"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: How we Understand Scripture is how we Understand Reality

Monday, August 24, 2009

How we Understand Scripture is how we Understand Reality

Some recent comments from Laestadianinfo and Norah got me thinking yet again about this topic.

Laestadianinfo, your posts never cease to amaze. While it make perfect sense for Laestadians who are against abortion to use appeals to natural law and other Catholic teachings, I would never have imagined it. Maybe the situation in the United States is more polarized regarding Laestadian/Catholic relations. :-)

I also found these comments of yours interesting:

This is a little off topic, but everyone knows that laestadianism is more founded on Church tradition than solely on the Bible.


Christianity relaying solely on the Bible is hard to defend.

I agree with both these statements, mostly because I think any reading of the Bible is going to be influenced by the culture the reader lives in, their community of faith, their history, etc. I don't think it's possible to have a reading of the Bible that is free of any "metaphysical distance" or that this is even necessarily a goal one should strive for. In my view part of the Bible's power is in its ability to speak to us afresh within constantly changing situations.

Some groups, and especially some Laestadian groups will deny this vehemently. They will insist that their interpretation is merely "what the Bible says" and others who differ are either willfully or through ignorance distorting the clear message.

I think misunderstanding this point is the cause of many splits. What's obvious to me is that interpretations will change over time because the Bible is being read in a different historical and cultural context. For early adherents of Laestadianism, for example, it was perfectly obvious that drinking alcohol was sinful because they could see the destructive impact it was having on the Sami people, and the evil way the traders would use it to keep the Sami in debt.

Fast-forward 150 years to the present, and we find ourselves in a different context and suddenly such a harsh interpretation doesn't make as much sense. The verses are the same, but many people interpret them differently. Suddenly they don't seem to speak against all forms of drinking.

The same could be applied to other points in Laestadianism. What seemed very compelling to the original adherents seems silly in a new context. I.e., no music in church, head coverings for women, etc. Yet while the idea that there is only one normative reading persists, such differences in interpretation will always result in splits, because the groups involved have no way of seeing beyond their differences to the greater unity.

Which dove-tails nicely with Norah's point:

It's like building a house - you need a firm foundation and structure to begin with, before you do anything else. How you finish it and decorate it can vary, but your foundation must be sure or the whole house will topple.

My assertion is that any form of Christianity that is built on a foundation that doesn't acknowledge the "metaphysicial difficulties" of interpreting Scripture is bound to factionalize, polarize, and split through time. What is especially sad about this is that the adherents won't even realize why this is happening. To them it will be a righteous purge, holding on to the truth, etc.

I think part of the solution is to emphasize the paradoxical within each religious tradition. The truth that comes from paradox can broaden ones view. And any religious tradition that has been around for awhile has paradox.

For instance, while I'm familiar with and understand the five solas that Norah posted, isn't it a little paradoxical that there would be five things that are to alone constitute the firm foundation? ;-)

Personally, I think the 5 solas of the Reformation are essential: by Scripture alone, by faith alone, by grace alone, through Christ alone, glory to God alone. We can test any tradition by these fundamentals and see how they hold up...

I think Scripture, faith, grace, Christ, and God are great lenses through which to view theology and practice. Part of why I think they're great is becaue there are five of them, and inevitably each one will give a different vision of Divine Reality, and hopefully a greater awareness of the complexity and diversity within that reality.


  1. LaestadianInfo8/24/2009 09:35:00 AM

    Well, everyone in Finland which has some interest in the topic, knows SRK defends their teachings with Catholic Church writings (Particularly Humane Vitae).

    The head of SRK, O Voittonen says laestadians agree more with the Catholic Church in some questions, and refer to Catholic writings in these matters. He has done this publicly in Newspapers.

    No other laestadians has done this, as far I know, only LLC in Finland.

    Of cource tradition influes Bible interpreation. All psalms and songs are based on Lutheran tradition, so that way Chruch tradition influes everything that happen in a Laestadian paryer houses, or churches, regardless if there were a speaker knowing nothing about tradition, and then think he is purely reading from the Bible.

