17 February 2012

Thoughts on a failed resolution

My parish had sent up a sort of trial balloon at the District Convention.  it more or less made it through floor committee.  It was to encourage the parishes of our District and of our Synod to use for our services and rites one of the Synod's hymnbooks/agendas: TLH, LW, LSB and even All God's People Sing, Hymnal Supplement '98, and Worship Supplement.  It specifically wasn't speaking of hymns or other attendant music - it spoke to the services and rites.

It was fascinating to HEAR how people perceived the resolution.  Some apparently thought we were saying that uniformity in man-made ceremonies were necessary, and persuaded the convention to include the words of AC VII - as though any of us really denied them or thought that the unity of the church hung upon observance of man-made ceremonies and rites!

Others fixated on the use of the word "exclusive use" as though the Synod Constitution had never said that a condition of Synodical membership is the exclusive use of doctrinally pure Agenda and Hymnbooks.

Some noted that this WAS the language of the constitution but that it really had been ignored (and apparently rightly ignored) for a long time.

Some rightly noted that the liturgy was gift and could not be compelled by any law.  Others noted that though the language was "encourage" the clear intent was to use it as a club.

One very sane man pointed out that the Lutheran Symbols had a LOT more to say on this subject than the single snippet from AC VII and that if we heard the Symbols all the way out, they actually sounded rather in harmony with what the resolution was proposing.

Sigh.  So much fear, so much reading into and failing to put the best construction.  What if the resolution meant no more than it said:  that we should encourage each other toward what our constitution itself says that we aim at?  What if it never was about coercion or manipulation but about encouraging each other toward the faithful use of faithful resources?

I hesitated to speak on it since it DID come from us and thus it was our own words that had the attention of the convention, but how utterly disheartening to see them misconstrued in this manner.  The Synod is and remains ADVISORY to the member congregations.  It CAN advise.  It CANNOT legislate.  But when it cannot encourage for fear that it is in fact thereby legislating, we have something seriously broken in our relationships.  No, you'll never hear me say that the problem is we don't trust each other.  Jeremiah 17:5 is in my Bible.  The problem with us isn't' that we don't trust each other; it's that we do not trust our Lord's words - at least we don't trust them to deliver what they promise without a boost from us.

And sooner or later someone really needs to do the hard work of assessing what it means to "submit to one another" in the Lord and how that isn't in conflict with, but is the expression of, perfect Christian freedom.  I know, I know.  Luther already did that hard work.  But no one reads him anymore... Sadness.

Or even Walther (this is for you, Petersen):

“We are not insisting that there be uniformity in perception or feeling or taste among all believing Christians-neither dare anyone demand that all be minded as he. Nevertheless, it remains true that the Lutheran liturgy distinguishes Lutheran worship from the worship of other churches to such an extent that the houses of worship of the latter look like lecture halls in which the hearers are merely addressed or instructed, while our churches are in truth houses of prayer in which Christians serve the great God publicly before the world.

“Uniformity of ceremonies (perhaps according to the Saxon Church order published by the Synod, which is the simplest among the many Lutheran church orders) would be highly desirable because of its usefulness. A poor slave of the pope finds one and same form of service, no matter where he goes, by which he at once recognizes his church.

“With us it is different. Whoever comes from Germany without a true understanding of the doctrine often has to look for his church for a long time, and many have already been lost to our church because of this search. How different it would be if the entire Lutheran church had a uniform form of worship! This would, of course, first of all yield only an external advantage, however, one which is by no means unimportant. Has not many a Lutheran already kept his distance from the sects because he saw at the Lord's Supper they broke the bread instead of distributing wafers?

“The objection: "What would be the use of uniformity of ceremonies?" was answered with the counter question, "What is the use of a flag on the battlefield? Even though a soldier cannot defeat the enemy with it, he nevertheless sees by the flag where he belongs. We ought not to refuse to walk in the footsteps of our fathers. They were so far removed from being ashamed of the good ceremonies that they publicly confess in the passage quoted: "It is not true that we do away with all such external ornaments.""

36 comments:

mlorfeld said...

My only 'issue' with resolutions such as these are in the context of non-English services. For instance a Russian immigrant congregation may use the same rite as our Siberian Lutheran brothers and sisters. It's a small 'issue', but one that is overlooked.

David Garner said...

