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Re: Church Hierarchy

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  • adam_roe
    Christopher, Thank you for this very helpful reply. It makes a number of issues much clearer. One of the most frustrating things about my conversion to the
    Message 1 of 7 , Jul 12, 2008
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      Christopher,

      Thank you for this very helpful reply. It makes a number of issues
      much clearer.

      One of the most frustrating things about my conversion to the Lutheran
      communion (2 years ago) is that it seems to require an intentional
      cognitive dissonance. On the one hand the Church Fathers are praised
      when things come out sounding Lutheran, but if anything sounds
      supportive of Orthodoxy, I'm implored that "even if we or an angel
      from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one preached to
      you..." I find it ironic that the verse is used only in consideration
      of Orthodox theology.

      As it relates to the content of what you wrote, there seems to be very
      little sense of organic ecclesiastical development within the Lutheran
      understanding. I don't yet know enough about the issue to speak
      authoritatively, but I am considering two problems with the view of
      the article I previously referenced. First, it assumes a rather
      severe chasm between Christ and His Church. To argue that Christ's
      ecclesiastical guidance ends at John 20 is to argue that He did not
      speak through the apostles after The Ascension. In the writer's view,
      it would seem that the apostles cannot make separate offices binding
      because the apostles are not speaking for Christ; a view the implies
      there is a division between the head and body of The Church. If, as
      you mention, The Church is Christ Himself, then it cannot stand that
      Christ is no longer speaking authoritatively.

      Second, it assumes that The Church isn't visible byway of apostolic
      succession. I've not yet moved forward in my studies of what The
      Church IS to answer intelligently, but I am under the impression that
      it was assumed from the beginning that the visibility of The Church is
      directly tied not only to the doctrine of the apostles, but to
      apostolic succession. I'm inclined to think that the author assumes a
      relatively new view of The Church into his analysis of ecclesiastical
      development.

      Yet, my mind is still jumbled on a number of things. I should
      probably go with the "better to remain silent and be thought a
      fool..." axiom. :)

      Thanks again for the helpful response.

