Important Announcement

See here for an important message regarding the community which has become a read-only site as of October 31.

 
Post Reply
Page 1 of 2  •  1 2 Next
Switch to Forum Live View Lutheran vs. Roman Catholic
7 years ago  ::  Jun 29, 2010 - 12:01PM #1
steve123
Posts: 610

How would you answer questions from a seeker, truly seeking answers, regarding the differences between the Lutheran Church and the Roman Catholic Church.  Here are a few questions:


 


1. The Roman Church says that it is the visible church that Christ founded.


2. The RC says that it has apostolic succession directly from Christ to Peter and down the line to the current Pope. Was that succession broke with Martin Luther?


3. The RC says that its authority is based on tradition, sacred scripture and the teaching of the magisterium. The Lutheran church would say the bible is the sole authority. Who is right? What about Paul when he writes to obey the epistle and also the tradition?


4. The RC claims transubstantiation in their Masses. That the wafer and wine truly transform into the flesh and blood of the Lord. The Lutheran would say they believe in consubstantiation – that the Lord is truly present in the bread and wine, but doesn’t transform into the body and blood of the Lord.


5. The Roman Church’s Bible has the books of the Apocrypha as part of the cannon. Why doesn’t the Lutheran church?

Quick Reply
Cancel
7 years ago  ::  Jun 29, 2010 - 9:13PM #2
dearwatson
Posts: 168

1. The Roman Church says that it is the visible church that Christ founded.


Lutherans would say that the Catholic Church is not a false church in which there is truth,  but the true Church in which there is error in need of reform.


 


2. The RC says that it has apostolic succession directly from Christ to Peter and down the line to the current Pope. Was that succession broke with Martin Luther?


No.  Various Protestant states intentionally broke apostolic succession via the Pope in Rome.  Others retained it.  Additinally,  there were other Apostles than Peter from whom apostolic succession is available.  Finally, 'apostolic succession' can be argued to be holding the same faith as that of the Apostles,  making each believer capable of the same faith - a first shall be last and last shall be first example.


 


3. The RC says that its authority is based on tradition, sacred scripture and the teaching of the magisterium. The Lutheran church would say the bible is the sole authority. Who is right? What about Paul when he writes to obey the epistle and also the tradition?


Lutherans would say that tradition and the teaching of the Church is to be subject to scripture, not held in parallel.


4. The RC claims transubstantiation in their Masses. That the wafer and wine truly transform into the flesh and blood of the Lord. The Lutheran would say they believe in consubstantiation – that the Lord is truly present in the bread and wine, but doesn’t transform into the body and blood of the Lord.


Christ said that 'this is my body.'  The Catholic emphasis is on 'is.'  The Lutheran emphasis is on 'my.'  The Reformed emphasis is on 'body.' Thus,  President Clinton found precedent in the argument between Luther and Zwingli.


5. The Roman Church’s Bible has the books of the Apocrypha as part of the cannon. Why doesn’t the Lutheran church?


The Lutheran Church recognizes all the books held cannonical by the Council of Carthage.  It does not hold the Deuterocannonical books as such because they were not recognized by a council of the Church as a whole; but the difference in doctrine has ballanced out to be insubstantial whether or not II Mac. is included or not.

Quick Reply
Cancel
7 years ago  ::  Jun 29, 2010 - 10:43PM #3
WannabeTheo
Posts: 401

Jun 29, 2010 -- 12:01PM, steve123 wrote:


How would you answer questions from a seeker, truly seeking answers, regarding the differences between the Lutheran Church and the Roman Catholic Church.  Here are a few questions:


 


 


 


1. The Roman Church says that it is the visible church that Christ founded.


Well, I'm sure some other ancient institutions such as the Eastern Orthodox churches would disagree.  I think most protestants, Lutherans included, believe the Body of Christ to be spiritual and mystical as opposed to institutional.


 


2. The RC says that it has apostolic succession directly from Christ to Peter and down the line to the current Pope. Was that succession broke with Martin Luther?


There were certainly former Catholic bishops who joined with Luther.  But I think the important thing is that the doctrine of the apostles is taught by the church, not so much the laying on of hands b select individuals.  Teaching from the scriptures and the historic creeds is sufficient in my book.


