How to spot the difference between a "Confessional" Lutheran and an "Evangelical Catholic" Lutheran

Fr Fenton has a very interesting post over on his Conversi ad Dominum page. I believe his suggestions for Lutheran engagement in dialogue with Orthodox are equally relevant to Lutheran engagement with Catholics in dialogue. For that matter, they are relevant for engagement of anyone in dialogue. Bottom line? If A and B want to dialogue, it is not helpful to start with an “A vs. B” approach to begin with.

But I was intrigued by his mention of the Augustana Ministerium, and his comment that most members

would identify themselves as either “confessional Lutherans” or “evangelical catholics”–or both.

I am intrigued. How does a “confessional” Lutheran differ from an “evangelical catholic” one? And more over, what does it mean to be one but not the other, or (alternatively) both at the same time?

I never reflected on it much when I was a Lutheran. There was a time when I fully owned the “confessional” tag–but became a little uncomfortable with that label after a while and adopted “evangelical catholic”. Here’s how I understand the two terms.

1) A “Confessional” Lutheran is a Lutheran whose entire theology is constructed through the lense and seive of the Lutheran Confessions. Of course, the Scriptures alone are the only infallible source of all doctrine (the “norma non normata“, that is the “un-normed norm” or the “norm which is not measured against any other norm”), because the Confessions say so. But the 16th Century writings gathered together in the 1580 Book of Concord (otherwise known as “The Confessions”) are the ultimate benchmark for interpreting any interpretation of scripture or ecclesiastical tradition (although they remain the “norma normata“, that is the “normed norm” or the “norm for all teaching measured against no other norm except the Scriptures”).

Stick with me if you have followed me this far. The other thing about Confessional Lutherans is that they are quite convinced (with good reason) that there is no other honest way of being Lutheran. To be Lutheran is to be a Confessional Lutheran. If you do not teach according to the Confessions, you are by definition not a real Lutheran. In the end (and I don’t want to be unfair here) this can lead to the strange situation where being “confessional” is all about being authentically Lutheran, rather than about seeking that which is universally true.

2) An “evangelical catholic” Lutheran on the other hand is one who is convinced that the Reformation was right in its fundamental proclamation of the gospel (as summarised by the four “solas”: Christ alone, faith alone, grace alone and scripture alone). However, they also hold in high regard the teachings of the Church Fathers and the traditions of the pre-Reformation Church–sometimes also the traditions of the present day Catholic Church. Evangelical Catholics believe that the reformation was a “tragic necessity” to return the Church to the truth of the Gospel, but believe that only those doctrines and practices in the Catholic tradition which contradict the Lutheran doctrine of justification (“the article upon which the Church stands or falls”) are to be rejected–the rest can be accepted or reinterpreted as necessary. Evangelical Catholics see themselves as a bridge and a via media between two camps (Roman Catholic and Reformed Evangelical): authentically evangelical and authentically catholic.

Now often there is overlap between these two camps. In fact, rarely will you find an Evangelical Catholic Lutheran who does not have a high regard for the Lutheran Confessions. However, over time, the Evangelical Catholic gradually finds himself attempting to do a bit of a “John Henry Newman”/”Tract 90” job on the Lutheran confessions. He finds himself reinterpreting the “norma normata” not only against the Scriptures, but also against the Catholic Tradition. In other words, he begins to slip from the sure and certain ground of confessional Lutheranism (which in its modesty only ever claimed to be certain about what it was to be authentically Lutheran) and begins to ask what it is to be authentically catholic. [For some reason, the question rarely frames itself in terms of what it is to be authentically evangelical.]

He then finds (as Past Elder pointed out recently in the comments) that it is very difficult to be authentically small-c catholic without actually being big-C Catholic. And once he reaches this point he is on the slippery slope downhill to full blown Roman Catholicism. It is well known that few who describe themselves as “Confessional” Lutherans have entered into full communion with the Bishop of Rome. Guided solely by the Lutheran Confessions (interpreted with the backup help of scripture) they know Rome’s errors too well to fall for its tricks.

