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Lutheranism vs Orthodox Christianity

Lutheranism and Orthodox Christianity

  • Virtually identical

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Quite smilar; difference between Holy Tradition and Sola Scriptura often overplayed

    Votes: 2 8.3%
  • Neutral/No Opinion

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Moderately different

    Votes: 12 50.0%
  • Extremely

    Votes: 10 41.7%

  • Total voters
    24

sprtslvr1973

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I have listened to Lutheran theologians and Pastors on YouTube and find that I really like a lot of Lutheran thought. I remember talking to a Roman Catholic who converted to Lutheranism, and was quite staunch in his conversion, say that Lutheranism has more in common with his previous church than quite a few Protestants. Just curious what some people here may think. Anyone is free to answer of course, but I am particularly interested in what Orthodox Christians and Lutherans think.

Thank you
 

Fr. George

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I'm not sure that we would say that they are very much like Orthodoxy.  While there are doctrines that we support in general (support for Baptism, role of tradition, focus on scripture, etc.), there are often challenges in how they're interpreted by Lutherans vs. the Orthodox understanding.  Some elements of Lutheranism are problematic in their formulation post-Reformation (i.e. the 5 Solas) and some are problematic because of the baggage they carry in from Roman Catholicism (views on salvation and satisfaction).

There are elements that, to be sure, are closer between Orthodoxy & Lutheranism than they are between either of us and, say, Unitarians, Seventh Day Adventists, or Mormons.  But the distance (while still relatively large) between them & Roman Catholics is shorter than between Lutherans and us Orthodox.
 

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sprtslvr1973 said:
I remember talking to a Roman Catholic who converted to Lutheranism, and was quite staunch in his conversion, say that Lutheranism has more in common with his previous church than quite a few Protestants.
While technically true Lutheran apologetics really tends to overplay it. They've picked a few things but conveniently ignore anything else. There's probably some miniscule high church Lutheran denomination out there that might argue differently and actually are interested in more traditional Christianity but most are really as Protestant as it gets.

Though I guess "Protestantism" might look different in the US than it look up here. Our Protestants mostly baptize children and wear funny hats.

Fr. George said:
...role of tradition...
There's no such thing in Lutheranism. They conveniently ignore even their own tradition. Including those so-called Confessional Lutherans.
 

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Alpo2 said:
Fr. George said:
...role of tradition...
There's no such thing in Lutheranism. They conveniently ignore even their own tradition. Including those so-called Confessional Lutherans.
Isn't it one of those "your words say no but your actions say yes" situations?  They have in a certain sense very deeply steeped traditions (the solas and their interpretation, biblical hermenutic, purpose of their origin as a religious group, etc.), no? 

Alpo2 said:
Our Protestants mostly baptize children and wear funny hats.
Case in point?

Alpo2 said:
Though I guess "Protestantism" might look different in the US than it look up here.
This may be the understatement of the year.  Protestantism certainly looks different here, only because we also encourage the cuckoos with our "strike it out on your own" attitude and "anyone can make anything of themselves" history.
 

sprtslvr1973

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Fr. George said:
Alpo2 said:
Fr. George said:
...role of tradition...
There's no such thing in Lutheranism. They conveniently ignore even their own tradition. Including those so-called Confessional Lutherans.
Isn't it one of those "your words say no but your actions say yes" situations?  They have in a certain sense very deeply steeped traditions (the solas and their interpretation, biblical hermenutic, purpose of their origin as a religious group, etc.), no? 

Alpo2 said:
Our Protestants mostly baptize children and wear funny hats.
Case in point?

Alpo2 said:
Though I guess "Protestantism" might look different in the US than it look up here.
This may be the understatement of the year.  Protestantism certainly looks different here, only because we also encourage the cuckoos with our "strike it out on your own" attitude and "anyone can make anything of themselves" history.
The last thought references American radical individualism, which is often very positive, but not with any/all thing spiritual. At any rate, one of the things I like about Lutheranism (and other historic/magisterial Protestant churches) is that they do not do that
 

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sprtslvr1973 said:
Fr. George said:
This may be the understatement of the year.  Protestantism certainly looks different here, only because we also encourage the cuckoos with our "strike it out on your own" attitude and "anyone can make anything of themselves" history.
The last thought references American radical individualism, which is often very positive, but not with any/all thing spiritual. At any rate, one of the things I like about Lutheranism (and other historic/magisterial Protestant churches) is that they do not do that
I suppose in most ways they don't.  I mean, sola scriptura as Luther believed it is relatively radical in its individualism, which is part of the reason why one finds the more rapid proliferation of denominations in the West vs. the slower divisions in the East (really just EO, OO, and "Nestorian" Christians before the 1920s).  But you're right - that's really only in the ecclesial sphere, not the personal one (there is still an entrenched sense of community in most magisterial reformation churches) - although I can't help but see how the one affects the other (and has done so in the past).
 

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sprtslvr1973 said:
Curious where "here" is
Finland.

