Ecumenism with Lutherans


Well, that is not what Our Lord Jesus Christ says in Matthew 25
Matthew 25:31-46New International Version (NIV)
The Sheep and the Goats
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
It is clear from this that those who do good works are not committing sin. But those who do not do good works are committing sin and according to this passage, they will be punished for their sin.
It is very offensive to say that the man who has murdered 96 people in Las Vegas has committed a sin. And to follow that up by saying that the man who has sacrificed his time to help the orphan and to help the stranger and to help the sick has committed a sin. And of course it is totally contrary to what Jesus has said as recorded in Holy Scripture Matthew 25.
Jesus says here that you will be rewarded for doing good works, so it can’t be a sin to do so.
I am not buying the idea that when you do good works you are committing a sin.


You dwell too much on what separates Christians, what separates “us” from “them.” You seem unsatisfied with that degree of separation, and search for ways to separate “us” into smaller subgroups, and separate “them” into smaller subgroups. Where are you headed with this? Why do you separate yourself from your Church, popes, saints, and Jesus himself, who desire and work toward Christian unity?


Maybe. But the Roman Catholic Church has not agreed to reunite with the Eastern Orthodox church.


I think it’s important, @Spedteacherita, as I read what you have written, to know exactly what this forum is. There’s a reason for the website disclaimer

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers.

There are almost no clergy on this forum; even fewer on this forum are theologians who hold the mandatum

So many of the views and opinions causing you concern are people stating things completely contrary to the positions of the Holy See, to the Second Vatican Council and to the College of Bishops.

Every Catholic MUST assent that the following statement is what Vatican II decreed in Unitatis Redintegratio:

It follows that the separated Churches and Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church

So you can ask: “Do you, as a Catholic, affirm as you are obliged, that the Spirit of Christ has used the Lutherans as a means of salvation ?”

If a Catholic answers “no,” beware. They are not faithful to the teaching of the Council

The Bishops alone are the guardians and the authentic teachers of the Deposit of the Faith

Ask Catholics whose words you find troubling

  1. Do you accept and hold unconditionally the Conciliar decree on ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio?

  2. Do you personally affirm the Council declaration Dignitatis humanae?

  3. Do you accept and hold unconditionally the Papal encyclical Ut Unum Sint by Pope Saint John Paul II?

  4. “Do you hold that it is your local Bishop – under whose jurisdiction and authority you live your Catholic life, who has governance of your soul and jurisdiction over you – as well as the National Conference of Catholic Bishops – are the ones competent under the Holy See to to tell you, as a Catholic lay person what is to be done ecumenically and that you are in complete submission to their every directive, as obliged by the Holy See in Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism?”

A number of posters in this thread would be unable to answer yes. If they cannot, that tells you what you need to know about their trustworthiness

Beyond the Magisterium, it’s the Church’s theologians and each diocese’s ecumenical officials – not laity on a forum – who are authentic sources for you to look to for what the Church really teaches about ecumenism and our relations to our non-Catholic sisters and brothers

I share with you a favorite image from the Service of Common Prayer last year in Lund, Sweden. From left to right, the Cardinal Prefect of the PCPCU; Bishop Munib Younan then President of the Lutheran World Federation; Pope Francis; The Rev. Dr Martin Junge, General Secretary of LWF, and the Most Reverend Antje Jackelén, Lutheran Metropolitan Archbishop of Uppsala


Seeing this thread, I remember Pope Benedict’s visit to Rome’s Lutheran Church in Lent 2010. How different his words from certain posters on this page who may call themselves Catholic but seem completely out of touch with the teaching of the Popes, Vatican II – and the College of Bishops who are in perfect harmony with the Holy See

In part, Pope Benedict said

Being Christian means “being we” in the community of Christ’s disciples. And this poses for us the question of ecumenism: sorrow at having broken this “we”, at having split the one path into so many paths. As a result the witness we must give is obscured and love cannot find its full expression. What must we say in this regard?

