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Messages - Boris

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Your Turn / Re: What God Cannot Do
« on: November 04, 2018, 06:04:42 PM »
Don't the historic Calvinists say that there are things God cannot do? Isn't that one reason the Calvinists reject the Lutheran teaching of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist? If I remember correctly the Calvinist argument against the Lutheran doctrine of the Real Presence goes like this:

1. A human body can only be in one place at any given time. It cannot be in two different places at once. Such a "body" would not be human.
2. The resurrected Christ has a human body.
3. Christ's body is in a physical location "at the right hand of God."
4. Therefore, Christ's body CANNOT be both "at the right hand of God" and present on the Altar on the Paten and in the Chalice at the same time. It has to be one or the other.
5. Therefore, Christ's body remains in heaven "at the right hand of God" and his "Spirit" is present in the Eucharist, but his real body and blood can't be there.

Lutherans, usually, just accept the Mystery of the Eucharist and don't worry about whether they can explain it with human logic.

Your Turn / Re: What is hell?
« on: November 04, 2018, 05:54:30 PM »
Can we not say that hell is life outside of communion with God?  For to be outside of Communion with God would be to be in communion with death, hell and sin. Such a hell could exist right now for all those who have separated themselves from God's love and friendship and have become His enemies. We certainly would not have to wait for physical death to experience that. And conversely, to be in Communion with God would be to be to have an experience of heaven already, even in this fallen world.  Just a few of my thoughts.

Your Turn / Re: Ukraine, Russia and the Orthodox Church
« on: October 21, 2018, 03:22:33 PM »
I have long appreciated the piety and historical significance of the eastern part of the Church and was deeply moved each time I was in Istanbul and visited the Ecumenical Patriarch and attended a liturgy at the Phanar.
When Greeks take you through Hagia Sophia (speaking softly so as not to attract attention) and when you know the history of that great edifice, it is a grand moment of faith; especially when you remember (as one does in Rome) that this was (and in a way still is) "our church," too, unless we feel - as some sadly do - that "our church" began in 1517. (Yes, we know it began with Jesus, but ….)
Eastern Orthodoxy, however, tends to "nationalize" its local churches and fall prey to nationalism in a way that seems to those of us in the west as most unhealthy. Hence the Russian tendency to hegemony in the Orthodox world, and the semi-independence and "autocephaly" of the national churches, making the Ecumenical Patriarch that most curious of phrases "first among equals."
Orthodox Christians in our country still bear some of these marks.
Archbishop Iakovos, who headed the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America in the 1960s and in the years following did much to relate Orthodoxy to modern American life and was a remarkable presence in ecumenical settings. He had visions of uniting American Orthodoxy that were not well received.
At a Moscow cathedral in the 1980s, I watched the grandmothers scrape wax from the floors beneath the candelabras and off the wrought iron stand so that it could be re-cycled into new candles. At that same liturgy - 6 p.m. on a Saturday night - there were a couple hundred young people, dressed as if they were headed out to the clubs later on. And a young mother, too young to remember the revolution or the war had to grab her toddler son who, beneath one of the candlestands, was reaching for the light. (I wrote a poem about that moment, but don't know what happened to it.)
I find much of the theology of the eastern part of the Church difficult to understand, but can still be awed by the piety and history.

Thank you, Pastor Austin, for a fine post. I have a lot of respect for Archbishop Iakovos too. He DID have a vision for Orthodox unity in the USA and a lot of us liked his vision. I am in the OCA and he was just as concerned as we are about jurisdictional unity in America. Unfortunately, when Archbishop Iakovos strongly expressed his desire for Orthodox unity at the Lignonier Conference, he was forced to retire by Constantinople shortly there afterwards.  That was a real blow to a lot of us, and I don't think American Orthodoxy has recovered from that yet. I hate to be cynical about it, but Constantinople needs the $$$ of American Greeks to keep it afloat. The Greek Archdiocese is Constantinople's cash cow and everyone knows that. The EP will never let it go. 

Your Turn / Re: New LCMS Catechism -- A Question
« on: December 07, 2017, 05:36:27 PM »
For what it is worth, the Orthodox Church permits divorce for physical abuse as well. It is viewed as an act of economia (mercy) for the person involved. It is true that it doesn't meet the strict definition of adultery.  But we view it as a concession to human weakness and an act of mercy.  No one should be forced to remain in a physically abusive marriage.

