Monday, March 2, 2009

Time of Grace - new hire

Rev. Bruce Becker resigns to take a position at Time of Grace.

http://together.wels.net/2009/3/2/bps-administrator-hired-for-new-position

http://www.timeofgrace.org/


Interesting that this comes not long after Rev. Paul Kelm accepted a postion as a Parish Assistant at WELS headquarters

177 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good riddance! The heretic is gone!

Hmm, does anyone think it was just a coincidence that Time of Grace came up with a new position for Becker shortly before President Schroeder took the Ad Hoc's recommendation and eliminated the Administrator of BPS from the budget? Good job President Schroeder! This is a huge step in cleaning house at 2929.

(Oh, and before anyone accuses me of slander for calling Becker a heretic, please remember that he just initiated a study to find find out what "besides the Means of Grace" causes congregations to grow. That's heresy.)

Anonymous said...

Kelm is still there...no worries C&Cers

Anonymous said...

Nope!

Anonymous said...

Heresy is one of those words that people are far too worried about using in this politically correct culture.

Good job with the strong language! The liberal C&Cers love to use the 8th commandment as a gag order. If they were around in Jesus day they would've judged Jesus for using a whip on the money changers.

Anonymous said...

Heresy is a public sin that needs to be rebuked publicly. But to publicly rebuke heresy one needs to go public, which the silly heresy hunters on this blog don't do.

Anonymous said...

I assume the preacher who called Becker a heretic has an evangelism plan at your congregation? You did learn somewhere in your synod subsidized studies to create such a novel concept didn't you? Oh yes, I do understand the Means of Grace...the question is, do you?

Anonymous said...

"I assume the preacher who called Becker a heretic has an evangelism plan at your congregation?"

Ugh. There's a huge difference between having an evangelism plan and studying what makes congregations grow besides the Means of Grace. If you don't understand the difference, we're in big trouble.

Evangelism plans do NOT cause the church to grow. NOTHING besides the Means of Grace causes the church to grow. If you think otherwise, you are a heretic. Becker wasn't studying evangelism plans, he was studying why churches grow outside of the Means.

(Besides, I prefer having an outreach plan, not an evangelism plan. Evangelism is nothing other than proclaiming the gospel. I don't need a plan telling me to do that. Outreach, on the other hand, can be done in various ways that can be planned.)

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing the person who labeled Becker a heretic wasn't at the meeting. I was. And actually, evangelism/outreach plans were EXACTLY what Becker was studying. We talked about ways we carry the Means of Grace into the community. Do you do it by canvassing? Do you do it by mass mailings? Do you simply train your people, and encourage them? If so, how do you train your people? Do you use a specific class? Do you take them along on a visit and model how to share Law and Gopsel. THAT'S the type of stuff that was talked about. Becker was NOT studying what caused the church to grow "outside the Means." You owe the man an apology. He stressed REPEATEDLY that the Means of Grace were the only things that grow the Church. He simply wanted to know how we were using Word and Sacraments, and training others to do so.

When I read someone twisting Pastor Becker's words like that... it's just small and pathetic. You should be ashamed of yourself! Sadly, I suspect that instead of feeling any contrition you'll only get mad and try and find a way to twist my words now. Thus, instead of moving toward repentance, you'll be moving towards a hardness of heart. I pray that is not the case.

Anonymous said...

You accused me of twisting Becker's words. Here's the direct quote from Becker: "We asked them, 'What factors, BEYOND THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL, do you believe are contributing to God's blessing of numerical growth in your congregation?'"

(Source: http://together.wels.net/2008/11/17/forum-to-share-ministry-blessings)

That's false doctrine, pure and simple. You can rationalize it all you want, but it is what it is. When did we get so soft that we're not allowed to point our false doctrine? You're the one who should be ashamed of yourself for pandering to heresy rather than refuting it.

Anonymous said...

So what did Becker say when you brought this to his attention?

Anonymous said...

He realized it came out wrong, and clarified what he meant:

http://together.wels.net/2008/12/1/clarification

Anonymous said...

So then why did he resign so quickly? It is obvious to sense the inner turmoil going on at 2929 as Pres. S. goes against years of Church and Change reign.

The Synod looks looks the other way when it comes to Time of Grace so this is the perfect spot for Becker. Aside from that it will be a nice pay bump.

One question that I have, is Becker a pastor? He has resigned from the called ministry?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps he saw the handwriting on the wall with the imminent budget cuts...

What was his old pay? What is his new pay? How are you privy to this information?

Anonymous said...

Becker's wording is fine, as his clarification explains. It's probably not the best choice of words, but it's certainly not heresy. He didn't say other things cause the Church to grow. Again, I was ACTUALLY AT the two day conference, and he stressed AGAIN AND AGAIN that only the Means of Grace cause the Church to grow. I'd wish you'd at least give him credit for that! But he wanted to identify how congregations present and utilize the Means of Grace, because while we cannot add to the efficacy of the Word, we can place stumbling blocks before it. And so, Becker's stated goal was simply: "to identify factors common to congregations blessed with numerical growth that have led to their ever-increasing audience for the gospel."

