03 February 2011

Finitum Non Capax Infiniti, eh?

Recently I have been looking into some doctrinal differences between the Lutheran and the Reformed church. I have had questions about these differences for a long time, particularly in regard to the Eucharist, which apparently has farther reaching consequences than I originally thought. (On record, I still cannot see them, but we'll see) I've met a Lutheran, so he has been helpful as a source of information.

So far I have learned that Lutheran are perfectly fine with not knowing more than I am comfortable not knowing. They believe there are things that don't square up in the bible, and that God works out the kinks. Example, God saves you from the beginning of the world and nothing can change that because it's His will, but you can lose your salvation.

Also, historically there was a push in the early 1900's (I think) to unite the Lutheran church with other evangelical churches, and it is understood that they lost some of their distinctness in the push. So, maybe an historical grudge? Or, put more gently, maybe they are afraid if they accept any other church to be a true church it will put them into danger of extinction just like it did in Germany.

As far as the Eucharist, if I can sum this up (and I probably can't), the Lutherans believe a partaking of the bread and the wine is communing with Christ on a spiritual AND a physical level, whereas we think it's only on a spiritual level. So, as a Lutheran you would believe that if an unbeliever took the bread and the wine he is partaking in Christ, and as a Reformer you would believe the unbeliever is just taking bread and wine and that's all. To be fair, their view of the Eucharist makes more sense to me, but apparently I can't believe that without believing the whole thing. :sigh: Complexity.

There have been many questions that have come to mind through all of this. Like, if the bible is God's revelation to us, why wouldn't we be able to understand it? Or, what does it matter if the unbeliever took communion and partook of Christ since he still doesn't believe? Or, why this seeming antagonism from Lutherans? I certainly don't have any for them. I guess I'll keep looking into this.

6 comments:

Ben Ditty said...

But even if it's not spiritual, bread and wine can still be delicious :)

BerlinerinPoet said...

Yes, that's true. Although in the sacrament you usually don't eat/drink enough to get a good feel for the bread or the wine. It's more about the ceremony than about a gastronomical experience.

BUT since you bring it up. I love artisan breads, with a really nice Syrah, personally. How about yourself?

C. M. Turner said...

Consider reading 1,000 Gifts By Ann Voskamp~ Reading her book answered a few questions on Christianity that I didn't understand. The book is based on her own life experiences and her learning to know God through living a life of gratitude. The book doesn't cover doctrine, but rather on knowing God personally based on the Bible. Her website is www.aholyexperience.com Dig through her blog ther a bit, and you'll see that her writing is poetic and beautiful, which I'm sure you'll appreciate (I just happened upon your other blog). Have a wonderful day! =) You can visit me at: http://apainterlylife.blogspot.com/

Most sincerly, ~Carla

BerlinerinPoet said...

Carla: While I did look up Ms. Voskamp and think I really will enjoy reading her blog and possibly her book. It doesn't appear it would quite answer my Lutheran/Calvinist question. Thank you for turning me on to her anyway.

C. M. Turner said...

Just wanted to stop by to say thanks for following. I guess I commented about Ann mostly because you write and I thought you'd appreciate her. =) Wishing you well, and keep writing your beautiful poetry!
~Carla

Ben Ditty said...

I'm a pumpernickel kind of guy ;)