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Exploring the Lutheran Faith

Discussion in 'Theologia Crucis - Lutherans' started by LaBèlla, Mar 26, 2019.

  1. LaBèlla

    LaBèlla ❣️ His little lady ❣️ Supporter

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    I am exploring the Lutheran faith as a possible path for myself. I'm familiar with a few tenets of the LCMS and sense it would be an ideal fit. However, there is much to learn and I'd appreciate pointers on the topics I should consider. Books and other resources are welcome.

    Also, does the LCMS have a presence overseas? In particular, London and Paris? Thank you.
     
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  2. tampasteve

    tampasteve Lutheran Messianic Staff Member Purple Team - Moderator Supporter

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    Honestly, the best place to start is the Book of Concord. This is the foundation document of any confessional Lutheran church. This book includes the Augsburg Confession, Luther's Large Catechism, etc. and explains in detail the Lutheran positions on many subjects. As it is an early document (for Lutherans) there has been some theological development over time, but it is still a perfect place to start.

    Topics to consider....are you thinking more social, theological, etc.? The Lutheran church has a rich tradition of Theological thinking, so there is a lot of content on that end. Aside from that, the different Lutheran bodies hold different positions on social positions, and that affects their theology as well. Also, some Lutheran church are episcopal in polity, while some are congregational, or a mix. Then there is the question of churchmanship, some are high church, some low, most in the middle - but generalities can be made depending on the group (LCMS, WELS, ELCA, etc.).

    Not a lot. A list of churches they have a Altar and Pulpit fellowship with can be found here:
    LCMS Partner Church Bodies - The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

    I do not see a presence in Paris, but they are in fellowship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of England. They have two parishes in London:
    Congregations
     
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  3. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    While true, that's a steep hill to climb. Maybe start with something simpler:
    * Luther's Small Catchechism
    * Why I Am a Lutheran

    Further, ask some questions here. What do you want to know? (And don't say "everthing". We'll need to narrow it down a bit.)
     
  4. Ttalkkugjil

    Ttalkkugjil Spiritual Director

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    Welcome to the exploration LaBella. I'm almost a Lutheran myself. I use a Catechism app and a Lutheran devotions app. I'm also a very faithful listener to Lutheran Public Radio. I'd attend a Lutheran church, but there are no English-speaking congregations in my area.
     
  5. tampasteve

    tampasteve Lutheran Messianic Staff Member Purple Team - Moderator Supporter

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    Good point, those are good places to start too. However, the OP is fairly experienced in different faith traditions, I think she'll do well even with starting at something more in depth. :)
     
  6. Brigid63

    Brigid63 Traditional Lutheran/AngloCatholic

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    In my opinion, if you're strapped for time, to read the Sm. Catechism and the Augsburg Confession. They're both on this site in the Lutheran Confessions. Otherwise, I'd read the Lg Catechism, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession and all other parts of the Book of Concord: Welcome to the Book of Concord
     
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  7. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    Is this where we start "You know you're Lutheran when ..."?

    You know you're Lutheran when you ask a friend, "What does this mean?" and follow his reply with, "This is most certainly true."
     
  8. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    There is an ILC-affiliated church in France and Belgium. I suspect they are very small.

    Historically, France was much more Reformed and there is more of a Reformed presence in France today as a result. The few Lutherans tend to be along the Rhine, and tend to be more liberal and are part of the unified national Protestant church.
     
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  9. LaBèlla

    LaBèlla ❣️ His little lady ❣️ Supporter

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    Thank you for the recommendations and kind words. I don't mind something meaty. My primary concerns are sound doctrine and morality. I don't expect perfection but a secular church is not an option.

    I prefer a gospel centered body. If we align ourselves with God we'll address the social and faith issues in their right proportion. Socially driven institutions (in the USA) are becoming increasingly political and more liberal. And for us, that usually means leaven will follow.

    By Episcopal do you mean the Episcopal church? How do the LCMS and WELS differ in practice and worship?

    Thank you for the links. Is the ELCE conservative, liberal or in the middle?
     
  10. LaBèlla

    LaBèlla ❣️ His little lady ❣️ Supporter

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    Thank you for the links.