Your Turn / Re: Hauerwas on Protestantism: Why are We Still Here?
« on: October 29, 2017, 04:57:08 PM »
That was an interesting article by Hauerwas.  I wish he had written more.  It caught my interest, but I felt he stopped writing too soon.

Your Turn / Re: If Lutheran and RCC Are So Close, Who Moved?
« on: October 21, 2017, 08:57:26 PM »
I am not at all convinced that Lutherans and Roman Catholics are that close to one another theologically. I think such a view comes from both a very outward comparison of the Lutheran and RC churches with one another based mostly on externals and not on the essence of the Lutheran or the Roman Catholic faith.

I do understand how someone could look at the Novus Ordo Mass of the RCC in the vernacular and compare it outwardly to the Lutheran Divine Service (also in the vernacular) and see many points of comparison. The Lutheran Divine Service is basically an Evangelical recension of the Catholic Mass and to people who refuse to look at theology must look very, very similar indeed.  It is not outrageous for such people to think, "Why if they look so similar, the beliefs must be very close."  I can understand why some people might think that way.

However, I don't understand how Roman Catholic theologians and Lutheran theologians (both of whom know their respective traditions very well), would think that way.

When Roman Catholics look at Lutherans, I think the following question would arise:

1. Who is in charge here?  Where does the buck stop? Where is your pope, or your presiding bishop or authority figure? Please don't tell me the Bible is your authority.  It sounds pious, but the Bible doesn't speak outloud nor does it talk.  Who runs things on a daily basis?  Who decides things when controversies arise?

2. Where is the Eucharist?   I visited a Lutheran Church in my community and all they had was a service of the Word.  Why does your Eucharist get to be optional?  Do you not have a Sunday obligation to celebrate it?  If not every Sunday, why not?  Again, who decided these things?

3. Where is the Tabernacle?  I want to go to Church and spend a Holy Hour with Jesus praying before the Blessed Sacrament!  Your Lutheran churches don't allow that or practice that. How am I supposed to develop a Eucharistic piety if I can't attend Adoration?

4. Why are there different Lutheran groups?  There is only ONE real Catholic Church and the Pope is the head of it.  Where is the one real Lutheran Church?  And how would I know if I found it?  Why do some Lutherans have female pastors and others forbid it?  Who gets to decide this?  Again, please don't tell me the Bible decides.  Who really calls the shots here?

5. Where is Our Lady? Why is she not venerated?  Why are her miraculous appearances not spoken of?  Why do you Lutherans just ignore her?

6.  Where is the Sacrament of Confession?  You say you have it, but then you make it optional.  Some "sacrament" that is.  Why if you really believed in it, you'd make it mandatory. You'd make people go.

7. When people die, why do you Lutherans always say "pray for the family."?  What about the souls of the deceased?  Why do you not pray for the respose of the departed?  Do you not love them? Do you not care about them?  What gives here?

I don't mean to be rude asking these pretend questions.  I simply ask them because they reveal that the Lutheran Church and the Roman Catholic Church are not as close as they might appear to be.

Your Turn / Re: Pre-Emptive War with North Korea?
« on: August 09, 2017, 02:36:58 PM »
I thank everyone for responding and for every point of view expressed.  At least people here seem to be THINKING and not just reacting.

Your Turn / Pre-Emptive War with North Korea?
« on: August 09, 2017, 12:24:10 PM »
When I first read this headline today, I thought I had made a mistake.  So I went back and read it again. This is an exact quote from Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas:  "God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong Un.”  Apparently, according to the Reverend Mr. Jeffress, President Trump now has carte blanche from God Himself to kill and destroy the leader of North Korea.  While I am not certain of this, it appears as though Reverend Jeffress is cool with the idea of a nuclear war against North Korea. Here is a link to the article:

Can anyone explain to me what is going on with the Southern Baptists these days?  I realize that I am old (53) and not up-to-date about many things.  I grew up in the Southern Baptist dominated Southeast, and I still live here.  When I grew up here in the 1960s, the Southern Baptists were not into making many political statements at all.  In fact, they tended to be rather suspicious about politics back then and preferred to focus on more spiritual matters. It seemed like from the 1960s thru at least the 1980s that the Reverend Billy Graham was their model. They talked a lot about salvation then, but very little about politics. I am trying to figure out what has happened to them.  A friend of mine who was raised Southern Baptist but who left and joined a group called the Baptist Alliance (a more liberal and progressive group) told me that today the Southern Baptist Convention is primarily a political organization and only secondarily a religious organization.  I thought he was just over-reacting against a few right wingers that he might have encountered. I didn't really believe the whole SBC was like that. Perhaps they are.