Fr. George said:
Isn't it one of those "your words say no but your actions say yes" situations?  They have in a certain sense very deeply steeped traditions (the solas and their interpretation, biblical hermenutic, purpose of their origin as a religious group, etc.), no? 
In my experience it's either "Your words say no and your actions say no" (mainstream Lutherans)  or "Your words say yes but your actions say no" (Confessional Lutherans). Latter like to point out positive comments about tradition in the Confession of Augsburg. In practice it means that female priesthood is no, gay marriage is no, doctrine of justification is yes and pretty much everything else is it depends on what's currently fashionable.
 

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Alpo2 said:
Fr. George said:
Isn't it one of those "your words say no but your actions say yes" situations?  They have in a certain sense very deeply steeped traditions (the solas and their interpretation, biblical hermenutic, purpose of their origin as a religious group, etc.), no? 
In my experience it's either "Your words say no and your actions say no" (mainstream Lutherans)  or "Your words say yes but your actions say no" (Confessional Lutherans). Latter like to point out positive comments about tradition in the Confession of Augsburg. In practice it means that female priesthood is no, gay marriage is no, doctrine of justification is yes and pretty much everything else is it depends on what's currently fashionable.
Thank you!  Your experience is more considerable than mine, considering both your location/surrounding culture and my experience (which has mostly been with RCs, Evangelicals, and some Pentecostals & Episcopalians).
 

sestir

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Seeing that discussion grinds to a halt, I fling in three thoughts as a midway-betweener:

- I see the solas as a factory reset of tradition-based churches. (Matthew 15:3-9 — Pharisees prioritized their tradition over God's word; o t o h 12:43-45 — when abolishing something, something else and better must replace it.)

- Perhaps a subset of Protestantish tradition can be thought of as a light-weight form of Orthodoxy for places where persecution is anticipated? For example having simple, plain, cheap churches in some countries because they will be burnt down or turned into mosques anyway.
 

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sestir said:
- I see the solas as a factory reset of tradition-based churches. (Matthew 15:3-9 — Pharisees prioritized their tradition over God's word; o t o h 12:43-45 — when abolishing something, something else and better must replace it.) 
Or to at least challenge them to do better.  When seen as a criticism of what the reformers were seeing in the West, they make a lot of sense (even if we in the East have problems with how they're applied or interpreted).  The hard thing is capturing nuance in a slogan; even the solas aren't interpreted the same way by those who hear them, which makes the Orthodox/Roman Catholic point about biblical interpretation more salient.

sestir said:
- Perhaps a subset of Protestantish tradition can be thought of as a light-weight form of Orthodoxy for places where persecution is anticipated? For example having simple, plain, cheap churches in some countries because they will be burnt down or turned into mosques anyway.
I'm not sure that we have that mindset.  When bracing for persectution, we tend to double-down on beauty, depth, etc.  If we had to become an underground Church again, I think it would take no time at all before cave-drawings of icons (if none survived persecutions) would pop up.

But I agree with the premise of being ready.  I think too many Orthodox are sitting back - even if they're alarmed about what they're seeing in the larger culture - and are not preparing themselves for hardship.  I am chief among them.  While the material things would be difficult to deal with if forced to abandon them, my spiritual condition is not ready for a protracted public battle (let alone the protracted war for the heart, ongoing at every moment of this life).
 

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Lutheran Pastor William Weedon has a blog on Blogspot on which he frequently posts both a "Luther quote of the day" and a "Patristic quote of the day" (usually Chrysostom).

Frequently they are so parallel that one has to check the header to be sure of who is who.

That is purely intentional on his part.  But his perspective is rare among Lutherans.
 

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JTLoganville said:
Lutheran Pastor William Weedon has a blog on Blogspot on which he frequently posts both a "Luther quote of the day" and a "Patristic quote of the day" (usually Chrysostom).

Frequently they are so parallel that one has to check the header to be sure of who is who.

That is purely intentional on his part.  But his perspective is rare among Lutherans.
"But his perspective is rare among Lutherans."

To me, an honest Lutheran will find as much in common with Orthodoxy as with Independent Baptism or with John MacArthur's composite Protestantism
 

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sprtslvr1973 said:
To me, an honest Lutheran will find as much in common with Orthodoxy as with Independent Baptism or with John MacArthur's composite Protestantism
Do you mind fleshing this out a bit?  I'm interested in the perspective.
 

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sprtslvr1973 said:
To me, an honest Lutheran will find as much in common with Orthodoxy as with Independent Baptism or with John MacArthur's composite Protestantism
So Philip Melanchthon and his compatriots who wrote overtures to the Patriarch during the 16th century were "dishonest" Lutherans?
 

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Fr. George said:
[...] But I agree with the premise of being ready.  I think too many Orthodox are sitting back - even if they're alarmed about what they're seeing in the larger culture - and are not preparing themselves for hardship.  I am chief among them.
No way!
To help run this forum is a great help to fellowships when information is tightly controlled in all media.
 

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sestir said:
Pharisees prioritized their tradition over God's word
Pharisees prioritised their tradition over God's tradition... What Protestants fail to understand is that there was no such a thing as a fixed Hebrew Bible in Christ's day apart from the Torah/Pentateuch, which is why He (and New Testament writers) often draws from sources considered bogus by Protestants. Here is an incomplete list of cross-references, that excludes texts that didn't even make it to non-Protestant Bibles. This is the mindset that led St. Paul the Apostle to teach us to "hold fast to the traditions [...] received from [the Church], either by our word or by letter". (II Thessalonians 2:15)
 

sestir

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RaphaCam said:
sestir said:
Pharisees prioritized their tradition over God's word
Pharisees prioritised their tradition over God's tradition...
Both right?

