Re: That Prayer, Again
- Dear Pr. Ellingworth,
Can we think a bit about two of your statements below?
"Orthodox do not believe that Lutherans are their brothers in Christ." and "Lutherans are not in the Church."
Let's see if we can get a little clarity here.
Note that the subject of the indirect discourse (in the first sentence) and the subject of the second sentence is "Lutherans." This is a concrete plural noun, referring to a group of individual human beings.
The statement I have often made, which sounds something like this, is, "Lutheranism is not (the) Church."
Note that the subject of the sentence above is an abstract singular noun.
Another way I've phrased this is, "There is no Lutheran Church," which is much like saying, "There is no King of France"--i.e. the phrase "Lutheran Church" is non-denoting.
I, for one, do not believe there is a legitimate inference from these statements to statements concerning individuals or groups of individuals: like for example,
a "Lutherans are/are not our brothers in Christ" or
b "Lutherans are/are not in the Church."
These sentences would require me making a judgment about an individual or group of individuals, a person/persons made in the image of God. I have no standing to make such a judgment; it belongs to God (and to his Church--see 1 Cor 5) to make it. Charity requires me as an individual to accept anyone as a brother in Christ who says he is, and to view doctrinal errors or moral failings in the kindest way.
Sentence 'b' is a special case. Since, for the Orthodox, "Church" is the Orthodox Church, it is trivially true that Lutherans are not in the Church; but this is a judgment the Lutherans themselves have made, by not being Orthodox.
Does this make sense?
The unworthy priest,
Fr. Gregory Hogg
--- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, "Rev. Jon M. Ellingworth" <didache@...> wrote:
> Dave W. wrote:
> <<Additionally, Lutherans, RC, etc. all say the Orthodox are
> our "brothers in Christ", but they too often behave as if those
> seeking out the OC are joining a cult such as Islam or Hare Krishna.
> Either we are truly brothers in Christ, or we're not. >>
> Perhaps you find this reaction because the Orthodox *do not* believe that Lutherans are their brothers in Christ (Lutherans are not in the Church). At best you may get "We don't know", which is a way of saying "I don't think so, but God is gracious and merciful, so you never can be sure just who He might let in."
> We whose prime directive is "We are saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus" have a much larger view of what constitutes Christ's body the Church.
> "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
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