Today we hear many complaints about the fact that ecumenism has reached a stalemate and that there are mutual accusations. Yet I think we should first of all be grateful that so much unity already exists

It is wonderful that today, Laetare Sunday, we can pray together, sing the same hymns, listen to the same word of God, explain it and seek to understand it together; that we look to the one Christ whom we see and to whom we wish to belong and that, in this manner, we are already witnessing that he is one, the One who has called us all and to whom, in the deepest way possible, we all belong

I believe that above all it is this that we should show the world: not every sort of dispute and conflict, but joy and gratitude at the fact that the Lord is granting this to us and that real unity exists that can become ever deeper and become increasingly a testimony of Christ’s word, of Christ’s way in this world

Of course, this must not satisfy us, although we must be grateful for these shared dimensions. Yet the fact that in the essentials, in the celebration of the Blessed Eucharist we are unable to drink from the same cup, we are unable to gather round the same altar, cannot but fill us with sorrow for it is we who are guilty of this, we who cloud this testimony

It must make us inwardly restless on our journey toward greater unity in the knowledge that, basically, the Lord alone can give this to us. For a unity agreed by us would be a human act, hence brittle, like everything made by the human hand

Let us give ourselves to him, let us seek to know and love him, to see him ever better

Let us therefore allow him to lead us, truly, to full unity, for which we should pray with every urgency at this moment

Dear friends, once again I would like to thank you for extending this invitation to me, for the cordiality with which you have welcomed me, and also for your words, kind Ms. Esch. Let us give thanks for having been able to pray and sing together. Let us pray for each other, let us pray together that the Lord will grant us unity and help the world so that it may believe. Amen

Thus Pope Benedict expresses the mind and attitude of Rome today – not what I have read in many of the posts on this thread


I look at comments like this as nothing short of ridiculous. They are beyond absurd.

Let us be clear.

In 1960, the Catholic Church and Orthodox Communion were still under mutual anathamas that had been imposed by the other. It was Blessed Paul VI who determined that this state of affairs was not how things were to proceed any longer – and that the methods of his predecessors over the centuries were failures and needed a revised approach.

I should add that Blessed Paul took this initiative in response to a personal letter that Athenagoras had written and sent to Pope Saint John XXIII when the latter was in his final illness. That was the first direct communication between the Pope and the Ecumenical Patriarch in a very very very long time. It ultimately led to Athenagoras and Paul meeting in person.

When the Saint of God died, Athenagoras famously said of him: “There was a man sent from God. His name was John.”

In a mere half-century, we went from wounds that had endured in our respective Churches for centuries to communicating cordially to lifting the mutual excommunications and establishing renewed relationships at the highest level:

Those initial overtures and their fruit

led to dialogues across all these years at the international level, authorised by each side, that have produced such results as to move us to a completely different relationship and herald a hopeful future

Years passed and the work went on. For those of us who saw this, it is a moment we will never forget – so incredibly touching and poignant, that it made years of work an even greater joy and delight and brought tears to the eyes. It made so vivid that the relationship between Pope and Patriarch is the reflection of that between Peter and Andrew.

The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was actually, as a very young cleric, in the entourage of The Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras when he came to visit the Blessed Pope Paul VI all those years ago.

How far we have come, in so many ways, in a mere 50 years


Why? There are a few things that the Catholic Church could do but has not. And so there is still no reunion with the Eastern Orthodox church. For example, the Roman Catholic Church could return the Nicene Constantinopolitan creed to how it was before, without the filioque. The addition of the filioque to the creed was not accepted in the East, and in the letter of excommunication delivered in 1054, its omission in the creed was mentioned as a reason for the excommunication, even though the original creed did not have the filioque.


Not by much what? The membership? The LWF is roughly ten times the size of the ILC. So, no, you are still wrong.
Old Catholics call themselves Catholic.


I have two thoughts on this. Being used as a means of salvation is hardly praise, as in “Oh happy fault.” One could likewise say that Martin Luther was used by God to reform the Catholic Church. God really can use the most unlikely of tools. As example, I often credit the Evangelical preacher John MacArthur, known here for his anti-Catholicism, as a means by which I became Catholic.

But that is just technical stuff. There is a truer sense in which these Christian communities are a means of salvation. They do baptize and wed, having two true Sacraments. They do preach the gospel and have brought those who were totally outside the Christianity into the Body of Christ. They have even brought Catholics back to the Catholic Church. There have been several people here who have given testimony that, as a nominal Catholic, they knew nothing of God and had no relationship with him outside of an infant baptism. Only after conversion to a fervent faith through one of these other faith traditions were they able to come back to the Catholic faith as a faithful Catholic.

