18 January 2010

It gives no joy...

...to read this thread over at Weedon's blog--especially the comments. The tune sounds familiar.


Anastasia Theodoridis said...

I have been thinking the same. Authority did seem like such a big, thorny issue once upon a (bad) dream.

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

It would be hard to explain, I think:

"Why do you worship the way you do? Because your bishop tells you to?"


"Because a convention passed a resolution?"


"Why, then?"

"Because I'm Orthodox."

Ezekiel said...

Father Gregory, you mirrored my thoughts exactly. In fact, as I read down through the comments and back and forth, I was reminded of certain questions raised by our small group over the years as we journeyed, asking "Where is the Church?"

Pr. Tom Fast, in one of his comments, asked about underlying theology ... to which I was tempted to respond, "Your concerns are exactly among those that led me home to the Church."

And so I continue to pray ....

Dixie said...

You know, some of the denominational worship can be pretty empty, just screaming for something to fill it up. I am beginning to develop a soft spot for people who are doing everything they can to maximize their experience of God...they really are trying their best. They just don't know that the solution to their desire is in Holy Orthodoxy.

As far as authority is concerned...I don't know, I don't mean to be glib but weren't the original Lutherans from Saxony who started the LCMS pretty much forced to fly by the seat of their pants? Once their Bishop was found to be unsuitable they had to craft another means of governance and the justification to go along with it?

Regardless...I can see how bleak the horizon might look for some. Even in our own family situation my husband missed his Lutheran service for the first time in years on Sunday. Heavy sigh from him...the longer he goes the wackier it becomes.

Anonymous said...

This is exactly one of the reasons I left the LCMS for the OC: lack of pastoral authority and the inability of the pastors to exercise authority, coupled with never knowing what kind of "service" I'd see, when I walked in the door of a given parish. I agree with Dixie: my heart goes out to those sincerely searching and struggling between the door and suffering in the pews.

Anonymous said...
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Ignatius said...


I am so, sooooooo thankful I found Orthodoxy!

I felt my guts and my heart twist the more I read the Weedon thread. It is the type of polarized academic arguing that starts at the problem and only returns to the problem with larger words. The problem is that the Lutheran quandary about worship, unity, authority, doctrine, and existence is unsolvable. So much about the Lutheran faith try’s to seemingly agree with things that just naturally cannot go together, like polarization of a magnetic force. The Lutheran idea and that’s what Lutheranism is, is an idea, straddles the fence on so many things. For example, Law and Gospel, Church Authority (Bishops) and Convention Governance, Contemporary Worship and Traditional Liturgy, Scripture Alone and Adiaphora, Grace alone and Righteous works etc……. and infinity………..

I wonder how many poor Lutherans over the centuries have walked out of there pastors office, wanting a “which is it” answer about something, more confused with a warm fuzzy answer . You cannot have your cake and eat it too, therefore, there is no solution to the problems that divide the LCMS!

When people ask me how I came to be an Orthodox Christian, I now tell them I authentically tried to be Lutheran.

Rdr. Ignatius

Jeff said...

Rdr. Ignatius,

That is exactly how I came to Holy Orthodoxy.


Catechumen Jeff

Daniel said...

Fr. Gregory,

Christ is in our midst!

Indeed it is painful on one level to see men who should know better argue complain about such things. On the other hand, it is very difficult when sheep who are pure in heart are thrashed to and fro due to a lack of any real, meaningful Episcopal oversight.

However, I must commend Pastor Weedon for generally allowing my posts to stand on his blog. On the other hand, the author of the Lutheran blog Cyberbrethren carefully cherry picks the posts he allows to see the light of day. He does not permit any meaningful dissent, or actual dialogue. This is why your title is so apt; the minute such discussions as these become fodder for earthly joy or entertainment is the indicator that we too have succumbed to the evil one.

Lord have mercy on all those who are called by Christ's Name. May we all come into the unity of the Church.

Jake said...

I'm a lifelong LCMS Lutheran and I'm curious, how does the Eastern Orthodox Church answer this question of authority?

Why is it that the LCMS is struggling with a worship war while the Orthodox Church, seemingly, doesn't have this fight? Does the Orthodox Church seriously not have any big fights on it's hands like this what with the tremendous influence of American Evangelicalism in this country?

Daniel said...


I could write much on this question, but this is Fr. Gregory's blog. He is a wiser man than I. Nevertheless, I will set forth a few thoughts.

First, our Priests/Pastors never quit facing East in the Divine Liturgy (except of course to give blessings, sermons, etc).

Second, our prayer offices and Liturgies have NAMES. Our Liturgies are prorected by the very Saints they are named after. Likewise with our churches. They are not only NAMED after Saints, Angels, etc; but we invoke in every Divine Liturgy that the patron of that parish pray for that church. This is why so many LCMS churches are now being named "Turning Point" or "CrossPointe"; Luthrans have forgetten why they once named their churches after Saints and such in their Western Catholic Tradition.

Third, our Bishops are all celibate, but our Priests may marry. This de-politicizes ninety five plus percent of the clergy- few have "aspirations" of political office.

Fourth, we fast most every Wednesday and Friday (as the Didache instructs us), and during other major fast periods.

We have holy monks and nuns praying for us at all hours of the day or night. Lutheranism threw the baby out with the bathwater on monasticism.

We feed all who are given New Birth= infant communion.

We do not replace the most beautiful instrument God made in our services- the human voice.

We preserved variety in music, using a different tone each week.

We venerate icons. Thus our history is not forgotten, and our relationships with one another remain intact even after death.

We preserved chanting by priests in a way that even those who are not gifted in singing can serve.

We continued use of incense, candles, water, wheat, etc. in our services- all of creation is blessed!

And when we think we are so inpenetrable from false doctrine, we are usually purified by martrydom-witness the millions killed in the Soviet Union in the last century, many of whom shed blood for their Orthodox Faith.

Finally, our signature prayer is "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner".

Forgive me, Jake, for I am a sinner.