Once license is taken it is hard to get the licentious one to give it back up. It seems the Old Adam wants to do what he wants to do. It's really no different than any other form of submission. The sad thing is this really isn't about freedom, for your resolution gave abundant freedom. It's about someone telling me I can't do whatever I damn well please. It's not about freedom under the Gospel. It's about enslavement to my own narcissistic self.

Al Bergstrazer said...

We've been attempting to put one another in our presumed places for so long via the mechanisms of our church polity its not surprising we get the sort of responses you had. Christian freedom and being one in Christ are not at odds with each other-until we talk about worship and its practice.

Father Hollywood said...

I think Pr. Lorfeld makes a good point.

There is an assumption that we're talking about English-language services - which is a reasonable assumption in the LCMS. I don't think anyone would compel a congregation to use English-only (even if our synod could compel anyone to do anything).

Nevertheless, we do have congregations using other languages - especially Spanish. There are occasional German and French services in our synod as well. The LCMS has published a Spanish hymnal, and our sister church body, the Lutheran Church - Canada has recently published a French language hymnal.

So, such memorials could be modified that they should not be interpreted to compel the use of English and that foreign language services should make use of hymnals from sister church bodies where possible.

William Weedon said...

Amen to Fr. Lorfield!

Pastor Peters said...

If it had problems in the SID, it would be DOA in the Mid-South...

Paul McCain said...

What was the vote count?

Pastor Hemmer said...

After it was amended to change "exclusively" to "extensively" and insert the bit from AC VII, it lost by 6 votes (66-60, maybe).

Paul said...

We voted this resolution on to our Mid-South District Convention today (2/19/12): Resolved, that all district mission efforts, including church planting and campus ministry, be directed by a mission council composed of an equal number of Pastor and Laity from each electoral circuit, and be it further
Resolved, that all mission work center around the ministry of Word and Sacrament and use Synod-approved worship and educational materials exclusively.

Trent said...

So is insisting on Liturgy OK but insisting on fasting legalistic? By Liturgy, I don't mean specific ceremonies that differ from place to place, you certainly find this in all liturgical churches. I mean Liturgy vis-a-vis made it up today happy-clappy stuff.

"We look at the required fasts (substitute Liturgy) in Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy and rightly criticize the imposition of such rules as contrary to the Gospel freedom ....." Pr.McCain.

The ancient Church Fathers who Lutherans celebrate on their calendar as being men of the Gospel imposed Liturgy and Fasting (and a whole host of other disciplines) on their people because they knew it was good for them and that is what spiritual fathers do. I mean, just look at the much lauded by Lutheran's, St. Basil, he wrote 95 rules in 25 chapters on just rules for prayer.

William Weedon said...

Trent,

I think that comment really is directed towards Pr. McCain rather than toward my post. And I'm not sure it's helpful for either a Lutheran or an Orthodox to get into a fight about fasting on the doorstep of the fast itself. Might you consider whether you really want it posted?

Todd Wilken said...

While the Confessions do not say that uniformity of ceremonies is necessary, they do consistently present that uniformity as the ideal for which we ought to strive. Sad to hear that my district can't even agree on that. TW

Fr BFE said...

I've referenced this blog post over at Gottesdienst Online. Nice work, Fr. Weedon!

WM Cwirla said...

One thing we sometimes fail to realize is that liturgy and liturgical uniformity is left-hand, temporal kingdom Law stuff. In service of the Gospel, to be sure, but Law nonetheless. Luther said so in his 1526 Deutsche Messe that if we were all completely regenerated, we would even need such things. So it is fitting and proper to put such resolutions before governing bodies and to insist on them as matters of synodical policy. Otherwise, what really is the point of having a synod?

mlorfeld said...

I believe that those who oppose this often do not recognize the distinction between "spiritual unity," which come by grace through faith in Christ alone, and external unity, which (as Pastor Cwirla noted) is in the left hand realm. There is a sense in which all those who trust in Christ for their salvation, and this is why the Confessors made the case that unity of ceremonies is not necessary for true spiritual unity. In other words, Lutherans and the Eastern Christians weren't going to hell because they did not observe Rome's Mass and all its ceremonies. This is the extent of what is being confessed. However one must also then be willing to concede that if one rejects Ap. 24.1 they really have no business calling themselves Lutheran... and should out of brotherly love be taken totask for their dishonesty.

mqll said...

t was fascinating to HEAR how people perceived the resolution.