On the other hand, just about every Lutheran convert to the Catholic faith was at some time a self-professed “Evangelical Catholic”. As with the Anglo-Catholics, Evangelical Catholics will only ever be secure in the Lutheran Church so long as they remain convinced Confessional Lutherans at the same time. This itself remains difficult, however, because they have already conceded another norm as well as the norm of Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, namely the Catholic Tradition. And it does not take long for him to realise that his order of authority has shifted from Scripture-Confessions-Tradition to Scripture-Tradition-Confessions. And when this happens he finally realises that the disjunction between the witness of the Tradition and the witness of the Confessions to the apostolic faith is simply too great to be sustained.

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8 Responses to How to spot the difference between a "Confessional" Lutheran and an "Evangelical Catholic" Lutheran

  1. William Weedon says:


    You are an evil person. ;) You always tempt me to respond BEFORE my prayers. But I’m not going to do it – MUCH. Just a germ of a thought that I’ve been pondering lately:

    The unity of the two is this: the catholic principle is used in regard to Church practices; the Scriptural principle is used in regard to Church dogma. That is a way of safe-guarding both the once for all “faith delivered to the saints” and recognition of the Holy Spirit’s leading the people of God to live fully in the new life and to benefit from those whose pilgrimages have already concluded.

    Now, before I say another word to a fellow pilgrim, time to pray!!!

  2. Schütz says:

    Dear me, no, that can’t be right, Pastor. What sort of sense would that make of “lex supplicandi legem statuat credendi” (or more popularly “lex orandi, lex credendi”)? Can Church practice be so neatly dissociated from Church Dogma?

    I know that such things are not unknown in Lutheranism (which regards, for eg., church governance as a matter of adiaphora), but surely such a division cannot be right? For instance, although you may say that Church dogmas cannot be based on Catholic Tradition alone, surely on the other hand there are church practices that are based on Scripture (the most obvious being the sacraments)?

    And are there really not teachings in the Lutheran Church that are based on sacred tradition alone? For instance, it is a teaching of the Church that holy matrimony limits a person to one spouse only–ie. polygamy is out. You would not disagree with this, surely? (or do you side with Br Martin on this one)? Yet it is not a doctrine to be found in scripture.

    No, there must be a better explanation for the unity of the two than the one you have suggested. Best include the matter in those prayers, I reckon.

  3. William Weedon says:


    A friend send me today the fine response he offered to this matter published a few years back in Lutheran Forum. It might provide some interest also – and seems to track along similar lines.



    Lutheran Forum 39.4(Winter 2005): 20-24

    In the Winter 2004 and Spring 2005 issues of Lutheran Forum Charles Hogg argued that
    Lutherans (or at least the evangelical-catholic sort of Lutherans) should take a more traditional
    approach to the perpetual virginity of Mary. Hogg surveyed the teaching of the ancient Church,
    the Lutheran Confessions and early theologians, and the modern Lutheran churches to
    demonstrate that contemporary Lutheranism is proclaiming a novum by insisting that Mary’s
    perpetual virginity is an open question. The main culprit for this innovation, in Hogg’s view, is
    the elevation of the “Biblical principle” at the expense of the “catholic principle.” In this essay I
    wish to define these principles more fully and elucidate their proper relationship for the
    theological life of the Church of the Augsburg Confession.
    Hogg identifies two principles used by the early theologians of the Lutheran Reformation
    for deciding doctrine: the Biblical principle and the catholic principle.
    Under the Biblical principle, Scripture is the foundation for any and all teaching in the
    Church. The tradition of church councils, creeds, and fathers can serve as witnesses to
    the Biblical faith, but the Word of God alone establishes dogma. Under the catholic
    principle, the faith is handed down through the councils, creeds, and fathers of the
    Church. The Scriptures serve to weed out any errors transmitted through history, but
    what they do not explicitly reject is to be accepted. (Christmass/Winter 2004, p. 20)

