Thursday, July 14, 2011

What are we afraid of?

I was listening to something on the radio while riding in the car.  I ended up pulling over and jotting down some of the words on a wadded up napkin on the floorboard.  It was a discussion of fear and how fear can turn you against yourself so that you become your own worst enemy.  The commentator was talking about something political (to do with taxes, tea parties, and republicans) but I heard the words in a completely different light.

When our fear of things catholic makes less than Lutheran...

Now that is a profound thought.  For much of Lutheran history we have lived in fear of being identified as katholisch(e) or Römisch (catholic or Roman).  I grew up on the Nebraska prairie and nothing was more wounding to the Lutheran folks there than some knave calling them "catholic." Yet there was a crucifix on the altar, kneeling on the hard floor, tolling of the bell during the consecration and Our Father, only the chalice, and chanting.  These were unabashedly Lutheran and I grew up knowing this.  It was only when I went to college, seminary, and into the parish that I was informed by some folks that these things were katholisch and therefore verboten.

Unfortunately, our fear of things catholic has had a tremendous impact upon Lutherans in America.  In our history here, the Lutherans were easily intimidated by the strong anti-catholic prejudice of America's first two hundred years and by a desire to "fit in" with the picture of Protestant America.  There were voices all along that challenged this peer pressure.  One of them was CFW Walther.  The arrival of those unafraid of being called "old Lutheran" or katholisch, they stood up to the Americanized and Protestant version of Lutheranism so rampant across this nation.  They loaded one of the boats from Germany with the katholisch appointments of fabric for vestments, a pipe organ, etc.  They were determined to be Lutheran and escaping the constraints of a forced union between Reformed and Lutheran in Germany, they were unwilling to be less than Lutheran because of the fears that some might be offended or others confused by the manner of worship.

In 1858, Walther preached on Reformation:  "It is true that of all the church bodies which have left the papacy, it is precisely the Lutheran Church which is accused of retaining many papal abuses and of having been the least successful in cleansing itself. It is pointed out, for example, that in our church priestly clothing, church ornamentation, pictures, altar, crucifixes, candles, confession, the sign of the cross, and the like are still  apparent. But, my friends, whoever regards these innocent things as vestiges of the papacy knows neither what the papacy is, nor what the Bible teaches. The very fact that the Lutheran Reformation was not aimed at
indifferent adiaphora, but retained those things which were in harmony with God's Word, shows that it was not a disorderly revolution, but a Biblical reformation; for whatever did not agree with God's Word was unrelentingly cleansed from the church by the Lutheran Reformation even though it seemed to glow with angelic holiness."

Neither was Walther concerned about offending those who called such ceremonies, liturgy, vestments, and customs "catholic."  Walther was not concerned about offense nor was he concerned that others might "misunderstand" what they saw and heard in the Missouri Synod on Sunday morning.  To a Synod convention he proclaimed:  "We refuse to be guided by those who are offended by our church customs. We adhere to them all the more firmly when someone wants to cause us to have a guilty conscience on account of them. It is truly distressing that many of our fellow Christians find the difference between Lutheranism and Papism in outward things. It is a pity and a dreadful cowardice when one sacrifices the good ancient church customs to please the deluded American sects, lest they accuse us of being papistic (i.e., too catholic!). Indeed! Am I to be afraid of a Methodist, who perverts the saving Word, or be ashamed in the matter of my good cause, and not rather rejoice that the sects can tell by our ceremonies that I do not belong to them?  We are not insisting that there be uniformity of perception or feeling or of taste among all believing Christians ­ neither dare anyone demand that all be minded as he is. Nevertheless it remains true that the Lutheran liturgy distinguishes Lutheran worship from the worship of other churches to such an extend that the houses of worship of the latter look like lecture halls in which the hearers are addressed or instructed (Will Weedon noted if he were writing today, he¹d no doubt add: they look like movie theaters in which the hearers are entertained!), while our churches are in truth houses of prayer in which Christians serve the great God publicly before the world."

Lutherans introduced (rather, recovered) the Divine Service in the late 19th century and this Common Service of 1888 was indeed a "catholic" form in comparison to what so many Lutherans had been accustomed to on Sunday morning.  Yet Lutherans were undaunted by those (ala Schmucker) who thought the future of Lutheranism lie in minimizing its catholic heritage and confession.  No, when we are afraid of being catholic, we also end up being less Lutheran and if less Lutheran, then why Lutheran at all?