 


3. The RC says that its authority is based on tradition, sacred scripture and the teaching of the magisterium. The Lutheran church would say the bible is the sole authority. Who is right? What about Paul when he writes to obey the epistle and also the tradition?


Well, certainly we accept some tradition, such as the historic creeds (Apostles', Nicene, Athanasian) and the writings collected in the Book of Concord.  But they are understood as interpreting scripture, e.g. the doctrine of the Trinity, not creating new doctrines, e.g. the immaculate conception and assumption of Mary.


 


4. The RC claims transubstantiation in their Masses. That the wafer and wine truly transform into the flesh and blood of the Lord. The Lutheran would say they believe in consubstantiation – that the Lord is truly present in the bread and wine, but doesn’t transform into the body and blood of the Lord.


The RC teaches that the host is no longer bread at all; they actually venerate the host, meaning they will bow down and worship the consecrated host.  The Lutheran belief is that the bread and wine remain bread and wine, but in the eating and drinking of the elements we receive the body and blood of our Lord, and the attendant promises: 'for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins' (Matthew 26:28); 'Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.' (John 6:54-56)  I think it is very Lutheran to cling to the promises and not try to explain the mechanisms.


 


5. The Roman Church’s Bible has the books of the Apocrypha as part of the cannon. Why doesn’t the Lutheran church?


I think we should.  If we took a vote, I'd vote to include them.  I wish we would use the lectionary which includes the deuterocanonical books.  I am especially fond of the wisdom books, Wisdom and Sirach.





Quick Reply
Cancel
7 years ago  ::  Jun 30, 2010 - 11:44AM #4
steve123
Posts: 610

THanks for the replies.  The reason I ask these questions is because I feel like I am at a crossroads.  I've been meeting with a priest to discuss the RCC.  I am drawn to the social teachings of the church and the rich history.  However there are hurdles (like the ones I have mentioned in the OP) that I just can't seem to look past.  I am almost beginning to think - Here I stand I can do no other......

Quick Reply
Cancel
7 years ago  ::  Jul 04, 2010 - 1:53PM #5
WannabeTheo
Posts: 401

I too admire much about the RCC, including its rich intellectual tradition and heritage of spiritual practices.  In many ways I feel much closer to the RCC than some protestant churches, especially those of the Anabaptist tradition.


However, I'm surprised that none of your questions dealt with the Catholic beliefs about Mary.  I'm fine with honoring her, but I've been reading the Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin by Louis de Montfort, and I would have to say that I cannot accept much of the teaching.  Here is a link to the treatise:


www.ewtn.com/library/Montfort/TRUEDEVO.H...


This treatise appears to have the RCC's approval, but I'm not sure how representative it is of Catholic beliefs.  But if I were considering a move to the RCC, I would think twice after reading Monfort's treatise.

Quick Reply
Cancel
7 years ago  ::  Jul 04, 2010 - 3:09PM #6
R._c._lee
Posts: 24

Raised in the Lutheran Church, I too find the Roman Catholic (and from what I've gathered Eastern Orthodox) teachings about Mary to be troubling, mostly because I cannot find any Biblical grounding for them. Much as I admire Catholic intellectuals, including Thomas Merton, I would find this a stumbling block in personally embracing the Catholic Church.


For one thing much of what appears to be taught and practiced regarding Mary seems to be a later creation of church fathers such as Ambrose. Poetic and morally admirable as these stories may be, to the outsider they seem like invenntive fiction.


Now, Luther must have adhered to the veneration of Mary when he was an Augustinian monk. But in reading his biography, it is not clear to me when or even if he broke with the Catholic tradition on this point.


If you stick to the Gospels it seems hard to find even a thread of what led to the Roman and Eastern churches later teachings on Mary. And it would appear outright contradicted when Jesus famously asks: "Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?"


I'm guessing that either Luther or those who followed him eventually broke with the Roman and Eastern Orthodox traditions and practices regarding Mary.


Can anyone offer more details on the history of this in Lutheran theology?