    This Biblical principle is Hogg’s reformulation of what is usually termed the sola Scriptura
    principle. Scripture alone serves as the foundation for our doctrine. But Hogg wants to avoid
    saying that Scripture is the sole source of our doctrine for two reasons. First, because this is not
    strictly the formulation of the Lutheran Confessions – rather the Scriptures are called the pure
    source and sole norm (FC SD Rule and Norm 3) of our doctrine. Second, because Hogg sees
    tradition as a source for dogma as well. After quoting Luther’s defense of the Real Presence,
    which was based on the fact that nothing “that is against the unanimous testimony, belief, and
    doctrine of the entire holy Christian Church” ought to be believed, Hogg writes,
    Here tradition, not Scripture, plays the role of source; Scripture serves the role of
    limiting the witness of tradition. It is not clear how one can harmonize this statement
    with the above citation from the Smalcald Articles (II.II.15). (Christmass/Winter 2004,
    p. 20)

    The citation from Luther’s Smalcald Articles that Hogg mentions is as follows,
    For it will not do to frame articles of faith from the works or words of the holy Fathers;
    otherwise their kind of fare, of garments, of house, etc., would have to become an
    article of faith, as was done with relics. [We have, however another rule, namely] The
    rule is: The Word of God shall establish articles of faith, and no one else, not even an
    angel. (as quoted by Hogg, Christmass/Winter 2004, p. 19)

    How does one reconcile Luther’s two statements? How can Luther at one point rely on the
    Fathers to establish the Real Presence and then seemingly reject such reliance outright? Can the
    Biblical and catholic principles be harmonized to provide concrete guidance for the Church or
    are they doomed to exist in the “tension” identified by Hogg that seems inevitably to lead to an
    unsavory resolution: either Gerhard’s biblicism (the path of much of modern conservative
    Lutheranism) or a conversion to one of the camps of traditionalism (e.g. Neuhaus, Pelikan,
    Klein, and Hogg himself who recently resigned from the LCMS ministerium and is now in the
    lay estate of Eastern Orthodoxy)?
    While I agree with Hogg’s identification of the two poles of Lutheran dogmatic thinking
    – Scripture and tradition – I think he has made an error in his definition of the scope of the
    catholic principle. In our discussions of Scripture, tradition, and dogma, Hogg wishes to leave
    room for tradition as a source. But the question must be asked: a source of what? Hogg seems to
    say that tradition is a source of dogma qua dogma. If this is the case, then Luther’s comments
    above do indeed seem to conflict and we are left with an uneasy relationship between Scripture
    and tradition. But I contend that tradition is not a source of dogma qua dogma at all; rather, it is
    the source of apostolic interpretation which norms our interpretation of the apostolic Scriptures.
    Under Hogg’s program we have two sources of dogma, one pure and one impure. The
    pure source, Scripture, norms the impure source, tradition.
    The Formula’s way of speaking left some room for the idea of the catholic principle,
    with creeds, councils and fathers serving as sources (albeit impure) which could then
    be normed by Scripture. (Christmass/Winter 2004, p. 21)