RaphaCam said:
What Protestants fail to understand is that there was no such a thing as a fixed Hebrew Bible in Christ's day apart from the Torah/Pentateuch, which is why He (and New Testament writers) often draws from sources considered bogus by Protestants.
I fail to understand the part after the comma, especially the marked.
If I try to convince a Jew of something, I might quote from the Babylonian Talmud. That doesn't mean I want my followers in year 4010 — the Sestrians — to follow all traditions in Talmud.
 

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sestir said:
RaphaCam said:
What Protestants fail to understand is that there was no such a thing as a fixed Hebrew Bible in Christ's day apart from the Torah/Pentateuch, which is why He (and New Testament writers) often draws from sources considered bogus by Protestants.
I fail to understand the part after the comma, especially the marked.
If I try to convince a Jew of something, I might quote from the Babylonian Talmud. That doesn't mean I want my followers in year 4010 — the Sestrians — to follow all traditions in Talmud.
Part of the issue is that we are dealing with both Jews and Protestants who have been influenced by:

- The dominance of Phariseeism and the formation of Rabbinic Judaism following the destructions of the Temple and Jerusalem (late 1st and early 2nd century).
- The rejection by the Pharisees of the not-totally-separate Christian group, and their expulsion from the Synagogues (early-to-mid 2nd century)
- The Rabbinic formation of the Masoretic Text, which attempted to add the vowels into the scripture for the first time - and which, for the first time, excluded books that had been used by Jews up to that point including throughout the 2nd Temple period.
- The decisions to interpret (because the Masoretic Text is inherently a translation, from the pre-vowel version to the post-vowel version) certain passages in a way that would discourage Christian interpretation
- The decision by St. Jerome to prefer the Jewish Masoretic text over the older Greek Old Testament (technically "Septuagint" is only for the 1st 5 books, but we've come to use it as a shorthand for the whole Greek Old Testament)
- The decision by the Protestant Reformers to prefer the Jewish Masoretic text even more strictly than the Roman Catholics had.

This makes even minor discussions really difficult, because we're using an older version of the Old Testament than both groups, which includes books that have been rejected by both (because, for example, some were written in Greek originally as post-Exilic works) but we include because they were used by Jews in the 1st century.
 

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Thanks both! I think I get your point.
I wrote a longer response, but should respect the OP's wish to have a discussion mostly between Orthodox and Lutherans. I know too little about the reformers anyway.
 

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sestir said:
I fail to understand the part after the comma, especially the marked.
If I try to convince a Jew of something, I might quote from the Babylonian Talmud. That doesn't mean I want my followers in year 4010 — the Sestrians — to follow all traditions in Talmud.
You're basically presupposing Christ had a mindset similar to someone who argues in internet forums against people of all wildly possible kinds of opinions, while He was actually appearing as a rabbi arguing with other rabbis on what the Jewish faith was about.


Christ and the New Testament writers didn't simply draw from tradition to argue with Jews. Christ celebrates the Hanukkah, which doesn't make it to maimed Protestant Bibles, since the Jews, who never had a sola scriptura mindset, drew its events from Holy Tradition. Christ explicitly calls the Book of Enoch scripture, not because it should be included in some compilation that works as an Ockhamist guide for the faith, but rather because it was a text contextualised in Holy Tradition.
 

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RaphaCam said:
You're basically presupposing Christ had a mindset similar to someone who argues in internet forums against people of all wildly possible kinds of opinions, while He was actually appearing as a rabbi arguing with other rabbis on what the Jewish faith was about.
The idea that Christianity would have a Jewish origin is, in my part of the world, widely used as a premise for telling people that Christianity isn't their religion but a culture which a foreign people is trying to force on them. Jesus appearing as a rabbi does not exclude the possibility that the Jewish faith were part of a messianic tradition shared with other nations.


RaphaCam said:
Christ celebrates the Hanukkah, which doesn't make it to maimed Protestant Bibles, [...]
John 10:22-23?
``At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon.''

RaphaCam said:
Christ explicitly calls the Book of Enoch scripture, [...]
Perhaps this is missing from maimed protestant bibles. Do you have a reference?

RaphaCam said:
[...] not because it should be included in some compilation that works as an Ockhamist guide for the faith, but rather because it was a text contextualised in Holy Tradition.
Is this your point or mine?
I read someone on the Dogmatics Outlet site teaching that it is the Orthodox way to not include all books of the bible in one volume, referring to how, for example, the NT was divided into a Gospels-part, an Acts+Catholic epistles-part and a part with Paul's letters. How, then, can you call protestant bibles "maimed" when they typically include no less than 66 books, 1550 % more books than a typical Gospel-manuscript such as P45, Codex Bezae, C. Regius or C. Koridethi?