  2. I think I'm agreeing pretty much with what you're saying here, Tomte. Especially the parts about paradox (which I love) and the metaphysical, and broadening one's view. Taking all of this into consideration makes the struggle of living as a Christian (and understanding what that really means) quite interesting.

    What I like about thinking about fundamentals of Christianity as a 'foundation of a house' is that every faith tradition has basic principles and beliefs that defines them. Every government has a set of core values and principles that lay the groundwork and foundation for how the government will operate. (Except anarchies!).

    So I'm not even saying that we have to think of Christian principles as the only right ones (even though I personally do), just that if you say you are a Christian or a Buddhist or Muslim or whatever, then you most likely agree with others like you who hold certain core values and beliefs in common. These core beliefs have been summarized into statements after perhaps centuries of analysis and discussion, which people finally came together and agreed upon.

    But the LLC looking to Catholic teachings is something I don't quite understand. We share many, many things in common with Catholicism on the surface, but I don't know why Lutheranism doesn't have the answers to those questions as well. Perhaps mainstream Lutheranism has dropped the ball?

    I'm wandering.. not a good thinking day today lol

  3. LaestadianInfo8/24/2009 12:47:00 PM

    I really have no idea what people generally in Finland and Sweden think about Catholics. In these countries Catholicism is a quite odd church. The state churches in Finland are Lutheran and Greek Orthodox Church.

    Catholics are very few here. In my city the Catholic Church concretion mostly consists of immigrants from for example Philippines and other traditionally catholic countries.

    But in Europe generally, Catholicism is the major religion, and even though there are not many Catholics in Finland, catholic church news like the doings of the pope is big news also in Finland.

    I have read a little about Catholicism, and can’t really figure out in what essential way LLC laestadianism differs from catholic faith in practice.

    The differences are merely that absolution is given to all believers in LLC laestadism, when it is a privilege for priests in the Catholic Church. Both teach that man is saved by grace, but the “faith alone”, well...

  4. LaestadianInfo8/24/2009 12:57:00 PM

    There is also this non-protestant, charismatic, Livets Ord church in Sweden, which actually nowadays teach that all Christians will become Catholics before the return of Jesus.

    They base the teaching on that Jesus will meet one united bride when he returns, so they think this means all will become Catholics.

    They try to actively take influences from Catholicism, even though they as a charismatic church are far from Catholicism.

  5. Laestadianinfo8/24/2009 01:23:00 PM

    If you put LLC leastdianism on a scale where you have Catholicism at one end and “Bible only” churches like baptism on the other end, LLC laestadianism is in practice, when you look at the practical impact of the faith, very close to Catholicism.

    One major difference is perhaps that they don’t pray to mother Mary.

    It’s really not a big surprise they defend some of their teaching with catholic writings.

    I actually had to ask on a Catholic forum, how they would relate to a Catholic laestadian (Catholic church member and laestadian.) The other way around goes well, for example Greek orthodox and laestadian. There are such.

  6. L Info said: "They base the teaching on that Jesus will meet one united bride when he returns, so they think this means all will become Catholics".

    So, that would mean they expect it to be a literal church. What do you think, L Info.. what does 'one united bride' mean to you?

  7. I think Laestadianinfo's point about Catholic, Orthodox, and Lutheran Laestadians points up a big difference between Laestadianism in Scandinavia versus the United States. I knew that at least initially Laestadianism was not a separate church in Scandinavia --adherents would still be baptized, confirmed, married, and buried in the state church, while Laestadian meetings would take place in a separate location.

    When the groups emigrated to the United States where there is no state-sanctioned church, they became more like separate institutions.

    Is this still true today? Do Laestadians in Finland and Sweden still maintain membership in the state churches, or do they have their own clergy, etc?

