Pr. Weedon,What would we say to someone who asserts, "The way a church confesses determines what it believes"? I think we would have to say yes, in a certain sense: the confessions are taught, they are subscribed to, they are studied, and so forth. I think we would also have to say no, in a certain sense: just by virtue of being written down and subscribed to, they are not necessarily determinative of the Faith, the Hope, and the Love; merely many individuals' faiths, hopes, and loves, true or false. By analogy, doesn't this apply to the liturgy?In other words, I try to ponder this question: what is the relationship between the specific texts of the Lutheran symbols (their form, structure, grammatical syntax, and even inkblots on a page and odd noises that come from the throat) and the catholic Faith? And doesn't the doxological/confessional nature of the liturgy mean that one could say the same about sculpture, vestments, movement, posture, gestures, intonations, and even inkblots on a page and odd noises that come from the throat?
Phil,I'm not sure. I know that one helpful way to think of liturgy is as prayed or sung confession - hence the tight overlapping meaning of "confess": confession of sins, confession of faith, confession as praise.
Impressive. If there is to be any compromise in the LCMS over worship, it seems to me it will be along the principles outlined at that website (which was rather confusing to get to) : http://worshipconcordjournal.wordpress.com/ I know I disagree with some here in reading Scripture and our confessions as prohibiting the binding of consciences as to the use of particular orders of service. BUT I think it is clear that the contemporary worship crowd ignores that Scripture and our confessions say quite a bit about how we are to worship. Scripture tells us we cannot by our own reason or strength come to Christ, and we need his grace. It tells us Christ is present where we gather in his name, and it shows us Christ is pleased when we approach with a kyrie eleison. It tells us to preach Christ crucified. It tells us to baptize and take eat and drink. And so on.Any order of worship must be carefully examined to ensure it properly preaches the Gospel and administers the sacraments in the way Scripture tells us. That is simply not done in many congregations, who use worship to entertain the uncatechized, and compromise Scripture so as to avoid offense. These are huge mistakes that need to be addressed.
Late C19 French Roman Catholic monk?Great Judas in the schola, this is Dom Prosper Gueranger OSB, no less!He bought the old Le Mans abbey (not the racetrack) founded in 1010 but closed in 1791 in the French Revolution, and reopened it on 11 July 1833.He worked long and hard to increase the understanding of the faithful of the liturgy, both Mass and Office, in both efforts to establish a faithful and observant Benedictine community and in what was to be a 15 volume treatment of the liturgy as it is celebrated in the year. L'Annee Liturgique (The Liturgical Year) was completed to 9 volumes by his death, and the rest done under his name by a brother OSB.He had an absolute gift for presenting what may seem to many dry and arcane matters in a lively and engaging way, so much so that he was criticised for being too lively, engaging, personal and forceful in style (these are faults? -- God bless me sideways!).These efforts resulted in a restoration of chant (which means not just the music but the texts that are chanted) from the many varied editions that existed in a corrupted hodgepodge. The results were controversial, to this day with some saying their restoration imposes too much of their ideas, particularly about rhythm, which ongoing musicology cannot support, and some saying regardless the pastoral benefit of a uniform tradition in the life of the church outweighs such concerns which will always be subject to the next guy writing an article having to show how the last guy screwed up thus resulting in another corrupted hodgepodge but with footnotes.The ideas were enthusiastically embraced by the new Pope Pius X in 1903, leading to an encouragement to have the laity know and chant the Ordinary and actively participate in the liturgy -- the same liturgy, not a new order (novus ordo) for the cat's sake.You may have heard of the place and their book. Abbey of Solesmes, Liber usualis.
Thanks, Will, for linking to my lex orandi lex credendi article on the WorshipConcord blog. There are a couple of ironies I hope did not escape the notice of your readers.The name that is shared by Prosper of Acquitaine (who did not write "lex orandi lex credendi") and Prosper Gueranger (who coined the phrase "lex orandi lex credendi").Prosper Gueranger did great work in his nineteenth century effort to restore historic liturgical traditions to the church's practice. Gueranger also made important contributions to preparing the way for the Roman Catholic dogmas of the immaculate conception (the sinless conception of Mary, found as early as the second century in the apocryphal gospel known as the Protoevangelium of James, but not in holy Scripture) and papal infallibility. This gives perspective to the meaning of lex orandi lex credendi that we as Lutherans should probably not ignore.
Re the irony of the names, Prosper would not be the latter Prosper's name as we know it, which was Louis. Prior to the ecclesiastical Sack of Rome by the Huns, in the 1960s and otherwise known as Vatican II, a Benedictine community bestows a name drawn from the saints on its new members, to indicate that one lives no longer in the world or birth family under one's baptismal name, but neither in the streets like a bum like the miserable stinking friars like the Franciscans and Dominicans.(Re the latter, Aquinas is not really a damn Domincan; his family had abbot of Monte Cassino bought and paid for for him, in the most holy and venerable way of doing monking stuff, therefore he is one of us in spiritual reality.) Anyway, one would wonder if the St Prosper of Aquitaine, who was a layman btw, was the saint the community had in mind, because if so, the irony is deeper than it appears.Re the Immaculate Conception and Papal Infallibility, it is important to remember that in real Catholic thought, doctrine does not develop, contra miserable Newman who found a Protestant way to be Catholic that is now Catholicism itself. The deposit of faith is full, complete and entire from Christ and the Apostles. What is not full, complete and entire is its march through history and application thereto, which Christ entrusted to his church. Therefore, these would not be new doctrines, not developments of doctrines, but clarifications relevant to the times of what has always been there.For example, the Immaculate Conception, being always there, but in the wisdom of God its formal declaration reserved until the time of Marx and Darwin, the one proclaiming the historical inevitability of a just worker's paradise and the other the evolution of the human and other species, both proclaiming Man, socially and individually, as conceived without sin, and the church countering that this only happened once, and even that too by the grace of the same Christ who saves a fallen Man.So on the one hand, Lutherans need not fear that if they start chanting they will soon end up in Rome, but on the other, Lutherans behave this way within themselves sometimes -- when I was in WELS, and beginning to feel a little Lutheranly uncomfortable, as I read the Wauwatosa boys' explanation of how the OHM isn't what LCMS says, it was explained to me that this was not a new doctrine or development thereof, but a needed clarification and application of what was always there to the matter at hand (which appears to have started with a layman in Ohio sending his kids to public school, you gotta watch those uppity laymen).So we Lutherans can do that sort of thing all by ourselves with no help from Rome.Dom Gueranger's insight stands: a liturgy that is a show one attends and hears stands apart from faith, and a faith that is an academic matter of treatises and research stands apart from liturgy. They are rather parts of the same whole, one leading to the other.In this way, Dom G advocated for no new manner or orders of service, which is the lesson we REALLY need to learn from him, but rather the restoration of what we in fact already have. Our difference with him would not be in that, but in our understanding of what we in fact already have have.The liturgical vandals of the 1960s understood this quite well. As they often remarked during my days with them, a professor in a classroom reaches a few people, but worship reaches the whole congregation. To really make a break doctrinally one needs to change the worship, especially in breaking from what was done before.
Cont'd:Walther understood this too. If we do not believe like the Methodists, he said in the face of the controversies of his time, why would we worship like them. If we do not believe the Sacrament is a memorial, that any presence is brought by us in the experience of faith, why should we Walther understood this too. If worship in a way designed to embrace that idea and emphasise felt experience. Rather we would stick to the Divine Service, wherein God serves us his Word and Sacrament rather than focus on us grooving on God.
Finally, it is important to remember that whichever version of the phrase one uses, it all depends on which lex orandi one uses too.St Proper used the longer phrase to demonstrate from catholic worship that Augustine's views were in harmony with it and the semi-Pelagians were not. One would get a different view if one looked at the worship of the semi-Pelagians, no doubt.Likewise the Arians and any other group held to be outside the catholic faith.The Anglicans are particularly keen on this: having neither a pope nor a central reforming theologian like Luther or Calvin, the whole thing rests on Cranmer's BCP. Those valiantly struggling to retain historic Anglicanism make the point that the 1979 American revision does not proceed from the same basis as the historic liturgy, but from the modernist, historical-critical views of its revisionists, which are then buried under a superficial resemblance of externals.Traditional Catholics make the same point re the novus ordo.The point being, the maxim in either formulation depends upon which and whose lex orandi one takes as normative.And the point further being, when one begins with, or includes as an equal, a lex orandi which is not traditional, literally, what has been passed along by the church, which reflects the modernist theological bias of a specific group in a specific time and place, one will then be indeed connected not to the historic faith of that community but the faith of that group, such as the nouvelle theologie of the novus ordo, which will then modify the faith of the community -- and other communities which produce similar revisions.
I've never been very impressed with Waddell's work on liturgics. He has no real background in the subject, and it has been made painfully clear to me through several lengthy exchanges with him that his "research" is merely an attempt to find justification for his predetermined position on worship and liturgy.The manner in which he trashed John Pless and Matthew Harrison in a journal article printed a few years ago was nothing short of shabby and disgraceful.
Paul,I respectfully disagree with your assessment of James. He and I certainly have not (and likely will not) see eye to eye on the matter of liturgy, but I found this particular article most intriguing. He provides a reading of Prosper that actually makes a great deal of sense, IMHO.
His comments seemed a bit off to me. I remembered Rev. Dr. Tom Winger had commented on this in Logia in a very striking way: lex orandi, lex credendi and the Vincentian canon (catholic = everywhere, always, and by all) were in fact on the opposite sides of the same debate, Vincent of Lerins being a Semi-Pelagian (which was news to me at the time!)Here's Waddell:"In 1 Timothy 2 there is no reference to the form of the prayer. There is only the command to pray. Against the Semi-Pelagians Prosper demonstrated the biblical position: that everyone, no exception, stands in total and unqualified need of God’s grace, and the church’s obedience to the Apostle’s command to pray acknowledges this, that human conversion takes place only by the will and grace of God.Prosper appealed to the sacraments and the apostolic command to pray, the lex. He did not appeal to the liturgy. For Prosper, it is Scripture that determines the content of the church’s prayer, and it is not that the church’s practice of liturgy determines what the church believes." (emphasis mine).Winger, "Lex Orandi Revisited", Logia IV, Epiphany, pp. 65-66:"In context, Prosper is attacking Semi-Pelagianism by drawing proof from the liturgical prayers of the whole church. He quotes a litany from the Roman rite in which the church prays for the conversion of unbelievers, idolaters, persecutors, Jews, heretics and schismatics. If we pray for their conversion, their conversion must be entirely God’s work, Prosperreasons."Dr. Winger then goes on to cite Karl Federer: "Karl Federer demonstrated that Prosper’s dictum has been commonly misunderstood, as if he were saying that whatever the church does in worship (lex orandi “the way of praying”) does (and should) establish her confession. Neither does it mean simply that the liturgy gives evidence to her confession, nor is it even a plain appeal to tradition and universality of belief, for this would play right into Vincent’s hands. Rather, Federer shows that lex orandi was a commonly understood technical term referring to 1 Timothy 2:1–4--St. Paul’s mandate that the church should pray for all men."If Winger is right, then Waddell seems to be completely off base or else misleading when he says that Prosper didn't cite the liturgy. He also doesn't cite Federer in the short piece; I hope he cited him elsewhere.
