Friday, December 3, 2010

From Lutheran to Orthodox in only Six Short Months

Well, sort of....(closer to eight by the time our Chrismation rolls around, if we're counting)....

I begin this blog to chronicle our journey from the Lutheran tradition to the Holy Orthodox Church. After much prayer and consideration, we made the decision to leave the Lutheran Church we had been attending, and we have spent the last six to seven months attending an Orthodox Church, struggling with the Faith and learning way more than we ever expected to learn about theology, anthropology, philosophy and history. We are now catechumens, and will be Chrismated soon. While this has been a six month journey, the full story is much longer than that, and will be outlined in greater detail in later posts.

At the outset, I wish to note that I do not intend to engage in a polemical defense of Orthodoxy versus Lutheranism, nor do I wish to in any way denigrate those who remain Lutheran, no small number of whom are among my closest friends. I will likely compose an initial explanation of why we made our decision to leave Lutheranism and, after that, to join the Orthodox Christian Church. That will, of necessity, involve some degree of polemics, statements of belief and confession of the Orthodox faith as contrasted with Lutheran theology. Even then, I hope to do so without any unnecessary offense being given. After that, I intend to speak more to issues that we have seen not only in Lutheranism, but in American Protestantism writ large, as well as our ongoing thoughts and experiences from within the Church.

Any and all comments are welcome on this blog, so long as they are respectful and polite. I look forward to sharing our journey with you.


Anastasia Theodoridis said...

You and your family will be much in my prayers as the forces of our enemy gather against you - and they will. They always do, when a person decides to become Orthodox. But prayer, love, humility, and the guidance of your spiritual father will overcome all and bring you to safe harbor in Christ.

"For He is good and loves mankind" is a phrase I've been thinking about a lot lately. So hard for us Westerners to really, truly, deep-down BELIEVE and come to terms with.

I look forward to learning more of your story.

David Garner said...

Thank you, Anastasia. Prayers are much appreciated.

I chose that phrase as the blog title because it's one of the several that struck us deeply when we first attended an Eastern Divine Liturgy. It's a very succinct Gospel phrase (to borrow our well ingrained Lutheran terminology), and you are right -- it's not one Westerners are comfortable with. Even though we would not deny it, it's not exactly the picture we've had painted for us.

Dan said...

You know - I'm going the exact same road in opposite directions. Born an orthodox in the orthodox romanian church. I simply see Christ more closely here. We are all men and have our traditions, but let traditions not divide us. That is, I think, what Christ wants from us, and lutheranism affirms it. We are saved by Christ alone, not by bishops and traditions. Were eastn-orthodoxy is sunk in tradition. I mean not to be harsh, should we not seek unity, and say "there were the sacraments are rightly administrated and the Word is preached, there also Christ is", rather that: "This is how you do it, because our traditions are very old, and we keep fast to them"?

David Garner said...

Dan, thank you for your thoughts. It's hard to believe this was written nearly 6 years ago now!

I appreciate my time in the Lutheran Church. If you poke around here you will find expressions of that appreciation. I would suggest that we do not simply maintain tradition for the sake of tradition, but for the sake of the faith. As a cradle Orthodox, you understand that we consider Scripture as a part of Holy Tradition, but what I would assert further is that Lutherans have their own tradition, to which you have alluded in saying the Church is found where the Sacraments are rightly administered and the Word purely preached. That is not to denigrate that tradition, and frankly, if you find it where you are count yourself fortunate. We, unfortunately, found very little tolerance in these parts for the richness of Lutheran tradition. That, in my opinion, is a shame.

God's blessings to you and yours as you make your way on this journey.