=======

That is the issue isn't it?

The fact of the matter is, you have congregations (like mine) that are doing contemporary worship.

We think what we are doing is right; it is Lutheran; it is the Gospel; it is hope for the hopeless and joy for the sorrowing.

This has been accepted and encouraged within the Synod. We had praise songs given stamps of approval. We've had a CoWo person at the Synodical level.

And now — because our Synod is divided — we have push-back.

What to do? I must say I feel the same frustration that Pres Harrison speaks about when testifying before congress. We want to be left alone by those who want to force uniformity. Or, wait, encourage. Beat over the head with resolutions.

I thought there was going to be discussion on this? I thought that was the whole point of the Koin? Do we not need to do this?

The encouragement that I want is for people to say "You are doing well with what you have. We hope you continue to think about how you do Contemporary worship, consider some best practices that the Synod has, and encourage some other brothers to reign it in a bit."

The encouragement that I am hearing is "Change to the Liturgy or leave."

What, Wil, pray tell, is the encouragement that you have for me? Can I continue what I am doing? Would you encourage me and support me in that? Or ultimately, must I change? And then, why?

Rev. David M. Juhl said...

Brother Mark:

You are asking the wrong questions.

mqll said...

(shrug) I'm not claiming to ask the right question; I'm asking the question that I would like answered.

mlorfeld said...

mqll, I assume you are a pastor (if not please excuse my assumption). In your ordination and subsequent installations you vowed that you confessed the Lutheran Confessions as a true exposition of Holy Scripture and that you would conform your preaching, teaching, and administration of the Sacraments to Scripture and the Confessions.

Thus, it is not fair to accuse brothers who simply want to hold you to the very confession which you voluntarily placed yourself under as being beat over the head with resolutions. Sorry, but you already placed yourself under that which we confess including the following:

However, it is pleasing to us that, for the sake of peace, universal ceremonies are kept. We also willingly keep the order of the Mass in the churches, the Lord’s Day, and other more famous festival days. With a very grateful mind we include the beneficial and ancient ordinances, especially since they contain a discipline. This discipline is beneficial for educating and training the people and those who are ignorant ‹the young people›.

Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions, Edited by Paul Timothy McCain (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2005). 149.


1 At the outset, we must again make this preliminary statement: we do not abolish the Mass, but religiously keep and defend it. Masses are celebrated among us every Lord’s Day and on the other festivals. The Sacrament is offered to those who wish to use it, after they have been examined and absolved. And the usual public ceremonies are observed, the series of lessons, of prayers, vestments, and other such things.
2 The adversaries have a long speech about the use of the Latin language in the Mass. In this speech, they joke about how it benefits an unlearned hearer to hear, in the faith of the Church, a Mass that he does not understand [cf. 1 Corinthians 14:9–12]. They clearly imagine that the mere work of hearing is a service, that it benefits without being understood. 3 We are unwilling to rebelliously pursue these things, but we leave them to the judgment of the reader. We mention them only for the purpose of stating, in passing, that we keep also the Latin lessons and prayers.
However, ceremonies should be celebrated to teach people Scripture, that those admonished by the Word may conceive faith and godly fear, and may also pray. 4 (This is the intent of ceremonies.)


Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions, Edited by Paul Timothy McCain (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2005). 220.

There are others, of course, but the question that I must ask my brethren who have abandoned the Church's historic, liturgical worship is "can you provide a list of portions of the confessions that we are free to ignore and abandon?" and "why have you introduced new practices which copy the practices of heterodox church bodies with the result that division has been created?" I'm willing to be charitable to a brother pastor who looks at the practices in the place where he finds himself and says "this is messed up" and who desires to gently and pastorally address erring practice (and theology that is attendant). It is another thing to hack apart the very thing we have placed ourselves under, copy enthusiasts, and then when division is created by these actions, to act as if you were the victim.

William Weedon said...

Marcus,

The question to me is the definition of contemporary worship. If by that you are referring to "sound" if you will that is lived within the historic ordo, no problema. If it means the dismissal of the historic ordo, I'd try like crazy to convince you that it's WORTH keeping the historic ordered action of the Eucharist. No more time to write more at the moment, but didn't want your question to go unanswered from my own perspective.

mqll said...

mqll, I assume you are a pastor (if not please excuse my assumption).