    But since both are valid sources of dogma, the dogmas garnered from the impure source,
    tradition, are to be believed so long as they are not explicitly rejected by the pure source. This
    gives us an insoluble epistemological problem that leads to the false dichotomy between the
    biblicism of Protestantism and the traditionalism of Rome and Constantinople. The problem is
    this: what is one to do in the case that tradition, as the impure source of dogma, hands down a
    dogma that can neither be explicitly rejected nor approved by Scripture? Under Hogg’s program,
    that dogma is to be believed because it is not explicitly rejected by the pure source and sole
    norm. However, since tradition is admittedly an impure source of dogma, how can I be certain
    that it is true? It is this question that leads Fundamentalists to a strict biblicism, Neuhaus to the
    treasury of the heart of Peter, and Hogg to the East.
    But the question need never be asked because it is based on a false notion, namely, that
    tradition is a source of dogma qua dogma. It is not. Rather, tradition is the source of
    interpretation. Thus the two principles proceed not simultaneously but one after another. The
    Biblical principle establishes where dogma is to be found (the source), the catholic principle
    establishes how that source is to be interpreted (the hermeneutic).
    Some might argue that this is a distinction without a difference: if tradition tells us how to
    interpret the Bible then it certainly tells us our dogma. Perhaps the following thought experiment
    will help dispel that notion. Imagine, if you will, that from time immemorial the Church had
    taught that all chickens are left-handed. This could not be explicitly contradicted by appeal to the
    Scriptures. However, it ought to be rejected anyway because the holders of the apostolic office
    have no right to establish doctrine apart from the apostolic Scriptures. This is Rome’s error and a
    caricature of the true catholic principle. Furthermore, this is what Luther is rejecting in the
    Smalcald Articles citation from above: the Fathers cannot frame a new doctrine out of whole
    cloth. On the other hand, in his defense of the Real Presence based on the witness of the Fathers,
    Luther is upholding the fact that the testimony of the Church norms our interpretation of
    Scripture. It is not that the Fathers have always held to an invented dogma called “the Real
    Presence” but rather that the
    unanimous testimony of the Church has always held that Matthew
    26:26-28 means what it says and ought to be interpreted in a certain way.
    Thus the catholic principle is the foundational principle of hermeneutics, not dogmatics.
    This protects us from innovation and the great tyranny of biblicism which makes each man a
    pope. Therefore I propose the following refinement of Hogg’s definition of the catholic principle:
    the apostolic interpretation of the apostolic Scriptures is handed down through the councils,
    creeds, and testimonies of the Fathers, the holders of the apostolic office, and no interpretation of
    a given passage that contradicts their unified voice should be received in the Church. It was just
    this ancient and catholic interpretation of the apostolic Scriptures that the Lutheran Reformation
    sought to reclaim – and it explains why the Catalogue of Testimonies was thought to be a
    necessary addendum to the Book of Concord. It also lends support to Hogg’s conclusions
    regarding the perpetual virginity of Mary. The Church has always interpreted Matt. 1:25 and
    Rev. 12:1-6 in a certain way: namely, that Mary was always a virgin. Any interpretation of these
    passages that contradicts this unanimous testimony should be looked on with skepticism.1
    Thus, for Lutherans, the catholic principle should norm our interpretive efforts while the
    Scriptures themselves norm all our dogma. It should also be noted that, in a way similar to
    Hogg’s program, the perspicuity of the Scriptures reins in the fanciful interpretations one can find
    in the history of the Church. Furthermore, the great depth and breadth of the testimony of the
    Church first helps weed these out on the basis of the catholic principle itself: the point is not how
    Augustine or Chrysostom interpreted a given passage, but how that passage has been received by
    the entire Church catholic. This, of course, requires that we continually stay in contact with the
    whole catholic tradition.
    This last statement raises a question of its own: what is the catholic tradition? Luther
    mentioned the “unanimous testimony, belief, and doctrine of the entire holy Christian Church” as
    the first standard. If such testimony can be unanimous, it must be made up of parts. There is not a
    single source of tradition here as there can be in a post-Vatican I Romanism where an infallible
    pope can declare valid or invalid this or that tradition. So where is the “testimony, belief, and
    doctrine” of the Church to be found? Surely, the great councils of the pre-schism Church must
    hold pride of place. These give witness to the unanimous testimony of the whole Church in
    regard to how Scripture should be understood on vital topics – and that is why the Lutheran

    Even Francis Pieper, who is often accused of over-emphasizing the Biblical principle at the expense of the catholic
    principle, could say, “If the Christology of a theologian is orthodox in all other respects, he is not to be regarded as
    a heretic for holding that Mary bore other children in a natural manner after she had given birth to the Son of God.”
    (Christian Dogmatics, II.308) The emphasis is added to highlight the fact that for Pieper the semper virgo is the
    default orthodox setting.

