Saturday, August 22, 2009

An addendum to why I left the Lutheran Church

I have told myself many times that I should no longer concern myself with the matters of other church bodies. I am Orthodox and that should be sufficient for me. Besides, what business do I have as I am not even a member? I often say the same thing to those people who ridicule the Roman Catholic Church because they don't allow women as priests. When I ask them if they are Roman Catholic and they say "no" then I ask why that is their concern. And such should be the same with me.

Yesterday, the nation's largest "Lutheran" body voted to allow actively practicing homosexuals to serve in church positions, including that of the priesthood, as long as they were in committed, long-lasting relationships. However, this policy would be decided on by individual parishes and bishops could no longer take disciplinary actions.

This vote came as no surprise to me since the ELCA has ceased to be a Lutheran body from the time of its formation back in 1989. It is apostate. Now, there are good and faithful members of the ELCA who, for whatever reason, have decided to remain in the ELCA. Some are trying to reform the ELCA from within, but such a hope is lost and the ELCA will continue to go adrift without any spiritual anchor, namely the Word of God (I'm talking Christ, not the Bible). ELCA "scholar-theologians" thinking they know better than the consensus patruum or phrosyne patron, decided that the "spiritual" meaning of Scripture trumps an y "literal" meaning. Well, in a blog I wrote earlier this week, thanks to the inspriation of Mr. Christopher Orr who always has gems of wisdom on his page, the literal meaning of the Scritpure IS the spiritual meaning. And that has always been the rule of guiding interpretation in the Church until the Roman Catholic Church decided it was the pope who was the rule and then Martin Luther who decided that his own conscience dictated otherwise.

What has happened is that the heirs of Luther, following in his footsteps, have decreed that their own reason, their own interepretation, their own egos are far superior than to acknowledge and be obedient to the rule of faith handed down once and for all to the saints! Many are saying that Luther would be rolling over in his grave upon hearing what the ELCA has done. Maybe, but they are merely following his lead. Luther was an egoist. Everything was about him and how unworthy he was. While a monk, Luther would often go on for hours saying "Ego non sum" or "Ich bin's nicht", both of which translate to "I am nothing." Even if that seems like a selfless statement, it is anything but. The word "I" dominates Luther's writings and teachings, mostly in the negative sense. Since when did the Kingdom of God and salvtion revolve around you exclusively? Luther's guilt trips are almost the stuff of legend. I would encourage people to read Eric Ericsson's biography Young Man Luther, an invigorating and insightful psychological look to the reformer. The inevitable result of Luther's stand against the Roman Catholic Church, misguided as it was, saying that his own conscience dictated what is right set a standard which the more than 20,000 brands of Protestants use today. If I don't like a doctrine, we'll change it since I am bound by conscience.

Egoism destroys the love of God and it also destroys the human. Are all Lutherans egoists? Surely not. I would venture that I am even more of one than they. However, they are heirs to a church whose founder's dictates were based on personal preference and interpretation.

I know that there are many, within the ELCA and without, who are very happy with this decision. Let them be. But for those whose faithfulness to the Word of God has been questioned as uncaring and unloving, they have a difficult road ahead. ELCA churches, many of them, will be torn by infighting about this issue. Many members will leave. Many will reluctantly stay. But this is but another domino to fall in the great quest for apostacy.

I hope that the LCMS never goes this route, but leaders and "scholar-theologians" in their midst are still Luther's heirs; personal, egoistic interpretation rules there as well. The conciliar nature of both churches has been replaced with the democratic notions of the individual. Though Luther was a staunch opponent of democracy, because it was nothing more than pandering to the lowest elements of society, democracy, too and ironically, the tyranny of the majority, is his legacy as well.

Is the Orthodox Church immune to this? Sadly, no. It hasn't come to this extent of realization, but after what I have seen, even in my own archdiocese, it still may. Egoism is not merely a Lutheran matter; it is a sinful matter. The Orthodox may be buffeted against it for awhile, but there needs to be some deep soul-search and change.

"O, Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance, granting to Thy people victory over all adversaries. And by the power of Thy Cross, preserve thine estate."--Troparion for Exaltation of the Cross, Tone 1

No comments:

Post a Comment