Anyone care to comment and enlighten me?  It this Pastor Jeffress just an atypical nutcase?  Or does he represent mainstream Southern Baptist thought nowadays?

Your Turn / Re: What Does the Declaration Mean By Happiness?
« on: July 02, 2017, 01:43:40 PM »
I was taught by my professors in college years ago that "happiness" in the Declaration at least meant the right to own property.  My professors always admitted that it could mean more than that as well. 

Your Turn / Re: Religious Liberty?
« on: May 05, 2017, 09:17:15 AM »
Don't know if we have a thread on this, but our social service agencies say the proposed revisions to the ACA will hurt people.
   Before the outrage pours, at least consider the fact that LSA is a cooperative inter-Lutheran agency and that its national board includes top-ranking people from the LCMS and ELCA, including people from our denominational headquarters.
   WASHINGTON - Lutheran Services in America President and CEO Charlotte Haberaecker issued the following statement on the passage of the American Health Care Act in the House of Representatives:
“The passage of the American Health Care Act by the House of Representatives puts two-thirds of seniors in nursing homes, 39 percent of American children and over ten million people with disabilities who rely on Medicaid coverage in jeopardy.
    “14 million of America's most vulnerable people rely on Medicaid for health care and long term care services and supports. 
   "Further, the American Health Care Act weakens protections for people with pre-existing conditions--a move that will be devastating for people with chronic diseases and disabilities.
   “We urge the Senate to reject this Act.”
    I note:
The LSA is the national network of Lutheran social ministry organizations—connecting over 300 health and human services nonprofit service providers located throughout the country. With over $21 billion in annual revenue and over 250,000 employees, Lutheran Services in America is one of largest nonprofit organizations in the United States. Together the network lifts up the nation’s most vulnerable people from children to seniors—making a difference in the lives of one in 50 Americans every year.

Lutheran Hospice Service took care of my 92 year old father EXTREMELY WELL during the last months of his life last year.  They came to his home, bathed him, gave him his medication, feed him, talked with him and in general were very compassionate caregivers.  I don't know what my sister and I would have done without them.  My sister, who had never been Lutheran, was especially impressed with how kind, compassionate and non-judgmental the Lutheran caregivers were.  We were both very grateful for their service to my father.

Your Turn / Re: How Vatican II Influenced Lutheran Worship
« on: April 23, 2017, 06:37:36 PM »

That kind of is what LSB does. Add it to, that it fully preserves both the Vatican II lectionary system AND the historic lectionary (which is by far my favorite for very many reasons).


Those changes were not adopted everywhere by a long shot. Lots of LCMS Churches still have east-wall altars; and lots of us still commune by receiving the sacred species in the mouth ("Open your mouth wide and I will fill it!" Psalm 81). Also, reverence still reigns in many, many places. At the parish I worship in, the room is silent before the service begins except for the prelude. Visiting is done after the service and outside the nave. And many, many Lutheran churches have never adopted lay readers; lay eucharistic ministers (by which I assume you mean carrying the gifts to the absent) are even rarer! And I've rarely been in a place where the modern version of "sharing the peace" (quite a bit different from historical practice) is appreciated. My pastor reminds me I'm a boomer and it's true. I LIKE sharing the peace and prefer the hug; my wife finds the entire thing silly in the extreme and wants no part of it. She reminds me of the infamous lady with the rosary in "Why Catholics Can't Sing."

I'm with your wife on the sharing of the peace.  I'll do it if everyone else expects it, but I think its kind of silly.

Your Turn / Re: How Vatican II Influenced Lutheran Worship
« on: April 23, 2017, 04:51:20 PM »
And I never cared for any of those changes.  <sigh> 

I thought things were so much more reverent the way they were before.

