I’m a WELS Synod Lutheran, which you may remember as the branch which was in the news a few years back for a controversy with Michelle Bachman and the WELS referring to the office of the papacy as the anti-Christ (yeah, that synod).
I was born into this branch of Lutheranism 40 years ago, went to Lutheran High School, and my entire extended family is in this synod.
Hi Birdlives, and welcome to CAF.
Some of my remarks may repeat what others have said.
I began studying Catholicism four years ago because I wanted to know why our synod hated the Pope so much. I figured I had better learn about our reasons for being anti-Catholic, since it was in the news and I may be in a situation to explain myself to others. What happened was the opposite of what I intended - a deep appreciation for Catholic theology, scholarship, and a realization that it’s correct!
I think Don has mentioned that, if you have been taught to hate the pope, that isn’t particularly good Lutheran catechesis. One need only read Luther’s commentary on the 8th Commandment to recognize that.
With that in mind, over the years here at CAF, I have had a number of Catholics contact me about becoming Lutheran. My approach is always the same: start by talking to your priest. Before leaving the Catholic Church, I tell them, make sure you know what it is she teaches. IOW, it is at least as important knowing what you are leaving as it is what you are moving to.
The same in reverse.
However, I haven’t converted yet. My reasons are not theological or really even reasonable. They are purely social. Yet, I cannot get over them. Perhaps some voices here could help?
It seems to me that, for a confessional Lutheran, particularly one who sees him/herself as Evangelical Catholic, the social, cultural, emotional issues may be harder than the theological ones.
Reason 1: My family has been in my current church for over 150 years. We were one of the founding families straight from Germany. That makes it really hard to leave.
Indeed! I often say that I am acculturated Lutheran: Lutheran pastor father, Lutheran college grad, Lutheran wife, daughter teaching in a Lutheran school. This is, as I said, a much harder issue, in many ways, than theology.
Reason 2: My entire family would basically disown me and my family if we became Catholic. Basically, Catholicism is the worst thing I could covert to according to them. I certainly would not be “saved” if I converted to Catholicism.
That is a very unLutheran attitude, it seems to me. Triumphalism by any tradition within the Church is, in my opinion, the least attractive, indeed one of the least Christian, positions to take. “He that believes and is Baptized, shall be saved”. Not, “he that is Lutheran and is baptized…”
But more than that, Lutheranism is, among so-called protestant communions, the most tied to the sacraments. It would be far worse, in my view for a Lutheran to convert to a church that rejects the means of grace in the sacraments, baptiosmal regeneration, the real presence in the Supper, the announcement of Holy Absolution in confession. Far better to be Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, than the others, if one is to leave Lutheranism.
Reason 3: We’re comfortable where we are. The kids like the church, the pastors know and respect my family (since it’s been there so long). Conversion would be starting over essentially.
I don’t even like the term “conversion”. Think of it as a transfer of membership within His One Holy Church. Its a continuation, not a starting over. You are not going to be re-baptized after all.
Reason 4: My local Catholic church is very…weird. It’s very 60’s oriented. Guitars, very loose form of Mass, everybody’s wearing t-shirts, and a jokey priest who honestly doesn’t know the Bible very well. I’d have to do RCIA somewhere else, because they don’t offer it. I am very used to a traditional worship style in a traditional gothic style church.
Sounds like some LCMS parishes I’ve become familiar with. :o
Not much to say here. Any other parishes near by?
Reason 5: Hymns! Could I ever give up my Lutheran hymns?! My understanding is that Catholics don’t sing much during Mass. Is that correct?
Last I heard, Catholic parishes actually sing, “A Mighty Fortress”. :eek:
I know what you mean, but again, probably not the deciding factor in whether you stay, or transfer membership.
Sorry for the long initial post! But, any thoughts on these would be appreciated.
Hope that helps, but keep reading, there are some fabulous posters here, Catholic, Lutheran, and others. In the end, however, talk to your pastor, and talk to a priest. Find out what you’re leaving, and what you’re going to.
May the Spirit lead you.