- I copy here some concerns raised on the Orthodox-Lutheran Dialogue list by a
Lutheran pastor abroad:
I like to see myself as sharing the Orthodox faith. But when all the major
> issues have been worked through, tons of theological gravel has beenhttp://groups.yahoo.com/group/Orthodox-Lutheran_Dialogue/message/17765
> shovelled aside, sifted through, cleared away, I still hit a rock bottom
> where I am unable to proceed. This rock bottom consists of two stones.
> The first is my culture. I am a westerner, steeped in Western liturgy,
> prayer, life. No matter how beautiful the Othodox liturgy is, it will never
> be my liturgy. For me, it is the mass. I feel much
> more at home in Orthodox theology than in Roman Catholic or Lutheran, but
> I feel much more at home in a Roman Catholic or High Church Lutheran service
> than in an Orthodox one. Beside the central Sunday service there are
> countless other aspects of Christian life where I am just not at home in
> When people switch religion and become moslems or hindus, they usually
> change their names to Mustafa or Ramaputra, start wearing Arab or Indian
> clothes, re-furnish their homes in the style of their
> religion. I have always felt that Christianity must transcend such things.
> I do not wish to become Greek or Russian. And it's not just the outward
> cultural esthetics, it spills over into theology, into what matters to me.
> For a cradle Orthodox, the Theotokos is extremely important. For me, even if
> I accept and profess every iota of Orthodox beliefs concerning the
> Theotokos, I still find myself profoundly uninterested in these things. She
> is a peripheral figure in my faith, sorry I cannot change that even if I
> wanted to. And this is just one example out of several.
> The second "stone" is those teachings and rules which - in my opinion -
> lack all support in Bible, Fathers, Councils. When everything has been
> clarified and worked through, there remains a number of Orthodox traditions
> and ideas which you can only defend by referring to ecclesiology. As in "We
> are the True Church. We have always done it this way. Therefore it is right.
> The Church is infallible." Attempts are sometimes made to find biblical
> references, quotes from Fathers &c, but they seem far-fetched. Maybe it is
> just my culturally induced pattern of thinking which blocks me here. But I
> am enough of a Lutheran to see that such inventions were exactly what
> sparked Luther's revolt.
> Orthodox pride themselves on not having added anything. Not having
> changed. But you have. And it seems to me that you are clinging to certain
> ideas much like the Romans cling to the dogmas concerning the Pope. As in
> "It must be upheld because this is the string from which everything hangs."
> Here I find things which are part of Orthodoxy - peripheral parts, but still
> defended to the hilt - that I cannot believe.
> I wrote this because I think there are plenty of Lutherans who have moved
> in an Orthodox direction, but bounce back when they hit these ideas. The
> idea of Mary having been a sort-of nun at the Temple is one of the more
> obvious after-constructions. There are others. Ultimately, if you deal with
> Lutherans, this is where the buck stops.
What would an Orthodox response be to these "two stones"?
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]