Lutheran Theologian Writes Letter of Protest


#1

From Lutheran bishop and theologian: Carl Braaten

Greetings! I am writing out of a concern I share with others about the theological state of affairs within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The situation might be described as one of “brain drain.” Theologians who have served Lutheranism for many years in various capacities have recently left the ELCA and have entered the Roman Catholic Church or the Orthodox Church in America.

Why?

One day a church historian will write the history of Lutheranism in America. There will be a few paragraphs trying to explain how the self-destruction of confessional orthodox Lutheranism came about around the turn of the millennium and how it underwent a metamorphosis into a liberal protestant denomination. Recently in an issue of the Lutheran Magazine you expressed your hope that Lutherans could some day soon celebrate Holy Communion with Roman Catholics. My instant reaction was: it is becoming less and less likely, as the ELCA is being taken hostage by forces alien to the solid traditions Lutherans share with Roman Catholics. The confessional chasm is actually becoming wider. So much for the JDDJ! The agreement becomes meaningless when Lutheranism embarks on a trajectory that leads to rank antinomianism.

pietist.blogspot.com/2005/07/braaten-blasts-hanson-and-direction.html


#2

[quote=HagiaSophia]From Lutheran bishop and theologian: Carl Braaten

Greetings! I am writing out of a concern I share with others about the theological state of affairs within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The situation might be described as one of “brain drain.” Theologians who have served Lutheranism for many years in various capacities have recently left the ELCA and have entered the Roman Catholic Church or the Orthodox Church in America.
[/quote]

Lutherans have been schismatics since 1517 A.D., why should this latest schism of whim and fancy be of any surprise to a schismatic to begin with?

Why?

One day a church historian will write the history of Lutheranism in America.

It’ll take more then one! How can one man do it all?

There will be a few paragraphs trying to explain how the self-destruction of confessional orthodox Lutheranism came about around the turn of the millennium

The destruction of the Lutheran schism began in 1517!

and how it underwent a metamorphosis into a liberal protestant denomination.

We call this re-formed theology. Reformed and reformed and reformed and etc…

Recently in an issue of the Lutheran Magazine you expressed your hope that Lutherans could some day soon celebrate Holy Communion with Roman Catholics.

Easy, come home to Rome and to the Church Christ founded and end your schism.

My instant reaction was: it is becoming less and less likely, as the ELCA is being taken hostage by forces alien to the solid traditions Lutherans share with Roman Catholics.

Luther laid the first seed for those alien forces. Luther started the alien forces!

The confessional chasm is actually becoming wider. So much for the JDDJ! The agreement becomes meaningless when Lutheranism embarks on a trajectory that leads to rank antinomianism.

pietist.blogspot.com/2005/07/braaten-blasts-hanson-and-direction.html

I would say this guy just made a good point on the need to come home to the Catholic Church, Christs body.


#3

The whole article is very good.

The author’s pain is clear throughout. And the splintering continues…

:frowning:


#4

I find it very interesting when I read or hear of Lutheran and former-Lutheran protestant’s surprise when they see their own church falling apart. Many Lutherans are very steadfast on how great Lutheran was to point out the misconduct in the RC at the time of the reformation which lead to his big break. Not once have I heard these same Protestants note that these misconducts where human misconducts not church doctrine (ecept the former-protestants once they learn the history and truth).

Jesus said “Not even the gates of Hell will prevail against my church”. He did not promise this same protection to the dissentant protestants. We have the papacy to keep the RC faithful to the Holy Trinity’s stance on matters of faith and morals. Even though there were a few very human (weak to the human nature or being less than good examples to live by) popes in our past, they never changed the RC’s stance on faith and morals.

What Luther himself saw after several years of his new church, was the inability to keep to the moral and faithful code. He had opened the door for human weakness to dictate their faith to what seemed applicable to them, to what was more comfortable or just plain easier. Why would this come about? There was no one to keep it in check! No one person or group to be the official head to make sure they did not falter.