Quick Reply
Cancel
7 years ago  ::  Jul 04, 2010 - 4:51PM #7
R._c._lee
Posts: 24

Wannabe Theo,


I followed your link and began reading this document and find this point in it to be astonishing:


40. The pious and learned Jesuit, Suarez, Justus Lipsius, a devout and erudite theologian of Louvain, and many others have proved incontestably that devotion to our Blessed Lady is necessary to attain salvation. This they show from the teaching of the Fathers, notably St. Augustine, St. Ephrem, deacon of Edessa, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Germanus of Constantinople, St. John Demascene, St. Anselm, St. Bernard, St. Bernardine, St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure. Even according to Oecolampadius and other heretics, lack of esteem and love for the Virgin Mary is an infallible sign of God's disapproval. On the other hand, to be entirely and genuinely devoted to her is a sure sign of God's approval.


Is this truly RCC teaching?


Apparently.


I've been reading Catholic intellectuals -- Merton, Chesterton, Dorothy Day, Walker Percy, Garry Wills for 30 years and I had no idea that this was part of the Roman church's dogma. I read a lot of Augustine and never encountered this.


My wife, raised in the Baptist tradition, warned me that I would eventually find Roman Catholic dogma unacceptable. She appears to have been correct.


Thanks for the link. This document is a real eye-opener.

Quick Reply
Cancel
7 years ago  ::  Jul 05, 2010 - 5:56PM #8
WannabeTheo
Posts: 401

A little further along in Monfort's treatise, I came across this line:


"If people are unwilling to call themselves slaves of Mary, what does it matter? Let them become and call themselves slaves of Jesus Christ, for this is the same as being slaves of Mary, since Jesus is the fruit and glory of Mary."


Well fine then, I'll take door number two.


On a different note, there is another aspect of Roman Catholic theology that differs from Lutheranism, and that is the understanding of grace.  It seems to me Catholics think of grace in a more substantive way, almost like an energy that can be quantified and divided and stored.  It's like an energy from God that enables us to do good works.  I think Lutherans, and most Protestants, think of grace in less substantive terms, as unmerited favor from God.


 

Quick Reply
Cancel
7 years ago  ::  Jul 06, 2010 - 1:48AM #9
R._c._lee
Posts: 24

I admit I was troubled by the Marian devotion quote I posted because I admire so many Roman Catholic writers and intellectuals and political activists.


So as Rod Stewart sings: "still I look for a reason to believe ..."


And I found an explanation of Mary for Protestants on a Roman website that argues that Mary is to Catholics what the Bible is to fundamentalists, she is a pathway to Jesus as the Gospels are, but she is not a substitution for Jesus, although some Catholic documents seem to indicate that.


This is a quote from the article:  "We admit that some Catholics may overemphasize Mary, just like some Evangelicals may take extreme views on the Bible. We don’t venerate Mary for herself but because by her free consent she gave us our Savior and because she constantly leads us to him."


Anyone interested can read the whole explanation at www.catholic.com/thisrock/2003/0301fea3....


I think it is important for us to understand that the Roman Catholic church is not as monolithic as some Protestants may believe.


Chesterton in Orthodoxy saw the Roman Catholic Church as big enough to accomodate the Quaker point of view as well as the most conservative Catholic POV.


I don't know if that's true but it is a big church.


A Jesuit I heard on CD said that some Catholics feel the church is a straightjacket but he felt it was a flowing gown.


I for one tend to see everything as black and white and then Christ shows me the gray areas. So I throw the baby out with the bathwater and then run out to rescue the baby.


 


 

Quick Reply
Cancel
7 years ago  ::  Jul 06, 2010 - 11:53AM #10
Americanjosiah
Posts: 6

Jun 29, 2010 -- 12:01PM, steve123 wrote:


1. The Roman Church says that it is the visible church that Christ founded.



 


1.  Lutherans affirm that the church Jesus founded is a SPIRITUAL reality and that we are a part of it not by official registeration in a congregational institutional legally affiliated with a specific denomination but rather by faith.  We believe that it is one, holy and catholic.  It is, as the ancient Creed affrims, "the communion of saints."  The Body of Christ is the collective community of ALL believers - past and present - spread out over all the centuries and continents. 


 


2.  Nonetheless, Lutherans are NOT opposed to community or associations.  Thus, we embrace congregations (associations of Christians) and denominations (association of congregations).  We regard as good the coming together for edification, ministry, accountability, worship and Sacraments.  But we do not confuse our institutions with the Body of Christ that He founded and of which He alone is lord and head. 


 


3.  Lutherans do not view faith as "hidden" and thus don't see the church as such.  Faith reveals itself in love and ministry.  The "church" is where the Word is correctly taught and the Sacraments correctly administered.  But again, don't confuse that with any institution. 


