Lutherans - What is it that keeps you from becoming Orthodox?

I’m interested as far as doctrines are considered why a Lutheran would consider the Orthodox Church’s as less true than the Lutheran ones. Or perhaps Lutherans see equal validity in both Church’s and just choose to stay Lutheran for another reason?

If it’s doctrinal, what about it? And if not, why?

Also, why doesn’t the Lutheran Church (or Church’s) on a larger scale try to unite with the Orthodox Church’s? Has there been any progress? What would be some of the main issues from a Lutheran perspective?


Not that there hasn’t been such attempts but any and all attempts have ended with failure because I think both sides could not agree on sola fide.

I heard a recent comment on a Lutheran talk show a while ago. The Lutheran priest or professor was speaking and said something to this extent. “The orthodox might have the succession of Priests and Bishops going back to the apostles, they might have a mighty church. But what they do not have is a doctrine of justification which we have!”

I might have interpolated but that was the jist of it. I think that Lutheran speaker was correct because no matter how we stretch it, the orthodox are not willing to define justification in the way Lutherans do or as Roman Catholics might for that matter. For the Lutheran church their credibility and theological unity rests on the central doctrine of how we are saved and everything falls apart if it is not necessary, and thats not just the lutheran church but all Christendom.

Of course if the Lutherans say otherwise I will accept their explanation. Certaintly I feel sola fide is a major part.

There are many reasons wh I will not become Orthodox, both doctrinal and practical. Here are two of them:

  1. I actually believe in the Filioque.

  2. I am not Eastern, I am Western. And, as we see too often, Western rite Orthodoxy is not seen as ‘proper enough’ or ‘good enough’ by the Orthodox in charge. As we read in the link provided, some Western rite Orthodox has been revoked their right (pun not intented) to celebrate according to THEIR Western custom, and there is/was a plan to “establish a commission to examine the means of integrating clergymen and communities of the Western Rite into the liturgical life of the Russian Orthodox Church.” So, as predicted: to be Orthodox you must become Russian or Greek. No thanks.

I generally agree, and would add the lack of an Orthodox parish near by.



Pastor KjetilK:

Everyone but the Orthodox themselves seems to understand that. It is a huge blindspot which they either cannot see or simply refuse to admit in an inter-denominational forum such as this. Privately, however… :wink:

I think both the RCC and Lutherans need to recognize all they agree too which is so much, and stop beating each other up over insignificant secondary issues that they disagree.

Both Catholics and Lutherans are wonderful people and heavenly, I should know my Dad was Catholic and Mother Lutheran and they were married 50 years. My Mother just practiced Catholicism while they were married and went back to being a Lutheran after him passing away.

Amen and peace for all

It has nothing to do with being Russian or Greek (you appear to have left Levantine Arab, Georgian, Polish, Czech, Serbian, Bulgarian, Romanian, and a few others off of that list, by the way). One can even celebrate the liturgy in Chinese (I’ve seen it myself). ROCOR’s Western Rite Vicariate understandably was suspended after a string of questionable figures were received into it (like Nathan Monk), causing great scandal.

Correct. And it did not affect the Western rite parishes in the Antiochian jurisdiction at all.

I myself was very critical of the changes that the ROCOR announced concerning its Western-Rite parishes, but those criticisms (of a very small fraction of Orthodoxy) hardly equal a general condemnation of the Orthodox.

Interesting. I’m neither Greek nor Russian but I’m still Orthodox. Strange. Perhaps you can continue educating us about ourselves.

Either way Lutherans are far closer to Roman Catholics than they are the Orthodox. They just make each individual their own pope instead of the Bishop of Rome.

Hi Randy. I have to admit that I haven’t beening reading a lot of your posts recently (to say the least) but any post that lets us know that everyone except the Orthodox understand something, is well worth reading in my opinion. :cool:

Peter J:

I appreciate your thoughts, as always.