  8. Here's something interesting regarding Lutheranism in the US. It seems that the ELCA had their convention in Minneapolis last month. http://lutheranwriter.blogspot.com/ covers the convention, and some of the decisions that were made. Here is a quote regarding the ELCA's apparant decision to approve homosexuality, and bless divorce:

    "How did this happen in the ELCA? Pretty simple, really. Liberal Protestantism rejected "Scripture alone" (sola scriptura) as a doctrinal standard many years ago, asserting the will of man to decide what comes from God and how it will be put into practice (note that a Roman Catholic archbishop at the ELCA convention was reminding them that they should be following Scripture---supreme irony). One of the things decided in the twentieth century was that men and women were interchangeable: gender didn't matter. That leads logically to homosexuality. Also, the will of the individual is more important than the will of God. So, "What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate" (Matthew 19:6) ceases to apply."

  9. "Is this still true today? Do Laestadians in Finland and Sweden still maintain membership in the state churches, or do they have their own clergy, etc?"

    Yes, this is how it is. Laestadianism in Europe is a revivalist movement, not a church. Laestadians in US had initially preferred to stay in the US Lutheran church, but was thrown out by the Norwegian pastor in Calument.

    Laestadians in Europe has own prayer houses where they mainly gather, but are all members of the state church, which in Finland is the Lutheran Church and Greek Ortodox church.

    There are some rare exception where an laestadian is member of the Greek Orthodox church, but this is a really rare exception.

    Laestadians honor the Lutheran church and all normal church activities like weddings and funerals happen in churches.

    Laestadianism is actually the backbone of the Finish Lutheran Church, with over 100 active priests in the Church, and has very strong influence on everything that happens in the church by being members of boards etc.

    This is also a reason to why the Finnish Lutheran church is so conservative comparing to the Swedish Lutheran church, where laestadians are relatively few.

  10. The SRK has looked to Catholic theology recently in justifying its position against contraception. But even there it has to pick and choose because the Catholic church allows the rhythm method where SRK doesn't allow anything.

  11. This is Free, popping up here to apologize for neglecting comments (several were stuck in the queue, but are now online) and to thank Tomte for his thought-provoking posts. Huge thanks also to all of you who are participating in a civil exchange of ideas.

    As my dad might say, "it isn't easy to keep the Old Adam down." Heh. (Or the Old Id, to Freudians.)

    My job will keep me mostly offline until October, when I hope to rejoin the conversation.

    But I just have to add that I'm delighted for my ELCA friends, both gay and straight, divorced and not, that their church has entered the 21st century.

    Talk to you soon!

  12. Norah, I understand where the writer you quoted (regarding the recent ELCA decision) is coming from, but I could not disagree more.

    Taking the Bible seriously does not mean that you have to be against faithful, lifelong same sex relationships. I think the ELCA has made a move towards equal rights that is to be commended.

    For me the scriptural situation is very analogous to the old controversies that used to exist regarding people of different races getting married to each other. Church people thought that was sinful too, and specific scriptures were quoted to back up their points.

    All of those verses are still in the Bible. The verses did not go anywhere. But nowadays faithful, Bible-believing people do not think they apply to "mixed race" marriages.

    The same is increasingly true for gay marriage, and gay clergy.

    I have collected a pretty extensive collection of articles that look very closely at the scriptures that are currently used against gay people. If anyone is interested in an in-depth conversation on this topic I invite them to email me. :-)

  13. I strongly disagree with the ELCA direction and don't believe this is a civil rights issue, however I really, really, really don't want to argue :-) I respect that others feel differently. There is value in just stating what the various positions are, so that people can make up their own minds. That is a good tone for discussion, in my opinion...

  14. Norah, I agree with you on both those last points. :-)

    Probably the big issue that keeps me coming back to this site is the opportunity to try to talk in an civil manner with people who hold different views. If I can do it here, with a pseudonym, maybe someday I'll be better at it in real life with people face to face.

  15. "If I can do it here, with a pseudonym, maybe someday I'll be better at it in real life with people face to face."

    Exactly. I'm not all that successful at it either. In fact, I just avoid controversial subjects most of the time!

  16. If you click on my nick it will take you to a film, which explains the laestadian relation to the Lutheran Church. You will se an old big stone church, where I have spent many, many hours, singing, witnessed weddings, celebrating the Holy Communion and expiring presence of holiness. This is my Church (well my real church is actually a smaller tree church, but this where I have been most).

