171Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Re: A question, on Orthodox ecclesiology
- May 30, 2007Dear Andrew,
In my experience I have met Christians from many denominational backgrounds
who fit your description of being different. That something different is
the light of Christ shining in and through people that He loves and who love
him. He is the Lover of mankind and is at work in all of our lives (even
pagans). The people who are different reflect his love most brightly. I
think that this bright reflection has alot to do with repentance.
I agree with what you wrote about Lutheranism, in that, to me at times I
have felt a discouraging almost Calvinist totally depravity undertone in
Lutheranism when it comes to humanity and our inability to love or choose
God at all, even as baptized children of God, let alone simply men and women
created in His image and likeness. Lutheranism, especially the confessional
kind, is so suspicious of the heart that it practically cripples us .
I have found Orthodox anthropology so refreshing and encouraging. Fr. Marc,
my local archpriest, acknowledged in an inquirers class that he led last
year that even pagans love and are capable of good works because of how God
made mankind. Good works do not merit salvation of course, but they do
reflect our Creator. We are sinful, we miss the mark, but the image and
likeness of God in us is not completely lost.
Fr. Thomas Hopko put it well on his Meaning of the Cross tapes. I am
probably going to butcher this, but I hope you get the gist. He said that
he once met a young woman in a church who felt like she needed to pray but
couldn't and didn't know if she really wanted to believe in God at all. Fr.
Hopko asked her to say to God, "I want to love you." Then that was still to
difficult. Then he said, "How about say to God, 'I want to want to love
We are weak and we do not love and obey God perfectly on this side of
heaven, but we can seek him and change and grow through Him. God reveals
himself to us in so many ways that we might find him. Jesus took on flesh!
God became man that man might be fully restored in his image and
likeness...fully able to love and to be in perfect communion with Him and
all of creation.
People are sinful and every church and parish that you find is going to have
its faults to be sure. Try not to let that discourage and frustrate you to
For me now that I have found Orthodoxy, the True Light, because God has
provided it where it could be found, I know that is where I have to be. I
can no longer settle for a reductionist, less than complete expression of
Christianity. I am utterly convinced on the head level and the heart level
that Orthodox Christianity is it. There is no other option.
My local Antiochian parish is full of people who are struggling together to
live faithfully in Christ and it is a beautiful thing. I look forward to
struggling with them and learning and changing and growing. I pray that you
will find a parish and people that you can struggle with and be challenged,
inspired and encouraged so that you can learn, change and grow to become the
unique, holy man God created you to be. You need Christ, His Sacraments,
His Word, His Saints, His Church...you need the whole package.
I am sure that there are people who have noticed the Light of Christ in you
already and it will continue to get brighter and brighter if you remain in
Jesus promised in John 14 or 15 that he would remain in us if we remain in
Him and that the way to remain in Him is to follow his commandment to love
one another. He is in us and we are in Him. You do love God and your
neighbor. Love more, ask Him to help you to love more and more and more!
Our last Sunday in the Lutheran church will be the 17th of June. Please
pray for us and for all of the people in the congregation that we are
leaving. That God will protect them and guide them. That God will send
them a new pastor who will not mislead them.
Christ is in our midst!
Peace be with you Andrew!
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