In other words - are those congregations doing things which give them more opportunities to share the Gospel? And they were! For example, a common thread that ran though all those congregations was that the pastor spends a LOT of time training evangelists. He runs members through classes that teach them how to do God's Great Exhange type witnessing. He takes them along on Law/Gospel presentations, so they can see him modeling evangelism.

That is what Becker meant by "beyond the power of the Gospel." Again, not heresy, but maybe not the best choice of words. It might have been better if he had said, "We want to identify common ways that these congregations share the Gospel, ways which the Lord seems to be blessing."

If you think that the WAY we share the Gospel means nothing, then YOU are the one in error. Luther would write about pastors who's preaching wasn't false, but simply wasn't good, and therefore wasn't of much benefit to the people.

August Pieper says the same thing: We are to a great extent ourselves guilty that our people don’t come to church with pure desire and love—through the tediousness of our sermons. It is not always a boredom with God’s Word, but often an entirely natural boredom with our commonplace, tired and stale boomings from the pulpit. Sunday after Sunday, year in, year out, our hearers have to always hear the same trite phrases from us, which they’ve already heard a thousand times. They hear and learn nothing new. We always keep them at the same level of knowledge as twenty years ago . . . . Why, then, is the sermon so boring? Just because you lack freshness. As a rule, the pastor who complains about the lack of interest in his hearers, condemns himself." That's from "Despising the Means of Grace is the Death of the Church. But notice, Piper doesn't say that the only way to despise the Means of Grace is to try building the church with something else. He says we despise the means of grace when we present it in lazy, boring, unfaithful ways.

Finally, to the guy who thinks Becker will receive a "nice pay bump"... why do you say that? It's not true at all. And as far as why he resigned, I don't know that it had to do with "turmoil." However, the Ad Hoc Commission had recommended that with budget cuts, the Administrator for BPS was one position that could be done away with, with his responsibilities moved to the First VP, a recommendation I strongly agree with.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the lecture on what an evangelism plan is for a church (or an outreach plan). I am well aware of what it is an what it is not. The fact remains most churches in WELS do not have an outreach plan. Most laymembers and preachers understand such a plan is not the means of grace. To suggest however, that this means we should not do decent planning frankly is appalling.

Anonymous said...

I say that Becker received a nice pay bump because Time of Grace pays very well. Take a look at guidestar.org.

Several pastors/profs have left the ministry to step into a nice role in a private ministry/foundation. Congratulations to Bruce.

Anonymous said...

This is off topic, but I wanted to recommend that every one here take some time to watch this video:

http://streams.wels.net/video/compelling-worship?sortby=date

It's a presentation from the recent worship conference. I think it directly addresses a lot of the things that have been discussed on this blog, especially some of the false ideas and arguments put forth from the contempo crowd.

It's well worth the hour it takes to watch it.

Anonymous said...

"It's probably not the best choice of words, but it's certainly not heresy."

A Lutheran pastor should be wedded so closely to the Means of Grace that he doesn't make "accidental" slip-ups when he talks about them. That fact that Becker "accidentally" chose poor words to describe the working of the Means indicates to me that he reads far more Church Growth nonsense than he does Luther and the Confessions. A wise man once told me that whatever you read a lot of will just naturally express itself in your words.

dk said...

I understand why folks choose the Anonymous option when leaving comments. I don't see a single thing wrong with that. I do it regularly, BUT it would be nice if the administrator of this blog would annotate the comments to indicate who is who is who--if only by IP address. It'd be nice so that we could follow the conversation better. How many people, for example took part in the above conversation??

John said...

DK...

Great suggestion! However, the simplest thing for folks to do is to sign there comments even by using initials..

Anonymous said...

I agree with John and DK.

B. Spoke

Anonymous said...

John, if you want to discuss something really worthwhile, why don't you discuss August Pieper's The True Reconstruction of the Church from the Wauwatosa Theology book series?

Anonymous said...

I am starting to loathe the terms men have come up with to describe a 'doctrine'. I'm even beginning to to loathe the word doctrine, dogma and the like. Terms like: Universal Objective Justification; trinity; triune; Means of Grace. You don't even find these terms in the Bible. I get why you have to have them in regards to where one stands in his belief, but I abhor all of the dissension. It was all meant to be so simple...

JK

Anonymous said...

JK is full of fear and loathing.

Bea Spoke (wife of B. Spoke)

dk said...

JK

The theologians marvel at how you dare to invalidate their livelihood...

Freddy Finkelstein said...

