we looked outside Lutheranism is it was beginning to look more like the more generic American Protestants like Baptists.
 

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Punch said:
Another thing that I learned - Conservative has many meanings! 
This is true.  I have said on many occasions that among Lutherans, conservatism is the enemy of Confessionalism.  I have found that to be quite true.  As one example, how many Lutheran parishes continue bi-weekly communion "because that's what we've always done," even though the Confessions could not be clearer that "among us masses are celebrated every Lord's Day and on the other festivals, in which the Sacrament is offered to those who wish to use it, after they have been examined and absolved?"  (Ap. XXIV).
 

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

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

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

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

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


David Garner said:
Punch said:
Another thing that I learned - Conservative has many meanings! 
This is true.  I have said on many occasions that among Lutherans, conservatism is the enemy of Confessionalism.  I have found that to be quite true.  As one example, how many Lutheran parishes continue bi-weekly communion "because that's what we've always done," even though the Confessions could not be clearer that "among us masses are celebrated every Lord's Day and on the other festivals, in which the Sacrament is offered to those who wish to use it, after they have been examined and absolved?"  (Ap. XXIV).
 

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

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

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

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

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

(2)  Another thing I have noticed in this thread, as well as in other stories about converts to Roman Catholicism or Orthodoxy, is that many seemed to have started in some sort of evangelical or reformed church, became more attacted to liturgy and tradition, so became Lutheran or Anglican, and then went on Orthodoxy or Catholicism when Lutheranism/Anglicanism turned out not to be quite as liturgical or traditional as once believed. This goes back to my earlier comments about it being somewhat of a cultural thing for me - not only am I a lifelong Lutheran, but I've got nearly 500 years of Lutheranism to deal with on my Danish side of the family.  So, at least part of me feels obligated in a sense to try and stick around and preseve the catholicity of Lutheranism.
For us, it wasn't being "attracted to liturgy and tradition" so much as being drawn by catholicity.  The LCMS Church we were confirmed in utilized a pretty consistent liturgy, either DSI or DSII in the LW.  So long as we avoided those "church growth" folks, when we traveled we could usually find a parish that did the same. The lectionary was the same.  The hymnody was drawn from the same part of the hymnal.  So the Church acted as one, not as a bunch of loosely connected folks each doing whatever they pleased.  There was comfort in this because it was historical.

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

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

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

(2)  Another thing I have noticed in this thread, as well as in other stories about converts to Roman Catholicism or Orthodoxy, is that many seemed to have started in some sort of evangelical or reformed church, became more attracted to liturgy and tradition, so became Lutheran or Anglican, and then went on Orthodoxy or Catholicism when Lutheranism/Anglicanism turned out not to be quite as liturgical or traditional as once believed. This goes back to my earlier comments about it being somewhat of a cultural thing for me - not only am I a lifelong Lutheran, but I've got nearly 500 years of Lutheranism to deal with on my Danish side of the family.  So, at least part of me feels obligated in a sense to try and stick around and preseve the catholicity of Lutheranism.
(1) You are correct.  The Germans, particularly those that sought to escape the Prussian Union (LCMS), tend to see the whole Book of Concord as authoritative.  The Scandinavians did not.  I also think that the German Lutherans became more severe and anti-Roman after the horrors of the 30 years war, which I believe affected Germany more than Scandinavia.  

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

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

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

That said, there's no way to sugar-coat your conversion. Your parents are bound to be at least a little hurt and bewildered. Mine were. Now we just avoid any discussion.
 

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

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katherineofdixie said:
Punch said:
(2) I have 500 years of Lutheranism on my mother’s side.  Perhaps you can imagine the sadness that I carry in my heart that the Church that first taught me that Jesus was my Savior, and taught me to love God above all things, is not part of the True Church. 
Well said, sir. This is my feeling also.
The RC Church, as I understand it, teaches that while Lutherans are not a "Church" we are an "ecclesial community" connected to the Church through our baptism, albeit not in full communion with the Church.

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

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

Is there anything analagous to this in Orthodox teaching?  I've heard the axiom of "We know where the Church is but we do not know where it is not" but don't know much beyond that about how Orthodoxy views those not in full communion with the Church.
It's not at all the same. We do know where the Church is, and we don't know where it is not, but at the same time, there is no such thing in Orthodoxy as an "ecclesial community" which is in some vague way attached. Or not. You are either in the One True Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church or you are not. There are no "sorta kinda" ecclesial communities. That said, we know that God will save whom He will save, and He has not put us in charge of that particular department.
 

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

Is there anything analagous to this in Orthodox teaching?  I've heard the axiom of "We know where the Church is but we do not know where it is not" but don't know much beyond that about how Orthodoxy views those not in full communion with the Church.
It's not at all the same. We do know where the Church is, and we don't know where it is not, but at the same time, there is no such thing in Orthodoxy as an "ecclesial community" which is in some vague way attached. Or not. You are either in the One True Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church or you are not. There are no "sorta kinda" ecclesial communities. That said, we know that God will save whom He will save, and He has not put us in charge of that particular department.
What is the rationale and justification for accepting non-Orthodox baptisms given that position?
 
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