Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving


What a wonderful time to pause and reflect upon the blessings that our Heavenly Father has given each of us. I am thankful that a remnant remains faithful to God's Word and our Lutheran Confessions. I'm thankful that I have stumbled upon a Lutheran church that offers the Holy Supper every week (yes it is WELS). I'm thankful that I'm apart of the church militant and pray that others will join the fight for salvation.
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Guest comments:
Anonymous said...

I just wanted everyone to know that this Thanksgiving I will be thanking God for the WELS and for all of the wonderful things that he does through the WELS. I invite all of you to do the same.

November 21, 2007 10:44 AM

Anonymous said...

I will be thanking God for the "Holy Christian Church" this Thanksgiving.

November 21, 2007 11:45 AM

Anonymous said...

Thank you for keeping the discussion alive.

I truly believe the focus at the recent WELS convention was about money not the theological issues that plague the WELS. If these aren't addressed the water will keep pouring in.

August 28, 2007 12:59 PM

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Feel free to add your Thanksgiving blessing.

(I was thinking about giving out a Madden drumstick award to the most original comment posted ;)

36 comments:

thankful my pastor doesn't belong to the C&C group said...

John -

You forgot this one

"-----Thank You-----
The 2007 conference was a huge success!"

Anonymous said...

I'm thankful I belong to a synod that is orthodox in doctrine, but allows me the Christian freedom to conduct a traditional worship service or a contemporary one.

Anonymous said...

I'm thankful my church follows the historic liturgy!!

Anonymous said...

I, too, am thankful for a synod that is orthodox in doctrine. It is my prayer that they remain true in their practice.

Sadder Budweiser said...

I am thankful to be out of an abusive cult named WELS. May God preserve my family from all of them. Amen.

Anonymous said...

"from all of them"

Wow, really? ALL of them? So now we're reading hearts and issuing condemnations en masse? So every single pastor and lay person in the WELS is part of an "abusive cult"? God preserve me from those who would be so presumptuous!

Anonymous said...

I am thankful my church did not only offer the "traditional or historic" liturgy, I wouldn't have returned the next weekend! I would have missed out on the message of hope and forgiveness I so cherish. I wouldn't have returned to learn more. I am thankful for pastors who are willing to change what can or must be changed to communicate that which never changes.

Anonymous said...

I'm thankful my pastors are not just giving people what their itching ears want to hear in these last days, but are feeding us with the Word and Sacrament weekly using the church's historic liturgy, which traces the entire plan of salvation in word and song through every service.

Anonymous said...

I'm thankful my pastors are not just giving people what their itching ears want to hear in these last days, but are feeding us with the Word and Sacrament weekly using the church's historic liturgy, which traces the entire plan of salvation in word and song through every service.

Anonymous said...

"I am thankful my church did not only offer the "traditional or historic" liturgy, I wouldn't have returned the next weekend! I would have missed out on the message of hope and forgiveness I so cherish. I wouldn't have returned to learn more. I am thankful for pastors who are willing to change what can or must be changed to communicate that which never changes."

Count the "I"s. It may be time to reprIorItIze.


I'm thankful that it's not about me, it's about Christ.

Anonymous said...

That reminds me of an old joke:

Q: How does a Pietist singer warm up?

A: Me, Me, Me! Law, law, law!

Anonymous said...

Anon at 3:50,

What would it have been about the historic liturgy that would have turned you off?

TBG

Anonymous said...

I, and that's right, I, found the traditional services I attended in several WELS/LCMS congregations an obsticle for several reasons. The insider language, the assumption of biblical knowledge, the appearance of being Catholic (huge turn off), the demeaning generalizations about those who are not "born and bred Lutheran" (see prior comments), the seeming lack of any joy in the service, and a feeling that "we in the WELS" are better than you so you should be happy we let you in today -- bothered me.

Frankly, the arrogance and obvious ignorance concerning other styles of worship music speaks volumes to people my age who are looking for a biblical, Christ-centered church. The claim by some that contemporary music is all about "I", contains no "meat", and is 7/11 principal - same 7 words repeated 11 times - is lame and in my view indicates some really aren't concerned about me knowing Jesus' forgiveness and love except through their preferred delivery system (i.e., traditional worship format) which you/they are comfortable with, believe is more biblical or deem appropriate (for real Lutherans).