Anon @3/4/09-10:53PM,

At your suggestion, I pulled Volume III of The Wauwatosa Theology off my bookshelf last night and read August Pieper's essay, "The True Reconstruction of the Church" (pp. 295-345). He addresses the modern call of his day, the call for “reconstruction” in the church, and addresses this call by focusing the Ministerium on the efficacy of the Word alone. Definitely an interesting and worthwhile read. Even though it was written in 1919, it seems to have direct application to our day – even the cultural impact of the political and economic realities that he appeals from his time, in many ways seem to echo today's situation. For the benefit of others on this blog, I'll quote some sections from this essay that I thought were compelling, and include my summary and thoughts where it seems beneficial:

Heading: The church lives only from the Word
“Our general synod is not in a flourishing condition inasmuch and insofar as it has brilliant and titled professors, educated and eloquent pastors, masterful teachers, capable officials, model constitutions and organizations, adequate facilities, beautiful church and school buildings, imposing educational institutions, or a phenomenal external growth, constantly overflowing treasuries, heavy endowments, adequate property and lucrative business establishments; but it flourishes to the degree that the spiritual character just described – faith, knowledge, fear of God, piety, blessedness, holiness, love toward God and our Lord Jesus Christ, the very image of Christ itself – dwells in it. ...And this is her disgrace and her shame, her poverty, her misery, and her harm: lack of knowledge, lack of faith, spiritual satiety and lukewarmness, and satisfaction with the world” (pp. 298-299).

Heading: Does the church in our midst need spiritual renewal?
Here, Pieper makes the point that “renewal” in the church is not an institutional renewal, but a renewal in the hearts of individuals as they seek God in His Word. He identifies great need for renewal, beginning first with professors, pastors, and teachers:

“There are indeed many God-fearing children still among us... [y]et it is unmistakable, that the life among us is in the process of diminishing. We have now had the gospel in its truth and purity in great abundance and power for so long a time, and have accustomed ourselves to this blessing so thoroughly, that we no longer regard it as something extraordinary. This is already the first step toward despising it. ...In our Christian homes there is and remains very little of God's Word, hardly even the regular family worship with Scripture reading and prayer every morning and every evening. Yes, in some Christian homes there is no common prayer at all anymore, neither spoken by the father, nor by the mother, nor by the children... Even table prayers have been discontinued in some families. The Bible is seldom or never opened. Only the grandmother still prays perhaps with her hymnal; all the rest either leave the hymnal at the church, or they put it away immediately after the church service until the following Sunday; it only serves in the regular church service. ...Outwardly they have kept the faith and remained in the church; but they have lost the spirit of faith, the spiritual character, the joy of their heart in the grace, in Christ, in the gospel, in their state of grace, and in their soul's salvation. Thus they have also become indifferent and cold in their love to their Savior; the sincere fear of God is gone. Now they can do a hundred things with the world which would have been abhorrent to them as Christians... The flesh has gained the upper hand again. ...[T]he spirit, the life, the power of faith is disappearing more and more, and the world is gradually possessing our hearts more and more. If our people do not turn back, if we professors, pastors, and teachers cannot reverse this decrease of faith, then our Lutheran church is approaching complete spiritual death. We professors, pastors, and teachers! Yes, if anyone has it, we have the call to avert the threatening decrease of faith. It is the 'angel,' that is, the bishop of the congregation at Sardis, that receives the admonition from Christ, 'Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die.' ...Don't you know... that we... are special gifts of Christ to his holy church, ...specially endowed ...with special gifts, ...and specifically given to the Church and placed in our office for the edification and perfecting of the church? Don't you know, that the Lord has for this reason so frequently and so fervently and so earnestly admonished us to be faithful in the discharge of our duty...? ...Dear brother professor, pastor, teacher, visitor, president; just read the 34th chapter of the book of Ezekiel in your Bible and see whether you do not tremble when you examine yourself as to your own faithfulness! Yes, the welfare of the church depends to a great degree on our faithfulness” (pp. 302-308).

Pieper goes on in this same section, through page 311, pointing out that if professors, pastors, and teachers, identify a problem, yet do no more than complain, they are not acting faithfully. He invokes the picture of the lukewarm Laodiceans, and concludes on page 311, “[t]his spiritual lukewarmness, indifference, lassitude, and obtuseness dominates not only the clergy of other churches in our time, but is also the greatest defect of our own church.” From here, he goes on to describe how professors, pastors, and teachers, fall into the trap of rote fulfillment of their duties, and correlates the quality of their spiritual life with the life of the church. On page 314, he has this to say:

“We no longer are pleased with our own thoughts; they have long since become tedious to us. Is it then surprising that our preaching also becomes tedious...? This, this, is the dead mechanical workmanlike activity in the ministerial office in the church, school, and classroom, this spells certain death for the gospel and the church.