    Confessions refer to them2 in defense of their own teaching, especially in the area of Christology.
    In second place come the writings of the great holders of the apostolic office who are recognized
    by those same councils as orthodox – thus, quotations from the Fathers abound in the
    Confessions (see the introduction to the AC above and its statement about knowing the teachings
    of the Church “from her writers”) and early Lutheran theologians. In a parallel position to the
    orthodox Fathers comes the catholic liturgy. When these are unanimous in their understanding of
    Scripture, the Church of the Augsburg Confession lines up behind them happily and thankfully
    to receive what they hand down. Where these agree, no innovation dare be allowed.
    But what of where the tradition is mixed? We might contend that councils should be
    given precedence over individual theologians, but even then there are a host of issues to which
    the early and recognized councils do not directly speak: purgatory, invocation of the saints, the
    particularities of justification and free will – just to name three of special importance to the
    Lutheran Reformation. Better then to keep a few principles in mind. First, we should not run
    back to a lowest common denominator solution such as those proposed by Calixtus (the
    consensus of the first five centuries) or the so-called Vincentian canon (that which has been
    believed by everyone, everywhere, for all time). These approaches, while at first attractive, fail
    in one very important regard: they ignore the fact of the development of understanding
    throughout Church history. Indeed, it was just such a lowest common denominator theory that
    motivated the middle party, the Semi-Arians, at the Council of Nicea. They advocated a formula,
    the Son is homoiousios with the Father, which would have allowed them to receive all the
    contradictory opinions of Fathers past. But contradiction or forced compromise on such issues
    cannot be allowed. There come times in the Church’s life when the Church must forge a renewed

    E.g. FC SD VIII.18, 59; Tr 12-19. It should be emphasized that in the medieval Western Church in general, and in
    early Lutheranism in particular, the first four ecumenical councils held pride of place among the seven.
    and pure confession on a given doctrine. That time for the eternity and consubstantiality of the
    Son was at Nicea in 325, for the consubstantiality of the Spirit at Constantinople in 381, for the
    personal union of Christ at Chalcedon in 451, and so on.
    I would contend that such a time in the Church’s life came for the doctrine of justification
    by faith (and its corollaries like purgatory, merit of the saints, and so on) in the sixteenth century.
    The plain truth is that the ecumenical councils do not deal with this teaching in anything
    approaching a detailed manner and the good and otherwise orthodox Fathers are divided. This
    contradiction could not stand, and neither could a lowest common denominator compromise. A
    Confession had to be made. The Lutheran Confessors made it utilizing the Biblical and catholic
    principles. Namely, their doctrine of justification was not a novelty in the Church. It could
    indeed be found in the orthodox Fathers – no doubt, alongside other less than adequate
    interpretations. These interpretations where then washed through the filter of the perspicuous
    Scriptures and one was left standing: see AC IV for the results.
    Innovation is the enemy of orthodoxy – and lest I be charged with that as well, I should
    say that what I am claiming as the catholic principle is nothing new. Chemnitz clearly delineates
    this in the Examen during his discussion of the various sorts of tradition. Eight genera of
    tradition are identified by Chemnitz and only the last sort “which pertain[s] both to faith and
    morals and which cannot be proved with any testimony of Scripture but which the Synod of
    Trent nevertheless commands to be received and venerated with the same reverence and
    devotion as the Scripture itself” is rejected (Examen I.2.8.2 as translated by Preus). The fourth
    type of tradition that Chemnitz accepts relates to the traditional interpretation of Scripture.
    These traditional understandings serve as the basis for approaching the Scripture which, in its
    turn, validates those understandings by its perspicuity.
    The fourth kind of traditions is concerning the exposition, the true sense, or natural
    meaning of the Scripture. . . . [This] ancient tradition of the apostolic and primitive
    church concerning the interpretation of the Scripture did not lead people away from the
    Scripture and did not, in the interpretation, fashion any dogmas outside of and beyond
    the Scripture which cannot be proved by any testimony of Scripture but that the sound
    sense of the Scripture was established and taken from the Scriptures themselves and
    according to the Scriptures. 4 Also this pertains chiefly to the apostolic traditions
    concerning interpretation, which Irenaeus and Tertullian relate and describe when they
    appeal in the matter of the truth of certain interpretations to the tradition of the apostles,
    which had until then been preserved pure in the churches. They tell and describe what
    this tradition is, namely, the symbol or rule of faith whose words we have copied under
    the third kind of traditions. Nothing is found there without, outside of, and beyond the
    Scripture, but as Irenaeus says of the traditions of Polycarp: “All things are in harmony
    with the Scriptures.”
    5 These genuine, ancient, and true traditions of the apostles we embrace with deepest
    reverence. (Examen I.2.4.1, 3-5, emphasis added)