The only Vatican II inspired change I liked (and I don't know if it was caused by Vatican II or something else) was the move toward an every Sunday Eucharist.  I think that was very beneficial and healthy. I also liked the encouragement pastors were given to chant their portions of the Liturgy.  But I honestly don't know if that came out of Vatican II.  Every Catholic Mass I've ever attended has had the priest speak those portions, unless it were a special High Mass like Christmas or Easter.

I have NEVER liked lay people reading the Scripture lessons.  And not because I think there is anything wrong with that.  There isn't.  It is certainly within the realm of Christian freedom to do it. I just preferred having the clergy do it because they were trained in public speaking and could read those lectionary texts with CONFIDENCE, including pronouncing all the names of people correctly. If a layman or laywoman read the lessons with preparation and with confidence, I don't mind it much. But if they are timid and sheepish and just almost whisper the lessons softly in a very breathy manner into the microphone so that I struggle to hear, I don't like it.

And although I am a great fan of the Common Service of 1888, the ILCW Liturgy that first appeared in Lutheran Book of Worship was a very respectable service, in contemporary language, that was still reverent and dignified, kept all 5 historic parts of the Mass, and, I think, was faithful to the spirit of the Lutheran Confessions.

Much as the Church of Rome retains the Tridentine Latin Mass as its extraordinary form and the Vatican II Mass as its ordinary form, I wish the Lutherans would consider restoring the Common Service of 1888 (complete with the archaic pronouns (Thou, Thee) and reading from the KJV (or at least RSV) as the EXTRAORDINARY Lutheran form and keeping the ILCW Liturgy from LBW in contemporary language as the Ordinary form.

Your Turn / Re: Now All the Vault
« on: April 16, 2017, 08:50:13 PM »
In the Orthodox Church we use--exclusively--the instrument which God gave us, the human voice.

Everything is a capella.

Pashcal Orthros closed with the Paschal Troparion being sung in English, Arabic, Greek, Slavonic, Spanish, French, and German (multiple times in each) as the faithful venerated the Gospel Book.

That was followed with the Paschal Stichera of the Aposticha sung by two young ladies whose voices blend with an ethereal quality.   They have been singing together for at least a decade, and the way that they can "feel" each other is amazing.

The Divine Liturgy included a Dmitri Bortniansky setting of the Cherubic Hymn which at times divides into SSAATTB and the allegro setting of the Paschal Megalanarion "The Angel Cried" by Balakirev.

At the Dismissal the "Triple Russian" version of the Paschal Troparion was sung with the sopranos going positively stratospheric.

As the faithful came forward to receive antidoron (and a red-dyed egg from the altar servers) the choir sang through the Paschal Troparion in that multitude of languages--an anticipation of Pentecost.  Eventually this became a good spirited "battle of the languages" because, just when everyone thought we were finished, a tenor would begin Chrisos Anestis....  which had to be followed by a basso profundo beginning Christos Voskrese.... back and forth, sometimes interspersed with Arabic.  Each ethnicity was determined to have the "last word"

"Preserve, O Lord, the fullness of thy Church" is prayed at the close of every Divine Liturgy, but at Paschatide one really begins to appreciate the richness that this fullness encompasses.

Be careful.  Never say never.

Here are two examples from an Antiochian (!) Orthodox Church in Michigan using an organ FULL BLAST in the Divine Liturgy.  (I am not responsible if any Russian Orthodox faint when they see this.  ;)

I submit the following:   

1: As Many as Have Been Baptized into Christ (with full organ):

2. Troparion of the Nativity:

I just don't see how an organ improves ANYTHING in Orthodoxy.  In Lutheranism, however, it works well.

Your Turn / Re: Bible Answer Man Converts to Greek Orthodox
« on: April 16, 2017, 08:45:38 PM »
I think this Pulpit and Pen fellow would tell you Lutherans that you have retained too many of the "rags of popery" based on these examples of beautiful Lutheran altarpieces.  I am so glad Lutheranism is not iconoclastic.  What a dreary, plain world that would be.

Your Turn / Re: Bible Answer Man Converts to Greek Orthodox
« on: April 16, 2017, 07:21:24 PM »
Really nice! 

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