I just wanted to send a quick note that the 2 issues causing me to look east are:
1- Paedocommunion. Historical, correct, abolished by papist
scholasticism, addressed by Luther but not condemned.
2- Bishops/Continuity. This is where the historical church is and always has been. The question isn’t are they the true Church- the question is are we?
As for your thoughts, in order:
1 – Infant Communion is a practice that fell out of custom in the West. I’m not going to condemn it… I wouldn’t feel the need to introduce it. I think in American Lutheranism we have had a tendency to delay first communion much longer than necessary — in some respects this is a poor side effect from Pietism and exposure to Finney-esque decision theology. In some respects this is a conservative practice to make sure that the young don’t eat and drink to their damnation.
2 – Actually, historically speaking the Church hasn’t been with the monarchical bishopric as is presented today in Rome or the East — there was a development of the position as the Church grows. Now, to be sure, the Church has always had clergy and laity, but the exact form and structure isn’t as cut and dry historically as you seem to imply.
Moreover – I think the Augsburg Confession has a wonderful and simple (and historically accurate) definition of the Church – where the Gospel is preached and the Sacraments are Administered rightly (that is, in accordance with our Lord’s institution).
As there wasn’t a direct question, I don’t know what more to say, or if I covered what you were actually thinking about – but feel free to send in a follow up question if there is something else.
Rev. Eric J. Brown,
Zion Lutheran Church – Lahoma, OK