      Adam


      --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, "Christopher Orr"
      <xcjorr@...> wrote:
      >
      > First, if the Church is, in fact and reality, the Body of Christ,
      well, that
      > means the Church is Christ Himself.
      >
      > Second, I think most Orthodox would note that there was a maturing
      of the
      > exact differences between the various ordained offices. For instance,
      > deacons were one thing in Acts, but developed at a very early stage into
      > something more along the lines of what you see in the Orthodox Church
      > today. In the early church, there were not multiple parishes in a city,
      > there was The church in Corinth, The church in Antioch, etc., which was
      > presided over by a bishop. As more and more churches sprung up, it was
      > deemed inappropriate to have multiple bishops in a city - the Bishop of
      > Second Street, the Bishop of Main Street, the Bishop of East
      Jerusalem, etc.
      > - so the college of presbyters was assigned the task of serving in the
      > parish under obedience to and as an extension of the bishop.
      Complexity is
      > added because these roles were not maturing in the same way in the
      entire
      > known world. Rome had its own unique set-up. These differences are
      similar
      > to the ancient, apostolic differences in how and when Easter was
      celebrated,
      > the exact text of the Sacraments, etc.
      >
      > The most compelling argument to me in all this is the fact that the
      Church
      > across multiple cultures, empires, peoples, and distances (which
      were not
      > easy to travel in those days) all accepted an understanding of the
      roles of
      > bishops and presbyters quite distinct from the Lutheran position.
      Trying to
      > jump over the consensus of history and the practice and
      understanding of the
      > saints - especially during the conciliar age from Nicea to the last
      of the
      > Ecumenical Councils, the patristic age - to understand what the Church
      > 'really' taught about Holy Orders is just a more pious form of *The
      DaVinci
      > Code*, in my book. Perhaps we should also latch on to random
      passages in
      > the ante-Nicene fathers to teach iconoclasm, adoptionism, tritheism,
      > millenialism and chilianism, gnosticism, etc. If we believe that
      the Church
      > is the Body of Christ - and bodies are visible, there isn't a part of my
      > body that neither you nor I see hanging out in the next room - and
      that the
      > Holy Spirit still guides Her, then we believe that what has survived and
      > been handed down and matured is of God. Anything and everything we know
      > about Christ came to us by the transmission of tradition in the Body
      of the
      > Church, whether 'early' (biblical texts) or 'late' (the canon of the
      Bible,
      > the doctrines of the Trinity and Christ). Why trust the Fathers when it
      > comes to the Cappadocian gloss on Nicene triadology (the
      > Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed on its own, purposefully, did not
      state that
      > the Holy Spirit is homoousios with either the Father or the Son) and on
      > dyotheletism (it's orthodox christology, though it doesn't sound
      it), but
      > not when it comes to how they worshipped, who they were obedient to, how
      > they believed it was necessary to be ordained, etc.?
      >
      > If we accept the patristic doctrine of the Trinity and Christ, well,
      then we
      > have to accept the overwhelming consensus of their lived
      ecclesiology, too.
      >
      > That's my two cents re how I came to accept Orthodoxy's 'traditions
      of men'.
      > :)
      >
      > Christopher
      >
      >
      >
      > On 7/11/08, adam_roe <adam_roe@...> wrote:
      > >
      > > Hello to All,
      > >
      > > I am an LCMS layman who is brand spankin' new to considering
      > > Orthodoxy, so please forgive and correct me when I write in a manner
      > > that betrays my ignorance of the Orthodox Church and her ways. I
      > > suspect that will be happenings lots in the coming months (years???).
      > >
      > > I have a question about the historical difference between the offices
      > > of priest and bishop. I wasn't aware of just how big an issues this
      > > was until I mentioned my consideration of Orthodoxy to my pastor. He
      > > turned me toward an article which went into great detail in explaining
      > > how Christ instituted only one office. The crux of his argument is
      > > that The Church (by Lutheran definition) is not bound to recognize the
      > > separation between offices; a position that allows him to conclude
      > > there is no need for loyalty to a bishop and/or a succession of
      apostles.
      > >
      > > Do Orthodox Christians believe that the different offices were
      > > instituted by Christ or do they believe something else? It occured to
      > > me that the author's conclusion still has problems if the apostles saw
      > > fit to create a separation in offices. Jesus' reminder that "whatever
      > > you bind on earth will bebound in heaven, and whatever you loose on
      > > earth will be loosed in heaven" is a reminder that it isn't necessary
      > > for every authoritative thing within The Church to come directly from
      > > the mouth of Jesus. I'm not certain, though, that my observation is
      > > Orthodox on this issue.
      > >
      > > Any help via explanation is much appreciated; as is a recommendation
      > > of Orthodox resources that address the issue.
      > >
      > > Thank you,
      > > Adam
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
      >
      >
      > --
      > Christopher Orr
      > 917 848 7787 Mobile
      > xcjorr@...
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
    • Christopher Orr
      I have also thought that one reason why a dislocation between Christ, the apostles and the later Church must be assumed is because of the clear lack of
      Message 2 of 7 , Jul 12, 2008
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        I have also thought that one reason why a dislocation between Christ, the
        apostles and the later Church must be assumed is because of the clear lack
        of miracles. If one does not experience true miracles as a part of Church
        life, as was seen in the Acts of the Apostles, then one must assume that
        miracles accompanied their unique work in their unique time - much like the
        unique, direct guidance of the Holy Spirit in the development of the Church
        after Ascension at the time of the Apostles as they 'developed' the faith
        beyond what is found in the Gospels alone.

        Miracles can be found aplenty in Orthodoxy today and in direct continuity to
        ancient times, e.g., St. John of San Francisco, Elder Paisios of Mt. Athos,
        Elder Ephraim of Arizona, etc. Not mere peasant witnesses either.