But, Pieper goes on:

“That is how the church died in Germany. In Luther's lifetime everything was still alive and active. Thirty-five years after his death “pure doctrine” and “pure practice” had been established everywhere in Lutheran areas. Some 70 years later... it was still present everywhere, but almost everywhere dead, for the most part a mere boasting concerning pure-doctrine and a loveless struggle for orthodoxy [Note: of course, there was more to it that this, and it is widely acknowledged today that the Lutheran church was far from 'spiritually dead' – but the problem of orthodoxism at the time was serious and is equally acknowledged today. FF]. Pietism, sanctimoniousness, was the first reaction to this, worse even that the death existing hitherto... Rationalism and unbelief, the opposite extreme, worse than both [both pietism and orthodoxism. FF], flooded the church, and the pulpit and the lecture platform became the seat of Satan, which Germany never got rid of again... But Pietism and Rationalism... could have done no harm to the church, if the pastors, professors, and teachers had not first forsaken the pure doctrine by degenerating into dead orthodoxy and into spiritless mechanical operation with the traditional body of doctrine” (pg. 314).

Error is introduced into the church, and is increasingly tolerated, because it takes vigor to oppose it, and the “spiritual lukewarmness, indifference [and] lassitude” of “the dead mechanical workmanlike activity in the ministerial office in the church” is simply lacking in sufficient livelihood to take up the cause against it. Pieper comments on page 316, concluding this section:

“Great offenses occur among us: un-Lutheran practice, offensive public actions, insincerity, dishonest dealings, speculation, gross neglect of duty. The rest of us see it, know it, yet do not reprove it. The offense spreads like cancer, and on our account the name of God is blasphemed among the heathen. It is not that such offenses occur among us, but that they are no longer fittingly reproved by others, that is so serious. ...A Christian teaching profession that tolerates public offenses in its midst has degenerated to the level of the people of this world, ruins the conscience of Christian people, and hastens the spiritual death of the church. ...A reconstruction that endeavors to make various external innovations, without correcting the basic damage of the church, the indifference in spirit, is worth nothing. What we teachers and hearers need above all is a new and right spirit.

Heading: How should and can such renewal take place?
In this, the final section of part one of Pieper's essay, he begins by answering this question as follows: “Let no one say, we can do nothing about that; that is something that God and God alone must accomplish without our cooperation” (pg. 316). While Pieper immediately admits that everything which God accomplishes in the unregenerate is accomplished without the cooperation of man, he insists that it is mis-applied to one who has been given spiritual life. A Christian can do something, two things specifically: (1) pray, and (2) seek God the Holy Spirit where he is to be found, in His Means of Grace, the Word of God. Further, he states that prayer alone is not sufficient: “No prayer for the Holy Spirit will accomplish anything if it does not immediately rise from its knees and help to plow the field on which the bread of life, of the spirit grows – the gospel, the Scripture” (pg. 318).

The rest of the essay, through page 345, is devoted to how one studies the Scripture (the remainder of part one), why/how one keeps reason subordinate to Scripture (part two), and discussing the specific needs of so-called “reconstruction” in 1919 (part three). If I had to take away only one fact from this essay regarding the spiritual health of a church body, it would be this: a lack of spiritual health in a church body (like our synod) is less a reflection of problems among the laity than it is a strong indication of problems in the Ministerium. Further, for all of our harping about this and that, the correction of such issues -- or “spiritual renewal” -- is not to be found in "programs" or other “external innovations,” nor is it really to be found in a grass-roots “revival” among the laity: it is principally to be found in “spiritual renewal” among the Ministerium – among our professors, pastors, and teachers – which begins as they seek first to nurture their own souls (even before those under their care), through personal prayer and study in God's Word outside of that required by their vocational duties, and is further marked by their public reproof and correction of corrupting errors among us.

Anon @3/4/09-10:53PM – thanks for pointing out this essay. It was a good read. Hopefully I have provided enough, above, to create the discussion you suggest.

Freddy Finkelstein

Anonymous said...

Has anyone spent the hour + to view this video? What are your thoughts?


"This is off topic, but I wanted to recommend that every one here take some time to watch this video:

http://streams.wels.net/video/compelling-worship?sortby=date

It's a presentation from the recent worship conference. I think it directly addresses a lot of the things that have been discussed on this blog, especially some of the false ideas and arguments put forth from the contempo crowd.

It's well worth the hour it takes to watch it."

Freddy Finkelstein said...

Anon @ 3/5/2009-4:07PM,

Yes, I watched it, yesterday. I thought is was fairly decent. Awhile back, a poster going by the handle "JB" requested that I read an essay written by Rev. Schroeder -- for which, while I was appreciative of certain aspects of it, I ultimately rendered a critical appraisal. He had a rather anemic "yes, but" apology for the use of the liturgy that seemed to heavily favor empirical support for its use, rather than taking a Confessional stand. His article was written in 2005 (I'm not sure of the occasion -- was it a Worship Conference?)