I understand that many of you grew up with the liturgy, fine. Most of us in the younger generations didn't. If you believe the worship service today is the first real in depth touch many of us have with the Gospel message (every article I have every read indicates this - unless you have some other evangelism opportunity that gives you a better opportunity to share the Word and Sacraments with the same number of people) I would humbly suggest you consider offering people options for worship.

People my age (27) are not wanting to "hear what our itching ears want to hear", we want to hear what is need for our dying souls and those of our friends. My reading of Paul's words in their context (hint) indicates Paul wasn't talking about the method of delivery but the message - sound doctrine. Do you really think offering only a traditional service gives you the best opportunity to communicate sound doctrine to a 21st Century audience? I'm sorry but I don't.

The obvious loveliness portrayed in the comments of some in this blog is sad and gives me pause to pray for the people who must sit next to them in the pew. It almost seems some here want to make a person WELS or LCMS first, Lutheran second, and a Christian third.

I really cherish being a Lutheran in the truest sense (three solas).

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your insights and honesty. You have echoed some concerns that have bothered me. God's blessings as you grow in Christ - in any worship format.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 3:50,

First of all what you have described as the historic Lutheran service is not the historic Lutheran service. You can be forgiven, if your depiction is accurate, because then what was present to you as the historic liturgy was not. It is not about insider or arcane language etc. And knowing what goes on in most WELS churches and many churches within the LCMS you probably were not presented with the historic liturgy and the preaching and catechesis that should accompany it. (By the way the same anecdotal evidence can be presented against "contemporary" churches as well.)

You say you are looking for a Biblical, Christ centered service. The historic Lutheran service with the Blessed Sacrament is precisely that. So then, if you were presented with the historic liturgy and the accompanying forms, preaching and catechesis and you were still turned off, it was the Gospel with which you were offended, and the Gospel is offensive to many, in fact, it is the most odious of all teachings because it makes the first, last.

The historic liturgy with its accompanying forms is Biblical and Christ-centered - the whole thing is a quotation of Scripture for heaven's sake! And its puts the penitent in the right place, on his knees begging for mercy from God who grants mercy through the Gospel.

When someone says that the historic liturgy is just a form of many forms and if one form doesn't work, use another, then he or she does not understand or know the historic liturgy. As I said, it is a quotation of Scripture and structured in a proper manner. And that is why I asked what part offended you. Was it the confession and absolution, the Gloria, the Introit, the collects, the readings, the responses, the Creed, the offertory, the Communion prefaces, the Verba, the Agnus Dei, the Nunc Dimittis, the Thanksgiving, the Benediction, in other words, what part of the Holy Scriptures offended you?

Yes, you should be offended by sloppy presiding, the lack of catechesis in the liturgy and in the faith, the lack of proper law and Gospel preaching that permeates modern Lutheranism, but not by the historic liturgy with the Blessed Sacrament accompanied by preaching with a Christological hermeneutic, for to be offended by that is to be offended by Christ.

But here is one thing I have learned, the contempo crowd has lost faith in the Word/historic liturgy, it has lost faith in the proclamation of Christ in the blessed Sacrament and so it needs snappy forms etc. to appeal to people, and this mindset permeates the preaching as well. (Just read the sermons of the number one contempo WELS church in this regard, St. Mark’s, DePere, rarely does the Gospel appear. That the members of that church are not offended by the law preaching that is offered there tells you something, people like it, and so would be offended by the Gospel if preached there). When a church says we must try some new methods or forms but – horrors – not change the message, they, in fact, have lost faith in the Gospel because they believe it is the method that must be changed to "work" and so they believe it is the method that works conversion. And when a person or pastor says the historic liturgy is just a method and not the message (granting a reverent presentation and Gospel preaching and celebration of the Sacrament) it is precisely the message that they have a problem with, for the historic Lutheran service is the Gospel.

So find a church where the pastor offers private confession and absolution, celebrates the Blessed Supper of our Lord in every Sunday Service, on festivals and when people ask for it and conducts, with reverence, the historic Lutheran, i.e. Catholic, liturgy (with all its many propers and ordinaries) in the stead of Christ in the presence with our God who is a consuming fire and preaches all Christ, all the time (i.e. he will preach on the Gospel in the Sunday service) and join it.

TBG

Anonymous said...

Anon at 3:50,

Oh, I forgot, and when someone writes ..."the appearance of being Catholic (huge turn off)" it is painfully obvious that they have been deprived of catechesis in the Lutheran Confessions and Lutheran history. I hope some day you will receive it for it also reveals a sectarian spirit.