42 comments:

scredsoxfan2 said...

Pastor,

Can you explain what you mean here by recovered?

"Lutherans introduced (rather, recovered) the Divine Service"

God Bless

Anonymous said...

On the LCMS scene since the 1950's
there has not been fear as much as
an adversarial stance. Our Bible
classes have taught us to refute
Roman Catholic doctrine that is
not Scriptural: office of the pope,
purgatory, prayers to Mary, etc.

Our witness to Roman Catholics has
been Ephesians 2:8,9

Rev. Allen Bergstrazer said...

And about the time we retreived the Divine Service we began to fall off the horse on the other side, fearing we weren't keeping up with the Jones' of American relgious trends.

christl242 said...

No argument on the basics, Pastor, with some caveats.

When I left the ELCA many parishes had adopted what some of us fondly call "Vatican II for Lutherans." Some of those parishes have returned to using incense, elaborate vestments, a high liturgy (my sister's ELCA parish does this), etc. and yet ironically became more and more liberal in doctrine and practice. The ELCA now views itself as a church body in the Lutheran "tradition." High liturgy is no guarantee of confessional fidelity. Watching the sad spectacle of the Church of England implode should have taught us that.

Yes, Walther was certainly not averse to retaining the ancient catholic (not Catholic) ceremonies yet at the same time he was a champion of the congregation, the laity.

Lutherans are not defined by liturgical forms but by what they believe, teach and confess. When those norms are faithfully followed then our worship will be what it should be as well.

When I was still living in Germany, before the Revised Common Lectionary had taken root in mainline churches, the Lutheran parishes I attended had crucifixes, ecclesiastical art, etc., the whole gamut of catholic tradition but they would never have confused that with Catholic tradition, a whole different ballgame and which I realize you are fully aware of, but not everyone is.

Christine

Bill S. said...

Amen, Pastor! We shouldn't be ashamed of these catholic things as they are right and good, having served Christians well for close to 2,000 years. I wish more Lutheran pastors had your mindset!

Pastor Peters said...

The Common Service of 1888 restored the Divine Service as the norm (albeit truncated without regular Holy Communion) but this was the form used by Lutherans from the beginning and late into the 18th century before Pietism and Rationalism took their toll. So for about 100 years the Lutheran drift away from the Divine Service resulted in most American Lutherans not knowing this was our heritage and our liturgical identity -- hence the recovered part of my post.

No one in the right mind would say that the liturgy or church usages (the Lutheran aka for rituals and ceremonies) alone keeps you orthodox. However, where the liturgy remains the Gospel is still there even when it is no longer preached by the clergy or believed by many of the hearers.

It is a less daunting task to recover the faith that accompanies the liturgy than it is to recover the liturgy to the faith. This is what I mean by the fear of Roman Catholicism having taken its toll on Lutheran identity so that even where some admit, yeah, this is who we were, they resist recovery because they fear people will either not understand or not like what is to be recovered.

scredsoxfan2 said...

but when you say "recover" do you mean that it was totally lost or without practice for a period of time?

In Christ

christl242 said...

for whatever did not agree with God's Word was unrelentingly cleansed from the church by the Lutheran Reformation even though it seemed to glow with angelic holiness."

And here I am in total agreement. One of my favorite books on my bookshelf at home is C.P. Krauth's "The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology", which shows very clearly why we are NOT following 2,000 years of "Catholic" tradition as the Catholic church began to usurp the primacy of Scripture with Catholic [T]radition, as opposed to a common [t]radition.

Christine

Carl Vehse said...

"For much of Lutheran history we have lived in fear of being identified as katholisch(e) or Römisch (catholic or Roman)."

Certainly not as taught by the pastor in the Catechism class I attended, nor by later pastors of Lutheran congregations in which I was a member, nor even, according to Martin Luther, as "thank God, a child seven years old knows."

The so-called "fear of being identified as... Römisch (catholic or Roman)" was actually a Lutheran rejection and disgust of the heretical doctrine and practices that were Romish (Catholic, with the capital "C" as it was noted back then) and promoted by the Antichrist (the pope, as we were taught in Catechism class).