    Thus, just as described above, the two poles or principles of evangelical-catholic theology
    complement each other. The Scriptures are received in the Church along with the traditional
    apostolic interpretation of those Scriptures. This rule of faith guides and norms our interpretation
    of Scripture which in its turn validates the truth of the traditional interpretation.
    All this is to say that the Bible is the Church’s Book and that it cannot be understood or
    interpreted rightly outside the Church and neither can the Church stand apart from God’s Word.
    To many modern conservative Lutheran ears this sounds just a bit too Romanist. Yet that this is
    the truly Lutheran teaching cannot be doubted when one considers what Lutherans have said
    about the canon of Scripture.
    We have been speaking of the Biblical principle for a while now without answering a
    question that term implies: what is the Bible? The Christian Scriptures are a collection of several
    different books. This collection developed over time, if for no other reason than that the
    individual books were written at different times. But beyond this simple fact, there is the
    complicated and intriguing story of the development of the canon. This question has troubled
    many a biblicist: why did James make it, but not 1 Clement? How can I be sure that I have all the
    right books?
    The traditionalist Romanists answered this question definitively by the authority of the
    bishops and dogmatically declared the canon of Scripture at Trent. The biblicist Calvinists,
    relying on their notions of Divine providence to sweep any troubling questions about the
    formation of the canon, also promulgate a canon in their confessional writings like the Helvetic,
    Belgic, and Westminster Confessions. But the Lutherans are different. No canon can be found
    listed in the Book of Concord. Why?
    If the Calvinists were a-historical Christians – utilizing Divine providence as an excuse to
    ignore the historical facts – and the Romanists super-historical Christians – vesting the power to
    resolve an historical dilemma in the hands of a contemporary pope – the Lutherans are historical
    Christians taking the information that the Church handed down concerning the canon and
    accepting it. So, the Lutherans take seriously the doubt expressed by the early Church about the
    apostolicity of seven of the books in the New Testament (the antilegomena books: James, Jude, 2
    Peter, 2 and 3 John, Jude, Hebrews, Revelation) and refuse to give them strictly equal status with
    the twenty sure and certain homolegoumena books of the New Testament (see Luther’s Prefaces
    to these books; Chemnitz Examen I,192; and Pieper, Christian Dogmatics III.330-338).
    Likewise, Lutherans express grave doubts about the Greek portions of the Old Testament
    (“apocryphal” or “deutero-canonical” books) yet encourage their reading and even quote one of
    them (2 Macc.) as “Scripture” in their confessional writings (Ap. XXI.8-9; see also Ap. IV.156ff.
    where Tobit is not explicitly called “Scripture” but is used in a theological argument as any other
    passage of Scripture would be without hinting that it might be dubious).
    As it is with determining what books should make up the Bible, so it is in interpreting the
    Bible. The tradition of the Church cannot be ignored or trumped by modern theologians. The
    tradition of the Church is our only link to the apostolic Scriptures – the Church handed them
    down to us and they also handed down their interpretation. Recognizing this fact is the
    foundation to understanding hermeneutics and the proper interplay between the Biblical and
    catholic principles.
    In his proposed solution to the seeming contradiction between Paul and James on the
    matter of justification by faith, Luther famously said that while we are justified by faith alone,
    faith itself is never alone but is always accompanied by a renewed life. As it is with the sola fide
    so it is with the sola Scriptura. The Scriptures are indeed the only foundation for articles of faith
    (dogma) as Luther said in the Smalcald Articles. But these Scriptures are never alone – they are
    handed down to us in the Church along with their proper interpretation (hermeneutic). Or put
    another way: to have individual access to the Scriptures – one of the great legacies of Luther –
    does not mean that we have independent access to them. We cannot separate the Church from the
    Church’s Book.
    To jettison the sola Scriptura is to enshrine the power to define dogma in a source other
    than the sure Word of God. This is a deadly danger and it is what the Church of the Augsburg
    Confession has been warning Rome and the East about for half a millennium now. But the
    opposite error is equally deadly. To ignore the catholic principle is to become another sect of
    would-be popes, every man interpreting the Scriptures as his mood fits him. The answer for the
    Church of the Augsburg Confession, and for the Church catholic, is to uphold the Scriptures as
    the only foundation for doctrine and the tradition of the Church as our source for the
    interpretation of that perspicuous Scripture. When we do this we shall begin to recover more
    fully our evangelical and catholic heritage.