 


 


2. The RC says that it has apostolic succession directly from Christ to Peter and down the line to the current Pope. Was that succession broke with Martin Luther?



 


1.  Lutherans have no OFFICIAL position on Apostolic Succession. 


 


2.  The concept seems purely theoretical.  The REALITY is there simply is no indication of what (if anything) was granted specifically and SOLEY to the 12 or 13 or 14 Apostles, OR if such was/is granted to successors and if so, how.   All this is simply unknown.   And it's all MOOT.  The reality is this:  NO ONE can "trace" anything back to the Apostles, whether by ordination or the laying on of hands or anything else.  My own Catholic priest quickly and willingly admitted this.   While he has his "pedigree" of names going back to one of the Apostles (I forget which), he quickly admitted "it's a matter of faith and not history."  Yup.  The fact is this: there are virtually NO contemporary records of ordinations until the 4th century AT THE EARLIEST.  All those "pedigree" lists are just historical fantasy, just retroactively invented with ZERO historical substantiation.  So, EVEN IF there is some "power" granted by a "chain" of ordinations going back to the Apostles, it's moot because NO ONE can substantiate that they have such a chain.


 


3.  On the other hand, we know it's been the praxis all along that only the ordained ordained.  We see this in the Book of Acts, in the earliest church and throughout history.  My Lutheran pastor was ordained, by a group of ordained pastors and by his Bishop.  All of them were, too.  And so on and so on, probably going back to Jesus.  No one can PROVE this, but it's very likely since we know of NO time when the ordained just declared self to be such, ordination has always been by the ordained.   THUS, if there is anything to this (???), then ALL ordained clergy (Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican, Methodist, etc.) have the SAME "claim."   But see my first response to this question!


 


 


3. The RC says that its authority is based on tradition, sacred scripture and the teaching of the magisterium. The Lutheran church would say the bible is the sole authority. Who is right? What about Paul when he writes to obey the epistle and also the tradition?



 


1.  Sola Scriptura means that SCRIPTURE is the sole "norma normans" (rule - "straight edge" or canon - "measuring stick") for the evaluation of doctrines. 


 


2.  In HERMENEUTICS (the interpretation and application of Scripture) and in PRAXIS (customs or practices in the church, as well as in morality), much is embraced - although such is UNDER the words of Scripture being interpreted and applies - not equal to or above such; Scripture remains primary and supreme (our job is to agree with God, not the other way around).  Among the things embraced is TRADITION (which we define as the ECUMENICAL and HISTORICAL consensus of God's people, who are the church).  As we look to Scripture, one of the first "tools" we take from our hermenutics "box" is Tradition.  We also take out history, grammar, and certainly other Scriptures on the same issue ("Scripture clarifies Scripture"). 


 


3.  This is in contrast to the RCC approach often called "the three-legged-stool."  The RCC looks to THREE things EQUALLY and INSEPARABLY as one source, one stream.   These three things are:


A)  Roman Catholic Tradition, as defined and chosen and interpreted by the RCC so as to agree with the RCC.


B)  Scripture - not in words that all can read or on any page or in any tome, but "in the heart" of the RCC as interpreted by the RCC so as to agree with and affirm the teachings of the RCC.


C)  Roman Catholic Magisterium, as defined and chosen by the RCC among men sworn upon death to affirm and uphold the teachings of the RCC.  


These 3 things TOGETHER are the rule/canon/authority of the RCC.  Lutherans see this as just a perfect circle of self-authentication and epistemologically moot.  It's made worse because the RCC itself claims that itself alone is infallible/unaccountable and "CANNOT" err in matters of faith and morals, making the whole issue moot.  The RCC position is, essentially, "I alone am right so I'm right, therefore just accept whatever I say with docility" (CCC 87, etc.) We find this rather dangerous.


 


 


4. The RC claims transubstantiation in their Masses. That the wafer and wine truly transform into the flesh and blood of the Lord. The Lutheran would say they believe in consubstantiation – that the Lord is truly present in the bread and wine, but doesn’t transform into the body and blood of the Lord.