We were not taught any "fear" of being identified as katholisch(e) (or "catholic, with a lower case "c", as it was noted back then). To the contrary, we were taught to understand that in our baptism God made us members of His holy catholic (Christian) church, that is, the invisible church of true believers. And at our confirmation, when each was asked to reaffirm the promise made at his Baptism, "Do you intend faithfully to conform all your life to the rule of the divine Word, to walk as it becometh the Gospel of Christ, and in faith, word and deed to remain [as a member of that holy catholic (Christian) church] true to the Triune God, even unto death?", we vowed, "We do so intend, by the grace of God."

scredsoxfan2 said...

Christine,

Tho this point again:

"which shows very clearly why we are NOT following 2,000 years of "Catholic" tradition as the Catholic church began to usurp the primacy of Scripture with Catholic [T]radition, as opposed to a common [t]radition"

Where did you get your "Scripture" from?

In Christ

Philip Hoppe said...

Pastor Peters:
I always enjoy your writings. I wrote a response this this post on my blog. If you have a chance to read it, I would appreciate it.

http://ihoppe.com/blog/?p=2524

Hopefully some of my readers will become your readers as well. I know some already are.

Terry Maher said...

Where do we get our Scripture from? Same place as you, the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church of the creeds, not the "Catholic Church" defined by the Edict of Thessalonica as the state religion of the Roman Empire which assumed its function after the Empire crumbled and Augustine goes into fits explaining "It ain't our fault".

Judas H at a disputatio, I used to play those same supposed trump cards myself when I was RC.

But to return to the topic, the biggest obstacle to our catholicity is not the present day Karlstadts, Schmuckers, and associated schmucks with their latter day New Measures, but us ourselves, as we try to present both authentic Lutheranism side by side with a Catholic and Roman inspired version thereof, the retention of the "usual ceremonies" and "order of readings" etc which our Confessions proclaim alongside our version of the RCL/novus ordo and the Option A, B, or C approach to liturgy, which has passed from the Roman church to the other heterodox churches with liturgical pretensions, including some with "Lutheran" in the name, as their, and now our, common property.

With such the case, why wouldn't someone wonder if we can have the one with the other, why not with this other other too?

Pastor Peters said...

To clarify a couple of things...

Recovered meaning restored to more normal usage as opposed to less usual usage among Lutherans.

Where I grew up I do not think there was much thought to any distinction between catholic and Catholic -- both words meant one thing and that meant the Pope (at least to most lay folks and a couple of the Pastors who served there while I grew up).



Nothing in my post was meant in any way shape or form to suggest that the Reformation was not necessary (tragically so) nor that the blessed fruits of the Reformation were no longer needed in the Roman Church of today.

I do not personally know of any Lutheran Pastors who look at Rome with a romanticized view absent of needful criticism. While I am sure there are some, I do not hear them or see them in Missouri (or outside of Missouri, either, for that matter). I do know and I am one of those who welcome words from Rome upon a great many subjects in which we share a common history and perspective (everything from abortion to gay marriage to secularized worship and music).

I have never heard anyone every say because Rome does it, we should. We would be fools to ignore the church that constitutes the home of the majority of the world's Christians and with whom we share a common 1500 year history. Rome does not speak for us nor do we speak for Rome (and I am sure they are in agreement with this).

Some Lutherans need to read their confessional documents again. We spend as much time showing that we have not departed from the catholic position on things as we do showing that Rome did. The tone was not entirely inflammatory (see Augustana).

Growing up on the Nebraska prairie, going to school in southern Kansas and Indiana, serving a parish in upstate New York and Tennessee, I have heard far more people say we better not do it even if it is Lutheran because folks might think we are Catholic than I ever heard people say if the Catholic's do it, maybe we should to...

christl242 said...

We would be fools to ignore the church that constitutes the home of the majority of the world's Christians and with whom we share a common 1500 year history. Rome does not speak for us nor do we speak for Rome (and I am sure they are in agreement with this).

I must admit this is a bit of an irritant, Pastor. When I was Catholic I often heard the lament that the second largest denomination in America are lapsed and non-practicing Catholics. Shoot, if we want to go by numbers Hinduism is right up there too.

