I had a discussion with my Pastor some weeks ago that has stayed in my mind. His question to me was this:
Is there a point where the doctrinal differences are such that a Lutheran would have a DUTY to return to the Catholic Church? And where would that be?
Unfortunately our discussion was cut short at that time and I haven’t had an opportunity to pursue it further. So I am interested in your thoughts. I have been studying various Lutheran theologians and am much more aware of how our modern Lutheran church has pulled away from our original teachings - as Jon has remarked, Confession and Absolution are good examples of the divergence of doctrine and practice.
Martin Chemnitz on Confession and Absolution:
Because confession and private absolution is a highly necessary thing in the church and through it the benefits of Christ are applied to each individual, the same are thus also to be retained in their correct use in the church. Therefore no one shall go to the sacrament of the altar, unless he has presented himself to the priest and confessed himself a sinner and received private absolution.—Martin Chemnitz, Jacob Andreae, Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel Church Order