Will,His book is very poor scholarship, a fundamentally flawed reading of the text of the Confessions, resulting in conclusions that are simply faulty and inaccurate, and very misleading.He did a real disservice to good and faithful professors and leaders in our Synod by "trashing" their very carefully and documented positions.I'm surprised you would steer anyone toward Waddell's web site and his thinking on worship and liturgy.
I won't stoop to the kind of ad hominem that's been displayed, but I will say this. All of my work has been peer reviewed, and not just by people who know me. Most of the reviews have been done by people who do not know me. And my critiques of John's and Matt's work has been focused entirely on assumptions and methodology, with absolutely none of it focused on their personalities. As I also have written publicly, I respect them and the contributions they have made to the church. Academic discourse includes intellectually honest critique.The conversation in the LCMS will not improve or move in a God-pleasing direction as long as we are comfortable with personal attacks, rather than focusing our thoughts and our words on Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions. We are not going to get the conversation about worship right, unless we are open to talking to each other about how we are getting it wrong. On both sides.James
By the way, the previously mentioned work by Winger is truly a tour de force on the oft misunderstood and misused expression lex orandi, lex credendi. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in understanding the original intention and meaning of the phrase.
Just to clarify a couple of points Phil raises about my article. I did not write that Prosper didn't cite the liturgy. Prosper does indeed cite the liturgy. What I wrote was that Prosper crafted his argument sacramentally and not liturgically. This was with reference to the immediate sentence where the "ut legem credend lex statuat supplicandi" phrase appears. I also argued that it is clear from the context, based on my reading of Prosper and the analysis in Paul DeClerk's article (which you identify as Winger who translated it for Studia Liturgica)that the "lex" Prosper is referring to is not a specific liturgical prayer. It refers to the Apostle Paul's admonition to Timothy in 1 Timothy 2.1-6.So before we throw around words like "misleading" or "trashing," can we remember that we are first of all brothers in Christ, and then be careful about the way we read each other's words?One of the goals of the blog I participate on, which by the way includes a rather lengthy list of respectable leaders in our church body, is to foster respect between those who have differing points of view on liturgy. Is this possible?James
Jim, Simply put, you continue to get the Lutheran Confessions wrong. I and others have pointed out how you are not even reading the German language of the Confessions on worship correctly. This is the fundamental error that causes the rest of your analysis to go wrong. You have steadfastly refused to read the Confessions in light of the historical context in which they produced, a context that you choose to ignore and misinterpret so as to avoid the inevitable consequences for the meaning of the Confessions on issues of worship and liturgy.You continue to become quite upset when these errors in your assertions are pointed out, but it remains the case that you have profoundly misunderstood and therefore misapply the Lutheran Confessions to support positions you have personally chosen to embrace in how you rewrite and tinker with the texts of the church's worship service, and in so doing, try to find your justification in texts that simply do not support activities that are not in step with the clear intention, meaning and understanding of our Confessions when it comes to the nature of unity in ceremonies and the importance of such uniformity for the sake of confession and teaching.
Paul,We flatly disagree about the German and the Latin of Formula of Concord X. I have demonstrated in my peer reviewed published work that I do not get the Confessions wrong. You only say that I do, but you can't demonstrate that I do.I think the reason you continue to say so is because we are both running with a different set of prior assumptions and a different methodology, both of which I have written about extensively. I think if there is going to be an intelligent conversation, or a recovery of a fraternal spirit in the conversation, it must be based on honest readings of Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions about things that are neither commanded nor forbidden by God, and there will need to be an honest examination of the prior assumptions and methodology you are running with on worship. I have displayed no animus toward anyone. You say I become upset when my work is criticized. That puzzles me, because the personal attacks are coming from you to me. I get the impression that there is not a desire to have a civil discourse with someone who has a different (and well documented) opinion.James
Jim,The reason you had to trash Harrison's superb work of scholarship on FC X through sloppy criticism, is because that paper is a devastating rebuttal of your fundamentally erroneous misunderstanding of the Lutheran Confessions.You have steadfastly refused to understand and acknowledge the Lutheran Confessions very clear assertions that individual pastors and individual congregations are not "lone rangers."The historical evidence of what was done clearly refutes your assertions.When we wrangled on my blog over these issues some time back you became incredibly anxious and agitated, but could never provide any response beyond, "But I have a peer reviewed book."It wasn't washing then, and it isn't washing now.
Note, though, that this is not a discussion of James' book; but of his analysis of Prosper's original dictum in its context. On the side matter of James' book, I think Harrison was correct to point out the legal force of the Church Orders on the pastors and parishes - orders that were territory wide and to which adherence was expected by all without in anyway yielding one ounce of Gospel freedom. For the freedom of the Gospel involves at its heart the freedom to renounce one's own will and ways for the sake of the common good order.
Paul's rancorous disagreement has to do with the misreading of the German word Gemeine in FC X. Gemeine refers to the local congregation. The local congregation has the confessional authority and freedom to order its own rites and ceremonies in liturgy according to its own circumstances (nach derselben Gelegenheit). You can't have both Gemeine and nach derselben Gelegenheit on the one hand, and a position that insists on liturgical uniformity for the unity of the church as Paul argues on the other hand. This also goes against AC VII.I have also clearly stated elsewhere, and not just in my published work that Paul seems not to be able to engage, that accountability is a corollary of catholicity. Meaning, we are accountable to each other for what we do. No lone rangers.I have been consistent on this point, and the arguments I have made are based on the clear words of the Latin and German texts of FC X. Regardless of how Paul tries to frame my argument on his own terms or misconstrue what I am trying to say.If I was anxious in my previous discussion with Paul, it was because Paul scissored-and-pasted my comments, changed the meaning and intent of my comments, and then demanded that I defend his caricature of my argument. Something no one is capable of doing.
Pr. Weedon,To this layman's ear (that is, as yet incompletely educated, continuing to learn), I'm having a hard time finding someone who can definitively articulate what "legalism" or "Gospel freedom" is. "Legalism" seems to be used as a blunt object to bludgeon any undesired form of order; "Gospel freedom" often turns into a wax nose that is manipulated to be what the speaker wants it to be.Are we capable of getting this straight? It seems like people use the attack of "legalism" so much that they would have to label God Himself a legalist. This debate continues to drive me to Luther's anti-antinomian writings. I wonder whether 20th century liberal antinomianism is still with us.
I read the following on a blog somewhere the other day.Paul McCain wrote:Do you ever get the impression that confessing Lutheran Christians are an angry, negative, obnoxious bunch of nitpicking fault-finders? I do. I know others do as well. Many times it is a wholly unjustified opinion. Anyone who asserts that something is right and something is wrong these days is going to be accused of being “judgmental.” Offer a criticism, of any kind, no matter how kindly, and somebody is going to “be offended.” Daring to be Lutheran and asserting the doctrinal content of the Book of Concord as being true for all times and places is going to earn you derision. No doubt about that. This is not what I’m talking about in this post.Instead, let’s consider how we Lutherans tend to handle ourselves when addressing problems and concerns. Do we come off negative, sarcastic, mean-spirited and angry? When we express concerns about problems facing the church, do we do so in a way that builds up, or tears down? Do we allow our frustrations to get the better of us and end up attacking persons, rather than sticking with issues? As I told a colleague the other day, I think somewhere along the line some of us were given the impression that you can only be a truly orthodox, confessional Lutheran if you are a jerk.trashedshabbydisgracefulmisleadingtinker
Phil,That one's easy: legalism is the belief that following certain laws in some way results in justification of the sinner. The Apostle closed that path to us; or rather, the Cross of our Lord did.There is such a thing as ORDER and this is beyond Law/Gospel and exists for the sake of clearly hearing God's convicting Law that humbles human pride to save us and the Gospel which exalts us in Christ alone. Order is the old category in which Lutherans used to deal with matters liturgical. It prevents us from slipping into an unLutheran elevation of human ceremony to divine precept and from slipping into an unLutheran devaluation of human ceremony to a matter of indifference. All human ceremony in the liturgy exists for the sake of order: for the sake of the Word having its way with us that God might save our sorry butts.
Pr. Weedon,Does this order, then, derive from a third-use understanding of love for neighbor?
Phil,That is certainly a vital, important part of it; but I think it also exists for our own salvation: that we might learn to deny ourselves. There is no salvation apart from this learning that "what I want" ultimately is no criterion for darned thing. To me, one of the beauties of Lutherans abiding by the historic liturgy is this wonderful denial of personal preference and choice. Sooner or later we're going to get it: it's not about US and our preferences; it's about God and His gifts!
Thank you.I like to think of it that the bishop's crozier does, in fact, mean something.Pax,Phil
Well, admonished by my shrinking nature from the least hint of controversy, strong statements and counter statements and the like, and formed by the knowledge that when blackbirds clash we villagers run for cover, I make bold to say:If there is an ad hominem above, I do not see it. Ad hominem seeks to counter an argument by discrediting the person making the argument as having authority to do so based on other information about the person.To say a person has used flawed scholarship in making his arguments, has a flawed reading of the texts in question, has thereby come to faulty and inaccurate conclusions, etc -- one may argue that such statements are or are not substantiated, but whether they are or they aren't such statements are in no way ad hominem, let alone ad personam, but address the other person's argument directly rather than the person himself.Now, didn't you enjoy my parody of the blackbirdial invitation to the Vater unser in my first paragraph?And Benedictines do not let loose upon the world fundamental reinventions of ancient maxims. That's the Jesuits.Carry on.
