Monday, March 23, 2009

Another LCMS Pastor Crosses Over to Orthodoxy

Yet another pastor of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod has left the church for the lure of Orthodoxy. Fr. Fenton's case was by far the most celebrated in recent years. Fr. Hogg was yet another of which I am aware. Now it is the Rev. Daniel Hackney. You can read more of his 'conversion' in the article "Pastor finds a home in Orthodox Christianity." Having had my own flirtation with the East, I understand to some degree its appeal. Still, it concerns me to see so many LCMS pastors leave for Orthodoxy in last few years. What should we be doing at the seminary level to help our pastors truly appreciate the rich heritage they already have in the Lutheran Church? Or is there something else we need to be doing?

Fr. Hogg in his blog Pillar and Ground of Truth opines on the question of Lutherans heading East in "Why do Lutherans Go East?" His view and the 30 comments that follow, of course, are all from an Orthodox bias, and a "I-left-Lutheranism-for-Orthodoxy" at that. So read with discretion.


Anonymous said...

"What should we be doing at the seminary level to help our pastors truly appreciate the rich heritage they already have in the Lutheran Church? Or is there something else we need to be doing?"

what planet do you live on?

It's not cultural appreciation. Or heritage. The LCMS is becoming a bland American protestant church using marketing out of desperation due to the BIG drop in family size over the past 40 years. And everyone is scrambling for people. We abandoned liturgy for entertainment. We say we use God's Word but we really do not, for example women in the church and closed communion. We have no ecclesiology, but the papacy of the people, which was workable until the self-centered "ME" generation has inherited that which was once delivered to the saints. So now we look to the bookshelves of the local Christian book store to keep our people busy with Zondervon's latest publication in order to give us at least 40 days of purpose.

We have no true bishops who are holy and humble brothers, whom we can trust; instead, we elect men as presidents directed by lawyers with fear. Ethics among pastors are horrible as they steal and covet each other members, and compete with each other using the "business model".

Pastors are disposable hirelings. They do not want their own sons to become pastors.

Our constitutional churches were made only for moral (ethical) and confessional Lutheran people. Without either it falls.

Don Engebretson said...

What planet do I live on? Apparently you are implying I am out of touch with where the synod is at. Rest assured I am not. After nearly 22 years of service I have seen much evidence of the LCMS's problems.

However, you clearly sound bitter. I don't argue that the issues you mention are real and damaging. And I share in the frustration of seeing and having been on the receiving end of the things of which you write. Whether I'd made the assumption that your assessment covers the whole of synod is another issue.

My "bishop," for one, is a "holy and humble brother" who I can trust. I do not see him "directed by lawyers in fear." No doubt there are those who fit this bill. But not all. Not yet.

As to "ethics among pastors," I agree there are those who have been guilty of stealing and coveting each other's members. Perhaps I am fortunate, but I would not describe my circuit this way. In fact, I don't think that I could describe the majority of the church's of the circuits in which I have been a part in this way. I have served in four circuit in two states.

As to whether pastors want their sons to become pastors - Yes, I would be honored if my son followed me this way - Despite the state of synod at present. At believer it or not, even with all that is going on, he is still considering the possibility of the call.

I still think there is an answer to my question that doesn't involve abandoning the Synod or giving up on it as a whole.

Daniel said...

Pastor Engebretson,

I noticed you reprinted the Toledo Blade article concerning my conversion and ordination into the Orthodox Church. If you would be so kind, on another Lutheran blog is a follow up I did to clarify some of what was said in that article. This can be found at

Fr Daniel Hackney