Yes, only God can judge the heart of the individual believer but we shouldn't be quite so impressed with numbers. The Catholic church compiles her membership statistics by her baptismal records, whether people show up or not.

Since returning to my Lutheran roots I still get letters from my former RC parish "thanking me for my financial support" even though they haven't gotten an envelope from me in quite some time.

I hate to beat the old mantra to death, but unless you've actually been there, it remains an intellectual exercise.

Pastor Peters said...

I hear your sensitivity but all I said was we would be foolish to ignore Rome -- not that we must or should follow Rome. That is all...

scredsoxfan2 said...

Pastor,

Thank you for clarifying here. I think it solves this issue, I appreciate also your hospitality for letting me comment and share questions I feel need answered as well. These tough questions surely only guide us further towards the Truth Christ Is and proclaimed so long as we keep him in the front of our minds as we ponder them. God Bless you and thank you.

In Christ
Cary

scredsoxfan2 said...

Terry,

Upon whom or what authority does Luther or anyone else for that matter get to decide that the Church is no longer the Church?

In Christ

Carl Vehse said...

"Some Lutherans need to read their confessional documents again. We spend as much time showing that we have not departed from the catholic position on things as we do showing that Rome did."

Reading from the section of Die Augsburgische Konfession, which discusses the abuses the Lutheran churches have corrected: "So nun von den Artikeln des Glaubens in unsern Kirchen nicht gelehrt wird zuwider der heiligen Schrift oder gemeiner christlicher Kirche, sondern allein etliche Mißbräuche geändert sind, welche zum Teil mit der Zeit selbst eingerissen, zum Teil mit Gewalt aufgerichtet..." (Since, then, with respect to these articles of faith, there is nothing taught in our churches contrary to the Holy Scriptures, or the universal Christian church, but merely some abuses are changed, partly some which over time have crept in of themselves, partly others which have been established by force...)

As the Missouri Synod notes, In the Apostles' Creed and a few other writings, the Holy Christian (catholic or universal) Church is the same as the Communion of Saints, that is all believers in Christ.

Terry Maher said...

Real hung up on the authority thing eh? But, that's the bait, because the a priori is, the authority is the Roman Catholic Church, without which nobody would even know of the things about which they dispute, Scriptures, sacraments, the church and the lot, which, upon sufficient prayer and meditation, a person will come to see, and that they are in fact in union, though invisible and imperfect, with the Catholic Church and saved by those elements of its Truth which they do not deny and can exist independently of it.

Or come to see this: the only thing the Roman Catholic Church believes in is itself. Everything else is derivative. Sola ecclesia, by church alone.

And, what if the Reformation, Lutheran or otherwise, is not in the least a matter of Luther or anyone else getting to decide that the Church is no longer the Church. The unexamined assumption is, "the Church" is of course the Roman Catholic Church and if anything validly exists outside of it, then there must be a greater authority than it to so determine.

So the question is framed in terms of its the intended answer.

To think this a matter of Luther deciding the Church is not the Church is to completely miss what the Reformation says.

Anonymous said...

You may wish to review the relationship between style and substance.

Terry Maher said...

You talking to me?

Anonymity wrt to oneself is one thing, but anonymity wrt the object of one's address is something else!

Wanna go for the relationship between substance and accident while we're at it?

How about substance abuse then? Philosophically speaking of course.

Or perhaps just say what you have to say.

Terry Maher said...

Back to Lutheran stuff, of course nobody says if Rome does it so should we. But we do so anyway these days.

The majority of our synod does hot use the historic Western lectionary, and whether one uses no lectionary or another lectionary means nothing, we in fact have largely abandoned the usual readings out Confessions speak of retaining. Once one does that, abandoned for what is not the issue; what we confess we retain we do not.

Similarly a mode of liturgical revision which has its fons et origo not in the concerns of Lutheran reformation but the "ecumenical" liturgical movement which made its published debut with the novus ordo.

Style and substance indeed. The effort to supply a Lutheran substance to a non-Lutheran style is the same misguided effort, whether that style is borrowed from Rome or Willow Creek.

scredsoxfan2 said...

Terry,

There is no a priori here to lead you to the RCC, rather, it truly is a question you have to answer. I grant you the Church had abuses that needed corrected, but that is precisely true of humanity.