        Christopher


        On 7/12/08, adam_roe <adam_roe@...> wrote:
        >
        > Christopher,
        >
        > Thank you for this very helpful reply. It makes a number of issues
        > much clearer.
        >
        > One of the most frustrating things about my conversion to the Lutheran
        > communion (2 years ago) is that it seems to require an intentional
        > cognitive dissonance. On the one hand the Church Fathers are praised
        > when things come out sounding Lutheran, but if anything sounds
        > supportive of Orthodoxy, I'm implored that "even if we or an angel
        > from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one preached to
        > you..." I find it ironic that the verse is used only in consideration
        > of Orthodox theology.
        >
        > As it relates to the content of what you wrote, there seems to be very
        > little sense of organic ecclesiastical development within the Lutheran
        > understanding. I don't yet know enough about the issue to speak
        > authoritatively, but I am considering two problems with the view of
        > the article I previously referenced. First, it assumes a rather
        > severe chasm between Christ and His Church. To argue that Christ's
        > ecclesiastical guidance ends at John 20 is to argue that He did not
        > speak through the apostles after The Ascension. In the writer's view,
        > it would seem that the apostles cannot make separate offices binding
        > because the apostles are not speaking for Christ; a view the implies
        > there is a division between the head and body of The Church. If, as
        > you mention, The Church is Christ Himself, then it cannot stand that
        > Christ is no longer speaking authoritatively.
        >
        > Second, it assumes that The Church isn't visible byway of apostolic
        > succession. I've not yet moved forward in my studies of what The
        > Church IS to answer intelligently, but I am under the impression that
        > it was assumed from the beginning that the visibility of The Church is
        > directly tied not only to the doctrine of the apostles, but to
        > apostolic succession. I'm inclined to think that the author assumes a
        > relatively new view of The Church into his analysis of ecclesiastical
        > development.
        >
        > Yet, my mind is still jumbled on a number of things. I should
        > probably go with the "better to remain silent and be thought a
        > fool..." axiom. :)
        >
        > Thanks again for the helpful response.
        >
        > Adam
        >
        > --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com<LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>,
        > "Christopher Orr"
        > <xcjorr@...> wrote:
        > >
        > > First, if the Church is, in fact and reality, the Body of Christ,
        > well, that
        > > means the Church is Christ Himself.
        > >
        > > Second, I think most Orthodox would note that there was a maturing
        > of the
        > > exact differences between the various ordained offices. For instance,
        > > deacons were one thing in Acts, but developed at a very early stage into
        > > something more along the lines of what you see in the Orthodox Church
        > > today. In the early church, there were not multiple parishes in a city,
        > > there was The church in Corinth, The church in Antioch, etc., which was
        > > presided over by a bishop. As more and more churches sprung up, it was
        > > deemed inappropriate to have multiple bishops in a city - the Bishop of
        > > Second Street, the Bishop of Main Street, the Bishop of East
        > Jerusalem, etc.
        > > - so the college of presbyters was assigned the task of serving in the
        > > parish under obedience to and as an extension of the bishop.
        > Complexity is
        > > added because these roles were not maturing in the same way in the
        > entire
        > > known world. Rome had its own unique set-up. These differences are
        > similar
        > > to the ancient, apostolic differences in how and when Easter was
        > celebrated,
        > > the exact text of the Sacraments, etc.
        > >
        > > The most compelling argument to me in all this is the fact that the
        > Church
        > > across multiple cultures, empires, peoples, and distances (which
        > were not
        > > easy to travel in those days) all accepted an understanding of the
        > roles of