Here is the article by Rev. Harrison that demonstrates the meaning of Formula of Concord X and which refutes the incorrect reading and interpretation of Wadddell's position on these issues:http://itistime.org/index.php?option=com_rubberdoc&view=doc&id=20&format=rawAnd here is a pertinent quotation from that article, countering Waddell's contention concerning the use of the word gemeine. Waddell's fundamental error is attempting to lift that German word out of its context, treat it as a simple exercise in German vocabulary and then to attempt to defend his own personal practice of slicing/dicing up the historic liturgy."It has long been popular to interpret Gemeine Gottes as meaning each individual congregation. In fact, as I have noted elsewhere,38 the Triglotta (1917), in updating the German of the Formula, chose Gemeinde for Gemeine, thereby leading many to assume wrongly that FC 10 means that each and every local congregation has the autonomous right to do as it pleases in matters liturgical. While Gemeine may mean a local congregation, the word often has both a wide and a narrow sense in the contemporary literature. To read FC 10 as though it were defending an individual congregation’s right to be liturgical or dispense with all liturgy is to ignore the fundamental assertion of the Augsburg Confession regarding the conservative intent of the Lutheran confessions to retain the western rites and liturgical usages."Waddell engages in fundamentally unsound scholarship when he not only removes the word from its context in the Formula and refuses to allow the meaning to be informed by the documented use of these texts in the practice of the times, but he also fails to note the qualifying words that help shape our understanding of the word as it appears elsewhere in the Book of Concord, thus Harrison:"This (and not the local congregation) is what the Formula is talking about when it uses the term Gemeine, translated correctly by Piepkorn in Tappert as ‘community’. This, too, accords with AC 7 where ‘in all places’ [allenthalben] means as much as ‘in every quarter, region or district’. "And:"Liturgical unity was sought in each respective district or jurisdiction, which again was completely in accord with Luther’s directive. Such jurisdictions involving few or many congregations are what was in mind when the Formula spoke of the Gemeine Gottes (FC SD 10, 9). Church polity is a matter of freedom. The Lutheran Church, be it synodically or episcopally organised, has the authority, for the sake of love and unity, to set definite liturgical parameters for its pastors and congregations. Within those parameters, pastors are free to exercise their discretion. This is clear from 56 Richter II, 406b. 57 Richter II, 440. 13 Luther, the Confessions, and the practice of the confessors from the first visitations in the 1520s to 1580."Waddell insists on pushing his definition of gemeine, regardless of the meaning and intention of the word as we have it in the Church Orders of the time and in spite of the clearly documented position on liturgical uniformity articulated in these Orders.It is for this reason that I say that Waddell's scholarship is unsound and his interpretation of the Book of Concord on these points is in error.
"To read FC 10 as though it were defending an individual congregation’s right to be liturgical or dispense with all liturgy is to ignore the fundamental assertion of the Augsburg Confession regarding the conservative intent of the Lutheran confessions to retain the western rites and liturgical usages."This is a straw man. I have not argued that the meaning of Gemeine can be used "to dispense with all liturgy." I have never argued this, and I will never argue this. Paul uses this straw man because he fails to understand that Gemeine, when it is read in its context, does indeed refer to the local congregation having the confessional authority and freedom to order its own rites and ceremonies in liturgy. Why does Paul fail in this respect? Because of the assumptions and methodology he is running with.I have already mentioned the phrase nach derselbe Gelegenheit in connection to Gemeine. How can a phrase "according to its own circumstances" be read in any other way than with reference to the local congregation.Let me add another phrase from the Latin, unamquamque at FC SD X.25. "From this explanation everyone can understand what a Christian community [was einer christlichen Gemein; quid unamquamque ecclesiam] and every individual Christian, particularly pastors, may do or omit in regard to indifferent things without injury to their consciences, especially in a time when confession is necessary, so that they do not arouse God's wrath, do not violate love, do not strengthen the enemies of God's Word, and do not offend the weak in faith."The Confessions and the Reformers in their writings outside the Confessions are also clear that things things are not to be made a matter of conscience.Paul's animus toward me leads him to continue to make the same arguments which I have demonstrated to be flawed because they pick and choose and read things out of context. The Triglotta's insertion of Gemeinde for Gemeine actually makes my point, demonstrating that Friedrich Bente understood Gemeine to mean the local congregation. Werner Elert also understood it this way in "The Structure of Lutheranism," p. 333.What is troubling about the way Paul pursues the conversation, is that he has no qualms about misrepresenting my point of view.
James,You are, I assume, familiar with the Church Orders and the manner of their treatment of such matters. Chemnitz' order for the Duchy of Braunschweig introduces the ceremonies of the various services with the following:"And although Christians are not everywhere bound to one certain type of ceremony, rather Christian freedom has its place in this area, as the ancients say: 'Disagreement in rites does not take away agreement in faith,' [Dissonantia rituum non tollit consonantiam fidei] However, because there is yet all sorts of benefits when ceremonies, as much as is possible, are maintained uniformly and this also serves to maintain the unity in doctrine, also common, simply weak consciences are all the less troubled, rather the more improved, it is thus viewed as good that as much as is possible a similarity in ceremonies with the neighboring reformed church be affected and maintained. ***And for this reason henceforth all pastors in the churches of our principality shall in ceremonies strictly abide, and orient themselves, by the order described below, and not depart from it without special, grave cause.***And nevertheless, the common people can be instructed regarding such ceremonies as to how they are a matter of Christian freedom, to what end they are maintained and used and so that the old papistic delusion not again be hung about the ceremonies."How does it fit into your reading of the Formula?
Earlier Pastor Weedon suggested that the concept of “order” according to the Lutheran Confessions is something that might be useful to explore. I have looked at the concept of “order” in the Lutheran Confessions in some detail. I am posting here my critique of Matt Harrison’s reading of FC X, because Paul (wrongly) thinks it refutes my reading of the Formula. This comes in the context of my discussion of “order” elsewhere. (I have to split this up because the post is too long.)“While the historic confessional witness refers to order in the church with respect to humanly instituted liturgical rites, ceremonies and traditions, it is evident that this order is not a universal order, but is referenced to order in local contexts.[footnote][text of footnote] Frank Senn honestly acknowledges this in Christian Worship and Its Cultural Setting (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1983) 17. In “Martin Chemnitz and FC X,” Mysteria Dei: Essays in Honor of Kurt Marquart, eds. Paul T. McCain and John R. Stephenson (Fort Wayne: Concordia Theological Seminary, 1999) 79-99, see esp. 84-85, Matthew C. Harrison attempts to demonstrate that uniformity of liturgy is necessary for the catholicity of the church by examining the terminology of FC Ep X.4 and 7. Here Harrison makes specific reference to the German Gemein Gottes and the Latin ecclesiae Dei. Harrison argues that Gemein must mean a larger church body rather than a local congregation, and that because the Formula uses other terminology to denote a local congregation, namely, Versamblung, citing FC SD XII.14, therefore Gemein can not mean local congregation at FC Ep X.4. A careful examination of FC SD XII.14, however, reveals that Gemeine and Vorsamblunge are used synonymously in this passage for “local congregation.” (Check Luther’s use of Sammlung/Versammlunge and Gemeine synonymously at LC II.47-48; BSLK, 655-656.) . . .
[footnote continued] "Harrison (84-85) further argues: “To be sure, ‘Gemeine’ at least once is used to denote a local Christian community (S.D. XII.34), but in Article X ‘Kirche’ and ‘Gemeine’ do not mean merely ‘local congregation.’ First, ‘Gemeine’ is used in the same article for the ‘tota ecclesia’ (S.D. X.10). It is unlikely that the same word should be used in the same article in two different ways.” Again, a close examination of FC SD X.10 reveals that the German ganze is required as a modifying adjective in order for Gemeine to mean “the entire community of God.” (See also AC XXII.3; BSLK, 85.) Harrison argues (84 and note 25) that because the Concordia Triglotta editor in every instance in FC replaced Gemeine in the original texts with Gemeinde, this should remind us of the difference between these two words, and that we should consequently take instances of Gemeine in FC X to refer to the church at large. But does not the Triglotta editor’s use of Gemeinde actually clarify the ambiguity and reinforce our reading of Gemeine in BSLK as “local congregation”? Harrison (85) twice misidentifies as nominative plural the dative singular ecclesiae at FC Ep X.4, in both instances governed respectively by the verbs licere and iudicatur, in order to make his case for a broadly based liturgical uniformity. The superficiality of Harrison’s argument is self-evident.
[footnote continued] "Nevertheless, Harrison is in good company. Arthur Carl Piepkorn and Theodore G. Tappert likewise misidentified ecclesiae at FC Ep X.4 as nominative plural; see the footnote on this (Book of Concord, Tappert ed., 493). Also see W. Elert’s understanding of Gemeine Gottes as a local congregation at FC SD X.9 in The Structure of Lutheranism, 333. Harrison (85), making reference to the Latin terrarum of FC Ep X.2 (this is actually a mis-citation and should read X.4), further argues: “We would have expected locus should an individual local congregation have been intended. Thus in the Latin we have, ‘the churches of various regions or districts.’” A simple synchronic comparative analysis of FC SD X.9 reveals the opposite of what Harrison is trying to assert. There, both the nominative singular ecclesia and the ablative plural locis are used. Harrison’s method is fraught with errors driven by his assumptions.
[footnote continued] "Harrison (87) also quotes Chemnitz’s 1561 Iudicium on adiaphora, but his analysis of the evidence is unbalanced by what he omits from his citation of the Iudicium, namely the sentence which follows immediately in the context of one of his citations: “And we maintain that churches are not to be condemned on account of such dissimilarity of traditions” (Iudicium, 149; cf. also FC Ep X.7 and FC SD X.31)! Why is this sentence omitted? Harrison would press the confessional and historical witness into the Procrustean bed of his assumption, that liturgical uniformity is necessary for the catholicity and orthodoxy of the church, an assumption which directly challenges the confessional witness and the historic theological position of Lutheranism.”
Arthur Carl Piepkorn and Theodore G. Tappert likewise misidentified ecclesiae at FC Ep X.4 as nominative plural;Readers can decide whether or not James Waddell is correct or Arthur Carl Piepkorn and Theodore Tappert are the better scholars of the original languages of the Book of Concord.
There is one of my critiques of Matt Harrison's work. I respect Matt. He is a very gifted and talented servant of the church. He has made many, many good, useful, and God-pleasing contributions for us to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest. I don't understand why honest, academic disagreements are so obstreperously resisted by Paul and coupled with disrespect.I have not missed your question, Will, about Chemnitz and Braunschweig Woelfenbuettel. I will have to return to this, since I am on my way to Ann Arbor to teach my last class for the summer term.All of this is most relevant to the lex orandi lex credendi question. This is an assumption that has virtually ground the conversation to a halt. I refuse to stay stuck there.