Splitting the books across several volumes facilitates translation with quality. You know how long time it takes to translate the Psalms. If a bible needs to contain 80+ books, the best translations will certainly never come about.
 

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sestir said:
RaphaCam said:
You're basically presupposing Christ had a mindset similar to someone who argues in internet forums against people of all wildly possible kinds of opinions, while He was actually appearing as a rabbi arguing with other rabbis on what the Jewish faith was about.
The idea that Christianity would have a Jewish origin is, in my part of the world, widely used as a premise for telling people that Christianity isn't their religion but a culture which a foreign people is trying to force on them. Jesus appearing as a rabbi does not exclude the possibility that the Jewish faith were part of a messianic tradition shared with other nations.
Yikes - seems like a position which is ignorant of the 1st century.

sestir said:
RaphaCam said:
Christ celebrates the Hanukkah, which doesn't make it to maimed Protestant Bibles, [...]
John 10:22-23?
``At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon.''
Hanukkah is the feast of the re-dedication of the 2nd Temple.  The Greek rulers had defiled the temple by engaging in pagan sacrifices inside, which was a major reason for the Maccabean revolt.  Yes, the ritual of the celebration remembers the stretching of the oil for 7 days, but the core of the celebration was the re-dedication of the Temple - cleansing it and sanctifying it for the return to true worship of the One God.

sestir said:
RaphaCam said:
Christ explicitly calls the Book of Enoch scripture, [...]
Perhaps this is missing from maimed protestant bibles. Do you have a reference?
Fr Stephen De Young covers the topic of the book(s) of Enoch and their reception in this article: https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/wholecounsel/2020/07/25/the-book-of-enoch/  I'd love to summarize here, but I think it's much better if you're able to take the few minutes and read the longer-form explanation.
 

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The most important faith aspects are the same because they accept the Nicene Creed, although in this case the Western version. But it's more than you said here:
"Quite smilar; difference between Holy Tradition and Sola Scriptura often overplayed".
The poll is closed so I can't vote in it, but I would gave picked this.
Still, this answer above is rather misleading because while it's true that the difference has been overplayed oh, there are fact significant differences. Lutheranism does have certain tenants or one can call it dogmatic on certain things. One of Luther's five Solas was Sola scriptura which meant that the Bible is the only final and infallible source in Tradition. Based on that theory, if you can say that the Bible teaches something, then that teaching becomes infallible and it is considered a final teaching. The implication is that you couldn't argue with it. I guess you could say that something in the Bible is not a teaching of Faith and so You could argue with it like whether the Earth and physical Heavens were below a layer of water. However Luther at one point said that because the Bible says that there is water above the heavens, then this statement must be correct.
The implication of this Sola is that if you found something taught in the Bible, particularly on a question of faith, then that teaching would be final and infallible, which means that you couldn't argue with it and it couldn't be wrong.

Maybe this principle of Lutheranism leaves open the question whether other sources could be infallible but not final. But his attitude toward Bishops ' Authority was to challenge it, so my sense is that he would not agree that the councils were infallible. I don't know whether he ever said that the councils were either fallible or infallible. Typically challenging the authority of Bishops on one hand, he also wanted to present himself and his beliefs as being in line with the church fathers, which suggests that he generally would not Target the church councils, by which I mean the early ecumenical ones.

In Orthodoxy, the Bible is the Supreme written source of authority, so that if there was a real disagreement between the Bible and another source of authority then of course the Bible would take precedence in that Authority would not. But the Bible and the other sources of authority are supposed to be in harmony. So if the Bible said one thing and a church Council said the other thing on a topic of faith, then the implication would be that the church Council was not really an ecumenical council, as the two were not in harmony.

Orthodoxy has not been distilled into five Solas like Lutheranism has, so to say that Lutheranism and Orthodoxy have the same position on this topic would be misleading.

Luther came from the augustinian tradition and Augustine taught that the Bible was infallible according to the intent of the particular biblical writer. So whatever that particular writer intended to express in a particular biblical passage must be correct. The implication is that if there is said to be water above the heavens or that the Earth is called a disc, and the writer intended to express those things literally, then those things must be literally true. Orthodoxy on the other hand is not based in particular on St Augustine's teachings.

In contrast to Lutheranism, which calls the Bible final and infallible and does not call the councils that way, it has been common in Orthodoxy to call the Bible and councils infallible, but there have also been orthodox theologians that disagree that the Bible and councils are infallible. So this makes Orthodoxy see less dogmatic than Lutheranism on this topic.

I think that someone could be Orthodox and believe in Luther's teaching that the Bible alone is final and infallible, because Orthodoxy is not dogmatic on the topic. However Luther also made a big deal of teaching this and if you are Orthodox and you are openly teaching that the Bible is final and infallible and that The ecumenical councils are not, then it creates a practical problem because it creates a paradigm of conflict between the Bible in the councils and other sources of tradition that Orthodoxy doesn't have because Orthodoxy aims to interpret its tradition in harmony with itself. We don't have a practice of saying that the ecumenical council is wrong because it goes against the Bible and the Bible alone is infallible. That kind of practice would create conflict.