There is funny joke here, I'm sure, but I'll play the straight man and say "Yes."

I've heard your argument before: my short statement is that when I was at Sem, no one said "To be a Lutheran means that you cannot do worship other than the Western Mass."

So, I didn't learn that at the time of my vows.

Now...if you are asking me to be faithful, then I have to say, to what?

The Word of God gives no indication that we must use the Western Mass.

"can you provide a list of portions of the confessions that we are free to ignore and abandon?"

Ever virgin Mary
Garlic causes magnetism
Gott is derived from gut

It is fairly simple— the statements found in the Confessions that clearly don't match up with Scripture are not really Scriptural. Our quia hold does not hold us to every single statement of the Confessions (as indicated by the above). We're not fundamentalists when it comes to Scripture or the Confessions.

"why have you introduced new practices which copy the practices of heterodox church bodies with the result that division has been created?"

Well, why do we keep old practices done by the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic church? We've had plenty of guys leave Lutheran-land for these false churches.

Why do we keep practices found in false churches? Because just because a practice is found in a false church does not mean the practice is false. Whether it is wearing a chasuble or wearing jeans.

It is another thing to hack apart the very thing we have placed ourselves under, copy enthusiasts, and then when division is created by these actions, to act as if you were the victim.

I'm not a victim — but the attacks get old and tiring. Especially when we elected a President who said "Let's come to together and talk" as opposed to "Let's skip the talking and legislate."

Make sense? Sorry to be short, but Lent is coming.

mqll said...

Wil

Marcus,

The question to me is the definition of contemporary worship.


It is bringing the Gospel to people, connecting them to the death and resurrection of their Lord, in a contemporary (current, contextual) way.

Oh, wait...that does not mention the ordo...but nor does it use Latin...I guess that is why it is contemporary. :)

Well, you have been trying to convince myself and others of this...I wonder why you believe this resolution is helpful way to do that convincing?

William Weedon said...

Actually, the resolution was more about the language of the Synod's Constitution: "exclusive use of doctrinally pure *Agenda and Hymnbook*." But more on that later...

Matthias Flacius said...

mqll,

Can a house divided against itself stand? Frankly, I'm so tired of these arguments that I just don't have them with people anymore. I suspect we'll stay together for unity's sake or pension's sake. I became Lutheran 18 years ago to get away from Pentecostal worship and its horrible theology. We now have LCMS congregations doing hip-hop and heavy metal worship. How ridiculous! It's dangerous and ultimately leads to faulty theology. But everyone will be entertained and have plenty of gourmet coffee. Is it really too much to ask to have a Lutheran Synod that consists of congregations who want to be Lutheran in doctrine and practice? If we cannot agree on this level of unity in our liturgical practice then what's the point?

Paul Buelow said...

Pastor Weedon,

I wondered why you paced the back of the room rather than approaching a microphone at the convention during the discussion of this resolution – now I know. As a layman I would have welcomed your comments and perspective however.

I was disgusted to see both pastors and laity recoil at the resolution’s encouragement to use the liturgical materials produced by our Synod – accumulated from materials tested by generations upon generations. They are actually overflowing with God’s Word from Holy Scripture. I attend the Divine Service to be delivered Jesus with His gifts and spent a decent amount of time to find an LCMS congregation that does just that for me and my family.

Resolution aside –questions for you pastors: Aren’t doctrine and practice married together? If the Divine Service (LCMS materials or no) which you prepare for your flock (Lutheran or no but sinners all) doesn’t expose and kill the old Adam in us with God’s Law and rescue the new man with Christ’s Gospel then what good is it? If your worship form lacks a pure, Christian doctrine what doctrine does it profess?

The spectrum goes from “smells and bells” and high church liturgy to “happy clappy” and feel good t-shirts and coffee. Can Law and Gospel be presented throughout all? – I’d say yes. Can the average LCMS pastor deliver it well throughout the spectrum? – from experience I must say no. The LCMS liturgical materials – especially the Divine Service – presented by the most incompetent among you would deliver Christ crucified for me. In this way I agree with the Pastor at the convention who said that the liturgy protects us, the laity, from him. Not that he can’t deliver a doctrinally pure service and sermon but that he is a sinner like us all and will fail on these tasks.