Note also how Waddell, who is not a dogmatician or historian, but rather a linguist, fails in his analysis even to acknowledge the point Harrison is making [and badly distorts Harrison's point!].This is what I have experienced many times before with Waddell: He ignores, totally, the historical context, he distorts Harrison's point, and he chooses simply to turn a blind eye to the evidence that allows us to understand what our Lutheran fathers meant when they talked about "gemeine" and "communities."Harrison is most certainly not claiming that every Lutheran church body in the world, or Christian body, for that matter, must use or follow the same precise liturgical order. This is a straw man that Waddell continues to throw up and then proceeds to knock down.Harrison's paper speaks for itself and a fair reading of it will reveal just how badly Waddell has distorted Matthew Harrison's paper and thesis.It is most unfortunate, to say the least.
"Readers can decide whether or not James Waddell is correct or Arthur Carl Piepkorn and Theodore Tappert are the better scholars of the original languages of the Book of Concord."Again, instead of ad hominem, Paul, address the question. If you are able to read the Latin, do so, and make sense of it so that we can all understand it. You forgot to mention my reference to Elert.You understand that scholars can make mistakes, don't you? And surely you understand that scholars can disagree respectfully.
"Harrison is most certainly not claiming that every Lutheran church body in the world, or Christian body, for that matter, must use or follow the same precise liturgical order."These are not my words, Paul. These are your words and Matt's words. It always turns into an exercise in misrepresenting my point of view and ad hominem. There is no effort on your part to address the issues I raise or the hard data that supports my point of view. It's always a side show about how I criticize Matt Harrison, or how I don't read the Confessions according to Paul McCain. What I have written speaks for itself. Those who are open to letting the sources speak for themselves, rather than run them through assumptions that don't hold from the Confessions, will judge differently.Christ's peaceJames
Waddell also chooses to ignore the witness of Luther's writings on worship and particularly his intimate involvement in the Wittenberg Church Order, where, if we are to accept Waddell's assertions, Luther and company were under the impression they were only speaking to the "local congregation" in Wittenberg, St. Mary's, which of course, we know they absolutely were not, but rather, speaking about the multiple congregations in the territory. Waddell is trying to prop up a case for LCMS local congregations, that are literally only several miles apart, should be indulging in liturgical variety to the extent that the liturgy in one congregation is far different than in another, and he attempt to excuse this by his faulty interpretation of how the term "gemeine" is used in the Lutheran Confessions. Name the person who wrote the following statement about liturgical uniformity. Who was it that dared to restrict the use of Christian liberty in matters pertaining to worship?Now even though external rites and orders … add nothing to salvation, it is un-Christian to quarrel over such things and confuse the common people. We should consider the edification of the laity more important than our own ideas and opinions … Let each one surrender his own opinions and get together in a friendly way and come to a common decision about these external matters, so that there will be one uniform practice throughout your district instead of disorder … For even though from the viewpoint of faith, the external orders are free and can without scruples be changed by anyone at anytime, yet from the viewpoint of love you are not free to use this liberty…Or how about this one?It is the cause of much incorrectness… when the external church ordinances, divine service and ceremonies are not held with reverence, or in orderly fashion, or in like manner. Also certain pastors purpose to act in these matters without uniformity. They shall carefully see to it that the ceremonies which have to do with hymns, clothing of the priests, administration of the sacrament … as well as the festivals, be maintained in an orderly and uniform fashion, at one place as at another, uniform and in accord with such as occur at Wittenberg and Torgau, in accord with the Holy Scriptures…*One more quote:Ceremonies [should be instituted] which give the external indication that in the congregation great, high, serious dealings are present, so that the ceremonies lead, stimulate, admonish and move the people to join together their thoughts, lift up their hearts in all humility. That there be in the congregation heartfelt devotion to the word, the Sacrament and prayer … Christian freedom has its place in this matter, as the ancients said, “Disagreement in rites does not take away agreement in faith.” It still brings all sorts of benefit that in ceremonies, so much as it is possible, a uniformity be maintained, and that such uniformity serve to maintain unity in doctrine, and that common, simple, weak consciences be all the less troubled, rather strengthened. It is therefore viewed as good that, as much as possible, a uniformity in ceremonies with neighboring reformed churches be affected and maintained. And for this reason, henceforth all pastors in the churches of our realm, shall emphatically follow this written church order, and not depart from the same without specific, grave cause. *
Continued...To suggest that the better way for the church to order herself is for there to be the greatest amount of liturgical uniformity as possible strikes some ears as a call for a slavish formalism, some even go so far as to use the word "legalistic" whenver this comes up. That never has made sense to me. I’ve never heard anyone in favor of traditional Lutheran worship say that its use is required for salvation. It seems that some in the Lutheran Church have dismissed discussion of the dangers of liturgical diversity and the blessings of the great possible liturgical uniformity. Why? Sadly, in an era that has witnessed a trend toward doing whatever is right in the eyes of an individual pastor, or congregation, the blessings of liturgical uniformity are being woefully neglected. We have lost our understanding of the blessing and advantage of striving to have as common a liturgical practice as possible.The thought that a pastor would, from Sunday to Sunday, reinvent the church’s worship service was an alien thought to the Lutheran Confessors, and hence the Lutheran Confessions. Harrison's study on the practice of the Lutheran Church in the sixteenth century demonstrates this to be the case. The "church orders" of the time demonstrate how one should, and likewise should not, interpret the comments on adiaphora in the Lutheran Confessions. My opinion is that it would be a tremendous blessing to our church body if we would all set aside our pet theories, our cherished preferences, and even our favorite hymnals, and embrace the use of one hymnal: Lutheran Service Book. I believe it is essential for all of us to set aside a fixation on"contemporary worship" [as if there is any worship that is not contemporary"] and stop dividing up our Sunday mornings between "traditional" and "classical grace" or "contemporary" or "blended" and just start having "church," period. It means that we need to stop turning the church into a popular opinion poll from Sunday to Sunday. It means that we use the church’s hymnal. Use the church’s liturgies as they are printed in the church’s new hymnal and use the many opportunities for variety within that structure. I see as little wisdom in trying to mimic some specific territorial German church order, as I do in trying to take our cues from the non-denominational "Evangelical" worship forms prevalent in our nation among many Protestants.There are some who would like to use the Tenth Article in the Formula of Concord to justify a practice by which each individual congregation in our Church can just go ahead and "do its own thing" when it comes to worship practices. But this is truly a misuse of this article, and was not, by any stretch of the imagination, what the Lutheran Confessors had in mind when they prepared the Formula of Concord.
Continued...Here is a very helpful insight into the attitude toward liturgical uniformity that was in the minds of those who prepared, and subscribed, to the Formula of Concord from 1577-1580. As Rev. Harrison notes in his paper: "The final Church Order here referred to is one of the most significantSpell001002 for interpreting FC SD 10, 9. Duke August I of Electoral Saxony was the driving force behind the Electoral Saxon Church Order of 1580, and Andreae its author. The order came out after the adoption of the Book of Concord. In fact, it calls for ministers to subscribe to the Book of Concord. What FC SD 10 means when it states, ‘no church shall condemn another’, is crystal clear in ‘IX. Regarding Ceremonies in the Churches’."Pastors and ministers, on the basis of God’s Word, and at the instigation of the declaration published this year (1580), and incorporated in this book [The Book of Concord], shall diligently instruct their flock and hearers in their sermons, as often as the opportunity avails itself, that such external ordinances and ceremonies are in and of themselves no divine service, nor a part of the same. They are rather only ordained for this reason, that the divine service, which is not within the power of human beings to change, may be held at various times and places, and without offense or terrible disorder. Accordingly, they should not at all be troubled when they see dissimilar ceremonies and usages in external things among the churches. They should much rather be reminded herein of their Christian freedom, and in order to maintain this freedom, make profitable use of this dissimilarity of ceremonies… Nevertheless, so unity may be maintained in the churches of our land…the following ceremonies shall be conducted according to our order or incorporated church agenda, until there is a general uniformity of all churches of the Augsburg Confession … And it will be granted to no minister to act contrary to the same [agenda] to introduce some revision, no matter under what pretext. *Liturgical uniformity and the good it brings to the church’s life is more important than any personal interest in doing it "better" or "different."If I may use a crass analogy, imagine if you would that McDonalds decided tomorrow that they no longer cared what any of its restaurants looked like. No more standardization of the logo, or clothing, or ways of doing things. Every McDonalds would be told, "Do whatever you feel is best and whatever feels right to you." That would make little sense, would it? How much more than does it make sense for every Lutheran congregation to be running off in its own direction, doing what feels right to it? Now, granted, every McDonalds has some minor differences, but there never is any doubt that you are at a McDonalds. See the point?That’s my .02 cents worth. As always, your mileage may vary.By the way, the person who said the first quote, that we are not free to use our liberty in matters pertaining to liturgical uniformity was…Martin Luther. And the second quote? It is from the Wittenberg Church Order of 1542, prepared by Jonas, Cruciger, Bugenhagen, Melachthon, Luther, and others; Sehling, I:202. The third quote? It is from the 1569 Church Order of Brauncshweig-Wolfenbuettel and was prepared by none other than Martin Chemnitz and Jacob Andreae, the chief authors and architects of the Formula of Concord. [Sehling VI.1, 139, 40]. The final quote is from: AL Richter ed, Die evangelischen Kirchenordnungen des sechszehn ten Jahrhunderts. Urkunden und Regesten zur Geschichte des Rechts and der Verfassung der evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland, Leipzig, 1871, vol II:, p. 440.
Waddell asserts that Harrison is claiming that:liturgical uniformity is necessary for the catholicity and orthodoxy of the churchThen, Waddell denies that in asserting this he is accusing Harrison of proposing that every Lutheran church body in the world, or Christian body, for that matter, must use or follow the same precise liturgical order.Let the reader judge what precisely Waddell is, and is not, accusing Harrison of asserting.