I have a lot of warm feelings for Lutheranism and in some ways it is the closest to Orthodoxy of the major non-orthodox churches. Sometimes Orthodox writers have thought about what would happen and contacts between Luther and the Orthodox world, because later Lutheran's did have such dialogues. And I think the answer is that because Luther knew Greek he had the option of contacting orthodox churches and having dialogues with them but he did not because most likely he knew that the dialogues would not be successful in having the Orthodox recognize Lutheranism as legitimate, as turned out to be the case in those later dialogues. Luther wanted to present his beliefs as in line with the church fathers and more than once he treated the Greek Church as being authoritative in supporting some position he had, particularly against Calvinism and zwinglianism on the Eucharist. To get into debates with the Orthodox Church would have hurt his position, so I expect that this was the main reason why he didn't try to make dialogues with the Orthodox Church.
 

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sestir said:
RaphaCam said:
What Protestants fail to understand is that there was no such a thing as a fixed Hebrew Bible in Christ's day apart from the Torah/Pentateuch, which is why He (and New Testament writers) often draws from sources considered bogus by Protestants.
I fail to understand the part after the comma, especially the marked.
If I try to convince a Jew of something, I might quote from the Babylonian Talmud. That doesn't mean I want my followers in year 4010 — the Sestrians — to follow all traditions in Talmud.
In the example you gave, you would be using a rabbinical text, the Talmud, to prove something to a Rabbinical Jew, for whom that text would be authoritative. Using that text shows that you would find the text authoritative for that person.

Raphacam is saying: "there was no such a thing as a fixed Hebrew Bible in Christ's day apart from the Torah/Pentateuch, which is why He (and New Testament writers) often draws from sources considered bogus by Protestants."

Jesus was drawing from "non-TaNaKh" Jewish sacred writings when speaking to a Jewish or Christian audience, which shows that he was treating those non-TaNaKh stories as authoritative for His audience, just as you would be treating that Talmud story as authoritative for your Jewish audience.

So Rapha is making a good point.
 

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sestir said:
- I see the solas as a factory reset of tradition-based churches. (Matthew 15:3-9 — Pharisees prioritized their tradition over God's word; o t o h 12:43-45 — when abolishing something, something else and better must replace it.)
The Five Solas are not a factory reset of tradition based churches because the five solas are not in the tradition of those churches.

The five solas are salvation through faith alone, grace alone, Scripture alone, salvation through Christ alone, and glory to God alone.

However, the Bible does not specify these five solas nor does early tradition explicate them like a factory reset would if they were in the original settings. The only time that the phrase "faith alone" is used is in James' epistle where he says YOU SEE THAT SALVATION IS NOT THROUGH FAITH ALONE.

The five solas are what Luther INTERPRETED to be in "orthodox" or Biblical Christianity. If we were talking about a factory reset, then if you time traveled to 100 AD and met the early Christians, they would be teaching the five solas in the way that Luther was, which was quite clear and specific. But when you pick up the writings from 30 AD to 200 AD, no one says there that there are five solas as key defining features of the faith. Maybe you can interpret them in Paul's writing, but he never openly says that the Bible is the only infallible and final source. That is Luther's INTERPRETATION of the Bible that he saw as correct teaching.

If this was a factory reset to 100 AD, you would realistically be able to pick up the Bible and get the kind of clear consensus in those writings about the five solas that Luther gave. But that's not what you find. The New Testament writings are not a "factory reset" that lays out Lutheranism's five solas. They are the Christian community's foundational writings in which Luther perceived his five solas but in which many or most other Christian's have not.
 

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sestir said:
John 10:22-23?
``At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon.''
I may not have expressed myself clearly. What is missing from Protestant bibles is the story and theology that justifies the Hanukkah (the Books of the Maccabees).

Perhaps this is missing from maimed protestant bibles. Do you have a reference?
St. John 7:38 particularly, but there is more.

Is this your point or mine?
My criticism of sola scriptura.

I read someone on the Dogmatics Outlet site teaching that it is the Orthodox way to not include all books of the bible in one volume, referring to how, for example, the NT was divided into a Gospels-part, an Acts+Catholic epistles-part and a part with Paul's letters. How, then, can you call protestant bibles "maimed" when they typically include no less than 66 books, 1550 % more books than a typical Gospel-manuscript such as P45, Codex Bezae, C. Regius or C. Koridethi?

Splitting the books across several volumes facilitates translation with quality. You know how long time it takes to translate the Psalms. If a bible needs to contain 80+ books, the best translations will certainly never come about.
I'm talking about the Bible as "the canon", not as a physical book... Protestants have a maimed canon. Orthodox Christians have a hard core of a canon with some greyish books added or taken, just like the Jews in the times of Christ. Since we don't have the canon as a sole guide to faith, the fact that some books that are inside the tradition may be included on it or not is irrelevant. For instance: some Greek Orthodox bibles lack the Prayer of Manasseh, but the Greek Orthodox include the entire book in the services, so the exclusion from canon clearly doesn't mean a refusal of perfect Orthodoxy.
 

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rakovsky said:
However, the Bible does not specify these five solas nor does early tradition explicate them like a factory reset would if they were in the original settings.
I have never reset my laptop, so that is not part of my tradition. Yet I can do it, if the computer catches a virus, for instance. The necessary facilities (to perform a reformation) in a church would be a decent supply of quality bibles, some faith and laity who are involved and knowledgeable.