However, what your arguing is that the Church ceased to be the Church precisely because of these abuses. This would put you dangerously close to some sort of argument for a total apostasy or a loss of the full Truth, from my perspective.

My question to you, after Peter denied Christ three times did Peter cease to be the tool that Christ said he would be?

In Christ

Anonymous said...

So what ever became of the pipe organ they brought to the US ? Did it get installed somewhere ?

Carl Vehse said...

Yes, the pipe organ is in St. Salvator Lutheran Church, Venedy, Illinois (org. 1842). The Lutherans Online website reposted (with pictures of the organ!) the article, "Pipes of Religion," by Grover Brinkman (The Nashville News, Wednesday, March 20, 1991). Here are some excerpts:

"In the choir loft of the Venedy church is a pipe organ that come to America in a sailing ship, when the Saxons Immigrated to Altenberg, Missouri. In 1837, Delving into the records of the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church, it was found that this ancient organ was accompanied by four church bells of different size and three bolts of dark cloth to be used as vestments.

"The destination of the organ was the Trinity Lutheran Church on Fourth Street, just off the St. Louis levee. The church today is gone, but the site is very near the Gateway Arch. When a new, larger Trinity lutheran Church was erected at Grand and Soulard, it was found that the old organ was much too small, so it was put up for sale.

"The St. Salvator Lutheran Church at rural Venedy purchased the organ through the efforts of its [sic] late pastor, Dr. C. F. W. Walther, prominent clergyman in the Missouri synod. [NOTE: St. Salvator's first pastor was Ottomar Fuerbringer, a collegue of C.F.W. Walther] Now a problem: how to get it to Venedy?

"Six Venedy farmers, all members of the Venedy congregation, volunteered to bring the organ from St. Louis to Venedy, a distance of about 55 miles over the single dirt road that existed at that time. The day was 1865, and America was in the final days of - the Civil War. Carpetbaggers and other outlaws made traveling hazardous. The old St. Louis Trace crossed the Kaskaskia River at the only ferry in existence, located near the present hamlet of New Memphis Station. Once over the Cox's ferry here, the road was west through Mascoutah, Belleville, and on to St. Louis. The route was little more than a trail, rutted, muddy and little used. The roundtrip involved more than a week with several stops at inns on the road. Remember, this was before Ead's bridge spanned the Mississippi. So a second ferry crossing was made here. There were several minor mishaps, but eventually the organ reached Venedy.

"In 1963, the congregation voted to scrap it. Pipes were off-key; several were so clogged they emitted no sound at all. The organist finally made an ultimatum: no more. The fact remained that the instrument had not been serviced since World War I.

"If we can't sell it," one of the board members said, "we'll junk it and buy one of those new-fangled electronic things."

"Then a young musician and organ specialist named Richard Hosier, heard about the Venedy organ and came to see this relic ready to be junked. He took one look and told the elders they had a treasure in the instrument, but only if it was fully restored. Each one of the pipes must be taken down, cleaned and returned, he insisted. Hosier named a sum, and got the job.

"Junking this organ would be like putting the axe to some artifacts in the Smithsonian!" Hosier said.

"After taking down the organ to the very floor. Hosier found four dead birds, several skeletal mice, and innumerable insects all imprisoned in a layer of white dust, the patina of time. After the long work schedule to restore the organ, Hosier set its value at $20,000 or more. When he sat down and ran the scale at different sound levels, the elders were amazed at the quality of the organ they almost junked.

"Since Hosier rebuilt the organ, it has been in regular use at St. Salvator. Various visiting organists have played it, and all have the reaction - a quality instrument, with tonal quality unsurpassed.

Terry Maher said...

That the Church ceased to be the Church because of abuses is not even remotely what I am arguing.

Nor is the question did Peter cease to be the tool Christ said he would be.

In both cases, what is sought to be demonstrated is in fact already assumed.

Namely, that there is a visible institutional entity "the Church" instituted by Christ which either did or did not continue, namely the Roman Catholic Church, as it is popularly called, and that Peter is the Petrine ministry the Roman Catholic Church claims is conserved in the Pope, as he is popularly called.

The question rather is, is the Roman Catholic Church indeed one and the same entity as we confess in the creeds, the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church, and is the Papacy indeed an office instituted by Christ.