As we have see, familiarity breeds acceptance. The Old Testiment rules about staying with in your own group, not intermarrying with foreign groups had some basis to the rule. They knew the faith and moral codes would get “watered down” inorder to not offend the new parties. Now look at Hollywood and it’s blatant disregard for matters of faith and morality. It started way back with one director or producer trying to take something just a little further for shock value, Marylin Monroe and a little dress. Now our prime-time programing is not child-friendly. We come to accept these bouts of immorality because we have been conditioned to it one baby step at a time. Now I showed this analogy not to prolong my reply, but to point out how the Lutheran Church, as Luther intended, will fall due to no checks or balance organization to keep it in communion with Christ. Can they return to Luther’s plan? I think the answer is no, once you set something in motion and it goes off on a little tangent, it is nearly impossible to bring it back (it is simple physics).

I predict with this new doctrinal vote coming this fall within the Lutheran Church (to allow or disallow gay marraige) more Lutherans will become disenchanted with their faith. They will become untrusting to a fatih that can bend it’s once steadfast rules to the whims of society.

Christ started a Monarchy not a Democracy!


#5

[quote=kp1]I find it very interesting when I read or hear of Lutheran and former-Lutheran protestant’s surprise when they see their own church falling apart. Many Lutherans are very steadfast on how great Lutheran was to point out the misconduct in the RC at the time of the reformation which lead to his big break. Not once have I heard these same Protestants note that these misconducts where human misconducts not church doctrine (ecept the former-protestants once they learn the history and truth).

Jesus said “Not even the gates of Hell will prevail against my church”. He did not promise this same protection to the dissentant protestants.[/quite]

Nor indeed to us Romans :slight_smile: - there is no reason (apart from the assumptions with which we come to the text) for supposing that Jesus is guaranteeing, then and there, anything whatever to the CC as conceived of by the frm of Christianity we belong to. The Orthodox & Protestants are as much and as little justified in taking this passage as a promise to the Church as we are, so far as the text goes.

After all, it is Peter who tempts Jesus to avoid go to the Cross, a few verses later; so it is Peter who is addressed as Jesus addresses satan in the Temptation-narratives in Matthew 4. Needless to say, that verse is always ignored by Catholics - and that is not right; it lays the Church open to being accused of seeing in the Bible only what it suits her to see; and of ignoring passages and words which would undermine such comforting ideas as she may have about herself. But if she isn’t going to heed the Bible when it challenges her ideas, why does she bother with it at all ? Why not be consistent, and either ignore it totally; or listen to all that it says, and not to the easy bits alone ? ##
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#6

[quote=kp1]I find it very interesting when I read or hear of Lutheran and former-Lutheran protestant’s surprise when they see their own church falling apart. Many Lutherans are very steadfast on how great Lutheran was to point out the misconduct in the RC at the time of the reformation which lead to his big break. Not once have I heard these same Protestants note that these misconducts where human misconducts not church doctrine (ecept the former-protestants once they learn the history and truth).

Jesus said “Not even the gates of Hell will prevail against my church”. He did not promise this same protection to the dissentant protestants. We have the papacy to keep the RC faithful to the Holy Trinity’s stance on matters of faith and morals. Even though there were a few very human (weak to the human nature or being less than good examples to live by) popes in our past, they never changed the RC’s stance on faith and morals.

What Luther himself saw after several years of his new church, was the inability to keep to the moral and faithful code. He had opened the door for human weakness to dictate their faith to what seemed applicable to them, to what was more comfortable or just plain easier. Why would this come about? There was no one to keep it in check! No one person or group to be the official head to make sure they did not falter.

As we have see, familiarity breeds acceptance. The Old Testiment rules about staying with in your own group, not intermarrying with foreign groups had some basis to the rule. They knew the faith and moral codes would get “watered down” inorder to not offend the new parties. Now look at Hollywood and it’s blatant disregard for matters of faith and morality. It started way back with one director or producer trying to take something just a little further for shock value, Marylin Monroe and a little dress. Now our prime-time programing is not child-friendly. We come to accept these bouts of immorality because we have been conditioned to it one baby step at a time. Now I showed this analogy not to prolong my reply, but to point out how the Lutheran Church, as Luther intended, will fall due to no checks or balance organization to keep it in communion with Christ. Can they return to Luther’s plan? I think the answer is no, once you set something in motion and it goes off on a little tangent, it is nearly impossible to bring it back (it is simple physics).

