If the Lutheran Church is the correct teaching, why didn’t it exist
until the 1500s? Did not Christ establish the Church before then?
Similarly, what is the Lutheran approach to the Easter Orthodox
Church, from which the Romans broke away in the 11th century?
There is one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. The Lutheran Reformers
went to great lengths to stress that they were not teaching anything new,
but were in concord with the faith that the Church has confessed since the
time of Christ:
“This then is nearly a complete summary of our teaching. As can be seen,
there is nothing that varies from the Scriptures, or from the Church
universal, or from the Church of Rome, as known from its writers. Since
this is the case, those who insist that our teachers are to be regarded as
heretics are judging harshly. 2 There is, however, disagreement on certain
abuses that have crept into the Church without rightful authority…
Our churches do not dissent from any article of the faith held by the
Church catholic. They only omit some of the newer abuses. They have been
erroneously accepted through the corruption of the times, contrary to the
intent of canon law.” Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions, Edited by Paul Timothy McCain (St.
Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2005). 45.
With regards to Eastern Orthodoxy, they are a heterodox church body, which,
like Rome, rejects the Biblical doctrine of justification.
While Rome may claim the term “Catholic” it is not theirs, as they have
abandoned the faith that the Catholic Church has confessed. In the same
manner, while the East may claim the term “Orthodox,” they simply are not
as in their teaching on justification, sin, and “theosis”, they believe
that which is contrary to Scripture. Thus the premise that the East is a
continuation of that Catholic and Apostolic is not quite correct, as they,
like Rome have departed from what God Himself has revealed in His Holy Word.
Matthew Lorfeld, Pastor
Messiah Lutheran Church
La Crescent, MN