        > > bishops and presbyters quite distinct from the Lutheran position.
        > Trying to
        > > jump over the consensus of history and the practice and
        > understanding of the
        > > saints - especially during the conciliar age from Nicea to the last
        > of the
        > > Ecumenical Councils, the patristic age - to understand what the Church
        > > 'really' taught about Holy Orders is just a more pious form of *The
        > DaVinci
        > > Code*, in my book. Perhaps we should also latch on to random
        > passages in
        > > the ante-Nicene fathers to teach iconoclasm, adoptionism, tritheism,
        > > millenialism and chilianism, gnosticism, etc. If we believe that
        > the Church
        > > is the Body of Christ - and bodies are visible, there isn't a part of my
        > > body that neither you nor I see hanging out in the next room - and
        > that the
        > > Holy Spirit still guides Her, then we believe that what has survived and
        > > been handed down and matured is of God. Anything and everything we know
        > > about Christ came to us by the transmission of tradition in the Body
        > of the
        > > Church, whether 'early' (biblical texts) or 'late' (the canon of the
        > Bible,
        > > the doctrines of the Trinity and Christ). Why trust the Fathers when it
        > > comes to the Cappadocian gloss on Nicene triadology (the
        > > Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed on its own, purposefully, did not
        > state that
        > > the Holy Spirit is homoousios with either the Father or the Son) and on
        > > dyotheletism (it's orthodox christology, though it doesn't sound
        > it), but
        > > not when it comes to how they worshipped, who they were obedient to, how
        > > they believed it was necessary to be ordained, etc.?
        > >
        > > If we accept the patristic doctrine of the Trinity and Christ, well,
        > then we
        > > have to accept the overwhelming consensus of their lived
        > ecclesiology, too.
        > >
        > > That's my two cents re how I came to accept Orthodoxy's 'traditions
        > of men'.
        > > :)
        > >
        > > Christopher
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > On 7/11/08, adam_roe <adam_roe@...> wrote:
        > > >
        > > > Hello to All,
        > > >
        > > > I am an LCMS layman who is brand spankin' new to considering
        > > > Orthodoxy, so please forgive and correct me when I write in a manner
        > > > that betrays my ignorance of the Orthodox Church and her ways. I
        > > > suspect that will be happenings lots in the coming months (years???).
        > > >
        > > > I have a question about the historical difference between the offices
        > > > of priest and bishop. I wasn't aware of just how big an issues this
        > > > was until I mentioned my consideration of Orthodoxy to my pastor. He
        > > > turned me toward an article which went into great detail in explaining
        > > > how Christ instituted only one office. The crux of his argument is
        > > > that The Church (by Lutheran definition) is not bound to recognize the
        > > > separation between offices; a position that allows him to conclude
        > > > there is no need for loyalty to a bishop and/or a succession of
        > apostles.
        > > >
        > > > Do Orthodox Christians believe that the different offices were
        > > > instituted by Christ or do they believe something else? It occured to
        > > > me that the author's conclusion still has problems if the apostles saw
        > > > fit to create a separation in offices. Jesus' reminder that "whatever
        > > > you bind on earth will bebound in heaven, and whatever you loose on
        > > > earth will be loosed in heaven" is a reminder that it isn't necessary
        > > > for every authoritative thing within The Church to come directly from
        > > > the mouth of Jesus. I'm not certain, though, that my observation is
        > > > Orthodox on this issue.
        > > >
        > > > Any help via explanation is much appreciated; as is a recommendation
        > > > of Orthodox resources that address the issue.
        > > >
        > > > Thank you,
        > > > Adam
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > --
        > > Christopher Orr
        > > 917 848 7787 Mobile
        > > xcjorr@...
        > >
        > >
        > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        > >
        >
        >
        >