Personally, I do not know if I would have ever been a Catholic if not for my own desire for God fostered through my Baptist church, and have been able to understand the importance of belonging to the visible Catholic Church fully, had it not been for my theological background and education in language I receive through the Baptist university and seminary system.

So, yes, I do not see how anyone can deny the work of God in our fellow Christians. And yes, I know that is three points, but once you get going…


That’s entirely your choice. I maintain that apart from the grace of Christ, all the good we do would be as filthy rags in the sight of God. God who gives us the power to earn a living also is the source of grace for us to do those things needful for others. Sola gratia, sola fide, sola scriptura, solus Christus, soli Dei gloria. That is all I have to say about the matter. God bless you.


Thank you, Father, for you wisdom and education here. I know that I should not be taking what is said to heart but remember that the heart of the Catholic Church is not to demean and divide its Protestant Christian brothers and sisters. I will remember what you have written here and not take the debates to heart.

My intent, and I know that the intent of other non-Catholics here is not to demean our Catholic brothers and sisters but to understand the beliefs and traditions have come about.

God bless you and thanks!



It seems Lutherans (and evangelical Protestants) are not ready to give up on sola scriptura (and other differences).

Through dialog, we acknowledge history. We acknowledge differences. We acknowledge unity in Christ.

So what’s the next course of action for full Communion? How do we get over the differences on Tradition, tradition, priesthood, Mass as Sacrifice, Marian devotion, papal authority, etc?

Somewhere in human history, error was propagated and believed subsequently. How do we undo those errors?

It seems Lutherans are not ready to budge. And the Catholic Church cannot compromise on essentials.

Oh dear…


Why would you then expect them to compromise? Compromise leads to a false unity built on sand.
Unity requires convergence


Tradition, tradition, priesthood, Mass as Sacrifice, Marian devotion, and papal authority might be essential items that cannot be compromised. But Lutherans do not accept them. So we’re kind of stuck.

Question: What does it take for full Communion, the end goal of dialog?


I don’t. Our Popes do not preach ecumenism at the expense of Truth.


Do you really think Martin Luther alone caused that schism? First of all, he wasn’t the first, and the Hussites and the entire Bohemian Reformation was a pretty clear signal to the Church that there was a serious problem in Central Europe, which the Church and secular authorities at the time responded to by basically executing or terrorizing anyone who stuck their head up. Then factor in the Church’s irritating a lot of German Princes by constantly meddling (as they saw it) in their affairs, and well, you have a situation where eventually something was going to happen. Luther’s 95 Theses is the proximal cause of the Reformation and schism with Rome, but it’s just the focal point. He, unlike Jan Hus or John Wycliffe, was in the right place at the right time.


I don’t think anyone on either side of the Ecumenical movement believes there is an end goal as such. Obviously full communion is a lovely idea, but if even the Catholic and Orthodox churches can’t get there, then imagining Lutherans and Catholics reuniting, when both sides have some pretty core bedrock differences, seems impossible.

I think the value of Ecumenical movement is in the talking, even if all the differences never get bridged. Two parties can move closer together, even if they never quite meet. It’s certainly better than what I’m seeing here, with one side condemning the other as schismatic heretics, which sounds as absurd as some Protestants shaking their fists at the “whore of Babylon” and talking about Papist plots.


I don’t see anything there about setting truth aside, do you?


[quote=“JonNC, post:374, topic:456009, full:true”]

Are you implying that LCMS numbers are insignificant?

Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod - Wikipedia
Wikipedia › wiki
The LCMS has congregations in all 50 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces, but over half of its members are located in the Midwest. It is a member of the International Lutheran Council and is in altar and pulpit fellowship with most of that group’s members.
Members: 2,060,514 baptized; 1,609,100 confirmed
Congregations: 6,101
Origin: April 26, 1847; Chicago, Illinois
Founder: C. F. W. Walther


Of course he didn’t cause the schism alone. But people even to this day identify him as their leader. Some even do so by using his name as part of their denomination name. There are still followers of Hus so he too is still a leader to many.

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