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Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Re: Lutherans and Orthodox in Heaven?

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  • Travis (Constantine) Stolz
    Dear Randy, Yes, the BOC is a tradition. More to the point, it is a mode of interpretation (namely, a Lutheran one). I have always had difficulties with sola
    Message 1 of 53 , Jan 21, 2008
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      Dear Randy,

      Yes, the BOC is a tradition. More to the point, it is a mode of interpretation (namely, a Lutheran one).

      I have always had difficulties with sola scriptura:

      1. Scripture is never sola.

      2. The assumption is that the authoritative source (in this instance, Holy Scripture) is unabiguous and clear, thus requiring no hermeneutic. In other words, no intermediary interpretive framework is needed since the text itself provides clear expression of the truth.

      Paradoxically, of course, this becomes (for Lutherans) their hermeneutic or tradition. Lutherans often assume that a *direct* reading of Holy Scripture can be made (nuda scriptura, etc.) so as to avoid "tradition" and the like. What this comes down to, however, has got less to do with Holy Scripture and more (ultimately) to do with the Church.

      The issue, really, is the derivation of authority. The sola scriptura approach inevitably leads to a view which holds that the meaning of Holy Scripture can be understood immediately, that the text is "clear," and that the message is apodictic. The assumption for Lutherans, then, is that truth can be read directly without recourse to a hermeneutic that supplies the key to understanding. (And yet, it's the BOC that provides the hermeneutic for Lutherans.) I think this, more than anything, is why many Lutherans balk at Orthodoxy, since I think they have a major probem with authority and, ultimately, the Church herself.

      Sola scriptura isn't just bad because it leads to myriad interpretations of Holy Scripture, sects, etc. It's bad primarily because it take the Church's Book from the Church herself and relies upon (and promotes) a hermeneutic or framework that is individualist and absolutist.

      Yours in Christ,
      Travis (Constantine)

      sr72000 <stortford@...> wrote:
      Hi...I'm Randy, a former Lutheran seminarian, turned Orthodox a while
      ago. I haven't been following too closely; but it sounds like people
      are really struggling to discern the will of God in these matters...

      I wanted to make one comment here: the Book of Concord is itself
      tradition! That's one thing I never could get past when I was trying
      to deal with sola Scriptura. It's not a book of the Bible; what does
      "Sola Scriptura" mean when we use, study and confess a thick book
      comprised of several documents, some of which are "impolite" (at best)
      toward the pope? I could never understand how that could be
      reconciled. Appealing to the Confessions is appealing to tradition.

      I don't mean to sound negative--I got a lot out of Lutheran seminary,
      and met some great people.

      In Christ,
      R.