After a reset, the computer will go back to its normal mode of operation. After a reformation, a church would restore its traditions from back-up, except the ones which caused the crash. That is why I mentioned Matthew 12:43-45 in my first post in this thread.
 

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Our version of factory reset occurs within each person each day and each Liturgy.  How obediently each faithful participates is another matter.  The entire thing itself can’t be irrevocably corrupted.  It is Christ’s body, after all.  The Church with her Traditions is necessarily the factory setting.  Scripture postdates those Traditions and is merely a testament to them, not a manual for them.  Starting with it will only get you so far, and then you will either hit a wall or grow complacent.
 

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sestir said:
I have never reset my laptop, so that is not part of my tradition. Yet I can do it, if the computer catches a virus, for instance. The necessary facilities (to perform a reformation) in a church would be a decent supply of quality bibles, some faith and laity who are involved and knowledgeable.

After a reset, the computer will go back to its normal mode of operation. After a reformation, a church would restore its traditions from back-up, except the ones which caused the crash. That is why I mentioned Matthew 12:43-45 in my first post in this thread.
Sestir,
A factory reset means that you get the same files on your computer that the computer was sold with. If the 1st Century Christian church considered the Bible the only Christian communication and ideas, and you wanted a factory reset to those ideas, then a Bible-only "factory reset" Reformation would work.

There are several reasons why the "five solas" Reformation does not work as a factory reset to 1st Century Christianity, however.
1. The Bible was not the only communication or ideas of 1st century Christianity, even on salvation topics. A major example of this is infant baptism. It's an issue of salvation, but the Bible was not their only communication on the topic, because it is not explicit on whether infants were baptized. If you lived in the 1st century, that topic would be communicated to you.

2. The Five Solas Reformation was at odds with ideas in the Bible. James' epistle says that We are not saved by faith alone. But one of the Solas is that we are saved "by faith alone."

3. The Five Solas Reformation was not limited to the ideas specifically in the Bible, but rather added new ideas of its own. A factory reset has an original text file saying XYZ. It does not have that text file plus a new text file saying that XYZ means XYZABC.

For instance, the teaching that the guilt of Original Sin is passed down biologically was laid out by Augustine, and Luther was an Augustinian monk. Luther interpreted the Bible as having this teaching and he made it a major teaching of Lutheranism that most other Protestants picked up. But that teaching is not a communication in the Bible. If the Reformation was a factory reset, we would be limited to the bare communications of the Bible, not to those communications PLUS Luther's INTERPRETATIONS of them.

The foundational Protestant groups made faith statements outlining their tenets in documents like the Augsburg Confession for Lutherans and the Westminster Confession for many Calvinists. The Westminster Confession explicitly teaches infant baptism, whereas the Bible only implicitly teaches it, at most. Those documents, while you may agree with them, are not in the Bible. They are not a factory reset.

A key teaching of Luther, who made the Five Solas, is that Christ's body has a spiritual form and is directly and objectively on the Eucharist table. Calvin disagreed and so Luther said that he would not have communion with those who deny the objective direct Presence. Certainly one of those two mutually exclusive major opposing Reformation views and their leaders' treatment of it as a litmus test cannot be the one correct Biblical view. They cannot be a Factory Reset because the Bible does explicitly communicate that Luther's idea and Calvin's idea are right and that Luther must not commune with Calvin. Either Luther's idea or Calvin's idea, or both, are in addition to the Bible.

While I lean to Luther's view over the Catholic view as being "orthodox", neither one is explicit in the Bible. Neither the Catholic one nor the Protestant one is a factory reset. The only exactly purely Biblical communication on the Real Presence would be to never say anything more on the topic than the exact words in the Bible, and not even to read Augustine or the Church fathers. But Luther and Calvin did sometimes treat the Church fathers as authorities, which is one more Proof that they were not doing a Bible-only factory reset.

Their "source code" was not Bible-only, it was:
"A. Bible + B. their own 16th Century interpretations and ideas. Precedence is given to B. over A."
 

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rakovsky said:
sestir said:
I have never reset my laptop, so that is not part of my tradition. Yet I can do it, if the computer catches a virus, for instance. The necessary facilities (to perform a reformation) in a church would be a decent supply of quality bibles, some faith and laity who are involved and knowledgeable.

After a reset, the computer will go back to its normal mode of operation. After a reformation, a church would restore its traditions from back-up, except the ones which caused the crash. That is why I mentioned Matthew 12:43-45 in my first post in this thread.
Sestir,
A factory reset means that you get the same files on your computer that the computer was sold with. If the 1st Century Christian church considered the Bible the only Christian communication and ideas, and you wanted a factory reset to those ideas, then a Bible-only "factory reset" Reformation would work.

There are several reasons why the "five solas" Reformation does not work as a factory reset to 1st Century Christianity, however.
1. The Bible was not the only communication or ideas of 1st century Christianity, even on salvation topics. A major example of this is infant baptism. It's an issue of salvation, but the Bible was not their only communication on the topic, because it is not explicit on whether infants were baptized. If you lived in the 1st century, that topic would be communicated to you.