    You will also see some a tents. This is where my revivalist movement gathers to summer services.

    I think this film will explain it pretty well.

    Regarding Anonymous comment. You are Right, but lets hope SRK got stuck with Catholic theology in the subject, because it’s healthier than SRK:s own.

    Norah wrote:
    "So, that would mean they expect it to be a literal church. What do you think, L Info.. what does 'one united bride' mean to you?"

    I have not studied the subject, and I do not know the Bible verses I question, but I don’t find the thought that all Christians will join the Catholic faith absolutely strange.

    All Christians will never convert to Catholicism, but I think Christians has to acknowledge tradition as an authority in interpreting the Bible, and on that road accept Catholics, even though they are wrong in many things. Traditions are a neccesarity in Christian faith, so we know it's given and intended to be used, by God.

    I have tried to discuss on a Baptist board, but was quite soon expelled and banned from the board, for advocating Lutheranism and evolutionism. Anyway during my short visit, I figured out Baptists does not accept Catholics as Christians.

    No-one in Europe would question if a Catholic is a Christian (the living faith thing may be under question, but anyway)..

  17. L Info, the YouTube link is to a song, and I don't see anythng about the Laestadian relation to the Lutheran church.. Maybe it's the wrong link?

    There are many Bible verses which refer to the kingdom of God. Luke 17:20-21, John 18:36 and Acts 1:6-8 are a few. They refer to the kingdom of God not as a literal church, but one that is within the heart, joined together by the Holy Spirit. Ephesians also explains this very well, I think. And this does not leave out any denomination in particular; it speaks to the individual no matter where a person may worship.

    What branch do you belong to, L Info? I don't think you've mentioned that...

  18. Hi! You all write so deep and it is so intressting to read. About the Bible and what you belive it is telling us today, I really sometomes wonder how people can be so certain? Like my laestadian friend who says that tehy do as the Bible says... But the Bible says many things and some of them are even contadictionary to eachother (sorry spelling...) I belive in Jesus Christ but I find it hard to know what is the right thing to do all the time. I don´t think the Bible is so clar at all. But then again, maybe Lars Levi Laestadus is explaining many things about it? But he was also coloured with how things were when he lived. How can laestadians be so sure about everything?

    When I write I never mean to offend anyone and I hope you can forgive me if I write somethins so it sounds strange. As you know, Im not an English speaker... thank you

  19. "L Info, the YouTube link is to a song, and I don't see anythng about the Laestadian relation to the Lutheran church.. Maybe it's the wrong link?"

    I thought is more like a symbolical explanation.

    You will see a Church which is my Church, but you will also see tents, where my revavilist movement gathers. This says something about the priority. Firstmoust we are Lutherans, secondly Laestadians.

    "They refer to the kingdom of God not as a literal church, but one that is within the heart, joined together by the Holy Spirit."


    "What branch do you belong to, L Info? I don't think you've mentioned that..."

    ALC, but I sometimes attend LLC services.

  20. Miss Sweden said...

    "But the Bible says many things and some of them are even contadictionary to eachother"

    You are right, but Laestadianism is very much founded on tradition, and tradition is quite uniform in how to interprete the Bible, thru Church history.

    When you go into a Church in Sweden, it’s usually several hundred years old.

    Laestadians believe like the people who built the Churches. It’s over 1000 year since Christianity reached Sweden.

  21. "How can laestadians be so sure about everything?"

    In my experience growing up Laestadian, the surety was fanatically cultivated by the group, but nonetheless, many had doubts. The response to these doubts was to feel guilty about them, confess them as sin, and put them out of the mind. So the external sense of surety is in part a facade and in part an intentional avoidance of questioning their own beliefs.

  22. Miss Sweden, I don't think anyone is sure of everything all the time. Everyone has doubts, especially when we go through hard times, and there's nothing wrong with that. But after awhile, you begin to realize that God is with you no matter what happens, and that what He has promised He will do, and that He never fails.