 


1.  Lutherans affirm REAL PRESENCE, the insistence that the words of the Eucharistic texts mean what they say.  The meaning of is is is (pardon the grammar, lol).  The meaning of "bread" is bread, "wine" is wine, "Body" is body, "Blood is blood."  That in the Eucharist, Christ is truly, really, wholly, literally present so that we are receiving CHRIST.  This was the old RCC doctrine (officially, it's STILL a RCC position) and is still the Eastern Orthodox view. 


 


2.  Lutherans simply do not understand the new RCC fasinatation and focus on the bread and wine - which while we don't DENY such, we just don't regard such as of any signficance.  I'm 22 and can buy all the wine and bread I want (probably of much superior quality than is typical in the Eucharist!) but WHO CARES?  Lutherans just aren't focused on THAT, we are focused on CHRIST!  I can have bread and wine anywhere, only in the Eucharist can we receive CHRIST!  Last Sunday, as my Lutheran pastor placed the Host on my tongue, his verbatim words were, "Josiah - this IS the Body of Christ." 


 


3.  Transubstantiation, the unique and new Eucharistic dogma of the RCC alone, was the invention of medieval, western, RCC "Scholasticism" which attempted to blend Christian theology with the secular, popular ideas of the day - to make Christianity "intellectual" and hopefully to "explain" Christian mysteries (including Real Presence).  Transubstantiation was one of several theories they invented, quite controversal at first but it slowly gained some embrace in the west.  In 1215, it was given some official stamp of approval (exactly WHAT status it gained at the Second Laterin Council is a matter of considerable debate).  It was a common teaching in Luther's day, but one he regarded as MOOT, distracting, and problemmatic biblically - he preferred the older, simplier, biblical view of Real Presence (with the mystery left as mystery).  The RCC made Transubstantiation "dogma" a few years AFTER Luther's death, it seems as a way to justify condemning him for not accepting the dogma (which, of couse, wasn't dogma when he was alive). 


 


5. The Roman Church’s Bible has the books of the Apocrypha as part of the cannon. Why doesn’t the Lutheran church?




1.  There is an ancient, ecumenical consensus around 39 OT books and 27 NT books.  But there are several DEUTERcanonical OT books over which there is no such consensus.  The RC has one unique set of embraced DEUTERO books (made official in the 16th century, after Luther), the EO has yet another set of these books (still unofficial) and the OO actually has several different sets of these (all unofficial), so that even the 3 denominations that - in some way - accept some don't agree on WHICH, and only one has a formal, official position (and that only since the 16th century) 


 


2.  Luther INCLUDED the unique commonly accepted (but not yet official) set of RCC "Deuterocanoncial" books in his German translation.  He preached on them and taught them.  There are several references to them in the Lutheran Confessions.  However, he noted that they had no official standing and he personally did not regard them as Scripture in the same sense as the 39 OT books (and they didn't until after his death).   They remained in Lutheran Bibles well into the 20th century.


 


3.  Modern Catholic laity often have a false idea that until 400 AD, there were thousands of books out there - all equally regarded or rejected as Scripture; it was pure choas.  Until the RCC got all it's bishops together and they "chose" all the books, Genesis - Revelation, and that settled it cuz everyone just accepted that when the RCC speaks, God speaks.   Any study of history shows this absurd.  Jesus referenced "Scripture" by that title - obviously He and His listeners had some understanding of what that was.  Paul, Peter, James did the same.  We see from the ECF that there was a growing CONSENSUS among Christians on this matter.  Yes, there was a church meeting in the late 4th century on this, but the issue was largely resolved by then - and that meeting actually accomplished NOTHING: Revelation was still debated well into the middle ages, for example.  It didn't even accomplish ANYTHING for the RCC itself!  The RCC later added a book - the Book of Leodiceans - which Hippo, Carthage and Rome never included.  It remained in Catholic tomes for some 1000 years.   Interestingly, Luther rejected it (a point Catholics never mention because now they do, too!).   The reality is this:  These DEUTERO OT and NT books simply lack a consensus of support - no "set" has the acceptance of anything more than a single denomination, and even that is rarely official.  It's simply unresolved.   Instead, Lutherans point to the 66 that are resolved and about which there is not dispute.


 


 


I hope that helps!


 


Pax


 


- Josiah


 


.

Quick Reply
Cancel
Page 1 of 2  •  1 2 Next
 
    Viewing this thread :: 0 registered and 1 guest
    No registered users viewing
    Advertisement

    Beliefnet On Facebook