2. The Five Solas Reformation was at odds with ideas in the Bible. James' epistle says that We are not saved by faith alone. But one of the Solas is that we are saved "by faith alone."

3. The Five Solas Reformation was not limited to the ideas specifically in the Bible, but rather added new ideas of its own. A factory reset has an original text file saying XYZ. It does not have that text file plus a new text file saying that XYZ means XYZABC.
Rakovsky,
I knew these things a decade before finding this forum. Rather than malice, I will assume, that you just forgot to read my posts before replying. If you teach me about Orthodox tradition — liturgy, hagiographa, history a s o, I will be more grateful; obviously in other threads. I will try to stay out of this forum section in the future, as I should, though I wish it had more activity.
 

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sestir said:
Rakovsky,
I knew these things a decade before finding this forum. Rather than malice, I will assume, that you just forgot to read my posts before replying.
Dear Sestir,

I think you are familiar with Aramaic, so your knowledge can be very valuable for the forum. I just reviewed all your posts in the thread. For instance, you wrote:
"I have never reset my laptop, so that is not part of my tradition."

I take this to imply, along with your objection that I was not understanding or addressing your posts, that in fact you do not see the supposed Factory Reset of the Five Solas Reformation as part of your tradition.

In my last message, I was replying to your statement:
"- I see the solas as a factory reset of tradition-based churches. (Matthew 15:3-9 — Pharisees prioritized their tradition over God's word; o t o h 12:43-45 — when abolishing something, something else and better must replace it.)"
In my earlier reply, I gave three reasons why the Solas are not a factory reset, and you replied that you were already familiar with those issues a decade earlier, and that I must not have read your earlier posts.

It sounds like you are saying that the three objections that I raised do not disprove that the 5 Solas are a factory reset, and that your earlier posts would show why the 5 Solas are still a factory reset.

In that case, maybe you are referring to something that I did not pick up on. If so, I welcome you to specify what I missed in your posts.
 

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I had a girlfriend who was a born member of what became the ELCA, America's liberal main Lutheran church. On the surface they're like other liturgical churches but definitely Protestant - her church used a written service and vestments but no images; my icon corner gave her culture shock. Because she was an artist she liked Byzantine Rite worship once she got over that shock.
 

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I have never reset my laptop, so that is not part of my tradition. Yet I can do it, if the computer catches a virus, for instance. The necessary facilities (to perform a reformation) in a church would be a decent supply of quality bibles, some faith and laity who are involved and knowledgeable.

After a reset, the computer will go back to its normal mode of operation. After a reformation, a church would restore its traditions from back-up, except the ones which caused the crash. That is why I mentioned Matthew 12:43-45 in my first post in this thread.
The problem with your argument is that the Bible itself was a factory reset. Sola scriptura is circular reasoning.
 

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A hard part of the poll is that it's a relative question but it's not clear what standard we use to say if Lutheranism and Orthodoxy are close.

Relative to Atheism, all beliefs in a supreme or ultimate God are fundamentally similar. I don't think that Lutheranism and Orthodoxy are "extremely" far apart bearing in mind the differences of world religions and anti-religions.

But they do look very different if (A) EOs are a continuation of the first couple centuries of Christianity and don't have a clear dogma that the Bible is infallible but commonly EOs say that the Bible and 7 Councils are infallible, whereas (B) Lutherans say that the Bible is infallible, that councils are not infallible, and that we should just go by what the "Bible Alone" says on all religious topics without using church commentaries to explain the Bible.

The Sola Scriptura idea has really not always been explained and defined concisely and clearly. But when Luther goes to explain it beyond general slogans like the Bible being the Lord and Master over all other writings, he expresses this idea that he aims to take the Bible by itself separated from Church commentaries and then use this separate meaning to judge all other writings and decisions and topics. It's certainly appealing as an idea if it were realistic. But the problem with his idea is that the Bible is not realistically interpreted alone from commentaries and usable alone to judge all decisions and topics. So for example, you can pick up the Bible and easily see that David lived before Jesus or that Jesus' body was absent from the tomb. But you can't reliably see what everything important in Revelation means going by the "Bible Alone".

So Protestants have a longstanding habit of breaking up their denominations over important religious questions because the Bible Alone is not actually a reliable objective judge on all important religious matters. If it was a reliable stand-alone decider of everything theological, then those churches could just readily open their Bibles and point to the clear, on-point, specific, concise, meanings on all topics. Sola Scriptura is very disunifying and incoherent in practice, and it's also a foundational idea of Protestantism and Lutheranism, so they are in that sense very different from Orthodoxy.
 
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The arguments against Luther's Sola Scriptura idea are reasonable, correct, and realistic. But that doesn't translate into getting Protestants to agree.

Luther's idea when he talked about it was that you can just go by the Bible without using commentaries. He talked about how he wanted to remove the Bible from the Church fathers like removing a sword from its sheath and to go by the Bible Alone as his guide in faith matters. But this is not realistic in practice, so as EO critics note, Lutherans and other major Protestant groups have made detailed faith statements like the Augsburg Confession and their Concord declaration that are defining texts for Lutheran theology. If the Bible's meaning was reliably clear on all major issues, they would not have to emphasize those Confessions and could just quote Bible passages.