      --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, "Travis \(Constantine\)
      Stolz" <travis.stolz@...> wrote:
      >
      > Jon,
      >
      > Thanks for your note. Your reply reminds me, at least in part, of
      an episode of Frasier where Niles takes over Frasier's show. The
      first thing Niles says is: "I should warn you: Frasier is a Freudian
      while I am a Jungian. There will be no blaming mother today!" On the
      one hand, I am tempted to say (as an Orthodox Christian), "There will
      be no sola scriptura today!" But on the other hand, I don't agree
      that "the Lutheran principle" of which you speak holds that Holy
      Scripture is "the sole source and norm of Lutheran doctrine." The
      Lutheran Symbols (I'm thinking of the FC especially) speak of Holy
      Scripture as the sole norm but I am unaware of any place in the
      Symbols where Holy Scripture is spoken of as the *sole source* of
      doctrine. At any rate, speaking of Holy Scripture as the *sole
      source* of doctrine is to open a Pandora's box of all sorts of trouble.
      >
      > Your question--whether the Church inspired God or vice
      versa--presents a false alternative. Holy Scripture is God's Word, of
      course. The question is how one determines this, how one chooses
      between, say, the Gospel of St. Matthew and that of the Egyptians.
      Put briefly (for now), this is where the regula fidei is important and
      why it became important very early on. E.g., for Tertullian (to cite
      but one example), if a proposed scripture opposed the regula, then one
      must go with the regula and not scripture. This is one way--indeed,
      an extremely important way--the Church claimed what is truly Holy
      Scripture. This is also how one reads Holy Scripture, namely,
      according to the regula.
      >
      > In other words, the Church could (she in fact did) exist without
      Holy Scripture. But Holy Scripture could not exist without the
      Church. To place "man's word" and "the church's word" in apposition
      as you seem to do suggests an ecclesiology that is foreign to Orthodox
      Christians. Because the Church is the pillar and ground of truth (1
      Tim 3), then one can rest assured that Holy Scripture is God's Word
      since it is the Church's Word.
      >
      > It's getting late and we're off to bed soon. There's more to say
      but be well and I look forward to getting back to this tomorrow.
      >
      > Yours,
      > Travis (Constantine)
      >
      > "Rev. Jon M. Ellingworth" <didache@...> wrote:
      > Travis (Constantine),
      >
      > First, I invite you to call me Jon if it is in accord with your piety.
      >
      > Second, I hold tradition very highly, though not equal with Holy
      Scripture. Yes, I understand that Scripture was "handed over"
      (tradition) by men (the Church) throughout many centuries; however,
      did men (the Church) inspire God, or did God inspire men (the Church)?
      What I mean is, though the Church of God existed prior to the "book"
      of God and indeed is responsible for "creating" the book of God, the
      book, nevertheless, is "God's Word", not "man's word" or "the church's
      word".
      >
      > You know that the Lutheran principle is that the Holy Scripture is
      norma normans, the sole source and norm of Lutheran doctrine. But I am
      not the typical Lutheran and allow that tradition is a close second --
      indeed, tradition is norming, so long as it is in agreement with and
      serves Scripture.
      >
      > There are so many doctrines within Orthodoxy (Roman Catholicism too)
      (e.g., the role of Mary, prayers to Saints, relics, etc.) that are
      seemingly derived moreso, if not solely, from tradition rather than
      Scripture. These are major stumbling blocks for me.
      >
      > Believe me, I argue vehemently amongst Lutherans (and others) that
      the Scriptures can be rightly interpreted only within the Church
      through which they were given --- but I think that it is you
      (Orthodoxy) who have put the cart before the horse as per my
      explanation above in the first paragraph.
      >
      > Your critique about individual faithful Lutherans and / or
      congregations hits home. I do lament that my so-called church body is
      clearly heterodox in practice if not in confession. The question
      however is where can the faithful go? I am looking, and have been for
      a while now. Sadly, I do not see the organized body of my own
      confession anywhere. Right now, I am consigned to believe that this is
      partly what our Lord meant in Matthew 10:34-39 and other similar passages.
      >
      > Right now, the only thing about Orthodoxy that is attractive to me
      is uniformity in liturgical practice. The little flock entrusted to me
      prays the liturgy fairly well and they even seem to like it. I'm
      actually thankful for that. Why is it that tares are acceptable in the
      parish, but not in the synod?
      >
      > When I first went to the seminary, only 10+ years ago, I firmly
      believed in a visible Church on earth that could be recognized by it's
      marks..., and I believed that to be the Lutheran Church. Now I'm not
      at all certain such an entity exists. Without doubt the invisible
      Church exists, but how could she possibly manifest herself visibly
      through men of such corruption as us?
      >
      > Gads! I could just keep typing now. I'm somewhere between laughing
      and crying. I'd quit tomorrow and go teach somewhere if I didn't love
      Christ and His Body so much.
      >
      > Another glass of strong red wine (Rodney Strong Zinfandel 2005) and
      I'm off to bed.
      >
      > Pax Christi
      > JME
      >
      > +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
      >
      > "He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not the Church
      for his mother."
      > - St. Cyprian of Carthage
      >
      > "O wondrous mystery! One is the Father of all, one also the Word of all,
      > and the Holy Spirit is one and the same everywhere. And there is
      only one Virgin Mother;
      > I love to call her the Church." - St. Clement of Alexandria
      >
      > Rev. Jon M. Ellingworth
      > The Lutheran Church of Christ the King
      > 14 Pine Drive Pawling, NY 12564
      > Office 845.855.3169
      > Home 845.855.2616
      > E-Mail didache@...
      > E-Mail pawlinglutheran@...
      > Web http://www.pawlinglutheran.org
      > Blog http://www.lesteverymanbeblind.blogspot.com
      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: Travis (Constantine) Stolz
      > To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
      > Sent: Saturday, January 19, 2008 9:54 PM
      > Subject: Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Re: Lutherans and Orthodox in
      Heaven?
      >
      > Dear Rev. Ellingworth,
      >
      > Concerning point a, here are some of my thoughts (for what, if
      anything, they might be worth):
      >
      > You say that you need to be convinced by arguments "normed" by Holy
