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Episcopal Vs Luthern

Discussion in 'Denomination Specific Theology' started by lordsservant, Jan 8, 2009.

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  1. lordsservant

    lordsservant Newbie

    What are the theological differences between Episcopal and Lutheran. I am member in the Episcopal Church, but am considering attending a Lutheran Seminary
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2009
  2. Sphinx777

    Sphinx777 Well-Known Member

    The Episcopal Church, sometimes called The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, is the Province of the Anglican Communion in the United States, Honduras, Taiwan, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, the British Virgin Islands and parts of Europe.

    The Church was organized shortly after the American Revolution when it was forced to break with the Church of England on penalty of treason as Church of England clergy were required to swear allegiance to the British monarch, and became, in the words of the 1990 report of the Archbishop of Canterbury's Group on the Episcopate, "the first Anglican Province outside the British Isles". Today it is divided into nine provinces and has dioceses outside the U.S. in Taiwan, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Europe. The Episcopal Diocese of the Virgin Islands encompasses both American and British territory.

    In keeping with Anglican tradition and theology, the Episcopal Church considers itself a via media, or middle way, between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.

    The Episcopal Church was active in the Social Gospel movement of the late nineteenth century and since the 1960s and 1970s has played a leading role in the progressive movement and on related political issues. For example, in its resolutions on state issues the Episcopal Church has opposed the death penalty, and supported the civil rights movement and affirmative action. Some of its leaders and priests marched with civil rights demonstrators. Most dioceses ordain openly gay men and women; in some, same-sex unions are celebrated. However, on other issues such as abortion, the church has taken both sides of the debate.

    The Episcopal Church ordains women to the priesthood as well as the diaconate and the episcopate. The current Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church is Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first female primate in the Anglican Communion.

    Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the teachings of the sixteenth-century German Reformer Martin Luther. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation and, through the reactions of his contemporaries, left Western Christianity divided.

    The split between Lutherans and the Roman Church of his time arose mainly over the doctrine of justification before God. Specifically, Lutheranism advocates a doctrine of justification "by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone," which varied from the Roman view of "faith formed by love", or "faith and works". Lutheranism is also distinct from the Reformed Churches, which arose during the Reformation. Unlike the Reformed Churches, Lutherans have retained many of the sacramental understandings and liturgical practices of the pre-Reformation Church. Lutheran theology differs considerably from Reformed theology in its understanding of grace and predestination to eternity after death.

    Today, millions belong to Lutheran churches worldwide; furthermore, the world's 400 million Protestant Christians can trace their tradition, at least in part, back to Luther's reforming work.

    :angel: :angel: :angel: :angel: :angel:
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2009
  3. Anoetos

    Anoetos Guest

    In the US the main difference is in polity. Lutherans may have administrators they call Bishops but the office is elected and not necessarily permanent.

    Also the government of the American Lutheran Churches is generally some variety of "presbygationalism" the local congregation owns the property and is volunatarily associated with the larger denominational body.

    Also, Lutherans are generally tighter on the Sacraments, we only have two and we always only have two, Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Our doctrine about the sacraments is also more uniform.

    Lutheran theology has certain focal points which may seem strange to an Anglican. Law and Gospel, Theology of Grace vs. Theology of Glory, etc. In general, Lutheran theology is a matter of contrasts and in some cases paradoxes, there can be a marked resistance to scholasticism in favor of what can, when corrupted, be reduced to a kind of blank fideism. In most cases it is held in a warm balance with a certain restrained and biblically oriented piety.

    There is a lot more of course. There are places where Lutheranism and Anglicanism can look remarkably similar but I tend to think these are just similarities in packaging: both churches are liturgical and place a high value on history etc.

    Admittedly, I come from a more conservative perspective. Other mileage may vary.

    Interesting historical sidenote:

    Cranmer was very interested in Lutheranism and it has been suggested that England was, at one time, during the reign of Henry VIII within an ace of adopting the Augsburg Confession.
  4. GBTWC

    GBTWC God bless the Working class

    Eastern Orthodox
    do they both Have closed communion?
  5. bbbbbbb

    bbbbbbb Guest

    The answer is yes and no. Depending on the specific denomination communion can be closed and in some cases it can be open. Most conservative Lutheran denominations practice close communion, which is basically restricted to Lutherans of any Lutheran denomination.
  6. Aibrean

    Aibrean Honest. Maybe too Honest.

    ELCA is open. WELS/LCMS/ELC/etc are closed. And no, it's not restricted to Lutherans of any Lutheran denomination, it's restricted to those who are in fellowship. WELS can't commune with LCMS and vice-versa.
  7. bbbbbbb

    bbbbbbb Guest

    Thanks for the clarification. I think the Episcopal Church in America is open, based on my own experience at one service, but other Anglican bodies might be more restrictive.
  8. Aibrean

    Aibrean Honest. Maybe too Honest.

    A lot varies from church to church. I've been to 2 LCMS. My old church practiced close communion - you had to believe the same theological premise and be baptized. The new one I go to, you have to be a communicant member of LCMS.
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