Anyway, the video you posted is Rev. Schroeder again, this time in August 2008. He seems to be getting over his anemia -- and this is good to see/hear! One criticism I still have is the failure to recognize that music, and therefore musical genre, is not amoral. In this video, while making a Confessional stand for the retention of the Western Rite (yippee!), he seems to also maintain that genre and instrumentation are irrelevant, which really does not promote the vast body of historic hymnody much at all, and also plays to the sentiments and into the hands of careless innovators.

My opinion,
Freddy Finkelstein

Anonymous said...

I watched it as well and thought it was excellent. If you hear more of Pastor Schroeder, he wouldn't say music is amoral. For example, I highly doubt he'd say you could take pop or rap or jazz and make it fit the Western Rite well. He's simply say what he says in that video - that liturgical worship is too narrowly defined if we say it is limited to the way WELS has always worshiped (TLH), and that anything other than that is automatically contemporary.

The way this ties into the larger thread of this particular topic. Pastor Schroeder was also at meeting held by Bruce Becker. The types of stuff that are mentioned in this video is EXACTLY what Becker was looking for. It's what he meant by the word "beyond." The Means of Grace are what grows the church. But as Schroeder points out, how we go about that - explaining what we do, making use of both treasures old and treasures new - is a relevant point of discussion.

JB

Freddy Finkelstein said...

JB,

You state, "If you hear more of Pastor Schroeder, he wouldn't say music is amoral..."

That is good to hear. I enjoyed listening to and watching him -- he seems to be an effective communicator. For better or worse, all I know about him, and all I am reacting to, is the content of this video and what I read when we last corresponded in this forum.

For my part, I'm still waiting for a member of the Ministerium, whether it's J. Schroeder or someone else, to directly articulate some guideline regarding appropriate ecclesiastical forms, including genre/instrumentation, outside of merely endorsing a generic liturgical framework (which can/will be, and is being, immediately taken to extremes by near-maniacal innovators). Honestly, it's nice to hear someone finally endorse the Western Rite on Confessional grounds after over a decade of "sky's the limit, it's all adiaphora, let's get rid of 'boring' worship." So, maybe they are still working their way up to something more substantive -- incrementally working to reverse the damage of over a decade of open-ended rhetoric.

Freddy Finkelstein

Anonymous said...

Freddy: Which instruments do you consider appropriate for ecclesiastical usage, which are inappropriate, and why?

Anonymous said...

Freddy wrote:
"I'm still waiting for .... some guideline regarding appropriate ecclesiastical forms, including genre/instrumentation...."

Check out some things from Daniel Zager presented to a LCMS conference. The first deals with some of the same issues being discussed here, but in a church body far more divided than WELS on such matters. Zager is a musicologist from the Eastman School of Music in New York.

http://old.worship.lcms.org/Plenaries/Plenary-Zager.htm

Same in PDF: http://www.lcms.org/graphics/assets/media/Worship/Zager.pdf

Also this:
http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=706

dk said...

Why is it so difficult for some people to grasp. I swear some people have no intuition!! I don't want to write off people by calling them stupid but you have to wonder sometime.

Nobody is saying (they shouldn't say, if they are) that guitars or synthesizers or drums are improper for Church. I don't know anyone who'd say that! I suspect that even the most vehement traditionalists who demand the organ and demand genuflection
and who demand candles and incense would concede that drums and guitars could be used reverently and modestly to properly worship God.

Therefore I think that the problem people have with Contemporary instrumentation in church is what shape it ALWAYS SEEMS TO TAKE.

Some emoting (On Fire!) and overly-coiffed handsome man or beautiful woman gyrating in front of church, acting like an MC or a rock star.

I have yet to see a contemporary service where the band was sitting (or standing) out of view of the worshipers. In fact the 'worshipers' become audience members.

I wonder how foolish a person must be to attempt to deny that "The Band" as an American institution is a means by which demigods bless the people. The connotations are inescapable. If you try to claim that it's "only the music" you are a liar.

Lest anyone claim that I'm a nut, I will say that I love Rock n' Roll and love watching live bands (...Not in church) For example, Bob Dylan is an amazing showman. There's nothing wrong with it. But "The Band" as an institution is not a modest form of music and shouldn't be used in church; not, at least, in the form it always seems to take. (By saying the Band is not modest I'm not suggesting sexual immodesty, although it sometimes is the case. I'm using it in a broader sense. Bands are ego-centric-i.e. concerned with the individual rather than God)

The C&C and CCM crowd are folks who either have severely damaged intuitive abilities, and therefore the perception of a naive child, or they are like Kelm, Parlow, Gunga Don, Jeske, Ski and others who know better but are practicing methodical deceit for purposes of their own (and skewed) interpretation of Scripture.

If you are in the C&C/CCM crowd, which are you?

I'm also curious to know if any other Vehement Traditionalists (I call myself that too) would care to voice an opinion. Do you think I'm right?

