A Question for Lutherans - One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic

Do Lutherans make the claim that Lutheranism is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic? If so, how do Lutherans defend this position? How is the Lutheran position on these four characteristics comparable to the position of the Catholic Church?

Yes we profess that - it’s in the creeds. :slight_smile:

It’s generally not an exclusive claim - we generally view the OHCAC as where the Gospel is proclaimed and the Sacraments are administered.

From an outsider’s viewpoint, it may look like a silly claim - our church has issues, our liturgy is a mess, and our numbers as small. Yet those things have nothing to do with our strength and refuge in Christ and Him crucified.

As I understand it, the larger sticking point among Catholics to our claim is Apostolic Succession - in that while we desire it as a continuation of the Western Church, we’re content with holding to the apostolic teaching of the historic church.

I certain there will be wiser Lutherans on this forum that will expand on this - I just wanted to get my $.02 in so it looks like I’m paying attention :slight_smile:

Ben, you are paying way to much for attention. :smiley:

Yup! Ben pretty much nailed it. We confess and profess the Faith as recorded in the Apostles, Nicene and Athanasian Creeds.

In big, heavy books. Luckily, the Book of Concord weighs a lot less on the Internet: bookofconcord.org/

Well, you can read for yourself. Rome responded in the Confutation to the Augsburg Confession: bookofconcord.org/confutatio.php

But it is usually considered a poor response by all sides, so a fuller picture requires looking at the Council of Trent. The best Lutheran response to Trent would probably be Martin Chemnitz’s Examination of the Council of Trent. I have it in hardcopy, but I don’t know if it’s available online.

Always love to hear answer from our Lutheran friends…
Mary.

From yet another Lutheran –

Lutherans are a part of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church, but we don’t claim that we are the exclusive inhabitants of that church. Any Christian body which affirms the three ecumenical creeds fits in.

Thank you for the helpful links. I’ll check them out.

I’m assuming, then, that Lutherans believe Catholics are also a part of this church?

Is the OHCAC visible? or invisible?

To clarify - does Lutheranism hold to be the continuation of the Western Church, or simply to hold beliefs of Apostolic origin? (It seems you are saying the latter)

Of course I am aware of the whole problem of obedience and submission to the Bishop of Rome, but do Lutherans otherwise object to Catholicism’s claim of Apostolic Succession? (that the Bishops of the Catholic Church can be traced in an unbroken chain back to the Apostles) If so, why?

They certainly can be, and most likely are. Even if your communion clouds the Gospel and places heavy packs on men’s shoulders. :stuck_out_tongue:

Yes, to both. Many Lutherans hold that the Western catholic church separated at Trent. The most faithful ones (Lutherans) just happened to lose the house (the Bishopric of Rome) in the divorce. At least, that’s one way it can be inadequately explained.

Not necessarily. We don’t really concern ourselves with other communion’s methods of maintaining proper ordinations unless it affects us. But to answer your question, Apostolic Succession is, as our Confessions state, a good means to maintain order and ensure that the Apostolic faith is transferred from one generations of called and ordained shepherds to the next. But it is not necessary - it is the faith that matters, not who tagged whom. We typically practice a presbyter ordination, a rite which was practiced in the ancient church (and even in the Roman Church, at times). Our ordinations still call for the laying on of hands from surrounding bishops (pastors).

Yes. To both. It is made visible where the Sacraments are rightly administered and the Word preached.

A very informative response, as usual. But I have more questions!

How can Lutherans claim to be the faithful continuation of the Church yet be out of communion with the Bishop of Rome? Isn’t such a claim contrary to Scripture as well as history and tradition?

Not necessarily. We don’t really concern ourselves with other communion’s methods of maintaining proper ordinations unless it affects us. But to answer your question, Apostolic Succession is, as our Confessions state, a good means to maintain order and ensure that the Apostolic faith is transferred from one generations of called and ordained shepherds to the next. But it is not necessary - it is the faith that matters, not who tagged whom. We typically practice a presbyter ordination, a rite which was practiced in the ancient church (and even in the Roman Church, at times). Our ordinations still call for the laying on of hands from surrounding bishops (pastors).

So Lutherans do accept the Apostolic authority of Catholic bishops, and also admit to not having Apostolic Succession? I understand that you argue Apostolic Succession is not necessary for valid ordinations - but if one Church does have this Succession, why would you want to be separate from it?