    As for my question, how has Lutheranism impacted your person and relationship with God? Why is it the right path for you?
     
  11. LaBèlla

    LaBèlla ❣️ His little lady ❣️ Supporter

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    Which apps are you using? Are there others you'd recommend? I'm on iOS.

    Is the radio station accessible through the Internet or a local channel you listen to?
     
  12. LaBèlla

    LaBèlla ❣️ His little lady ❣️ Supporter

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    I'm not strapped for time but I think I'll start with the shorter documents to gain insight on the topic and follow with the longer ones.
     
  13. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    As was recently discussed on WWMC, those labels aren't all that helpful. The LCMS, WELS, and ELCA all have different traditions of how they interpret the Lutheran confessions. The LCMS is descended from religious refugees who rejected the union of Protestant churches in Germany- they are picky about doctrine. ELCA is descended from Scandinavian and German pietists, primarily, and has an ethos similar to Methodism in some ways. I don't know much about WELS although they seem to be highly insular and fundamentalist, women don't vote in the church council, etc.
     
  14. LaBèlla

    LaBèlla ❣️ His little lady ❣️ Supporter

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    Thank you for your insight. Reformed churches are not an option. I will pray about France.
     
  15. LaBèlla

    LaBèlla ❣️ His little lady ❣️ Supporter

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    Which branch are you most familiar with? What have been your experiences thus far?
     
  16. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My pastor actually grew up going to a Ukrainian Reformed church in rural New Jersey much of the time, because the Lutheran church was farther away. In fact that is where he was baptized. German and Continental Reformed churches actually are fairly close to Lutherans in terms of their ethos, they are different from Presbyterians or Baptists in Britain and the US. That is why I don't think you should completely write them off if those are your options in France.
     
  17. Ttalkkugjil

    Ttalkkugjil Spiritual Director

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    I use...

    Luther's Small Catechism by Concordia Publishing House.

    Lutheran Hour Ministries Devotions 3.1

    It's online at Issues, Etc. but I usually listen via the Lutheran Public Radio app.
     
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  18. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've been at this church about half a decade and I'm satisfied enough with it, though my congregation is more conservative that I myself am, but that's not a big deal, because I don't think we have to be on exactly the same page anyways. I ended up in this church through a long journey, as I grew up Methodist and spent time in the Anglican, Orthodox, and Episcopalian worlds. Reformation ELCA in Orlando is as close as I've come to a spiritual home in a long time.

    I'm only really very familiar with the ELCA but my pastor grew up in the LCMS and he knows folks in the LCMS. So I know some stuff about it, and occasionally I do read theology or sermons from LCMS pastors. Neither I nor my pastor agree with certain aspects of the LCMS approach to being Lutheran. But he gets along with them, more or less. Down here in the south there's less tension between various Lutheran groups. Perhaps because we are all surrounded by Baptists.

    I appreciate that the ELCA is liturgical and sacramental, and we generally have communion every week. It takes the more radical thought of Luther seriously, which is what attracted me in the first place, encountering Luther in an Orthodox context. Being in the ELCA has helped me to understand a Christian approach to ethics that is deeper and more comprehensive than what I found in the Episcopal Church or the Orthodox church.
     
  19. tampasteve

    tampasteve Lutheran Messianic Staff Member Purple Team - Moderator Supporter

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    I mean episcopal in polity/structure. In this case that means they have a Bishop, diocses, etc. Similar to the Catholic Church or the Anglican Churches (like the Episcopal Church), but not quite - but you get the idea about how a church as heirachy. That said, the ELCA is more modified, they have a head Bishop and Bishops over each diocese, but the congregations themselves have a lot of freedom in how they express the faith, choosing their pastor, and to how liberal or conservative they might be.
    Overall the ELCA is more liberal or middle, but each congregation has rights to decide in the end. For example, the denomination allows homosexual marriage, but each church decides if they will perform them. In general the ELCA is more conservative in the worship style, a typical service looks much like a Catholic Mass, which is in keeping with the history of the Lutheran Mass/Divine Service.
     
  20. LaBèlla

    LaBèlla ❣️ His little lady ❣️ Supporter

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    How would you describe the similarities mentioned? Would you consider them Calvinists?
     
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