If you look at the last line of post #3, you will see the very issue that I have read about over and over and over from people who were interested in Orthodoxy, visited a church, made inquiries, etc., but simply couldn’t get past the “glass” barrier that separated them from the for which that Church was primarily built.

Now, one could (and doubtless someone will) argue that those were isolated incidents or they will note that THEY joined with “no problem”, etc. Great. But the ethnic barrier exists, and if you visit some of their official webpages and read enough articles by them for them, they talk about this amongst themselves. But not in this forum…no, sirree. Never admit that there is a problem in front of Catholics! :wink:

Now, Peter, I know you know that I have said this before, but for the sake of those who were NOT involved in last year’s “dialogue” in another forum, I believe the ethnic and national orientation of the Orthodox churches has prevented the EO from succeeding in the field of world evangelism to the degree that one would expect the Church built by Christ and led by the Spirit to have achieved after 2,000 years. They have failed to fulfill the Great Commission.

This fact alone suggests to me that despite their claims to the contrary, the Orthodox churches cannot possibly qualify as the continuation of the one, true Church founded upon Peter the Rock.

KjetilK has provided one more example of this reality playing out in real life.

Have you ever been to a Ukrainian Catholic or Syriac Catholic parish?

Thanks Randy. Your comment that “Everyone but the Orthodox …” was interesting to me because a large number of Catholic apologists (polemicists) seem to believe that every characteristic of the Orthodox is shared either (if it is good) with the Roman Communion or (if it is bad) with Protestants. So it’s nice to see that you reject that way of thinking. :slight_smile: :cool:

Sure thing. But let’s turn this around…

Can you give an example or two of something BAD that the Orthodox share with Catholics?

How about something GOOD that they share with Protestants but NOT with Catholics?

Finally, what GOOD thing (related to our faith, of course) would you say is found in Orthodoxy but NOT in either Catholicism or Protestantism?

Thanks, and Happy New Year!

Well, if it doesn’t have anything to do with being a Russian or Greek (or other ethic groups), why was it part of the ‘solution’ to the problem shown in the link I provided to “establish a commission to examine the means of integrating clergymen and communities of the Western Rite into the liturgical life of the Russian Orthodox Church”? Why not just discipline the people involved? Why MUST these people become liturgically eastern?

It has nothing to do with language – speaking Russian, Greek, Latin, Chinese, English, Norwegian, etc. It has to do with Rite. As we can see in the link provided, some Eastern Orthodox actually believes that the Eastern Divine Liturgy of John Chrysostom – which I find beautiful, by the way – was the original, that English Christianity (both pre and post 7th century) was Eastern, and that the Byzantine Rite transcends ethnicism.

That is just nonsense. The fact is that the Roman Canon is as old, and in many case older, than most Eastern liturgies, English Christianity was influenced primarily by St. Augustine of Canterbury, who was a papal delegate and Celtic Christians, who traces back to St. Patrick, another papal delegate and a Roman to boot. And no Liturgy ‘transcends ethnicism.’ No rites are more ‘transcendent’ than other in terms off ethnicity. The Byzantine Rite is rooted in Byzantine culture as much as the Western rite is rooted in Roman culture.

I am not saying that Eastern liturgy is wrong. I am saying that it is not Western, and Western Christians should be able to celebrate in their ancient customs, whether in or out of communion with Eastern Orthodox churches.


Which western Christians celebrate according to their ancient customs? I don’t know of any.

As was noted before, however, Kjetil, the Antiochian Orthodox have a Western Rite, and from I understand, it’s not going anywhere.

Russia is pushy. It always has been. Its Church shares much in common with the country. And I think that’s because the ROC and the ROCOR are the largest Orthodox Churches on the planet. (No offense to Russians; The RCC has also been quite pushy. And I am aware of “Latinisations” that were wrongly imposed on Eastern Catholic Churches in the past.) Antioch is nowhere near as large or influential, and so I don’t think they’d be as pushy.

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