MusicMan said...

(I was anon at 11:20pm)

Nobody is saying (they shouldn't say, if they are) that guitars or synthesizers or drums are improper for Church.

dk -- actually, some have claimed that, in fact, I think Freddy is one of them.

The readers/posters on this blog represent a wide gradient of views. There are the extremes on either end -- those that say Christian freedom allows us to do anything, rock band, whatever; and on the other end those that would have only organ and TLH.

Probably most readers, however, are somewhere on the continuum in between. Personally, I believe the content is the number one concern - that it is clear and Christ-proclaiming; and secondly, the participation of the congregation. I think most CCM songs do not do well with the content and often the band medium makes the second difficult. But I don't think that precludes guitars or even an entire band from being used if these two things (among others) are addressed.

I would still be interested in knowing Freddy's thoughts on instrumentation in general.

Anonymous said...

We have a band at our church and it in no way resembles what was described by the previous poster. Gyrating? C'mon. And we are in front of the church. If this is a problem, then you better get with any other WELS churches who have the choir sing in front or have the organist in front. And get them kids in the back when they do the Christmas program too.

JK

Anonymous said...

At Holy Word in Austin, where Patterson is, they have a tradional worship service. Of course you wouldn't know that unless you went there or stopped hanging out over at Ichabod where you can't tell where reality ends and fantasy begins. Or is it vice versa?

JK

Anonymous said...

Freddy and DK,

I think you've both identified the issue. For too long, it's been one of two extremes. One the one hand, you have the Scottish chant style Western Rite found in TLH. In reaction to that, you have the full-blown contemporary worship which was born out of American Evangelicism.

What Schroeder (and many others) propose is that we recognize the value of the Western Rite, a) because it places Christ at the heart of worship, and b) because it reflects our confessional Lutheran heritage. However, he'd beg that we understand that the Western Rite allows for much more flexibility than Page 5 & 15 of TLH. He'd ask that we keep the Rite, but realize that God is constantly giving gifts to his church - treasures old and new. Some of the "new" includes new settings of the Western Rite.

Freddy, I believe it was you who in a previous post mentioned that the problem with pop music is that it's worldly, and that worship is to be other-worldly. I don't want to put words in Pastor Schroeder's mouth, but I think he'd wholeheartedly agree. That's why, as I mentioned, I think he'd say trying to adapt the Western Rite to rock or pop or jazz wouldn't work well. (I.E. - There's a U2 mass floating around, which sets the Western Rite to melody by U2.) But what exactly constitutes "other-worldly"? There's the rub.

Freddy, you mention how we need to talk about appropriate genre/instrumentation. I couldn't agree more! It's a bit trickier discussion? I think that's fairly easy to answer, based on Scriptures and the Confessions. Are acoustic guitar and light percussion instruments that can serve the Western Rite well? That is more difficult, because it isn't a theological or confessional issue. It's one that is more rooted in psychology, sociology, etc. And finally, it's a lot more subjective. What is "otherworldly" genre and instrumentation to one might just be bizarre to another.

May God send his Spirit of wisdom, as we wrestle with these things!

In Christ,
JB

Anonymous said...

JK

March 6, 2009 2:04 PM


I have never read any such thing on Ichabod. Could you provide an exact quotation and date? Thanks. And if you can't, we will have to wonder about your grip on reality.

B. Spoke

Freddy Finkelstein said...

Anon @03/06/09-12:47PM,

Thanks for pointing this out! Perhaps I should have, but I've not heard of Daniel Zager before. I especially appreciated the first article you referred to, Questions of Musical Style for the Church..., up until the third- and fourth-to-last paragraphs where he seems to give away the entire farm. This is a major frustration with me, knowing all-to-well that in the perspectives of adolescent-minded Church Growthers such mildly indulgent statements are sought out, latched onto, and interpreted as license to dispense with all sound advice.

I'd be interested in reading more recent works of his, as this one is 7 years old now, and the other is 10 years old. I think that much progress has been made since he wrote this in the examination and refutation of Church Growth claims that the Divine Service ought to function as an Outreach event. I've recently heard (second-hand) that our own MLC is addressing this now with their students, as well, to preserve against the false notion that Worship is, or ought to be, Evangelism. "Giving away the farm" the way Zager did in the two paragraphs I noted may have been necessary in 2002, but I am pretty sure that there has been sufficient progress since then, that today his argumentation could continue on these points.

Freddy Finkelstein

Freddy Finkelstein said...

Anon @03/05/2009-11:20PM asks, "Which instruments do you consider appropriate for ecclesiastical usage, which are inappropriate, and why?" This is a fair question -- and JB is correct, it is a much trickier discussion. Yet, it is the one question our extended discussion over the past months has anticipated. It's taken work to get to this point, to at least publicly admit that the question is valid.