Leaving the wrangling over who said what in the early days of Lutheranism, or what was even said at all, to the blackbirds, I suugest the following re us "common people" aka laity.Whatever they said, they said it in a world almost unimaginable to an early 21st Century pew, or depending on one's circumstances, folding chair, warmer.The context was a world in which if anybody was gonna lay it down as to what is and is not OK for worship it would be Rome. Now, Rome in those days was notoriously lax in doing so, however, if there was a correction to be made, it would come from there, not from this or that bishop, let alone priest, or city council.This is why Trent was considered to be, or at least before the Revolution, er, Vatican II, we were taught to consider it as, the real Reformation, done by those with the God-given authority to do it, addressing the valid concerns of the "Reformers" without falling into their doctrinal errors. Consequently, the Tridentine Rite both delivered the church from the sad state the Reformers correctly protested without descending into the abyss of eternal wrangling over what is to be done, and without the accompanying descent into doctrinal error as well.They were only recently out from under a situation where Rome could dictate everything, supported by local civil authority. Consequently, I view many of these quoted comments as a reference to the authority of Rome, or lack thereof, and the ability to conduct worship services apart from that, and, minus that, what uniformity is desirable and by whom it is determined.We are in no such position. The City Council of Omaha is not going to get into what goes on in THE parish for my part of town; RC, LCMS and a bunch of other churches exist side by side. They may wrangle within themselves as to how to proceed, but proceed they will within themselves, an altogether different situation from from aruguing about what will proceed in THE parish church.In our time, Rome itself no longer functionally controls what goes on even in its own churches; even still under Roman authority and even minus the power of the state to enforce it, one has no more idea what one will encounter from parish to parish or even from Mass to Mass within a given parish than the man in the moon.And where does this begin? With the rejection of the Tridentine Rite for the novus ordo, which even leaving aside the question of whether it adheres faithfully to the Catholic faith, even if one allows that it does, does not establish a uniformity, but simply ordains than some variations are authorised and some are not, simply puts limits on non-uniformity, which only invites further wrangling over why those limits, why not this too, the only uniformity being attained even in the most conservative places being agreement as to by what authority.Unfortunately, this approach has spread to all other churches with any liturgical aspirations.It simply will not be possible for a service book with x number of liturgies, each themselves with x number of ways to absolve, say the Our Father, etc, two calendars, two lectionaries etc to be any kind of rallying point at all. The very idea of such a book itself originates with those who found varying ways of understanding the faith possible, and contrived varying possible ways of worship to express that -- or so I was taught by those who participated in coming up with idea of such a book, up to and including periti at the damn Council.contd
I completely agree that were are now in the lamentable situation re our churches comparable to what it would be like to pull into a McDonald's with no idea whether you will find a Big Mac or whatever the manager thinks is a good idea. Or even the name McDonalds and golden arches out front to identify it.But I say too, a service book which reflects the spirit of the age which in no way proceeded from an intention to preserve the ceremonies previously in use, zealously guarding and defending them from what is contrary to the Gospel (as quite distinct from what is mandated liturgically by the Gospel, which is nothing) will not, despite the scholarship and authentic devotion of its framers, settle the matter of the blessing and advantage of as great a liturgical uniformity as possible to us common people, but instead offer only the uniformity that a particular church body has set the following limits to diversity and placed it between two covers, thereby not providing the solution but being part of the very problem it seeks to solve.
the Tridentine Rite delivered the church from the sad state the Reformers correctly protestedThat is quite a load of baloney.
I agree. The paragraph from which that comes was meant to state not what I believe now, but was taught and believed then.
Okay. Quoting texts that support a particular point of view. What do we call this?Here are a couple of texts from Luther, that support a particular point of view.Luther’s 1526 German Mass (AE 53.61):“In the first place, I would kindly and for God’s sake request all those who see this order of service or desire to follow it: Do not make it a rigid law to bind or entangle anyone’s conscience, but use it in Christian liberty as long, when, where, and how you find it to be practical and useful.”Luther’s 1526 German Mass (AE 53.61-62):“As far as possible we should observe the same rites and ceremonies, just as all Christians have the same baptism and the same sacrament [of the altar] and no one has received a special one of his own from God. That is not to say that those who already have good orders, or by the grace of God could make better ones, should discard theirs and adopt ours. For I do not propose that all of Germany should uniformly follow our Wittenberg order. . . . But it would be well if the service in every principality would be held in the same manner and if the order observed in a given city would also be followed by the surrounding towns and villages; whether those in other principalities hold the same order or add to it ought to be a matter of free choice and not of constraint.”
Here are two more texts supporting a particular point of view not supported by the texts quoted by Paul.Luther’s 1526 German Mass (AE 53.90):“In short, this or any other order shall be so used that whenever it becomes an abuse, it shall be straightway abolished and replaced by another, even as King Hezekiah put away and destroyed the brazen serpent, though God himself had commanded it be made, because the children of Israel made an abuse of it [II Kings 18:4]. For the orders must serve for the promotion of faith and love and not be to the detriment of faith. As soon as they fail to do this, they are invalid, dead and gone; just as a good coin, when counterfeited, is canceled and changed because of the abuse, or as new shoes when they become old and uncomfortable are no longer worn, but thrown away, and new ones bought. An order s an external thing. No matter how good it is, it can be abused. Then it is no longer an order, but a disorder. No order is, therefore, valid in itself—as the popish orders were held to be until now. But the validity, value, power, and virtue of any order is in its proper use. Otherwise, it is utterly worthless and good for nothing.”Martin Chemnitz on liturgical change in the church (Examination II.115):. . . the observance of these rites was free in the church; neither were such rites similar and the same in all churches; often also some of the most ancient rites were abrogated and omitted, such as the tasting beforehand of milk, honey, and wine, of which Tertullian and Jerome make mention. Some were changed and others newly instituted, as it was judged to serve the edification of the church. For the church used and preserved, not confused license but a godly and wholesome liberty in ecclesiastical ceremonies of this kind, instituted by men, so that by free discontinuance it abrogated, omitted, and changed also the most ancient such ceremonies when it was judged that by reason of circumstances [quando pro ratione circumstantiarum] they no longer were very important for piety, or when the cause for which they were first instituted and observed had either been removed or changed and they had thus ceased through the changed times to be useful for edification, or when they had turned aside from the purpose and use for which they had initially been instituted and had degenerated into abuse and superstition.”
James, you are a bright man, and I do not believe you are unaware that your quotes do not prove your point.As you told me a couple years back on my blog the reason you feel you, as an individual pastor, in your individual congregation, can tinker and change the words of the liturgy without any regard for your Synodical, district, or circuit fellowship, is because the Lutheran Confessions say you can.What you fail, apparently willfully, to acknowledge is the force of the quotes from Luther and our Confessions extolling the benefit, virtue and wisdom of as much uniformity as possible.You are, once again, as in your book, putting your sloppy scholarship on display.
Here is another quote from Luther identifying the authority to order ceremonies locally.Luther’s 1539 On the Councils and the Church (AE 41.136-137):“Ceremonies ought to be completely disregarded by the councils and should be left at home in the parishes, indeed, in the schools so that the schoolmaster, along with the pastor, would be ‘master of ceremonies.’ All others will learn these from the students, without any effort or difficulty. For instance, the common people will learn from the pupils what, when, and how to sing or pray in church; they will also learn what to sing by the bier or at the grave. When the pupils kneel and fold their hands as the schoolmaster beats time with his baton during the singing of ‘And was made man,’ the common people will imitate them. When they doff their little hats or bend their knees whenever the name of Jesus Christ is mentioned, or whatever other Christian discipline and gestures they may exercise, the common people will do afterward without instruction, moved by the living example. Even under the pope all the ceremonies originated in the schools and the parishes, except where the pope was bent on exercising his tyranny with measures regarding food, fasts, feasts, etc. However, here too moderation must be applied, so that there do not get to be too many ceremonies in the end. Above all, one must see to it that they will not be considered necessary for salvation, but only serve external discipline and order, which can be changed any time and which must not be commanded as eternal laws in the church (as the popish ass does) and embodied in books with tyrannical threats, for this is something entirely external, bodily, transitory, and changeable."
James,Still haven't heard you address the matter of the B-W Church Order that Chemnitz and Andreae authored together and that very much commands the pastors in the duchy to observe the ceremonies as listed there, after clearly teaching their people that such observance is not a matter of divine law or necessary for salvation.
Another question would be what are the implications of AC XXVIII:53, 55 which speaks of the right of bishops (or pastors) to regulate ceremonies (provided they are not instituted to merit justification and such)? Does it not presuppose that a given diocese is to be obedient to its bishop in such matters, with parishes and priests willingly obeying "for the sake of love and tranquility" that all things may be done decently and in order? Again, something beyond the congregation is envisioned.
I will come to the issue of Chemnitz and the order he prepared for the Braunschweig Woelfenbuettel ducy. I have not forgotten this. But I am only one person, and can juggle only so many balls at one time. This isn't the only thing I am doing at the moment. Before I address Chemnitz and B-W, as well as your citation of AC XXVIII.53, 55, I want to finish the point I would like to make about citing passages that support a particular point of view. I may have to return to these later this weekend or early next week.
Take your times, James. No rush. We've only been working on these matters for the past five hundred years give or take a few... :)
One more quote from Luther and then I want to make a comment about methodology.Luther on how we are to treat each other with respect to liturgical rites in his 1523 Latin Mass (AE 53.31):“. . . even if different people make use of different rites, let no one judge or despise the other, but every man be fully persuaded in his own mind [Rom. 14:5]. Let us feel and think the same, even though we may act differently. And let us approve each other’s rites lest schisms and sects should result from this diversity in rites—as has happened in the Roman church. For external rites, even though we cannot do without them—just as we cannot do without food or drink—do not commend us to God, even as food does not commend us to him [I Cor. 8:8]. Faith and love commend us to God.”What we are struggling with here is a methodological problem. Paul has quoted texts that support his point of view. I have quoted texts that support another point of view.The methodological problem is this, when we only quote those passages that support our particular point of view, especially when there are clear passages that push in the opposite direction.It is a more sound approach methodologically to be read and cite both. It may cause us to scratch our heads and wonder what in the world Luther and his colleagues were thinking. But it behooves us not to drive the argument in one direction or the other, but to figure out how to hold them both together, as Luther and his colleagues did.That means we have to stop villifying each other in the way we speak to each other, and roll up our sleeves and figure this out together.The middle way, as I see it in the Confessions and the other literature from this period, is to acknowledge three things.1. The purity of the Gospel and the sacraments administered according to the Word of God are sufficient for the true unity of the Christian church.2. The local congregation has the confessional authority (not autonomy) to order its own rites and ceremonies in liturgy according to its own circumstances.3. The local congregation exists in fellowship with other churches; it does not exist in and of itself. Consequently there is some sense of historic identity to which the local congregation must acknowledge that it belongs. This means the local congregation cannot just do whatever it wants.This is how I see the Confessions, Luther, Chemnitz, and their confessing evangelical (Lutheran) colleagues, this is how I see them keeping it together.Melanchthon and Flacius engaged in the villification game. Chemnitz and the loyal Lutherans were able to keep it together, not by coming down on one or the other side, but by focusing on what is given by Christ in the Gospel and the sacraments for the identity and unity of the church, and by clarifying the church's teaching on church ceremonies as adiaphora.