To me, it's relatively obvious: If 1000's of sincere Bible-Believing Sola Scriptura Protestants disagree on important theological Bible passages and faith topics, then the Bible is not actually something that your average literate Christian can go by "alone."

But pointing out these kinds of issues does not persuade Sola Scriptura Protestants in practice, either. Based on experience, I can't just go on Sola Scriptura forums and list the obvious reasons and have them agree with me.

There are a few exceptions to Sola Scriptura doctrines among Protestants like Anglicans and Methodists (who come from Anglicans theologically), who teach the practical necessity of using extrabiblical Tradition.
 

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I belonged to the Lutheran Chuch Missouri Synod for many years and enjoyed it. It's one of the more conservative Lutheran branches and I felt very comfortable there. I felt a calling to join the Church of my forbears, that's why I joined the GOC at 40 years old or so.

OC is much more Liturgical than the Lutheran Chuch I belonged to, but I like that. I like the continuity in the OC, I think it brings me closer to the Holy Spirit.

We're both Christian denominations, but outside of that we approach and practice the Sacraments differently. Lutheranism rejected a lot of the ceremony and tradition of the RC Chuch when it broke away in the 1500's and naturally that included those of the OC as well.

I have great respect for the LCMS that I belonged to, it was instrumental in my spiritual growth for many years. But I came to a point where I had topped out of what I could learn there and only by moving to the OC could I accent my journey further. But I have many fond memories of my years as a MS Lutheran.
 

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Lutheranism has a foundational axiom that the "Bible alone" is the only authority, but in reality they treat Luther and Lutheran leaders, commentaries, synods, and Lutheran institutional declarations as authorities.

Here is an example from history. In his book, Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury, Anglican writer Walter Hook describes how Cranmer tried to get theological figures like the Lutherans to support Henry VIII's divorce attempts. Henry VIII's supporters wanted to claim that the marriage was illegally contracted, so that Henry VIII had the right to separate.
In Germany the Lutherans were reported by Cook, the king's agent, to be "utterly against his highness in the cause;" and honest old Luther gave utterance to the feeling which lurked in the soul of every true-hearted gentleman not blinded by party zeal: "Whether the marriage were at first legal or illegal," he declared that "separation, after so many years of cohabitation, would be an enormity greater than any marriage could have been..."

Cranmer had to report of the German princes, that they could not be moved to take an interest in the divorce question. ... To them Luther was an authority; and among the most bitter opponents of Luther, King Henry had been distinguished, and he would not recant.

SOURCE: Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury, Walter Hook, Page 447
The Bible speaks broadly against divorce, but the Bible doesn't speak specifically about Henry VIII's divorce or specifically about separations from potentially illegally-contracted marriages in particular.

So here, Luther makes a judgment about Henry's divorce being wrong, and Luther judges that many years of cohabitation make separation wrong even if the marriage was at first illegal.

And the author concludes that Luther is an "authority" for the Lutheran princes on the topic.

The way that I have seen Protestants try to get around calling Luther and other writings that Protestants follow "authorities" is by saying that the Bible is the only "test" to confirm any authority. In other words, since any authority is dependant on the Bible, then the Bible is the only "authority."

However, this argument doesn't really work logically. First, the Bible doesn't speak specifically on some topics, so how can it be an "authority" on them? At best, you can roughly bring together what the Bible says on tangential topics and make INFERENCES on what the Bible would say. This seems to be what Protestants do when they talk about the "Biblical" position on a matter that the Bible does not specifically talk about.

Second, even if the Bible alone is the ultimate test for everything, you still have to figure out what the Bible says on things, and for that, DE FACTO Protestant theologians sometimes rely on turning to commentaries instead of just picking up Bibles and only ever looking for passages on topics that they never hear any comments about. And so those commentaries become authorities for them also.

Third, just because a writing or decision or teaching is "Biblically confirmed" as true does not keep it from ALSO being an authority.
 

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There are tons and tons of authoritative writings for Lutherans outside the Bible.

The book "Counsel and Conscience: Lutheran Casuistry and Moral Reasoning After the Reformation gives an example of early Lutherans publishing a book about the decisions of "wise" theologians meant to collectively guide Lutheran people in moral decisionmaking instead of Lutherans making individual decisions.

Lutheran casuistry, related to but also distinct from Roman Catholic and Reformed counterparts, arose especially as pastors looked within Holy Scripture, the medieval tradition, and the writings of Martin Luther and other Lutheran authorities for answers to ethical problems and doctrinal disputes, and then catalogued their findings. As an extensive example from this genre Mayes examines the Thesaurus Consiliorum Et Decisionum, published in 1671 by Georg Dedekenn and Johann Ernst Gerhard. This Thesaurus was an anthology of wise advice from Lutheran theologians and jurists, published to encourage readers to avoid individualistic ethical choices and instead to engage in an aristocratic process of moral decision making in which one would consult the wise men of the past and present.
A Google Search for "Lutheran authority" OR "Lutheran authorities" gives almost 15,000 results.

 
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