MusicMan may have me confused with someone else, however. I recall addressing this with JB recently in this forum. As I have posted on these issues over the past several months, I have tried not to give the impression that there is a list somewhere in Scripture that states, "Instrument A but not B." No such list exists. Nor do the Confessions address the issue of instrumentation as directly as it does our continued use of the Western Rite and of the retention of catholicity in our church's forms.

As a result, there is freedom. I admit this, and always have. Yet, let us be quick to recognize that in our freedom -- especially in our freedom -- we are commanded to diligently call upon wisdom and exercise prudence. Church Growthers tend to end the discussion at the word "freedom" -- and run amok. This truncation is a calculated effort on their part, and it is infuriating.

The fact is, there are principles in both Scripture and the Confessions that are sufficient to provide much greater guidance than merely "worship is adiaphora," and the application of these principles to contemporary factors of culture and musicology, will necessarily result in preference for certain instruments over others. Yes, I think that a strong case can be made for favoring certain instruments over others -- and, I am quick to add, such favor is relative to the factors against which we apply Biblical and Confessional principles.

But you're asking me directly what I think. In a desire to be as beneficial as I can, and in the interest of being careful, I'll need a few days to order and compose my thoughts. A word of warning -- I'm neither a theologian nor a musicologist. I know that I am not entering this discussion as an authority in these subjects, but am simply opening and contributing to what I hope will be a fruitful discussion with a useful outcome.

This is going to be an interesting discussion.

Freddy Finkelstein

Anonymous said...

"And we are in front of the church. If this is a problem, then you better get with any other WELS churches who have the choir sing in front or have the organist in front. And get them kids in the back when they do the Christmas program too."

Yes, exactly! I agree! Whoever is in the chancel is the center of attention. If an organist or a choir is in the chancel they are stealing the attention that belongs to Christ alone. The only person who should be in the chancel since he represents and speaks for Christ.

Worship is supposed to be about Christ, not the band or the choir or the cute kids.

Anonymous said...

"The only person who should be in the chancel since he represents and speaks for Christ."

Whoops. Forgive my haste in posting. That should say "The only person who should be in the chancel IS THE PASTOR since he represents and speaks for Christ."

dk said...

Okay, I apparently didn't explain myself well enough.

Anon 6:38: I have a question for you. Do you think that well rehearsed and reverent choir (kids or adults) singing God-centered songs from the front of church is taking focus off Christ?

I may have implied that but I should've been clearer. I think that is completely fine if the focus of the choir and the music is God. The "Band" as an institution is egocentric item.

Freddy wrote: "The fact is, there are principles in both Scripture and the Confessions that are sufficient to provide much greater guidance than merely "worship is adiaphora," and the application of these principles to contemporary factors of culture and musicology, will necessarily result in preference"

He and I take the same view from different approaches. Freddy: lemme know if you can agree with the following thought:

Christians have to understand their culture and act with prudence when choosing how to worship. Pop music carries many heavy connotations: Emotionalism, sex, the demigod thing (see my previous rant) mindlessness, material gratification, ego centrism, and others.

Obviously these connotations don't belong in a church. If a person denies that these connotations go with Pop music then I think they ought to work to hone their abilities of cultural discernment.

The very notion of "pop" music in Church suggests a dichotomy. Are CCM adherents trying to be popular? Yes and they Ape the world.

Remember worship is a moment between God and the believer, not an engine of evangelism. But since unbelievers hear the Word by visiting Church, worship styles should provide the sharpest contrast to the world--not a knock-off imitation.

And purely to the question of Art?
If I'm going to listen to Pop music I think I'd prefer Dylan, or Lyle Lovett or any one with artistic integrity. In terms of artistic quality the CCM stuff is schmaltzy cliche-driven crap.
Written only to evoke emotions. blahhh

Anonymous said...

"Do you think that well rehearsed and reverent choir (kids or adults) singing God-centered songs from the front of church is taking focus off Christ?"

Yes, I do. When kids are in the front of the church, what's the one and only thing that the adults in the congregation are thinking? "Aww, look how cute those kids are!" Most don't hear a single word that the kids sing; they're too busy laughing at that kid goofing off in the back row.

That's why kids should sing from the balcony (or the back of church). That's also why children's sermons should be eliminated completely. They take the focus off of Christ and put it onto the kids.

And don't give me any BS argument about Jesus welcoming the little children to come to him. He NEVER welcomed the little children to come to him when he was preaching or teaching in the synagogue (ie, in public worship). He did it as he was sitting casually with his disciples. There's a big difference. (Although many people today can't understand the difference between public worship and sitting casually with your buddies.)

John said...

I wonder the same thing about the gimmicky children sermons. Why are these held in the sanctuary during the divine service? Most often, it seems that the children don't even grasp the concept the pastor (or lay woman) is trying to get across). It seems the real target audience is the adults. How can we minister to the kids and make the adults laugh at the same time? Hold a light bulb and give a kiddie sermon.