I, with the resolution, encourage exclusive use of the doctrinally pure, Synodical materials – not as “law” but as the goal to which every LCMS pastor and congregation should strive.

Paul Buelow

mqll said...

Actually, the resolution was more about the language of the Synod's Constitution: "exclusive use of doctrinally pure *Agenda and Hymnbook*." But more on that later...

==========

Why do you need a resolution about the language of the Constitution? It is what it is Wil.

I'd rather hear more sooner than later. Coem now Wil — you talk about how people perceived the resolution; well, how exactly did you want it to be perceived? What was the reason, the rhyme, the argument behind your bringing it?

I mean...you speak about the Synod advising...is that what this was? Advisement?

I mean, do you honestly think it reads that way? Advisement?

Which is different from convincing, isn't it?

That is my point here Wil. I thought we were suppose to be talking about the issue; instead, you find it merely necessary to advise, because the constitution gives you that right? Would that be an adequate (perhaps mildly unfair) summary of your position?

Blessed Lent.

mqll said...

Matthias Flacius,

Can a house divided against itself stand?

Sure it can. We have in our Synod congregations like my mom's old home congregation that don't allow women;s suffrage. We have congregations that do.

Hasn't bothered anyone for years, has it? We've been just fine.

Our Synod is perfectly capable of allowing a rich diversity, that mirrors the diversity of the people we serve — while at the same time uniting them in what actually unites us: the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.

Look, I have sympathy with much of what you write — although I am curious about whether in our Synod we have heavy metal and rap services — but at the same time, the whole point of koinonia is coming together to talk about this.

I don't want to argue with you about this — but I do want to talk about it. Our Synod is remarkably united on so many topics — it a wonderful blessing. On the issues that we disagree upon...well, even Wil is allowing for openness on musical style. We're not that far apart.

Blessed Lent.

mqll said...

Paul Buelow,

Aren’t doctrine and practice married together?
Yes and no. Have you ever looked at Roman Catholic service? They can be pretty darn close to what you would see in a Lutheran Church.

Does that meant that the theology behind both are the same? No, they are different.

I think that any worship teaches people things — and we have to take care in what we teach. But I've long been in favor of an idea of "best practices". But that begins with admitting we should have CoWo in the Synod — which some don't want to do, so we don't have a best practice.

I do think there is much right about what you say though and ought to be taken to heart.

Blessed Lent.

William Weedon said...

Mark,

Just briefly - Ash Wednesday craziness and all - encourage means, well, encourage. The trial balloon regards, though, the appropriateness and adequacy of the language of Synod's constitution in a day and age when "books" are not the sole (or in many places, even the chief) worship resource. Time has moved on, but the Constitution hasn't, and in that regard I think it needs to be revisited and discussed.

W Lucht said...

As a lay delegate at the SID convention I must admit I found the whole arguement about the above resolution interesting, informative and very revealing. For a moment or two my heart was beating so fast I checked the med table to be sure there were attendants. As a layman, uneducated in the finer points of theology I don't understand many things. I have often heard pastors comment about the depth and meaning that comes with understanding Greek and Hebrew. Or about worship at the Sem with the fellow believers. I wonder if those things would hold much meaning if they were more, say, superficial? The Pastors who commented against the resolution, "I spent fifteen years in contemporary worship...if I were forced to change it would have caused open rebellion" and, "I have been writing my own sevices for years...I am trained...trust my judgement, (not exact quotes) made the most sense to me in FAVOR of the resolution. What I heard is "The masses cannot handle depth" and "I want no boundries".
I commented to a family friend who was recently widowed on how powerful the opening service was. Her comment? "I know, it was like heaven." No doubt a comfort. I wonder if some silliness would have made things just that much better.
Personally, I have experienced 36 years of camp ministry. (Please excuse the loose use of the word ministry) As such I have aquired a taste for fun and silliness,(around the campfire)but when we worship, the campers 13-18 choose more sobering reverant music as if they know they are worshiping.... God?. I learn a lot from kids. Many years ago, sadly, I too felt the need to "Do whatever it takes" to reach kids. Bend Scripture to make a point, make kids love camp and maybe me too so I could make a differance for them. The only problem is the outcome was more divisive than anything else. Yes there were many success stories but all too often the kids wanted church to be like camp, demanding contemporary services, openly despising the "stuffy old" pastor. Unintentional to be sure but I didn't need a resolution to repent. Now, they still have fun, love camp, but we get them as Lutherans, or not, and try to send them home Lutheran. Loving who and what they are in the body of Christ.
My personal epiphany involved a funeral for a teen who "We used to see every Sunday but not too often since the contemporary services started, I don't go to them, she doesn't do traditional. Divisive or uniting? Also, a youth leader livid that his pastor insisted on a sermon in their contemporary sevice. Divisive or uniting?