=christus_vincit;11992937]
How can Lutherans claim to be the faithful continuation of the Church yet be out of communion with the Bishop of Rome? Isn’t such a claim contrary to Scripture as well as history and tradition?

If I may chime in.
I think we can claim to be a faithful continuation of the Church without the requirement of communion with the Bishop of Rome, much as we’d like that to be the case. Holy Orthodoxy and Anglicans also make that claim, and we see no reason to doubt them. And as Holy Orthodoxy shows, being in communion with the Bishop of Rome has not always been historically or traditionally the case.

So Lutherans do accept the Apostolic authority of Catholic bishops, and also admit to not having Apostolic Succession? I understand that you argue Apostolic Succession is not necessary for valid ordinations - but if one Church does have this Succession, why would you want to be separate from it?

There are many Lutherans that claim apostolic succession, and I don’t believe it would be a Church dividing issue.
The fact is we don’t want to be separate, but reconciliation must occur prior to union. Pray for the day.

Jon

Why are Lutherans today not in full Communion with either the Eastern or Oriental Orthodox Churches? As to historically or traditionally - any Orthodox will tell you that the ideal is that they were in Communion with the Bishop of Rome, had Rome not fallen out of Communion with them (their perspective). Do Lutherans believe Rome fell out of Communion with them, and not the other way around?

There are many Lutherans that claim apostolic succession, and I don’t believe it would be a Church dividing issue.

Do the one’s who claim it necessary commune fully with those who claim it unnecessary?

Hi Syro,

=SyroMalankara;11993374]Why are Lutherans today not in full Communion with either the Eastern or Oriental Orthodox Churches?

Doctrine.

As to historically or traditionally - any Orthodox will tell you that the ideal is that they were in Communion with the Bishop of Rome, had Rome not fallen out of Communion with them (their perspective).

And I would agree, and actually said so,*I think we can claim to be a faithful continuation of the Church without the requirement of communion with the Bishop of Rome, much as we’d like that to be the case. *

Do Lutherans believe Rome fell out of Communion with them, and not the other way around?

Anytime there is a schism, it is two way. Yes, we fell out of communion with them, and they with us.

Do the one’s who claim it necessary commune fully with those who claim it unnecessary?

Not at this point, and I wouldn’t expect them to. Again, a matter of dialogue, but keep in mind there have been times and circumstances in history where Catholic priests were ordained through presbyter ordination.

Lacking bps. to ordain their candidates for the sacred ministry, the Luths. appealed to the patristically attested facts that originally bps. and priests constituted only one order; that the right to ordain was inherent in the priesthood (a principle on which a number of popes of the 15th c., among them Boniface IX, Martin V, and Innocent VIII, acted in authorizing Cistercian abbots who were only priests to ordain); that thence “an ordination administered by a pastor in his own church is valid by divine law”

cyclopedia.lcms.org/display.asp?t1=a&word=APOSTOLICSUCCESSION

Jon

We removed “catholic” from the creeds and replaced it with “Christian”.

Now we confess “one holy Christian and apostolic church”. We are much happier that way.

How can Lutherans claim to be the faithful continuation of the Church yet be out of communion with the Bishop of Rome? Isn’t such a claim contrary to Scripture as well as history and tradition?

Orthodox claim to be as such, but are also out of communion with the bishop of Rome. Rome even acknowledges their claim as well. Being in communion with the bishop of Rome is irrelevant to someone’s membership in the church. Although it helps to be out of communion with him because the bishop of Rome has been teaching serious error for centuries.

So Lutherans do accept the Apostolic authority of Catholic bishops, and also admit to not having Apostolic Succession? I understand that you argue Apostolic Succession is not necessary for valid ordinations - but if one Church does have this Succession, why would you want to be separate from it?

We accept the apostolic nature of all Christians, regardless of denomination.

True, but the Orthodox seem to recognize the important role of the Bishop of Rome, and profess that ideally they would be in communion with him. They see that the Bishop of Rome has a place of primacy. Why would you want to be out of communion with the pope when Christ himself established the office? How do you reconcile the Scriptures, and the 1500 years of Catholic history (at the time of Luther) that attested to the necessity and primacy of the Bishop of Rome? What of Christ’s promise to Peter that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church?

We accept the apostolic nature of all Christians, regardless of denomination.

But do you accept the Apostolic Succession of Catholic Bishops? Do you accept that there is an unbroken chain going all the way back to the Apostles? If not, why? And if you do, why wouldn’t you want to be in communion with those bishops?

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