"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: July 2018

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Laestadian Divisions (Guest Post)

Following is a guest post from a reader with the pen name IlmarH. If you would like to contribute a post, please email me using the form on the home page. If you would like to discuss Laestadianism in North America (with insiders and outsiders), join this new  Facebook group. —Free


I am writing from Finland, and am curious to know how recent events in Europe have affected the OALC and perhaps other Laestadian factions. Perhaps readers of this blog could report on the current spiritual weather in North American Laestadian groups. The tumultuous times in America in the period 1880-1900 had an influence in the breaking of the movement here, and more recently the American OALC culture has been a factor in the breach in the European Firstborn flock (separation from the Lutheran Church communion, etc).

I suspect that sooner or later this division will send some waves to the OALC as well.
I find the theological attitudes and arguments on both sides alien at best
There are websites in Finland where the two factions of the Firstborn breach are discussing and arguing, e.g., http://esikoisten.foorumi.eu. I find the theological attitudes and arguments on both sides alien at best, and frequently appalling. My interests and viewpoint are more in the general phenomena of religion-culture-society, interaction of world religions, etc. I am challenging fundamentalism and the fatal neglect and mockery of broad-minded Bible scholars.
The main Laestadian faction, Vanhoillislestadiolaiset / SRK (LLC in the North America) has interesting ripples as well. An active blog (https://hulluinhuonelainen.wordpress.com) has reported some of the waves. The blog was initiated by two bright young theologians, Joona Korteniemi and Roosa Tahkola. Korteniemi was a priest in the Finnish Lutheran Church and also an SRK preacher. Some months ago he posted a message that he is giving up his position as a preacher due to differences between his convictions and Laestadian closed-congregation “only us” doctrine. I can imagine that this man has been quite alone, on a raft on open sea. I feel respect and sympathy for him. His blog contains writings of many thankful supporters but is also filled with texts from hot-head believers and narrow-span fundamentalists, and even hostile outbursts. (Unfortunately indicative of the intolerance justified by religious writings—a common plague all over.) 

The next phase of this story is surprising and unusual. Some weeks ago Korteniemi posted a message revealing that he has decided to join the Catholic Church. Some ex-Firstborn friends have sympathized or joined other denominations, for instance the “orthodox” Lähetyshiippakunta (Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese). See http://www.lhpk.fi/en/.
Christianity worldwide is in disarray and the main reason is . . . sex
Christianity worldwide is in disarray and the main reason is—how original!—sex / gender / reproduction, particularly the question of female priests, birth control, and attitude towards homosexuals. The crucial ideological rift is between two paradigms regarding Bible interpretation. Fundamentalist groups take every line, phrase, and saying in Bible as divine, untouchable truth that should not be analyzed with human reason, intellectual analysis, or socio-historical research. The other faction respects the Bible as the foundation of our civilization providing moral values and humanitarian guidelines of life, but recognizes the historical processes and cultural evolution that have taken place in the past 3,000 years.

I would like to see some signs of global reforms in Christianity spanning Catholicism, Protestantism, and all Christian denominations. The third millennium of Christianity is unfolding—but how, and in which direction?