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • randall hay
        Greetings! I am an Orthodox subdeacon, formerly LCMS, graduated with MA from Concordia Ft. Wayne. One thing American Lutherans have to remember is that
        Message 3 of 7 , Jul 12, 2008
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          Greetings!

          I am an Orthodox subdeacon, formerly LCMS, graduated with MA from Concordia Ft. Wayne.

          One thing American Lutherans have to remember is that historically Lutheran bodies quite often have had bishops! In fact, the Swedes always have, as far as I recall.

          When I left seminary for an abortive venture in the Continuing Anglican church, that was one professor's main objection, believe it or not; not doctrine or liturgy.

          I asked another prof about this anti-bishop bias, and he said it stems from CFW Walther and the political ethos in which he lived...not anything inherent in Lutheran theology. (This was a dogmatics prof, by the way.) Anti-hierarchy-ism stems in a broader sense from the secular currents swirling around in the time of the French Revolution....it certainly isn't found anywhere in Scripture.

          The Lutheran understanding of the office bishops is different from the Orthodox; but still, why is it OK for them to have bishops but not us?

          The earliest church in the NT was clearly hierarchical; the apostles were over everyone, and they appointed regional overseers to take care of local clergy and churches. St. Paul commands Titus, the overseer of Crete, to appoint clergy and maintain the apostolic teaching (Titus 1:5). St. Ignatius, one of the earliest writers we have after the New Testament, discusses the three orders of bishops, priests and deacons in some length.

          As someone in this discussion mentioned, too, Christ did not institute the diaconate....but the hierarchs (i.e., apostles) didn't see this as a problem, since they realized the Church is the body of Christ...they went ahead and created the office.

          One thing I've noticed is that some Lutherans will bandy about the term "adiaphoron" quite freely (usually to justify a more pop-style worship or remove some aspect of reverence from the liturgy), along with the "solas." However, this does not come from Scripture. You don't find it in the NT anywhere. It's a made-up thing.

          But I digress....

          My prayers will be with you,

          In Christ,

          Subdeacon Randy



          ---- Original Message ----

          From: adam_roe <adam_roe@...>
          To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Friday, July 11, 2008 4:29:02 PM
          Subject: [LutheransLookingEast] Church Hierarchy


          Hello to All,

          I am an LCMS layman who is brand spankin' new to considering
          Orthodoxy, so please forgive and correct me when I write in a manner
          that betrays my ignorance of the Orthodox Church and her ways. I
          suspect that will be happenings lots in the coming months (years???).

          I have a question about the historical difference between the offices
          of priest and bishop. I wasn't aware of just how big an issues this
          was until I mentioned my consideration of Orthodoxy to my pastor. He
          turned me toward an article which went into great detail in explaining
          how Christ instituted only one office. The crux of his argument is
          that The Church (by Lutheran definition) is not bound to recognize the
          separation between offices; a position that allows him to conclude
          there is no need for loyalty to a bishop and/or a succession of apostles.

          Do Orthodox Christians believe that the different offices were
          instituted by Christ or do they believe something else? It occured to
          me that the author's conclusion still has problems if the apostles saw
          fit to create a separation in offices. Jesus' reminder that "whatever
          you bind on earth will bebound in heaven, and whatever you loose on
          earth will be loosed in heaven" is a reminder that it isn't necessary
          for every authoritative thing within The Church to come directly from
          the mouth of Jesus. I'm not certain, though, that my observation is
          Orthodox on this issue.

          Any help via explanation is much appreciated; as is a recommendation
          of Orthodox resources that address the issue.

          Thank you,
          Adam



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • BPeter Brandt-Sorheim
          Some years ago I did a simple statistical evaluation of Lutheran bodies world wide. Two thirds of the Lutherans had some sort of episcopal polity.
          Message 4 of 7 , Jul 12, 2008
          • 0 Attachment
            Some years ago I did a simple statistical evaluation of Lutheran bodies world wide. Two thirds of the Lutherans had some sort of episcopal polity. Three-quarters of those had some legitimacy to a claim of an exteral form of apostolic succession. Here in the USA there is a bias that arises from our own political culture, but certainly not from the Sacred Scriptures.
            Reader Peter [formerly LC-MS pastor]



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • adam_roe
            Randy, Thank you for your prayers and for the thoughts you shared. The insights are much appreciated. Adam ... Concordia Ft. Wayne. ... Lutheran bodies quite
            Message 5 of 7 , Jul 14, 2008
            • 0 Attachment
              Randy,

              Thank you for your prayers and for the thoughts you shared. The
              insights are much appreciated.

