Saturday, October 29, 2011

A letter sent to a member of Messiah who asked about me

I’m writing to you because I heard that you were interested in finding out what I am doing now that I’ve left Messiah Lutheran church.  It was not a sudden thing where I just jumped off of the boat at a whim because of some minor doubt, instead the whole edifice of Lutheranism, when founded upon the belief in Young Earth Creationism, which it is, as it is proclaimed in sermon and literature from the synod, simply crumbled to the ground when that foundation proved inadequate.  It seemed to me, and I still think this is true, that the position of the LCMS on evolution is, well, silly.  It was this issue that precipitated my rejection of the whole church actually.
For a very short time when I left Messiah I went back to being an atheist, my default position for over ½ of my life.  When I returned to my default “unbeliever” position though I was not in a closed off frame of  mind but was again open to all options.  You see, for me unbelief was not a dogmatic atheism but a release or rejection of the whole set of positive beliefs surrounding Lutheranism.  I still was interested in ultimate truth, where the cosmos came from and what is the meaning of life, if any.  Although at first I was inclined to reject all theism along with Lutheranism and go with pure naturalism, I did not find this idea plausible though and soon was casting about for some sort of religion to fill the space recently vacated by Lutheranism.  I very briefly glanced back at the various eastern mystical traditions I had once been fascinated by, but they do not have the benefit of being True.  I lightly brushed over the idea of going to some Evangelical church like Cornerstone Fellowship in Livermore but that didn’t work for me because one thing I got from my studies in the Lutheran church was the fact that the early Christians were both liturgical and sacramental.  The early fathers most certainly affirmed that and thanks to the Lutheran church I am familiar with some of those early writings. 
I next considered some of the other denominational options out there, from UU to the Liberal Mainline Protestant churches but for the same reason the Evangelicals don’t work for me I had to reject these as well, these churches are not in that Liturgical and Sacramental tradition I know is what the early fathers proclaimed.  They don’t have things like a baptism that really does something and the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist to list the two I had in mind at the time.
Not long after I had posted on my blog about my return to unbelief my mother called me on the phone.  Mom is a sort of generic Christian type of believer but she is most certainly a Christian.  She was very kind and told me she was praying for me, and she did pray too!  Mom had never much cared for the LCMS because they didn’t allow her to take communion with us when she visited, so she wasn’t too upset with me leaving, but she was concerned I remain a Christian.  Anyway, to wrap up the story here, almost as soon as mom told me she was praying for me I had a strong urge to go to the Catholic church again. 
A side note: I was on the verge of joining the Catholic church and was entering the RCIA program when I stumbled upon Messiah with it’s Thursday Eucharist that fit my schedule so well and I fell into that comfortable place that so reminded me of my childhood growing up in a Lutheran church.  Sadly I didn’t know enough of the beliefs of the LCMS when I joined.  I immersed myself in the Lutheran doctrines, reading everything I could lay my hands on, from the bible to the Book of Concord and dozens of books from Concordia.  I also listened to Issues Etc. almost every day.  But although I tried to just accept it all it never quite clicked, I was always saying “Yes, but.”  And the YEC issue just made me cringe.
So now I’ve chosen, or to be more accurate, the Lord has led me, to go back to the Catholic faith.  Here I find the authentic church of the ancient fathers in its fullness, with all of the sacraments, turns out there are seven of them J.   I have concluded, after much study, and most of this was done long ago not in just the last few weeks, that Luther was wrong to rebel against the authority of the Church, even though he had many valid points about corruption and obscuring of the gospel in the Church.  In my study of the church as it really is now I find these things addressed to my satisfaction.  The most important thing for me though is actually historical, I find the arguments for the magesterium of the Catholic church, the authority of the Popes and the Bishops, to be compelling.  I do think that the Catholic church is the legitimate one founded by Christ and handed down from the apostles.  I do not think God would allow His Church to go off the rails for thousands of years until Luther came along to fix it.  I do not think the continually fractioning denominations of the protestants is how God wants His Church to be.  He wants us ONE as He is One.  Without authority this cannot be, as has been proven by the continuing proliferation of denominations after Luther.  The Protestant branch of Christianity has cut loose from the anchor that was provided by the authority of the Popes and bishops and has gone in literally thousands of different directions.  This makes outsiders say “Which one is True?” and so reject the whole batch. This is not God’s plan for His Church.
I’m now in RCIA at a local Catholic church and am fully convinced that this is the true Church founded by Christ and handed down to His apostles.  I don’t understand everything here but I’m confident that it’s true nonetheless.  As to that issue that first served to free me from my attachment to Lutheranism, evolution, the Catholic church has no problem with it, and although they insist on a literal Adam and Eve they don’t state where or when they existed.  I’m OK with that.  It was the assertion that the cosmos is less than ten thousand years old that never passed the giggle test with me.
So, I’m happy with my course now, I think the Lord was leading me all along, as He always does with His baptized children.
Do know this, no one at Messiah ever did anything to offend me in any way.  I am not angry or anything, it’s just me following Truth, and that Truth is Jesus, and His church is the Catholic church. 

Peace be with you,

1 comment:

  1. RE: "I do not think God would allow His Church to go off the rails for thousands of years until Luther came along to fix it." I confess this was wrong, that's Mormons who say such things, not Luther! Duh. I knew that, my defense is I wrote most of that in bed at 4:00 AM because I woke up thinking about the subject. :-)