I was taught Yes to both as an RC. And, unless one already believes the answer Yes, the questions will not appear as questions of did the Church (sic) cease to be the Church or did Peter cease to be Peter.

Now I see the answer is No to both, and the question is, is there in fact any basis whatever in the words of Christ for "the Church" and "Peter" as the Roman Catholic Church teaches them.

The "Church" did not cease to be the church, and even the Rock did not cease to be the Rock, rather, both were reformed to their true nature in what is not altogether aptly called the Lutheran Reformation -- "the Church" is not the Roman Catholic Church and the "tool" is not the papacy in the first place.

Which claims that they are, monstrous accretions to the words of Christ, make the RCC the chief brothel of the Whore of Babylon headed by an office bearing the marks of Antichrist. In which nonetheless, from the power of the promise of Christ that not even the gates of hell shall prevail against it, the church can be found, though with great and unnecessary difficulty.

For which reason the people within the RCC cannot be ignored because among them are saved brothers and sisters in Christ no less than ourselves, but as an institution there is nothing to be said to it but the words of the voice from heaven "Come out of her, my people".

Let alone abandon our rightly reformed liturgy to resemble the new form of hers and other heterodox churches, lesser brothels in the Whore of Babylon, in her wake.

scredsoxfan2 said...

Terry,
From here:

"Now I see the answer is No to both, and the question is, is there in fact any basis whatever in the words of Christ for "the Church" and "Peter" as the Roman Catholic Church teaches them."

Then we get back to,

where do you get the words of Christ that you say lack the basis for "...the Church" and "Peter" as the Roman Catholic Church teaches them."?

In Christ

scredsoxfan2 said...

How do you know your liturgy is "rightly reformed?"

christl242 said...

redsoxfan,

I don't mean to be offensive but really, if you are going to engage people here who have actual, living, practicing experience as to what it means to be Roman Catholic as well as Lutheran, you really are going to have to brush up on your sources a bit better.

You can't argue from that which you don't know.

Christine

Terry Maher said...

Epistemologically questioning my ontological situation? How in the hell do I know that, IOW?

Once again, the question assumes its answer, that there is an external objective measure if such things, and that external objective measure is the RCC, apart from whose authority we don't know jack about nuttin.

This is pure Newman, not faith at all but an authority that resolves all difficulties; faith in that authority and derived from that secondary faith in what that authority says.

The RCC believes in absolutely nothing but itself; everything is is derivative.

What is the true church? The RCC, because the true church, the RCC, says so. How do we know the liturgy is rightly reformed? When the true church, the RCC, does it and says it is. First, last and always, the RCC.

The fact is, there is no command of Christ to have any liturgy whatsoever. So your the question is not resolved by recouse to argument from authority.

scredsoxfan2 said...

Christine,

none taken...my point is not to perturb but to raise questions I have found to be issues with the "Reformation" in general.

However, can you clarify what "sources" you speak of? Hopefully not the Book of Concord...

I would also encourage your thoughts and comments on the blogs here:

http://catholicdefense.blogspot.com/2011/06/how-robber-council-establishes-papacy.html?showComment=1309672556362#c2174054937814566978

In Christ

christl242 said...

However, can you clarify what "sources" you speak of? Hopefully not the Book of Concord...

Well, I am sorry but the Book of Concord functions the same way for me as the CCC does for you, containing what believing Lutherans believe and practice.

As for going to Catholic blogs, thanks but no thanks. I don't go to them anymore. It took me almost two years to detoxify from my Roman sojourm, they almost had me thinking Pelagius was right after all and now that I am again back where I should be, "Holy Mother Church" doesn't figure in anymore.

I wasn't trying to suggest that your opinions are not worth considering, but until you are better informed as to what Lutherans believe it will be difficult for you to balance that against Roman teaching.

Christine

scredsoxfan2 said...

Certainly your input would be appreciated, given your background it would seem you would or should have good answers for the questions posed. I hope you feel you found you have found Truth and would like to share that with us good practicing, yet obviously uninformed Catholics who are truly seeking Christ...

In Christ

Terry Maher said...

Gott hilf mir seitlich.

It would be hard indeed to speak of the beliefs of a church body without reference to the documents that church body says states its beliefs.

