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Monday, August 24, 2009
Will the Lutherans ever come home to Mother Church?
To your left is a 1913 postcard of the German Lutheran Church in Hoboken, New Jersey. Today it is the Hoboken Community Church.
Here is a recent picture of me in front of the same church.
This church was founded by a Lutheran Pastor, Leopold Mohn, a missionary from Germany. My family on the German Lutheran side, the Erxmeyers, were baptized, confirmed, married, and buried at this church. Also, my great-grandfather August Bremer and great-grandmother Christine (Berthe) Erxmeyer, attended confirmation class together in this very building in 1874.
Here is a picture of my great-grandfather August Bremer >
Being of Lutheran roots, I am very interested in the possible future "welcome back" to the Lutheran denominations into the Catholic Church. After the October 31, 1999 signing of the "Joint Declaration of the Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation on the Doctrine of Justification" I thought we were on the road to reunion.
I was saddened when I heard the latest news that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America succumbed to heresy by striking down a policy that required gay and lesbian clergy to remain celibate. I wonder what Pastor Leopold Mohn, who ministered to my Lutheran family so many years ago, would think of the currect situation in his church. I don't think he would be very happy.
Here is a very good article by Deacon Keith Fournier:
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Succumbs to Heresy
CHESAPEAKE, Va. – The media is filled with reports concerning the slide of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ECLA) into heresy. Yes, that is exactly what occurred when the leadership of that community “voted” to abandon Christian orthodoxy. The Associated Press in an article entitled “Lutherans’ gay clergy vote hints at major shift”, led with these loaded words “In breaking down barriers restricting gays and lesbians from the pulpit, the nation's largest Lutheran denomination has laid down a new marker…. The ELCA — the nation's seventh-largest Christian church — reached its conclusion after eight years of study and deliberation. That culminated Friday when the church's national assembly in Minneapolis struck down a policy that required any gay and lesbian clergy to remain celibate.”
What really happened is that representatives of the ECLA succumbed to heresy. Oh, I can hear it now, “how dare he say such a thing?” Because… it is true, and there is nothing compassionate about failing to help fellow Christians to reject error. Christians abandoning the clear teaching of the Sacred Scriptures and the unbroken Christian Tradition is not a new phenomenon in the 2000 year history of the Christian Church. What is new is the massive support that such a sad turn of events receives from this kind of media report. There is a “fifth column” at work, determined to present the matter as a battle between orthodox Christians (who are disparaged with labels such as “right” or “conservative” or “fundamentalist”…) and those who this kind of media report favors, the promoters of heresy and advocates of a new paganism.
All one has to do is look to the first few centuries of the Christian Church to see that this is not new. The same issues and struggles existed very early on. Irenaeus, the Bishop of Lyon, France, was born in Asia Minor in the year 125. His efforts are one example of the many early Church Fathers who contended for the truth and pulled no punches. His seminal work was entitled “Against Heresies” precisely because so much of his work was spent exposing and opposing false teaching in order to protect the Christians of that day from their poison. His treatise is a refutation of the teachings of certain “Christian” Gnostics whose followers fell for similar heresies as those which were voted upon by the ELCA this past week. Irenaeus’ goal was stated in the Fifth Book of the treatise, to “…reclaim the wanderers and convert them to the Church of God” and to “confirm at the same time the minds of the neophytes” (Preface, Book V).This is still the truly proper response of the Church in our age. Irenaeus loved the heretical Christians enough to speak the truth precisely to try and lead them back to the faith. We must follow his example.
Read the rest of the article HERE
*Image above T-L from the postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck
Deacon Keith Fournier asks that you join with us and help in this vital mission by sending this article to your family, friends, and neighbors and adding our link (www.catholic.org) to your own website, blog or social network. Let us broadcast, we are PROUD TO BE CATHOLIC!