    You said your Laestadian friend says they do what the Bible says, and this person seems to find comfort and assurance in that, right? And that is fine, it's wonderful to have fellowship with people who support you and guide you. However, church membership is not going to save us and we can't depend on that. We can't rely on other people's faith to be saved - not our friends, our church, our parents, our grandparents, or our traditions. Each person must come to the realization of their need for Christ, individually.

    I grew up in a Christian home, but when I was in my 20's I doubted everything I had been taught, and I doubted what I heard in church. But it was through reading the Bible for myself, praying, and pretty much putting myself in God's hands that I came to be able to trust and have faith in the words of God. This took place over time, over many years. And it was when I was at my lowest that I was able to finally just trust without having to understand everything. It is a great relief to know that you don't have to know everything, or _do_ certain things, you can come to faith just as you are.

    L Info, I guess I disagree with you somewhat, with what you said about tradition. I do think it has to be more than that, as I've written here recently. It has to be more than the warm feelings when hearing those hymns, and the good memories of spending time in church (even though those things are wonderful!). But faith is much more than our emotions. We can have a good sturdy faith using not just our experiences but also our reason. That is my opinion :-). And I probably have a really weird way of expressing it, but those are the words that come to mind lol.

    Ilmarinen, if what you wrote is really true of those churches (and not just a perception), then that is a very sad situation.

  23. LLLreader to Norah: Bottom line, I was taught growing up in the OALC that membership in that church would indeed save me. Questioning the traditional beliefs was sin. The preachers, even though they say they are lacking and unworthy, are able to tell members pretty much how to lead their lives. Leaving the church means you will go to hell. Anyone disagree with my assessment?

  24. Ilmarinen, you said "So the external sense of surety is in part a facade and in part an intentional avoidance of questioning their own beliefs."

    That is profound, and I agree with you, although I really do hope that it is not so much a facade as it is the second part -- avoiding questioning. To question? Well, you run the risk of what the old mapmakers said, "There be dragons here." Well said!

    LLLreader, I also agree with your assessment. That's exactly the way I understood it as well.

  25. LLLreader, I agree with your assessment too. Since it's what they've been taught it all their lives, I think some of them don't even think to question it's just what comes naturally.

    Norah, you are very good at expressing yourself. I agree completely what you said about how church membership isn't going to save us, and we have to rely on our own faith.

    I think we have to learn to trust our own instinct over someone elses, especially when it comes to how we believe. Of course its also good to have some guidance through a good church, too.

    Sorry if that was a bit of a jumble..

  26. Thanks, YM.. there's not a whole lot I feel very good at these days (old age and moving very slowly lol).

    I Googled "how to get faith" this morning, and also "faith by osmosis", and came up with some interesting websites from all different faith perspectives. I think that regular church attendance is good (faith comes by hearing), but ultimately it has to come from inside ourselves, doesn't it? It's more than just good character training and learning the proper outward behavior.

    (That said, I do understand that faith is actually given to us by God and not something we can create on our own, but that's another subject).

    And if faith (or anything else) was something we could pass down to our kids, wouldn't it be a wonderful thing? Especially for those who are still raising kids, wouldn't it just be so easy to say "because I said so" and that would be the end of it? lol Doesn't work that way! I believe that God is infinitely patient with us as we wander and question. He sure has been with me!

  27. I'm sure there were some people just keeping themselves in the church bubble and never exposing themselves to any mental challenges from the outside, but many people had real doubts. I remember hearing these struggles with doubt expressed from the pulpit, and the message I received was that we shouldn't focus on the doubts, but rather just keep thinking Laestadian thoughts. When I started trying to understand what I really believed, I was told that I was thinking too hard and questioning too much.

  28. I have been told the same thing, that I think too much. Many people in the Laestadian faith think that it is bad to be a thinker, to want to understand the beliefs, because there is a perception that if you think too much, you will lose your faith. Shouldn't we be able to think about why we believe what we believe, and expect answers, without losing our faith? I think that if more people in the Laestadian faiths would be able to go to the bible for the answers to the questions they have regarding all the "do's and don'ts" they may not experience so many doubts that they have to force out of their minds.