Maybe for a Catholic the better starting point would be the Catechism of the Catholic Church itself and see if it teaches Catholicism. A good bit of what I found in it is what the Catholic Church taught me to regard as dangers to the Catholic Faith.

christl242 said...

I hope you feel you found you have found Truth and would like to share that with us good practicing, yet obviously uninformed Catholics who are truly seeking Christ...

Let me be very clear that I have encountered many Catholics who clearly, in spite of the errors of the Roman church as a system love and know Jesus Christ, as well as Christians in other denominations who know him as well. Lutherans have never believed that we are the only true Christians but we do hold that our Symbols are a correct exposition of the Word of God and how that informs the life of the Church.

Lutherans are in a rather difficult position, adhering as they do to the Word of God on the one hand and belief in the Sacraments on the other. We are too Protestant for Catholics and too "Catholic" for Protestants.

When speaking of the Reformation it is noteworthy that the Lutheran Reform was the most conservative, differing in several aspects from that of the "Reformed" and "Radical" Reformations.

That's a good place to start :)

Christine

scredsoxfan2 said...

Terry:

"A good bit of what I found in it is what the Catholic Church taught me to regard as dangers to the Catholic Faith"

Then maybe you had a bad catechist, I started with the Catechism so it's not as if I have not studied myself.

Christine,

I appreciate your charity but here you say:

"but we do hold that our Symbols are a correct exposition of the Word of God"

I think this is precisely to my issue...how do you know that your Symbols are correct? upon what authority...the BOC? Why that over the CCC? Historically that seems like a poor answer because we can devolve to relativism, this is why i asked for either of your critiques on the post i referenced.

Thank you much to both of you for your kind and charitable discussion. I hope it is as edifying and thought provoking for you as it is to me.

scredsoxfan2 said...

Also, as you well know this is also true of the Catholic stance towards other Christians...just substitute Protestant for Catholics and Roman for "their church" and Lutherans with Catholic

"Let me be very clear that I have encountered many Catholics who clearly, in spite of the errors of the Roman church as a system love and know Jesus Christ, as well as Christians in other denominations who know him as well. Lutherans have never believed that we are the only true Christians"

christl242 said...

Also, as you well know this is also true of the Catholic stance towards other Christians...just substitute Protestant for Catholics and Roman for "their church" and Lutherans with Catholic

If you don't mind my asking, are you a convert? No need to answer if that is too intrusive, but the statement you made above is precisely why the Catholic church since Vatican II is a major disruption between the Catholic church as it emerged from Trent (not that I accept either version).

The preconciliar church would never have spoken about non-Catholics the way the RC does now. The "separated brethren" were to be brought back to the one, true faith and there was never any talk that the true church of Jesus Christ "subsists" in the Catholic church. But I suspect you are a post-Vatican II Catholic.

I HAVE read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, still have two or three copies in the closet at home but after my Catholic sojourn, in rereading the Book of Concord and it's clear Biblical witness to the Christian faith made me see why the Roman church fundamentally took the place of the dying Roman empire and used its paradigms as a state religion to construct a Christianity that has veered off the path of being catholic and apostolic.

We believe in the ancient creeds just as much as you do and read the wisdom of the fathers with gratitude, and you might want to do a little study there yourself at how consistently the early fathers point to the primacy of Scripture.

Christine

Terry Maher said...

A catechist? "A" catechist? Gott hilf mir seitlich, I was born, raised, and educated from elementary school through a BA in the RCC. Not to mention, re the BA, in one of the hotspots of the "liturgical renewal movement" up to and including periti and bishops at Vatican II both resident and visiting.

To go from things being labelled as dangers to the Catholic Faith to seeing the same things labelled as the Catholic Faith is a transition I personally saw, ringside seat.

The RCC is apostate from Catholicism itself, let alone the catholic faith of the creed, on its own now rejected grounds -- which is not a topic for a Lutheran blog except insofar as it relates to the influence of the RCC on Lutheranism now.

scredsoxfan2 said...
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Ashley said...

I have read the entire story. The journey of your story is very good. It is some thing like we are travelling in ferry.

bilety promowe said...

The story is good. Yes, fear can turn you against yourself so that we become our own worst enemy.