TBG

Anonymous said...

Dear Person who is 27,

I would suggest that you check out "The Motley Magpie", a theological journal which is now offered on the web, which will help you in your education about these matters. Many of your questions and misunderstandings about the historic western service and the ceremonies that accompany it will be answered. I know it has helped me enormously and it says it better than I.

Regards,
Jo

Anonymous said...

Anon at 3:50,

Sorry again, but I have to correct my final sentence, the referent is unclear.

"I hope some day you will receive it for YOUR COMMENT also reveals a sectarian spirit."

TBG

Anonymous said...

The Motley Magpie guys are not the ones I would run to for clarity, but that's just me.

Oh and don't worry, I'm well aware that I will upset the authors and their supporters.

A Sem Wife said...

Dear 27-year old,

Please do not lump all of us together by age. Your generalization is completely false. I, my spouse, and friends (similar in age to you) join congregations that use the historic Liturgy BECAUSE it communicates doctrine, it communicates Christ. It is an extended Scripture quotation taking the worshippers through Christ's life and our salvation every week. What do you have against this?

What you seem to be describing to which you are opposed, sounds like the CW services. Those are the man-handled versions of the historic Liturgy. If this was your only contact with the Liturgy, I'm sorry, but I have to agree with TBG and hope that you find a Lutheran congregation like what he/she described.

You should also look into the Lutheran Confessions. Your criticism of being too "Catholic" is puzzling. We are all catholic and the Confessions make clear that the Lutherans did not "abolish the mass", so yes, the liturgies in the West do all appear similar. That does not mean that we believe the errors in the Roman church. It also doesn't mean that we should run far away from our great inheritance from the historic Church to separate ourselves from the Roman church, as the Reformers also did not.

And, it pains me to say this, another good bit of reading would be the Motley Magpie. The articles are not that long and the authors were responding to things that are going on in the WELS, so the articles would probably answer many of your questions.

A Sem Wife

Anonymous said...

Dear Friend who wrote,

"The Motley Magpie guys are not the ones I would run to for clarity, but that's just me.

Oh and don't worry, I'm well aware that I will upset the authors and their supporters."

Yes, you may upset our loyal readers (one of whom alerted me, un-upset, to your post), but not the editors or authors. In fact, they are delighted to be engaged. You can register your disagreement with them by writing to them and they will post your letter to which they will respond. In fact, they have responded to every letter written them and they have printed every letter that the writer permitted them.

And if we are uclear, as you write, and we make no magisterial claims that we are not, would you be so kind and gracious to inform us of our unclarity? It's the only way we'll learn. I remain,

Sincerely yours,
Rev. Fr. John W. Berg, editor
The Motley Magpie

PS Contact us at:
jwhberg@juno.com

Anonymous said...

Is Bailing Water now just an extended commercial for the MM? Give me a break. The MM is nothing more than a sarcastic and bitter paraphrase of the real writing and scholarship of others. Pointing a contempo guy to the MM will only push him further from the wonderful blessings of the liturgy.

RandomDan said...

Anonymous at 3:50,

Being 31 years old, I could not disagree with you more. Not only do I find contemporary worship annoying, but by Sunday, I am tired of hearing the same old claptrap I find on my TV seven days a week. I want rest, not a show.

Not only that, you speaking for the whole of young people is extremely funny, because the statistics and anecdotal evidence show the opposite of what you said. That stats show the two fastest growing churches wrt Gen X and Gen Y are the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodoxy. If you want to commit synodical suicide (and the LCMS and WELS seem willing to try it), go to contemporary services. It will drive even more of our young people to Rome and Constantinople.

John said...

Mr. 11:02am anonymous,
Is Bailing Water now just an extended commercial for the MM?

NO!! Remember I'm not moderating comments so anyone is free to post their perspective. It just seems that the MM and the Lutheran Confessions are quoted a bit more than say Forward in Christ. And the author(s)have signed their names to their posts.

Give me a break. What?

The MM is nothing more than a sarcastic and bitter paraphrase of the real writing and scholarship of others.

Please share with the readers this bit of "real" writing and "scholarship" that you refer to in your comment.

John said...

Oh..by the way you also made a serious plagiarism charge.

Anonymous said...