It is interesting to me to note Waddell's methods:(1) It is "ok" for him to quote sources in an effort to prove his point, but;(2) When others quote the same sources and refute his positions they are accused of merely trying to push a "position";(3) He entirely ignores proofs that his scholarship is faulty, even sloppy, and simply runs down the same tangential evidence he is trying to marshall to support his decision to tinker with the liturgy;(4) Luther, Chemnitz and the self-understanding of the entire Book of Concord is that local/individual congregations are not free agents, nor their pastors. This is not a Lutheran point of view, but one of the enthusiasts and radical Reformation.(5) Waddell, when pressed hard with facts and evidence, resorts to accusing his opponents of "playing games" and lapses into the "poor me, I'm being unjustly picked on" method of argumentation. (6) Waddell fundamentally refuses to acknowledge the wisdom, and the point, made repeatedly by our fathers, that it is in the best interest of the faithful that rites and ceremonies be as uniform as possible. He has still not answered for his willful misrepresentation of Harrison's position and then his denial of the same.
Chemnitz and the loyal Lutherans were able to keep it together, not by coming down on one or the other sideHere Waddell again demonstrates that he is simply not competent to be attempting to explain and interpret the Lutheran Confessions and the history leading to their composition. His academic experience and speciality is in Near Eastern Studies and classics, not in systematic theology and not in the Lutheran Confessions.His statement in italics here is a simple factual error. In fact, Chemnitz and the "loyal Lutherans" clearly did reject Melanchthonianism and supported, in large measure, the work of Matthias Flacius.While I am aware that The LCMS suffers in the past twenty years or so with unhealthy historical revisionism at the hands of certain LCMS professors who have grown far too comfortable with ELCA professors, the fact remains that Martin Chemnitz and his allies very intentionally rejected the liturgical agenda of Melanchthon and the Philippists and Crypto-Calvinists.
"The middle way, as I see it...""Chemnitz and the loyal Lutherans were able to keep it together, not by coming down on one or the other side..."It strikes me that what we should aim for is not a rationally arrived-at via media (which smacks of the Anglican solution to each and every dispute) but the via crucis.
“This is a densely argued book which provides a distinctly Lutheran Liturgical Theology based on Lutheran Reformation principles and documents, over against a specifically Roman Catholic (Kavanagh) or Orthodox (Schmemann) or self-consciously Ecumenical (Lathrop) approach to Liturgical Theology. This book is a major contribution to the wider debate on Liturgical Theology, and would be useful to scholars in this field, and to wider ecclesial debate.” — Dr. Bryan D. Spinks, Professor of Liturgical Studies, Yale Divinity School“Rev. Waddell has written a formidable critique of liturgical theology as this has impacted views about worship in the Lutheran Church. He has weighed in on a contentious issue in an impressive way and this book is sure to provoke much debate.” — Rev. Dr. Frank C. Senn, Former President of the North American Academy of Liturgy“[Rev. Waddell's] observations and arguments arise out of vast and careful study of the texts and the interpretation of the texts . . . that frame the debate. His views come from the inside out, for he is testing . . . presuppositions that he once held. The basis of his testing arises out of the pastoral concern that typifies the Lutheran confession of the faith, a pastoral concern that he has now practiced for almost fifteen years. . . . Waddell recognizes the concerns that lie behind positions on all sides. The clarity of his thought and style . . . should help all of us to re-examine our own thinking, and that can only aid in turning dispute into the conversation that seeks God-pleasing solutions. Thus this book makes a sorely-needed contribution.” — From the Preface by Robert A. Kolb, Mission Professor of Systematic Theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis and Co-editor of the Kolb-Wengert edition of the Book of Concord“The Struggle to Reclaim the Liturgy in the Lutheran Church . . . offers a roadmap for peace in our worship wars. Waddell points us back to the Lutheran Confessions so we talk together from a common point of reference and break through the polarization. The method and the structure of Waddell’s argument are elegant in their simplicity. . . . The result is a rather striking set of claims that point toward a way forward in our current debates. . . . Yet it is precisely because Waddell sides with the Lutheran Confessions rather than either faction in today’s debate that his book is of lasting value. The spade work he has done in the Confessions and the tertiary authorities is astounding, and the hermeneutic of liturgy that he constructs on the basis of the confessional texts opens the way for rich insights into the relationship between form and Gospel in Lutheran worship services. . . . The book repays careful reading, and it offers a roadmap for peace in the worship wars.” — The Rev. Dr. David W. Loy, 24 November 2008, Lutheran Forum. http://www.lutheranforum.org/book-reviews/Waddell/“Waddell successfully enunciates a Lutheran theology of worship devoid of legalism and license. . . . Waddell’s analytical critique captures the wonder of being a Lutheran, liturgically speaking; freedom for inculturated worship in the midst of the liturgical heritage’s treasures. As he proves, ‘there is not . . . a catholicity of the [liturgical] form.’ Lutherans neither make liturgical forms necessary nor espouse an anti-biblical, anti-creedal license in contemporary, cultural expressions. That makes this book necessary reading for transcending the traditional-contemporary worship divide.” — The Rev. Dr. Kent J. Burreson, Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology, Assistant Dean of the Chapel, Concordia Seminary / reviewed in CONCORDIA JOURNAL 34.3 (July 2008): 237-39; http://www.csl.edu/Img/Publications/WebCJJuly08.pdf“This is an important book for our time and context. . . . a book of immense importance for our discussion of worship and church unity. It deserves to be widely read and discussed.” — The Rev. Dr. Steen Olsen, Former President of the Lutheran Church of New Zealand / reviewed in Lutheran Theological Journal 41.3 (December 2007): 183-85
"It strikes me that what we should aim for is not a rationally arrived-at via media (which smacks of the Anglican solution to each and every dispute) but the via crucis."Phil, Good point. You are quite right. It should not be rationally arrived at. Hence point number one.1. The purity of the Gospel and the sacraments administered according to the Word of God are sufficient for the true unity of the Christian church.The purity of the Gospel is the via crucis.
You have missed my point. Liturgical unity and fidelity to our received tradition (which is in fact already totally Gospel-filled) entails "coming down on one side". For someone who is as concerned about methodology as you are, I would expect you not to couch your argument in this sort of "middle ground" rhetoric; there is no reason to describe things this way, and it suggests latitude where there isn't any. If the search for a "middle way" isn't how you would characterize your method--as a mean or compromise between two extremes--don't use terms that imply that you would.After all, forms are the only means we have to communicate content.
and it suggests latitude where there isn't any.There is no latitude when it comes to the Gospel. There is latitude when it comes to liturgy.Hopefully this clarifies.If we equate liturgy with the Gospel, then we have to say that liturgy is given by God just as the Gospel is given by God. No?
No.The argument is not at all about equating the liturgy or any particular instance thereof with the Gospel.Finding that some ways of holding services better reflect the purity of the Gospel and are more consistent with the correct administration of the Sacrament is not equating liturgy with Gospel.The Confessions are quite clear that divine mandate is not the only good reason for doing something, but rather the only good reason that is divine. We are not free to ignore the other good reasons and the experience of the church in that regard.
"If we equate liturgy with the Gospel, then we have to say that liturgy is given by God just as the Gospel is given by God."The content of the liturgy which we already have is the pure Word of God (both Law and Gospel), communicated by the very particular form of this liturgy--if it is in fact a pure liturgy. I get pretty impatient with vague arguments for latitude, because they are then absolutized and used to justify anything and everything. What do you say is wrong with our current liturgy that needs changing and would require this congregation-by-congregation latitude which you say you find in the Confessions?The Gospel is given by God for us. Consequently, the faithful liturgy (truly Divine Liturgy, as opposed to liturgy of human invention like the Marian cult or Adoration and Benediction) is God's gift to us and bears all of the promises attached to the Word. The problem with attempting a "preaching + Sacrament" minimalism is that the entire rite which we already have does the preaching. Thank God it continues to preach when the pastor has neglected his own obligation, and Kyrie eleison when the pastor has silenced the liturgy's preaching by "fixing" it on the basis of his own congregational authority!The only problem I see there being with the liturgy is that it would be insufficiently congruent to the Word, in which case it would need to be reformed by the church at large to be more faithful to the true Divine Liturgy. I still think you haven't grasped how the Liturgy is God's Work and not ours. What do you think of Rev. Dr. Stuckwisch's thought on what the Liturgy is? You say that the liturgy norms nothing; I completely disagree. At the very least, I can say, phenomenologically, that it norms me. And a shifting norm is no norm.Perhaps I decide to fast for Lent. I have heard that some give up meat on Friday, and others give up a meal on Wednesday. When Wednesday comes, I eat my lunch and subscribe to a Friday fast; on Friday, I decide that I'd really rather fast on Wednesday and broil my filet. Now, did I fast?You cannot change the form without altering the meaning it bears. I take this to be the meaning of lex orandi, lex credendi. Form and meaning, or form and content, are inseparable.
There is liturgy in the narrow sense and liturgy in the broad sense. Dr. Stuckwisch also runs with this distinction I believe. As the Confessions define liturgy, it is the Gospel and the sacraments. I point this out on my blog. As far as the word "latitude," that was a word you introduced to the conversation.So what is in fact given by God? Is liturgy in the narrow sense given by God? We know it is. Is liturgy in the broad sense given by God? Just because it is expressed almost entirely in the same language as the biblical texts, in fact most of it is direct quotation/confession of biblical texts, that does not mean that the way it is included in an order or the way it is arranged is given by God. Luther wrote in his Exhortation to All Clergy Assembled at Augsburg, "What is changed according to God's Word is no innovation." We are also warned in the Confessions not to have a wrong estimation of tradition (AC XXVI.19).I also don't recall ever saying that the liturgy norms nothing. I am trying hard not to reframe other's words or restate them in ways the other person didn't intend. I think we need to be careful about what we say the other is claiming. I have said that liturgy in the broad sense is not the formal or material principle of liturgy. Liturgy in the narrow sense as the Confessions define liturgy (the Gospel and the sacraments) does norm liturgy in the broad sense."The only problem I see there being with the liturgy is that it would be insufficiently congruent to the Word, in which case it would need to be reformed by the church at large to be more faithful to the true Divine Liturgy."I think the conversation would be more fruitful if we stay with the language of the Confessions. The Confessions never speak of a "true Divine Liturgy." If I am holding to the Confessions as my norm, then I don't know what this is.There are numerous layers of assumptions that should be a part of this discussion. Am I required to conform to everyone else's prior assumptions before we can have a civil conversation or disagree about things that are neither commanded nor forbidden by God as the Formula of Concord characterizes ecclesiastical ceremonies?I am not trying to be difficult, as I have been characterized here. I have spent the last ten + years trying to understand these questions, always trying not to cross the line of villifying the one with whom I disagree and always trying to have a civil discourse.