I predict with this new doctrinal vote coming this fall within the Lutheran Church (to allow or disallow gay marraige) more Lutherans will become disenchanted with their faith. They will become untrusting to a fatih that can bend it’s once steadfast rules to the whims of society.

Christ started a Monarchy not a Democracy!
[/quote]

This actually has a lot to do with why I came to the Church. I had spent a lot of time around Catholics, but still thought the Church was wrong. Nevertheless, I liked the liturgy and the Sacraments, so I started looking into the Lutheran church as a place to go. Once I started researching it, I became very uneasy about the gay marriage stuff. I soon found I’d have a hard time finding a church that followed Christ’s moral teachings unless I went to the Catholic Church. That is what got me started at investigating the truth or fallacy of the Church.


#7

We have been talking about this on a Lutheran Board and this is what I wrote in quick response:

First off Catholicism does not teach works righteousness.

Secondly I find it interesting that the people are going to Orthodoxy and Catholicism over WELS and LC_MS. This tells me that there is more to it than disgruntled feelings at doctrinal liberalism.

100 Years ago a Lutheran if curious about Catholicism had little more to read at their disposal than works like “A Treatise on The Power and Primacy of the Pope.” Now with the internet at our disposal one can research such documents, read the actual quotes by the Church Fathers, and learn more in-depth as to what a particular group teaches.

Now people are learning, “hey they didn’t teach that, or this is simply an over exaggeration, or that is being taken out of context.” This was one of the things that helped change my mind is that I worked through the Lutheran Doctrine on the “Power and Primacy of the Pope” and researched the Church Father’s quotes used. Talk about taking the statements out of context.

As Protestant denominations continue to fracture the Orthodox and Catholics continue to stay, for the most part, unchanged and people are learning that they didn’t actually hate these Churches but they hated what they thought they were because they were taught fallacies about them.

That being said I wouldn’t get too proud. The arguement that he presents could probably work with just changing the names to Sedevacantists and Order of Pope Pius the ‘whaterver’


#8

[quote=Gottle of Geer] After all, it is Peter who tempts Jesus to avoid go to the Cross, a few verses later; so it is Peter who is addressed as Jesus addresses satan in the Temptation-narratives in Matthew 4. Needless to say, that verse is always ignored by Catholics - and that is not right; it lays the Church open to being accused of seeing in the Bible only what it suits her to see; and of ignoring passages and words which would undermine such comforting ideas as she may have about herself. But if she isn’t going to heed the Bible when it challenges her ideas, why does she bother with it at all ? Why not be consistent, and either ignore it totally; or listen to all that it says, and not to the easy bits alone ? ##
[/quote]

What are you talking about? Who ignores this passage? When has the Church ever denied that Peter was a hopeless sinner? When has She ever hidden the fact that Peter denied Jesus? This still doesn’t change the fact that Jesus gave Peter the Keys and told Peter to tend his sheep Your views of how the Church sees and interprets Scripture is just a little off.

I looked at your profile and you describe yourself as a “Romish Papist Catholic” I may be wrong on this, but it appears that you are ashamed to be Catholic. What a true pity that would be if this were the case.


#9

[quote=jaz1976]What are you talking about? Who ignores this passage? When has the Church ever denied that Peter was a hopeless sinner? When has She ever hidden the fact that Peter denied Jesus? This still doesn’t change the fact that Jesus gave Peter the Keys and told Peter to tend his sheep Your views of how the Church sees and interprets Scripture is just a little off.

I looked at your profile and you describe yourself as a “Romish Papist Catholic” I may be wrong on this, but it appears that you are ashamed to be Catholic. What a true pity that would be if this were the case.
[/quote]

lol no… I can’t speak for this fellow but I think he’s actually quite proud. I think he’s poking fun at people who use the terms “papist” and “Romish” in a derogatory way, sortof saying to them, “That’s right, that’s what I am!” :stuck_out_tongue:


#10

[quote=Lazerlike42]lol no… I can’t speak for this fellow but I think he’s actually quite proud. I think he’s poking fun at people who use the terms “papist” and “Romish” in a derogatory way, sortof saying to them, “That’s right, that’s what I am!” :stuck_out_tongue:
[/quote]

I hope you are right and I am wrong. :thumbsup:


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