My Friend,

Your post seemed so angry and bitter! I have read the Motley Magpie, I am the one who recommended it here earlier (not the blog administrator), and have not found it to be as you describe. Perhaps I missed something. Could you illustrate your contention? Because is it really fair to say that and not to do so?

Regards,
Jo

Anonymous said...

"Oh..by the way you also made a serious plagiarism charge."

John, are you joking? Do you really know what plagiarism is? I never claimed that the MM took material from others and claimed it as their own for personal or academic gain. I simply said the MM was a paraphrase of things that have already been said (better) elsewhere. You're the one throwing around charges here.

Oh, and by the way, did you just use MM and the Confessions in the same sentence? Yikes.

Anonymous said...

My Dear Anonymous Friend,

You said that what the Motley Magpie wrote was said better elsewhere. You will get no argument from the editors of the MM in regards to what they wrote, as the editor himself wrote in the final issue,

"So, you tell me, who has it right? If you agree we do, you should know that we take no credit, for those at whose feet we sit know these things far better than we and our only goal was to speak about what we have learned, to speak of things we know not. We are not much different than the illiterate parish priests of the Middle Ages of whom Roger Bacon (+1294) spoke,

[they recite] words of others without knowing in the least what they mean, like parrots and magpies which utter human sounds without understanding what they are saying (as quoted in Daily Life in Medieval Times, Frances and Joseph Gies, Black Dog & Lenthal, NY, 1990, p. 199).

The official opposition to these evangelical positions confirmed the correctness of our decision to publish for three years. And yet, despite many, many encourage-ments to continue, we shall mercifully end our promised three year run as we simply have run out of gas (or is it hot air?)"

You must have been a subscriber since you plagiarized (wink, wink) what we said about ourselves!

So, if you have anything new or of substance to say about our articles, we would be more than happy to hear it.

Rev. Fr. John W. Berg, editor
The Motley Magpie

Anonymous said...

Dear Friend,

In your post you said,

"I simply said the MM was a paraphrase of things that have already been said (better) elsewhere."

I'm glad to see that you think that at least the MM said things well. I think so, too! :)

Regards,
Jo

Anonymous said...

27

"What you seem to be describing to which you are opposed, sounds like the CW services. Those are the man-handled versions of the historic Liturgy."

Sem wife, are you saying the historic liturgy you hold in such high esteem is not man-handled?

I think it interesting that it was inferred that because I did not like the traditional worship format I was some how rejecting the message of the Gospel. Can the "historic traditionalist" now read hearts as well as pronounce judgment on worship formats?

Another Observer said...

"Can the "historic traditionalist" now read hearts as well as pronounce judgment on worship formats?"

Not reading hearts, just reading comments. Your comments show that you don't understand what the liturgy is. If you have any unexpressed thoughs that indicate otherwise, please share them.

AO

A Sem Wife said...

27,

I have to agree with AO. You don't seem to know what the Liturgy is. The liturgies found in CW made significant, meaningful changes to the historic liturgy of the Western church(Kyrie placement, Absolution, Nicene Creed, Lord's Prayer placement, law Benediction-off the top of my head). For an example of something more in keeping with the history of the Christian church, see TLH pg. 15.

I didn't say you were rejecting the message of the Gospel, so I don't know if that comment in your last comment was directed at me or not. I hope not. In my previous comment I asked a question that you never answered. Here it is again. Please answer if you have time. " I, my spouse, and friends (similar in age to you) join congregations that use the historic Liturgy BECAUSE it communicates doctrine, it communicates Christ. It is an extended Scripture quotation taking the worshippers through Christ's life and our salvation every week. What do you have against this?"

A Sem Wife

Anonymous said...

I just wanted everyone to know that this Thanksgiving I will be thanking God for His Son and for all of the wonderful things that He does through the marks of His true Church. I invite all of you to do the same.

N.B.: If this is seen to differ in format, or thrust, from what is all too often the expressed, public opinion of a WELSian ... well, I wouldn't be surprised.

Michael L. Anderson MD, PhD

LM said...

Welcome, Dr. Anderson,

Your wit is much need and appreciated here.

LM

Anonymous said...

Read The Motley Magpie.

Anonymous said...

Read the Holy Scriptures and then the Confessions and if you are so bored with those, read the most edifying works of Luther, Chemnitz, Gerhard and Walther. When you are done with those there is Augustine and Athanasius.

No offense to the Magpie, but if I had to pick one thing to admonish others to read (a@10:20) There would be many other things to pick.