"Just because it is expressed almost entirely in the same language as the biblical texts, in fact most of it is direct quotation/confession of biblical texts, that does not mean that the way it is included in an order or the way it is arranged is given by God."By itself, no, but my question is this:Is it possible for the Law and the Gospel to be "included in an order" that conforms fully to the Word of God?If the Law and the Gospel can be included in the Lutheran Confessions in a way which conforms fully to the Word of God such that our pastors subscribe to the entire book, particular form and structure and all, and they can do this with a clean conscience because the Confessions can in fact bear Scriptural truth without error, then a specific, particular rite can also bear this truth in its external form, without any errors or abuses. The Confessions are just as much subject to an "external form" of words not explicitly dictated by God as the specific liturgical rite consisting of an "external form" is.The only remaining question is whether our current, specific rite does in fact bear the Scriptural truth fully.
"Is it possible for the Law and the Gospel to be "included in an order" that conforms fully to the Word of God?"You are quite right about this. I agree with you that our current rites as they are printed in LSB "conform fully to the Word of God" as you say. We agree. I have no problem with this."The only remaining question is whether our current, specific rite does in fact bear the Scriptural truth fully."Here I have to say, this is not the only remaing question. The Confessions and the writings of the Reformers warn us against holding to any rite as indispensible. This is explicit in their arguments. They also refer to the confessional authority and freedom to change these rites as circumstances change.I think we also need to ask the question, what do the Confessions claim are the identifying marks of the church. What is it that truly binds us together as Lutherans. Is it "the historic liturgy" as good and salutary as it is, and as you so eloquently and commendably describe your love for it?There are many questions that could be asked, and are in fact being asked by thousands of people all across the Synod. It is right to hold historic liturgical traditions up as being good for the church. But it is also right to ask questions regarding the changing times and circumstances that the Confessions address with reference to the church's authority to alter these rites.What is it, from the point of view of our common Confession, that constitutes our mutual identity as Lutheran Christians?
We notice again that Waddell chooses to try to frame the questions in order to lead the conversation away from the point being made in this thread.Waddell also attempts to argue a case nobody is denying. At first I was willing to chalk this up to a simply lapse of judgment, but it is clear now that it is a willful distortion of his opponents arguments that he must resort to in order to deflect criticism of his position.He sets up the straw man that somehow anyone in this conversation is arguing that something other than the Gospel and Sacraments make for unity of the church.What he refuses to deal with is the fact that our Lutheran Confessions that make this very point also very much make the point that uniformity in ceremonies is of enormous benefit.Why does he do this?A couple years ago he admitted that in his parish ministry he routinely changed the texts of the liturgy and appealed to his "right" to do so. What he fails to acknowledge is that the texts he thinks justify this behavior, in fact, do not.There is no assumption in the Lutheran Confessions that individual pastors and individual congregations should be changing the texts of the liturgy from Sunday to Sunday, in an atomistic way. His entire argumentation is premised on a faulty assumption about the self-understanding of the Lutheran Confessions regarding the nature and benefit of uniformity in ceremonies.He keeps attempting to shift the debate to what the church's unity is, and away from the benefit and value of uniformity in ceremonies and liturgy for the benefit of the church's mission of teaching and inculcating the faith.
No one is "shifting the debate". These are questions that are a part of the debate. A debate by its nature is a conversation that develops. Either we are open to exploring the questions, or we insist that we already have the answers and "end of discussion."One of the qualifications of the office of the ministry is to be open to the persuasion of others. The Greek word is epieikees in 1 Timothy 3.3. Here's a link to a discussion of this. http://worshipconcordjournal.wordpress.com/2009/03/The ongoing mischaracterization of my motives and my point of view makes my case. There is a failure among some in our Synod to be open to having an honest and open discussion about issues raised in the Lutheran Confessions that they are uncomfortable with. Referring to the "meaning and intent" of the Lutheran Confessions is tactic to end discussion. I've presented hard data to support my point of view on adiaphora. That presentation has wide recognition by scholars in this field to be sound scholarly research that makes a valuable contribution. The adamant insistence to shut down this discussion is a commentary on the state of the conversation.The issue is bigger than our egos. The lay people are suffering because of a refusal to see the goodness of the historic liturgical traditions of our church and the readiness to abandon these traditions. They are also suffering because of the refusal to acknowledge that these are fair questions asked by those who share a common Baptism not made by human hands.
Waddell demonstrates in his latest response that he will simply not engage the issue of the benefit and value of the greatest uniformity in liturgy as possible. This has been his common tactic for a number of years, avoiding this point and always trying to shift the debate over to issues not under contention.I'm not aware of a single LCMS pastor who has ever asserted that adiaphora are essential to the unity we have in the Gospel and Sacraments.This is not the point, though Waddell continues to attempt to push his opponents comments into that category, thereby to dismiss them. This is a false accusation that Waddell keeps levelling at people His latest comment is good evidence for the validity of the criticisms I have offered of Waddell's argument and method, which is simply to refuse to acknowledge the issue that our Confessions and fathers make about the wisdom, benefit and value of uniformity in rites and ceremonies.It is ironic that he continues to charge those who raise this issue and insist that he engage it with attempting to "end discussion"when in fact it is Waddell who continually wishes to do so by making this accusation. Ironic, indeed.
Waddell has not responded to this previous comment:Waddell asserts that Harrison is claiming that: 'liturgical uniformity is necessary for the catholicity and orthodoxy of the church" -- a direct quote from Waddell's previous remarks.Then, when confronted with this false accusation against Harrison, Waddell denies that in asserting this he is accusing Harrison of proposing that every Church in the world must use the same precise order of liturgy.Let the reader judge what precisely Waddell is, and is not, accusing Harrison of asserting.
Let's see if we can clarify something. Pastor Weedon linked to an article on my blog that he apparently thinks merits having a conversation about.He wrote the following comment to me in a private email and in a post on the WorshipConcord blog. It's characteristically Pastor Weedon, a willingness to engage a meaningful conversation with someone he disagrees with in a respectful and meaningful way."I found it rather a fascinating post, because as I have studied the fathers I have NEVER come across anything close to this appeal to the liturgy; rather they labor to demonstrate their doctrine from the Sacred Scriptures. The liturgy is cited occasionally, but almost as in passing. I don't know if you're familiar with St. Basil's *On the Holy Spirit* but that's a classic instance. An exhaustive study of prepositions begins the work! And he does mention in passing "Joyous Light" not to establish his teaching but to show that his teaching wasn't novel since it was also present in that ancient hymn."Of course, I do believe that there is a phenomenon called the historic liturgy - an ordered action - which has a long and strong history of local variations and expressions, but all within the same ordered action. And this ordered action seems to exist in two cycles: the Eucharistic and the Daily Prayer cycle.Well, in any case, I think you've laid down a reading of Prosper that makes sense. I'm no classicist and will have to rely upon you and others that the "ut" can be read that way. It makes sense of the context, though. It really does. And it would be so utterly patristic minded to be more concerned about the act of praying than about the text of some sacrosanct prayer."Very soon after this thread began, it was sidetracked in an attempt to redirect the conversation. Since I posted my criticisms of Matt Harrison already, and the data there was not responded to, only jabbed at, I am considering that part of the conversation closed.I consider Pastor Weedon's link to my blog an invitation to have a conversation his blog, not a stomping, spitting, and name-calling contest.This afternoon I am working on a sermon. This evening I am spending time with a friend who needs the comfort and counsel of God's Word. Saturday I am fishing on Lake Michigan. Sunday I am presiding in the Divine Service of God's people and then grading papers. Monday I am administering a final exam for my students, and then the next couple of days evaluating those exams and calculating grades to end this summer term at U of M.Then we'll see if we can't return to the civil conversation we were having before we were interrupted.In the mean time, if anyone is interested in what I actually think about liturgy, read it for yourself.http://worshipconcord.wordpress.com/James
And I want to say thank you to Will for his Gospel oriented, Christ-centered defense of the traditions of the church, and the way he expresses his love for the historic liturgy.James
OK, so we want to get back to the article cited:It contends that lex orandi lex credendi is a corruption in content as well as form (!) of ut legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi.It contends there are three assumptions operative in the shorter phrase; only the first, that the church's law of prayer reflects its law of belief, is counted correct.The second, that lex orandi IS lex credendi, however, is also correct. Verbs of existence are left out in Latin, well maybe not late Latin so much, but Prosper ain't that late. To translate the phrase such is entirely fine. The third, that lex orandi determines lex credendi, is not supportable by the phrase as a word for word translation, but as a thought for thought translation, it is not so clear that it is inaccurate.Central to the article's critique is the argument that while modern notions of what is lex credendi are correct, modern notions of lex orandi are not; correctness is located in the command to pray of 1Tim2:1-6 rather than any order or form of prayer.This is manifestly false.1. Prosper. He himself, just before the longer form of the phrase in question, says that it is the sacraments which show how the command to make supplication forms the basis of right believing, and just before that, that these sacraments are of priestly rites coming from the Apostles and used throughout the church. To separate "supplication" from any actual instance of it, as if it were some Platonic Ideal, is unwarranted in Prosper's text itself.2. Sacrament. Wherever was there a sacrament which was NOT in a form? A sacrament is not a Platonic Ideal into communion with which we come in some mental or psychic exercise. It is a concrete way in which the church presents the God's divine service to Man, hence the name. First in reading and preaching Scripture, a Christian synagogue service, then in presenting the Body and Blood of him upon faith in whom salvation depends, the Eucharist, a Christian seder.3. History. The command to preach and to "Do this", which is the liturgy, precede all the rest. The church was offering the liturgical sacraments some 70 years before the was a creed, and some 350 before there was a generally agreed canon of Christian Scripture, both of which set down in words what the church had offered since Day One in liturgical action.4. Scripture. If we are to dismiss specific forms of prayer or worship on the grounds that if it ain't commanded we are free to do as we see sit, then we must dismiss Scripture itself on the same grounds, as the NT contains not one thing written by Christ himself, not one thing recording a command for anyone else to write anything further either, nor to assemble more books.5. Creeds. These words were written that we may know clearly what it is we believe. For that reason the church has produced several, against the controversies of the day, and similarly, taught that among the various things written, the church includes in the NT those upon which one can absolutely depend. The relationship is reciprocal: our worship is what we believe in action, God's action, and our creeds and Scripture is what we believe stated in words.6. BOC. Thus we include the three earlier orthodox creeds in our BOC, whose AC is itself a creed, against the controversies of that time, which in fact still attend us. Which, re liturgy, is why it is at pains to demonstrate that we have here no new liturgy any more than we have a new faith, but the same liturgy as always, pared of the false accretions in later centuries.Prosper, then, shows a completely catholic understanding of liturgy, that it is here, in Word and Sacrament, that faith is created by the Word and nurtured by the Sacrament, all the divine service of God to Man, and none of it of Man's work. cont'd
Neither Prosper nor Dom Prosper argued that there was some pristine original liturgy to be restored then never departed from again. Rather, they understood that in the church's prayer of worship is precisely the church's belief, the Word of God, Jesus Christ, in preaching and teaching from Scripture, and in the Sacrament. To which end the church offers an order, a siddur, of service. This is why Luther warns in the LC Preface of the woes resulting from a proliferation of forms, that being a proliferation of faiths instead of a clear understanding of our simple faith -- and to the extent that he would deny the use of Christian freedom to such people and refer them back to the pope if it is laws and statutes they require. (Yet we produce service books with a proliferation of forms and call it good, but that's for another rant.) So look to it, you pastors. (Don't you just love noisy elders!) Now that the tyranny of the pope is over, our difference in some things will be in what we do, to remove the accretions of that tyranny, but for the most part will be NOT in what we do but in why we do it. And our difference with those who ran off the deep end in the other direction from our Reformation, will indeed be in what we do since they do not preserve the catholic faith.