The good Bishop from South Africa made a terrific point. 'The catholic Christian Church is the truest form of globalization'. We can find unity in uniformaty. Rugged individualism by its very nature is divisive. At least I know that if we let ourselves sink to the depth of modern church thought I know where to go if I want to use our hymnal.
A couple more thoughts(sorry for the length of this) I can't help but wonder, if we don't have a standard where will it end? Will we together will all the company of heaven say "Yaaaaay God!!!!!!? Or sing the Apostles Creed to the tune of "One Tin Soldier"? Too late I've already seen it done.
I would like to beg of all you who wear the cloth. Teach us what the litury means, where it comes from and why we use it. If there was a better understanding of it I think we would demand its use without a resolution. I dicovered the 'Song of Simeon' during chuch one morning when I realized that like he and Anna I too had just seen my salvation in the real presence of the body and blood of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. What can anyone write to replace that? Why would you want to? Too bad I never had a pastor share that nugget with me. It changed the way I looked at my church.


'The peace of the Lord be with you' ...........

and the answer is ............

found in the liturgy.

May God bless and keep us all.

W Lucht said...

As a lay delegate at the SID convention I must admit I found the whole arguement about the above resolution interesting, informative and very revealing. For a moment or two my heart was beating so fast I checked the med table to be sure there were attendants. As a layman, uneducated in the finer points of theology I don't understand many things. I have often heard pastors comment about the depth and meaning that comes with understanding Greek and Hebrew. Or about worship at the Sem with the fellow believers. I wonder if those things would hold much meaning if they were more, say, superficial? The Pastors who commented against the resolution, "I spent fifteen years in contemporary worship...if I were forced to change it would have caused open rebellion" and, "I have been writing my own sevices for years...I am trained...trust my judgement, (not exact quotes) made the most sense to me in FAVOR of the resolution. What I heard is "The masses cannot handle depth" and "I want no boundries".
I commented to a family friend who was recently widowed on how powerful the opening service was. Her comment? "I know, it was like heaven." No doubt a comfort. I wonder if some silliness would have made things just that much better.
Personally, I have experienced 36 years of camp ministry. (Please excuse the loose use of the word ministry) As such I have aquired a taste for fun and silliness,(around the campfire)but when we worship, the campers 13-18 choose more sobering reverant music as if they know they are worshiping.... God?. I learn a lot from kids. Many years ago, sadly, I too felt the need to "Do whatever it takes" to reach kids. Bend Scripture to make a point, make kids love camp and maybe me too so I could make a differance for them. The only problem is the outcome was more divisive than anything else. Yes there were many success stories but all too often the kids wanted church to be like camp, demanding contemporary services, openly despising the "stuffy old" pastor. Unintentional to be sure but I didn't need a resolution to repent. Now, they still have fun, love camp, but we get them as Lutherans, or not, and try to send them home Lutheran. Loving who and what they are in the body of Christ.
My personal epiphany involved a funeral for a teen who "We used to see every Sunday but not too often since the contemporary services started, I don't go to them, she doesn't do traditional. Divisive or uniting? Also, a youth leader livid that his pastor insisted on a sermon in their contemporary sevice. Divisive or uniting?

The good Bishop from South Africa made a terrific point. 'The catholic Christian Church is the truest form of globalization'. We can find unity in uniformaty. Rugged individualism by its very nature is divisive. At least I know that if we let ourselves sink to the depth of modern church thought I know where to go if I want to use our hymnal.
A couple more thoughts(sorry for the length of this) I can't help but wonder, if we don't have a standard where will it end? Will we together will all the company of heaven say "Yaaaaay God!!!!!!? Or sing the Apostles Creed to the tune of "One Tin Soldier"? Too late I've already seen it done.
I would like to beg of all you who wear the cloth. Teach us what the litury means, where it comes from and why we use it. If there was a better understanding of it I think we would demand its use without a resolution. I dicovered the 'Song of Simeon' during chuch one morning when I realized that like he and Anna I too had just seen my salvation in the real presence of the body and blood of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. What can anyone write to replace that? Why would you want to? Too bad I never had a pastor share that nugget with me. It changed the way I looked at my church.