  4. Christine says:

    This is the dilemma that noted Lutheran Carl Braaten has wrestled with.

  5. Past Elder says:

    Point of order:

    I did NOT say in the comments it is difficult to be small c catholic without being big c Catholic.

    I said I used to believe — used to believe — one cannot be truly and fully Catholic unless one is Catholic.

    I do not believe that now, and am grateful to be catholic at last and not just Catholic.

    Prayer? It’s getting to where I’m not only going to have to pray but fast to deal with NewChurch newspeak.

  6. Past Elder says:

    sorry, meant small c: I used to believe one cannot be truly catholic unless one is Catholic.

    I remember reading a volume called Apostolic Fathers, wondering how could these guys (it was in part edited by some of the guys at our ecumenical center, including protestants) read this stuff and not be Catholic.

    Unglaublich. Maybe I’ll skip lunch and call it a partial fast.

  7. William Weedon says:


    I blogged a tad about it on my blog. This is the concluding paragraph:

    Now, my internet buddy and Roman Catholic correspondant, David Schütz has noted that the approach I suggest above leads to a breakdown of the equation “lex orandi, lex credendi.” Perhaps so; but it appears to me that what I am proposing actually follows along the lines laid down by Pope Pius XII in his encyclical of 1947 on the sacred liturgy (Mediator Dei). There he insisted that lex orandi, lex credendi can and must also be inverted: “Lex credendi legem statuat supplicandi” – “let the rule of belief determine the rule of prayer.” Obviously, as Lutheran, I think Pius XII was quite correct.

  8. Past Elder says:

    The article Pastor has contributed seems to me to be what I would say if I had the time, talent and ability (all three of which I lack) to do so, an excellent statement of how the Biblical and Catholic “principles” operate for Lutherans.

    I see no dilemna in it at all, neither a breakdown of lex orandi lex credendi, and Pius XII I agree was quite right on this point. Apparently I have followed the opposite course described in option two, evangelical catholic Lutheran, starting from where it is maintained they end and ending where it is maintained they start.

    Speaking of him, I remember when he died, listening to the news on the radio — no cable or CNN back then — wondering what will happen now (I had never been through the death of a pope before) and my Methodist convert dad coming in the room to pray the Our Father with me, in Latin. Clear as if it were last night. Considering what did in fact happen — a lunatic pope, a renegade council, Montini, apostate documents and liturgy — I can understand though not agree with those who hold Pius XII to be the last valid pope to date (sedevacantists — from the phrase sede vacante, the chair (of Peter) vacant.

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