'Lutheran'- Orthodox dialogue founders on LWF post-modernism

In view of their frank rejection of the sola Scriptura and the sola Fide (universalism is widely accepted among them), there is good reason to question whether the churches of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) are actually, in any historically meaningful sense, Lutheran at all. But it seems that their dialogue with the world Orthodox tradition is breaking down over a more fundamental (excuse the expression) defection on the part of the LWF.

In the words of a 2011 evaluation of the dialogue between the LWF and Orthodoxy by the Orthodox participants,
This Inter-Orthodox evaluation, then, attempts firstly to take stock at this junction of what has been achieved during these thirty years of conversations, secondly to evaluate it in such a way that it is not jeopardized because of divergences and especially because of controversial responses to current issues and problems which have arisen through the challenges of modern society, and thirdly to stress that it does actually provide the basis for new initiatives concerning the future direction and purpose of this Bilateral Dialogue.

From the Orthodox viewpoint, such initiatives are necessitated by new developments that have occurred in the Lutheran Churches since the inception of this bilateral Lutheran Orthodox Dialogue: e.g. the ordination of women on all levels of clerical orders, which is a clear deviation from Christian practice, and the emergence of a new moral-code concerning human sexuality and especially homosexual relations, which has far reaching implications for Christian anthropology, both on the personal and social levels, etc. In the eyes of most Orthodox, these new ecclesiological and controversial anthropological innovations in the Lutheran world constitute radical challenges and serious obstacles to the Orthodox-Lutheran theological dialogue and to its original aim, namely, the promotion of mutual ecclesial rapprochement and, eventually, of Church unity, and consequently need to be fully and carefully addressed.

All Christians look forward to the day when Christ's Church will be visibly one. But in order for this to happen, it's necessary that there be agreement among Christians upon the apostolic Faith as the basis for that unity.

Fortunately, as Matthew Block of the Lutheran Church-Canada writes in First Things, there is another game in town: those Lutherans who share Orthodoxy's interest in doctrinal continuity with the Apostles. The International Lutheran Council (ILC), which includes the LC-C as well as the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and a number of smaller bodies also interested in remaining faithful to the historic Christian faith, are being viewed with increasing interest by the Orthodox community as potential partners in ecumenical dialogue.

May God prosper that dialogue in its attempt to do what dialogue with liberal Protestants can never accomplish, so long as they remain liberal Protestants: a mutual witness to the truth, whose very existence Post-Modern Christianity such as that practiced by the LWF churches denies.

HT: Real Clear Religion


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