A House Divided Essay

Submitted By cabela17
Words: 967
Pages: 4

A House Divided

The impact that a single person can have on the world is perhaps best demonstrated in the life and account of a single Jewish man from ancient Palestine. Whether you believe him to be an absolute lunatic, charismatic rabbi, or the word of God made flesh, Jesus of Nazareth challenged an empire and completely changed the course of western history. Preaching a spiritual diet of repentance and compassion, Jesus spoke that the kingdom of God was being ushered in on earth, and that ordinary people, even the poor and downtrodden, had a vital role to play and a place of prominence in the kingdom. Ironically this is the same message that would wind up getting him crucified at the hands of the Roman and Jewish authorities, but this was only the beginning of the legacy of Jesus Christ, for only 3 days later his followers had claimed that they had seen him and spoke with him alive, and that the God of Israel had raised him from the dead. His followers established an ekklesia, or assembly, known by most as the Church. In its Orthodox manifestations, the church has seen significant schisms with itself in the last one-thousand years, chiefly in 1054 when Christendom divided between the east and the west. Since then, the western church underwent a massive reformation, ultimately resulting in several protestant branches of Christianity. The church in the east has remained widely intact. From these changes sprang forth many different sects. Two very prominent sects were German Lutheranism and Greek Eastern Orthodoxy. There are many differences and similarities between these two large branches of Christianity. At first glance the two sects will look very similar. Both believe in Jesus, both have beautiful church buildings, and both worship liturgically. It may seem like the differences that are raised between the two bodies are superficial, arguing over petty details. For the Lutherans and Orthodox these details are of eternal importance, and cannot be compromised. For the Lutherans, one point of difference with the Greek Orthodox is the view of the sacraments. For the Lutherans, there are really only two sacraments, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, as opposed to the seven that the Greek Orthodox Church holds. At the time of the reformation, Luther stripped away the remaining five sacraments as unbiblical human traditions. As the apology to the Augsburg Confession states; “For rites instituted by human beings will not be called sacraments.”1 Lutherans then would surely oppose the claim to seven sacraments within the church that the Greek Orthodox subscribe to. There are many things within Greek Orthodoxy that Lutherans would not object to. For example, both churches would accept the doctrine of the Trinity. The Trinity is the belief that the Godhead is one being, but within the one being there are three different centers of consciousness, or “persons.” The persons are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Lutherans would agree with the Greek Orthodox that Jesus is the eternal son who entered into human flesh to reconcile the world to God. The Lutheran Church would also not object to the practice of infant baptism. Lutherans and Orthodox believe that baptism is primarily a covenantal practice, much in the same way that circumcision was in the Old Testament. It is believed by both churches that the command to baptize all nations includes infants, a practice that is opposed by much of later western Christianity. The Greek Orthodox Church takes issue with the western (and consequently Lutheran) addition of filioque, meaning “and the son” to the Nicene Creed. The Greek Orthodox believe that the Holy Spirit only proceeds from the father. It is sent by the Son, but for the Orthodox, sending and procession are not the same concept, and thus