              Adam

              --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, randall hay
              <stortford@...> wrote:
              >
              > Greetings!
              >
              > I am an Orthodox subdeacon, formerly LCMS, graduated with MA from
              Concordia Ft. Wayne.
              >
              > One thing American Lutherans have to remember is that historically
              Lutheran bodies quite often have had bishops! In fact, the Swedes
              always have, as far as I recall.
              >
              > When I left seminary for an abortive venture in the Continuing
              Anglican church, that was one professor's main objection, believe it
              or not; not doctrine or liturgy.
              >
              > I asked another prof about this anti-bishop bias, and he said it
              stems from CFW Walther and the political ethos in which he lived...not
              anything inherent in Lutheran theology. (This was a dogmatics prof,
              by the way.) Anti-hierarchy-ism stems in a broader sense from the
              secular currents swirling around in the time of the French
              Revolution....it certainly isn't found anywhere in Scripture.
              >
              > The Lutheran understanding of the office bishops is different from
              the Orthodox; but still, why is it OK for them to have bishops but not
              us?
              >
              > The earliest church in the NT was clearly hierarchical; the apostles
              were over everyone, and they appointed regional overseers to take care
              of local clergy and churches. St. Paul commands Titus, the overseer
              of Crete, to appoint clergy and maintain the apostolic teaching (Titus
              1:5). St. Ignatius, one of the earliest writers we have after the New
              Testament, discusses the three orders of bishops, priests and deacons
              in some length.
              >
              > As someone in this discussion mentioned, too, Christ did not
              institute the diaconate....but the hierarchs (i.e., apostles) didn't
              see this as a problem, since they realized the Church is the body of
              Christ...they went ahead and created the office.
              >
              > One thing I've noticed is that some Lutherans will bandy about the
              term "adiaphoron" quite freely (usually to justify a more pop-style
              worship or remove some aspect of reverence from the liturgy), along
              with the "solas." However, this does not come from Scripture. You
              don't find it in the NT anywhere. It's a made-up thing.
              >
              > But I digress....
              >
              > My prayers will be with you,
              >
              > In Christ,
              >
              > Subdeacon Randy
              >
              >
              >
              > ---- Original Message ----
              >
              > From: adam_roe <adam_roe@...>
              > To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
              > Sent: Friday, July 11, 2008 4:29:02 PM
              > Subject: [LutheransLookingEast] Church Hierarchy
              >
              >
              > Hello to All,
              >
              > I am an LCMS layman who is brand spankin' new to considering
              > Orthodoxy, so please forgive and correct me when I write in a manner
              > that betrays my ignorance of the Orthodox Church and her ways. I
              > suspect that will be happenings lots in the coming months (years???).
              >
              > I have a question about the historical difference between the offices
              > of priest and bishop. I wasn't aware of just how big an issues this
              > was until I mentioned my consideration of Orthodoxy to my pastor. He
              > turned me toward an article which went into great detail in explaining
              > how Christ instituted only one office. The crux of his argument is
              > that The Church (by Lutheran definition) is not bound to recognize the
              > separation between offices; a position that allows him to conclude
              > there is no need for loyalty to a bishop and/or a succession of
              apostles.
              >
              > Do Orthodox Christians believe that the different offices were
              > instituted by Christ or do they believe something else? It occured to
              > me that the author's conclusion still has problems if the apostles saw
              > fit to create a separation in offices. Jesus' reminder that "whatever
              > you bind on earth will bebound in heaven, and whatever you loose on
              > earth will be loosed in heaven" is a reminder that it isn't necessary
              > for every authoritative thing within The Church to come directly from
              > the mouth of Jesus. I'm not certain, though, that my observation is
              > Orthodox on this issue.
              >
              > Any help via explanation is much appreciated; as is a recommendation
              > of Orthodox resources that address the issue.
              >
              > Thank you,
              > Adam
              >
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
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