  29. LaestadianInfo8/27/2009 10:33:00 PM

    "I think that if more people in the Laestadian faiths would be able to go to the bible for the answers"

    Many people also lose their faith when they start to read the Bible.

    At least in Finland, it's has traditionaly in been thought in LLC-laestadianism, that it is not recommended for Christians to read the Bible on their own.

  30. L Info, are you talking about just the LLC/SRK, or are you talking about all of the Laestadian branches? Does this make sense to you?

  31. Laestadianinfo, are you a laestadian? Just curious..

    Maybe when they start reading the bible for themselves they find their own understanding and no longer believe what they've been taught.

    I can't honestly say I know the answers to faith. All I know is that I believe in God, after that, well.... I don't really know what to believe anymore. I guess the main thing is that I keep searching for the answers, maybe someday I'll find them. I was always told what to think instead of figuring out what to think on my own..you know? Maybe some of you understand that feeling..

    anyways, i'm rambling..

  32. About Laestadianism, Bengt Pohjanen, for those who know of him, wrote something to me once that I will never forget. For those who don't know of him, he is an ex-Laestadian, now an Orthodox Priest, who has written sigificantly on the topic of Laestadius and Laestadianism.

    He wrote:

    "Jesus came down to the earth to save. He didn't come down to be right."

    Growing up Laestadian, we're taught how very important it is to believe the "right" way and to think the "right" thoughts. There are many things about the Laestadian way of living and beliefs that have been "right" for me, but we're taught if we go slightly off course with the proscribed thoughts, we're in eminent danger of hell. Even and sometimes especially regarding people who belong to other LLL groups. They seem to be just like our group, except with some minor doctrinal or cultural practice that is different, and because of this we withhold the giving of God's Peace or God's Greetings to them. There are familes who are divided by such splits and "heresies" and little children are told that their aunts, uncles, and cousins will go to hell. It is a terrifying way to live.

    --Stranger in a Strange Land

  33. LaestadianInfo8/28/2009 10:23:00 AM

    “Maybe when they start reading the bible for themselves they find their own understanding and no longer believe what they've been taught.”

    You are partly right, because laestadianism as well as the religiosity 90% of Christians live in is quite unbiblical. Laestadianism is more founded on tradition than pure reading from the Bible.

    Biblical Christianity would be something more like pentacolism.

    If you read the Bible, speaking in tongues, prophesying, prayer for healing the sick by putting hands on the person, and such things should be in the very center of teachings. Even when Jesus sent the disciples, he commanded to heal the sick, and the Bible explains in many verses how believers can make miracles.

    However nothing of this can be found in traditional Christianity.

    This is mainly because it doesn’t work that way.

    You can be sure that there have been believers during the long path of Christianity, who has believed in those things, but has during their lifetime realized they are wrong, so these biblical teachings have not been preserved in the traditions. Mothers and fathers want to give to their children, what they have found to be sustainable in their lives.

    So tradition prioritizes Jesus suffering, death, resurrection, and leave miracles, healing an such teachings to it’s own value.

  34. Stranger,
    It surprised me to read "...and because of this we withhold the giving of God's Peace or God's Greetings to them."

    You know my history with both OALC and IALC churches there in the Midwest, and over the years I've stayed in touch with many of your relatives. When I was still OALC, we always warmly greeted each other with "God's Peace", and even though I am now Catholic, we would still continue to do so. It is in this kind of relationship of old and true friends where the greeting makes all of the sense in the world -- that the wishing of God's Peace to someone else is a beautiful and loving thing to do.

    Even when I was OALC though, I understood that I was in a very small minority who felt that way. What those others choose to think though is of little concern to me.

  35. The LLC is strict with the greeting of "God's Peace". They only greet their own. Once one is no longer "believing", they don't say the greeting. It's been like that since I can remember, and I can't see it changing. When I'm at family functions, when they go around and greet everyone, some of them just skip by me without even saying hi/bye, some of them will shake my hand and say hi, but they will never say "God's Peace". It's interesting. I wonder what they'd do if I greeted them with "God's Peace"? My guess is that they would think I'd repented :) I've heard about other branches that are not exclusive with the greeting, which imo is how it should be.