      Scripture and only "supported" by Holy Tradition. Speaking for myself,
      at least (as only one Orthodox Christian), you seem to be putting the
      cart before the horse. On the one hand, Holy Scripture and Holy
      Tradition are of one piece and cannot be bifurcated or placed in
      opposition as you seem to be doing. On the other hand, it is the
      Church herself and her Tradition that gave us Holy Scripture, so again
      I seem to be a bit confused as to how you want to argue, much less how
      I can argue based on the parameters or criteria you have indicated.
      >
      > With that out of the way, then, we believe that the Orthodox Church
      simply is *the* One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church because of
      the teaching of Christ, the Holy Apostles, and the Holy Fathers which
      she has preserved down to this day. Every communion, denomination,
      sect, etc., says this, of course. The proof of the pudding, however,
      is in the eating. "To be deep in history," as Newman writes, "is to
      cease to be Protestant." And, for me, Lutheran as well. This is not a
      dig against Lutheranism or a swipe at my former colleagues. Rather, it
      simply reflects my experience at trying again and again to make Luther
      et al. conform not simply to the Fathers but, quite frankly, the
      historic witness of the Church herself. One can only (as a Lutheran)
      read the Holy Fathers and say, "But we have this, too," before one
      must be honest and realize that this is simply untrue. And even if it
      is true for one Lutheran somewhere or even one Lutheran parish, it is
      only an
      > exception--for one is in fellowship (i.e., eucharistic) with other
      Lutherans who do not care in the least for the Church and her
      Tradition, etc.
      >
      > Also, ecclesiology and Christology are two sides of the same coin.
      Just as the Incarnation made God concrete and tangible, so, too, is
      the Church herself. The Church is the concrete and tangible place of
      salvation, the place where concrete and tangible sacraments are
      effected by a concrete and tangible priesthood (who are incumbents of
      the priesthood through concrete and tangible means as well). This is
      something (again, my own experience) at which Lutherans balk, at least
      when push comes to shove. For Orthodox Christians, however, it's the
      default setting.
      >
      > I don't know if this answers anything or is the least bit helpful,
      but these are some thoughts on a Saturday night...
      >
      > Yours,
      > Travis (Constantine)
      >
      > "Rev. Jon M. Ellingworth" <didache@...> wrote:
      > Considering the various responses the subject line has generated,
      this is what I glean:
      > a) Orthodox believe that they are the one true visible Church on earth.
      > b) Because God alone will judge on the Last Day, no one, Orthodox or
      otherwise, can know with certainty that they are/will be saved.
      >
      > Concerning "a", this has only been dogmatically stated. I need to be
      convinced of this by sound argument normed by Scripture and only
      supported by tradition.
      >
      > Concerning "b", I agree, of course, that the final judgment is the
      final word on our salvation. Since that has not occurred, then we
      cannot know what that judgment will be. However, another way of
      looking at this is that the final judgment has been executed in Jesus'
      death and resurrection. Those baptized believers in Christ are, even
      now, judged innocent in Christ. All that is necessary to be saved is
      to "remain in Christ", i.e. "Remain in me and I will remain in you,
      and you will bear much fruit." Remaining in Christ is little more than
      remaining in repentance, receiving absolution, being sustained in
      Christ's gifts through Word and Sacrament, and bearing His fruit of
      love (mercy, forgiveness, charity, sacrifice, etc.); this is
      essentially what it means to be a Christian. Falling out of this,
      though possible, is surely difficult for those who love the Lord and
      believe His Word. For those who remain in Christ, I cannot imagine
      that one would not be comforted and secure
      > "knowing" that Christ has promised never to leave or forsake you and
      that if and when you stumble and sin that, in repentance, He is ready
      and anxious to forgive and restore. As a related aside, Job, who
      certainly had every reason to despair, confessed "I *know* that my
      Redeemer lives.... [...] And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
      yet in my flesh I shall see God." This certainly sounds to me like Job
      was confident of his salvation, and at the worst imaginable moment of
      his life.
      >
      > I thank you all for your answers.
      > JME
      >
      > +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
      >
      > "He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not the Church
      for his mother."
      > - St. Cyprian of Carthage
      >
      > "O wondrous mystery! One is the Father of all, one also the Word of all,
      > and the Holy Spirit is one and the same everywhere. And there is
      only one Virgin Mother;
      > I love to call her the Church." - St. Clement of Alexandria
      >
      > Rev. Jon M. Ellingworth
      > The Lutheran Church of Christ the King
      > 14 Pine Drive Pawling, NY 12564
      > Office 845.855.3169
      > Home 845.855.2616
      > E-Mail didache@...
      > E-Mail pawlinglutheran@...
      > Web http://www.pawlinglutheran.org
      > Blog http://www.lesteverymanbeblind.blogspot.com
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      > _______________________
      > Travis (Constantine) Stolz
      > travis.stolz@...
      >
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      >
      >
      >
      >
      > _______________________
      > Travis (Constantine) Stolz
      > travis.stolz@...
      >
      >
      > ---------------------------------
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      >






      _______________________
      Travis (Constantine) Stolz
      travis.stolz@...


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    • Brian Fink
      You mean Pastor isnt their first name after all? Brian ... From: tharman32 To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com Sent: Sunday, January
      Message 53 of 53 , Jan 23, 2008
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        You mean Pastor isnt their first name after all?

        Brian


        ----- Original Message ----
        From: tharman32 <tharman32@...>
        To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Sunday, January 20, 2008 7:21:54 PM
        Subject: [LutheransLookingEast] Re: Lutherans and Orthodox in Heaven?

        --- In LutheransLookingEas t@yahoogroups. com, "Rev. Jon M.
        Ellingworth" <didache@... > wrote:
        >
        Pastor (sorry, the Marine in me prevents me from using your first
        name :) )Recent Activity
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