"Creeds. These words were written that we may know clearly what it is we believe."Past Elder, what would you say to someone who said that the text of the Creeds (or, for that matter, the text of the Book of Concord) was an "adiaphoron?"I also think it's interesting to note that the liturgy contains part of the Creeds and therefore part of the Book of Concord. Is the Creed necessary with respect to the Confessions but not necessary with respect to the liturgy?
I would say they have no idea what an adiaphoron is.Some people indeed reject the creeds. It ain't in the Bible, therefore we don't have to bother with it.We accept the creeds in the same way we accept everything else in the Book of Concord -- not insofar as it states the truths of the Bible, but because it states the truths of Scripture.The Nicene Creed exemplifies this reciprocal relationship -- it was originally a conciliar statement, but so good that (modifying the plural We believe of the statement of a sitting council to I believe as the statement of a single body, both as the individual believer and the church the bride of Christ, unless some lunatic of a scholar changed it back saying We believe is the original form and better expresses community, missing entirely the reason for the singular in the liturgical form) it is used in our liturgy.
"To me, one of the beauties of Lutherans abiding by the historic liturgy is this wonderful denial of personal preference and choice."I chuckled at this, as my preference is historic liturgy, and it is only when I am in a contemporary worship service that I deny my personal preference, telling myself to grin and bear the tinkly, sentimental music, by thinking of it as a beautiful example of Christian freedom in ceremonies.
I can't get the link to Pr. Harrison's article to work. Does this argument over proper interpretation of FC 10 come down to the form of church government chosen? That is, if we have bishops, they have authority of liturgy in the district, but if we have a congregational model, then they have authority. That's what it sounds like to me reading this passage: "Liturgical unity was sought in each respective district or jurisdiction, which again was completely in accord with Luther’s directive. Such jurisdictions involving few or many congregations are what was in mind when the Formula spoke of the Gemeine Gottes (FC SD 10, 9). Church polity is a matter of freedom." But then Pr. Harrison says this: The Lutheran Church, be it synodically or episcopally organised, has the authority, for the sake of love and unity, to set definite liturgical parameters for its pastors and congregations. Within those parameters, pastors are free to exercise their discretion. This is clear from 56 Richter II, 406b. 57 Richter II, 440. 13 Luther, the Confessions, and the practice of the confessors from the first visitations in the 1520s to 1580."If Church Polity is a matter of freedom, isn't assigning authority to regulate the liturgy also a matter of Christian freedom? So deciding whether synod has authoirty just depends on reading the synod constitution to see if it has been granted that power?Even if the synod has authority to set liturgical parameters, don't we also have to consider fellowship and the risk of binding consciences? Can the synod exclude congregations from fellowship on the basis that it has not complied with liturgical parameters, even though the liturgical parameters are not set by Scripture?
Also, I would correct Pr. Waddell, as I don't think Pr. McCain is making ad hominem arguments. I'd say he is arguing by adjective and by assertion. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proof_by_assertionhttp://logicwizard.blogspot.com/2007/07/argument-by-adjective.htmlAnd doing so in a manner lacking Christian charity, which drastically decreases the persuasiveness of the substantive points he does make, at least for me anyway.
I took a little stroll down memory lane to see what I had previously said to Jim Waddell as he put forward his straw man argument that the problem in The LCMS is that some people are making the liturgy of the essence of the Church. Here is what I told him back in June 2006. And he, as here now, refused to respond, but simply tried to dismiss the comments with an odd combination of passive-aggresive behaviors and an appeal to "poor me, you are picking on me" type reactions.Here is what I told him:McCain: Jim, you are missing the point of the discussion of Luther, Chemnitz and our Confessions on the purpose of unity in practices. It is not because it is of the essence of the church, or the Gospel itself, or that by observing certain manmade rites there is merit before God. I know of no responsible theologian among us suggesting anything of the sort. Let’s not allow the discussion to be short-circuited by that kind of nearly straw man approach. I find in your comments quite a lot of ex post facto justification of the diversity that has developed in our circles in the past few decades, a diversity never envisioned by our Synod’s fathers, and never known or foreseen by the formulators of the Formula of Concord. It’s almost as if some today are saying, “Hey, guess what! We’ve discovere that the break down in liturgical uniformity among is actually just fine. Luther and Chemnitz and the Book of Concord would have supported it.The practice of the Lutheran church, by the very men who formulated FC X and who resisted mightiliy any imposition of ceremonies at a time of confession, was, ironically, one that perhaps today many might accuse them of legalism. The Braunschweig-Wolfenbuettel Church Order and the way things were done there, similarly as elsewhere in Lutheran Orthodoxy, is eloquent testimony to the fact that uniformity in liturgical practices was a cherished gift. They most certainly did not simply say, “Do what you feel is right, just make sure you are getting your doctrine correct.” No, there was a careful, deliberative order followed precisely for the sake of the preservation of pure doctrine.”I believe, Jim, you are far too hastily dismissing this dimension of this entire discussion. Certainly, some will applaud you for finding justification for Congregation A throwing out hymnals and embracing worship more in line with contemporary Evangelicalism, while Congregation B may run down the opposite path and try to reprstinate as much of historic Medieval Romanism as possible. I think however you have far too easily separated doctrine from practice, and have not been careful enough to appreciate the actual working out of these things in our history and in our historic practice.
And, interesting to notice that though Waddell claims to be supportive of "a measure of uniformity" he refuses to get specific. From June 2006 I found this series of questions I put to him. He pulled the same move then, as now. Declaring the issue to be "closed" while never responding.Jim said:I do indeed hold that a measure of uniformity is desireable for the harmony of the church, reflecting the language of the Lutheran Confessions, but I thought this was an open discussion of adiaphora and what the boundaries of that uniformity might look like. I guess I was mistaken.McCain responded: James, I’m asking for specificity. You have indicated that you believe “Wookie” worship is out. I assume you regard that as a “foolish spectacle.” But, if the local congregation determines that this is something that contributes to the upbuilding of the faith in its location, that it is something useful, how can anyone determine this is out of bounds? Similarly, what else might a local congregation choose to do that you would regard as out of line? I would appreciate it if we could be as specific as possible, and, if you would respond to the various questions raised in responses to your posts.
Readers interested in reviewing Waddell's comments from three years ago, and Pastor Weedon's remarks as well, might enjoy reading this post and the comment thread:http://cyberbrethren.com/2006/06/18/good-bad-or-indifferent-what-do-you-think/#comments
Rev. McCain,I was wondering what you thought about the question I posed a couple days ago to Past Elder above. I know you've clearly got an intimate knowledge of the Book of Concord.The specific texts of the Confessional documents were in a sense "adiaphora" before they were written--before Melanchthon set out to write the Augsburg Confession, he had a "blank page". What I'm thinking of here is that while certain articles of the doctrine needed to be confessed in that day and age and under the papacy, the author was in some sense free to choose his words We wouldn't maintain that the exact text was delivered, for example, by direct inspiration from the Holy Spirit. Yet now, at this point in history, we look back at those documents as normative, and I no longer have a free choice to tweak this word or that concept because I think they would be better. Ordained pastors need to subscribe to the document and they can't exercise some twisted concept of "Christian freedom in adiaphora" to bend the text, Schmucker-style.How did the change in status take place (if it was really a change)? Is it the fact that the document was tied to an epoch-making historical event, and we're looking at fixed events in the past? Is it the fact that all the Evangelical-Lutheran churches subscribed to them at that point in time? Is it merely because we are in a church body which today subscribes to them? Having read what you've written, I doubt you'd have much patience with someone who decided to consider the texts of the Confessions "adiaphora".I am interested in this question because, having read Sasse, I'm thinking of the confessional nature of liturgy, and I wonder whether it would shed some light on the matter.
Rev. Waddell,"Lex orandi lex credendi, literally: 'The law of what should be prayed is, respectively, the law of what should be believed.' That means: the limitation to the prayers of the church and its order proves for many to be the entrance and path to the content of faith and doctrine. The reverse also applies: no prayer may be formulated and made to be the binding order if it is not in agreement with the criteria of faith and doctrine. And finally, the right formulation of what the church believes, teaches, and confesses carries through into the life of the praying church." - Sasse, "Liturgy and Confession", footnote 12.I take this to mean that a humanly "formulated" prayer which is "in agreement with the criteria of faith and doctrine" can in fact be incorporated into the "binding order", and it must be the "form" which is binding because the content is clearly the true doctrine.Immediately after this footnote he writes, "The liturgy defines doctrine only if doctrine defines the liturgy." He does not write, "The liturgy does not define doctrine; doctrine defines the liturgy." It seems to me that for Sasse, doctrine and liturgy define another and both are normed by Scripture.
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