    My interpretation (sp?) of "healing the sick", would be to donate money, or time to charities who help people who can't afford medical help,etc. It doesn't have to be taken literally.

  36. LaestadianInfo8/28/2009 12:56:00 PM

    "It doesn't have to be taken literally."

    Well, the Bible takes it literally. For example Mark 16:17-18.

    These are teachings traditional Christians does not accept, but instead interpret the passages as something else, based on tradition.

    My pesonal opinion is that tradition as an authority in interpreting the Bible is undervalued in Lutheranism.

    I don't think Luther fully knew what he did when he formed Sola Scriptura.

    The Lutheran Chuch theology is very much founded on Church tradition, and has never turn it's back to it.

  37. Looking at the LLC website http://www.laestadianlutheran.org/, here's what they say about the Bible:

    "The psalmist writes, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Ps. 119:105). The Bible is a rich book. It provides answers to many problems and questions...Jesus taught that a person should search the Scriptures because they testify of Him (John 5:39). The reading of God's Word is a good thing. However, the Bible teaches that faith comes by hearing and accepting the gospel. Study and knowledge of the written Word of God is necessary for us, because it leads us to seek Christ and His grace kingdom. It also teaches a child of God to grow in the knowledge of God and the Savior, Jesus Christ. When Jesus fought against the tempter, He drove off the enemy with God's Word, and then the angels came and served Him. God's Word is a place of refuge. It is a lamp for our feet and a light for our path.”

    That sounds just about right to me!

  38. ex falc says...

    To me the greeting of gods peace to specific individuals reminds me of a secret club. To be part of the club you adhere to specific traditions, you get admittion into the secret club, and the secret greeting is "gods peace", kind of like a secret handshake. You know the code, you get through. Otherwise, you loose your membership and don't get greeted.

    When I say gods peace to someone, I consider what the words mean. It means I am wishing the peace of god onto someone. I should be able to say this to whoever I want, regardless of denomination.

    Many of my relatives do not greet me with gods peace because I do not attend their church anymore. I believe the FALC is very similar to the LLC in this way. Did my faith really change? No, the only difference is that I am not following the meaningless rituals anymore. They can continue putting on the show but I am done acting. When I meet them, I smile and say gods peace to them anyway. I say it because I honest wish for god to bring them peace. I can tell it is often very awkward for them because they don't know how to respond. How dare I be greeting them if I am not part of their secret organization!

    Which brings us back to the fact that all these churches are...are just shell organizations...propped up with plenty of traditions but no real foundation.

  39. LaestadianInfo8/28/2009 01:09:00 PM

    "The LLC is strict with the greeting of "God's Peace". They only greet their own. Once one is no longer "believing", they don't say the greeting."

    Yes they are, and it's even unbiblical. The Bible commands to greet with God’s peace every time you enter a house, and if the greeting was in vain, the peace will come back to you. I don’t remember the passage, but this is what the Bible says.

    OALC:s are the complete opposite.

    They greet everyone witch shows a slightest interest in religion with Gods peace, also other than laestadians..

  40. YM, I agree with your assessment.. it is not to be taken literally.

    L Info, you are on a long and winding road following those traditions of yours. lol Hey, you never did answer the questions that YM and I asked.

  41. LaestadianInfo8/28/2009 01:24:00 PM

    "propped up with plenty of traditions but no real foundation."

    I would like to make a difference between tradition and tradition.

    Of course there are traditions in the laestadian movement, which is, just traditions, for example no earrings, no make up and such.

    But this is not what I mean with tradition when I talk about tradition as an authority in interpreting the Bible.

    Sola Scriptura has proven to be a great failure. We have around 40000 Christian Churches and movements, claiming to be founded on the Bible alone.

    These differ a lot from each other, regarding all from the role of baptism, to many other things.