'The peace of the Lord be with you' ...........

and the answer is ............

found in the liturgy.

May God bless and keep us all.

Paul Buelow said...

Mark (mqll),

Lenten blessings to you as well. Imposition of ashes last night set my Lenten worship journey in motion. Again I see the vastness of my sin enveloped by the graciousness of God in Jesus Christ.

When I ask if doctrine and practice are married together I’m not intending to compare different confessions but one. A congregation’s doctrine is reflected by its practice in its worship. Doctrine should shape practice and not the other way around. Roman Catholic’s practice is shaped by their doctrine and we as Lutherans have drawn from that heritage but our doctrine and theology are different.

If the doctrine professed by two congregations is the same but one uses the historical form (practice) of worship while another uses a contemporary form what does that say about their true doctrine? Can both truly have the same doctrine – I would agree with you and say, yes. However, I see in CoWo a distinct removal of scripture and, well, “Jesus” frankly. Maybe these pastors lack the skills to assemble a doctrinally pure worship service, or they are targeting an un-churched audience, or they don’t have sufficient time with all the other duties of the office, family, etc. Whatever the reason, my experience has been that CoWo, in most cases, lets form (practice) rule and doctrine suffers.

Paul Buelow

mqll said...

Just briefly - Ash Wednesday craziness and all - encourage means, well, encourage.

======

Well, Wil, that is the thing about language, isn't it? What one individual believes a word means, doesn't always translate.

I encourage my daughters to go to school. Do you think that this allows for other options?

My own resolution that I am forming is going to encourage individuals to quit subverting the koinoinia process.

It is going to encourage individuals to quit undermining the process with resolutions that seek to mandate what we ought to be discussing.

It is going to encourage people to follow the process of coming together to talk, rather than legislating our differences apart.

What sort of behavior do you think this is going to encourage? :)

mqll said...

Paul Buelow,

Imposition of ashes last night set my Lenten worship journey in motion. Again I see the vastness of my sin enveloped by the graciousness of God in Jesus Christ.

My own service was one of silence. One song. No much read aloud. My sermon was mainly visual. I spoke aloud the words of institution and forgiveness. That's it.

It is that sorta thing I'd like to be encouraged to try. :)

However, I see in CoWo a distinct removal of scripture and, well, “Jesus” frankly.

Well, I have been to a few CoWo services through the Synod and I have not seen that at all. It certainly is not what I attempt to do.

The question is, does our theology demand that there is only one way to practice?

If that is so, then why does a RC worship service look so similar if our doctrine is different?

I don't think that our theology demands that there is only one legitimate way to worship and all congregations out to be (for all intents and purposes) identical.

I think that our theology suggests that there can be a richness of variety that still proclaims Christ crucified.

Now, do all do that? Could we improve? Yes—but that is not the same as eliminate.

Or "encourage" to eliminate.

Jim Huffman said...

Are we asking the wrong question when we make a bifurcation between Rome's liturgy and the historic Lutheran liturgy? Can we perhaps move beyond seeking to make Lutheranism a "not Rome" movement?

The historic liturgy arises out of a broad swath of catholic Christianity. Where does "contemporary worship" arise from?

David Garner said...

Mr. Huffman writes:

Are we asking the wrong question when we make a bifurcation between Rome's liturgy and the historic Lutheran liturgy? Can we perhaps move beyond seeking to make Lutheranism a "not Rome" movement?

Indeed. I was taught and my reading of the Confessions states that the Lutheran Church was a reform movement in the Western Catholic Church, and that the authors of the Confessions saw themselves not as a denomination among many from which we may choose worship practices, rites, etc., but rather as the CONTINUATION of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Therefore, a unity with the historic Western Mass is to be expected, quite unlike this romping about after sectarian worship forms we see in modern Lutheranism.

There is a distinct difference between the Roman Mass -- which is LUTHERAN -- and the sectarian forms. Pretending borrowing from one is no different from the other is to ignore history and in fact the Lutheran Confessions themselves.