Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Lutheran pastor in Australia calls Orthodoxy ‘Eastern-rite mainline’
He’s on the Missouri Synod side of Lutheranism, the good guys, not mainline.

Interesting. He wants something like the leaner, sounder church Pope Benedict is said to call for.

There are lots of Bad Orthodox, lots of badly/never-catechized Orthodox. Basically the same as Bad Roman Catholics (and Bad Greek Catholics). The church is part of the ethnic culture and while they don’t get their worldview from it (Roman Catholic apologists: can the Orthodox even teach a worldview?), rather taking that from secular culture, my guess is they expect the church to be the church. (So they don’t want to change the services or do the impossible like vote in women priests or gay weddings.)

Catholicism east and west is both confessional and big-tent. It has its set of teachings, non-negotiable, but it’s not a cult either. Lots of nominal/marginal people on a very long leash.

The Orthodox sellout on contraception is just like Protestants: they sound plausible and relatively conservative like ’50s mainliners and modern evangelicals. Paul VI stunk but he kept the faith on that.

The big questions are, thinking back to Adrian Fortescue’s attack on the ignorance of the Orthodox clergy, according to Venuleius... does Orthodoxy have the right stuff to keep it together doctrinally and liturgically whereas the mainline by its nature is fungible? (Despite Orthodoxy’s faults, Communism didn’t destroy it.) Is this communion of churches, little to do with each other but amazingly alike, and officially very conservative compared to the West, really fatally flawed ecclesiologically like Pastor Henderson and Roman Catholic apologists suggest, or is it just a case of, again, lots of Bad Orthodox? Can Orthodoxy go under the Pope without turning into above-average Novus Ordo like the Greek Catholics did?

The magisterium’s great; Roman Catholic moral theology’s the gold standard. But... why Vatican II and what it started? That can’t happen in Orthodoxy thanks to its disorganization. So... can the church have the best of both? Teaching church and grassroots traditionalism?

Reminds me: Owen once wrote that real Orthodoxy, old-country and ethnic, is like American East Coast big-city Roman Catholicism. Convertodoxy, the folks blogging about shopping at Whole Foods to keep the fasts, is... more like confessional Lutheranism, good and bad?

The big question for all Protestants is ‘On whose authority?’ That is, confessional Lutheranism just like the mainline is man-made.

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