    Christian tradition is much more unified, and when you think about it, only a small minority of the worlds Christians claims Sola Scriptura.

    This does not of course mean that the Bible shouldn’t be the highest authority in faith, but by accepting tradition, each Christian generation does not have to go thru the same spiritual questions as their parents, parents, parent did, a.s.o.

  42. LaestadianInfo8/28/2009 01:32:00 PM

    "L Info, are you talking about just the LLC/SRK, or are you talking about all of the Laestadian branches? Does this make sense to you?"

    No, only LLC. They has been somewhat negative to people reading the Bible on own hand.

    SRK actually once stopped a Bible study group in a congregation in Espoo, Finland, a few years ago.

    Whas this your question?

  43. In Finland discussing on the net is quite common. Almost all in Finland has their broadband connection. Suomi24 is one of the most used net forums in Finland, with a tens of thousands postings per day.

    When the original Laestadian discussion group was founded on Suomi24, LLC:s wanted an own discussion group, because they didn’t wanted to discuss on same forum as other laestadians. This is the original discussion group where OALC and ALC discuss:


    The LLC discussion group is here:


    Nowdays I can see LLC:s coming over to the original discussion group, and writing they agree with the writers there. :-)

  44. I grew up in the LLC and there was never any negativity towards reading the bible on your own. They didn't encourage it alot, but didn't discourage it either. I don't remember it being talked about much at all. They give the bible as a gift to every newlywed couple, so that must mean it's ok to read.

    L-info, I asked if you're a laestadian. I'm a little confused, when you've said believer or christian, what do you mean? Believer in Christ, or do you mean laestadian?

    We'll have to agree to disagree on the taking it literally part. Some of the bible can't be taken literally, it just doesn't work. That doesn't mean it should be ignored, imo.

  45. "L-info, I asked if you're a laestadian. I'm a little confused, when you've said believer or christian, what do you mean?"

    Firstmoust I Am a Lutheran Christian, and a member of the Lutheran Church. Secondly I Am a Laestadian, which is my Lutheran revivalist movement. In Europe laestadinaism is a revival movement, not a church.

    I think this makes it somewhat different than in US, where the laestadians has own churches.

    Laestadians in US would not in first place had left the Lutheran Church in Calument, if not the Norwegian pastor had forced them out.

  46. Ok, so the laestadians in Finland don't actually have "Laestadian" Churches but go to the "Lutheran" Church? Am I understanding correctly?

  47. LaestadianInfo, I can't resist: how about Scripture, Tradition, and Reason? ;-) The hallmarks of Anglicanism.

  48. “Ok, so the laestadians in Finland don't actually have "Laestadian" Churches but go to the "Lutheran" Church? Am I understanding correctly?”

    Laestadians has usually prayer houses, but all weddings, funerals and baptisms happen in the Church. The Holy Communion is also celebrated in the Church, and laestadians usually does this quite frequently.

    If the Church has a laestadian priest (which is not very uncommon), the laestadians may be very involved and active in the local Church.

    There are also Lutheran priests taking part in all laestadian summer services. For example in the summer services this posting links to (click on my Nick), over half of the preachers were priests in the Lutheran Church. Around hundred priests were serving at the Holy Communion you can see on the film.

    Tomte: That’s nice! Tradition is a vital part of Christianity in Europe. When we step into a Church in our countries, the building it usually several hundred years old.

  49. Cvow:

    My relatives who still greeted you were in the minority. I was pleased to hear that they still did, and didn't want to destroy the good memory. I have heard that they have been rebuked by others (probably including my grandmother) for doing so. For the majority of those in the IALC, they won't keep greeting those who left or those from other groups. However, I heard a cousin of mine who moved far away and may not have attended church for 20 or more years came for a visit and people were greeting him. So it probably varies from individual to individual.


  50. LaestadianInfo, are you in the SRK/LLC branch or one of the others?

  51. LaestadianInfo9/02/2009 08:51:00 PM

    "LaestadianInfo, are you in the SRK/LLC branch or one of the others?"

    I am in the ALC branch, but I use to go to LLC services and meetings sometimes.

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