Benjamin Tomczak said...

Freddy ~

You asked to hear something "from the ministerium" regarding some of these issues you've been discussing. I mentioned this in a comment on some other post a while ago, but now I'll put the whole link in.

This is from the latest Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, by Prof. Daniel Leyrer. It's a "News and Note" comment about the role of the Lutheran Liturgy and Evangelism. And while it doesn't do what you asked for before, that is, lay out specific rules or guidelines about things, it does make a strong statement for the retention of the liturgy and the value of the liturgy itself, the Word and Sacrament in the context of the Western Rite, as a tool for proclamation and evangelism.

I received permission from Prof. Leyrer to use this article in my congregation's newsletter and posted it here:

http://stmarklutheran.wordpress.com/2009/02/05/the-lutheran-liturgy-and-evangelism/

It's well worth a couple minutes of reading.

Grace and peace,
Pr. Benjamin Tomczak

Freddy Finkelstein said...

dk, you ask my opinion of your statement: "Christians have to understand their culture and act with prudence when choosing how to worship..."

This, and what follows in that paragraph, are exactly the direction a critique of our own culture needs to take. In pursuing such a study, one major handicap we Americans suffer in our post, post-Enlightenment society, is direct and recent experience with paganism, and with pagan worship. We are ill-equipped to recognize it in our own culture, and to run from it the way we otherwise would. In many ways, this is what pop-music has become for Americans – a form of worship (and one could probably apply this to Westerners in general...). With the complete demise of the Great Tradition in the early 20th century, virtually all Americans today lack the intellectual tools to objectively assess popular amusements and receive them purely as entertainment, leaving non-Christians and weak Christians in our society with neither mental nor spiritual armor against Satan's perversion of them.

Everyone has heard the story of a recent missionary, who brought his family to Africa to continue a mission that had just been established among some newly converted natives. His daughter brought with her some cassette tapes of Christian pop-music, and would frequently listen to them in her living quarters. Of course, the music would waft outside of the walls, and could be heard by others. Finally, one day the village leader, unable to tolerate it, strode over to the missionary's daughter, violently snatched her cassettes away, and destroyed them. Asked later why he would do such a thing, the village leader responded, “The rhythms I heard in that music were the same rhythms we used to conjure the evil spirits.” Apparently, the village leader was formerly the village “witch-doctor,” and had a clear understanding of pagan forms and a respect for their danger.

The point isn't that “we'd better watch out, because using pop-music may conjure demons.” I don't believe that rhythms or incantations have any innate power to conjure Satan and his minions – they roam the Earth freely as it is. Rather, Satan has paralyzed certain cultures with fear, and has commanded them to use specific rhythms and incantations in their worship, to increase their burden of fear and tighten his grip about them. The point is, this village leader had the experience to recognize pagan forms, the prescience to understand their danger, and the conviction to act swiftly and decisively. He did the right thing.

In the West, in America especially, Satan doesn't use fear – at least, not in the same sense he uses fear among primitive cutlures. In our culture, he uses desire – wanton desire; and desire is precisely the message of today's popular forms. And not the message only, but the means of its propagation. It is a form of pagan worship, the object not being demonic, but man himself, and the purpose of the worship being to satiate the desires of this object. But do we have the prescience to understand the danger, and the conviction to act? I don't know. I don't know because I don't see wide recognition that popular amusements may constitute a form of paganism in our culture. Instead, I see such ideas casually and uncritically dismissed, because we are supposedly an "Enlightened Society." Instead, I see Christians inviting these forms into the church precisely because they work to satiate the desires of man.

A close friend of mine, a fairly accomplished Jazz guitarist and “Contemporary Worship” advocate, laughed once as he told me how one of his acquaintances in “praise band circles” plays in the style of Pink Floyd, “Every time I go to his church and hear him play, I can't help but think of Pink Floyd.” He thought it was funny. I responded, “You think it is no more than a laughing matter when, in the course of worship, your mind is drawn away from Christ and the Gospel, and is instead focused on Pink Floyd and their message? You think it is something to laugh about when it is the worship itself that draws you away from Christ?” He stopped chuckling. It is no laughing matter. The power of popular contemporary forms, and the associations that are immediately drawn from them, is no trivial matter, either.

(BTW, my friend is now not quite the CW advocate he once was... He still needs work, though.)

Freddy Finkelstein

dk said...

Anon 8:49

No no. Don't get me wrong. I'm offended by the fooling around that goes on as well. I wrote:
"well rehearsed and reverent choir (kids or adults) singing God-centered songs"

Maybe I should've wrote "well behaved" too but I kinda included that with "reverent".

I have seen well-behaved kid's choirs (up front) that truly added to the church service. But being sensitive to our culture, knowing that the majority of people want to see a kid misbehave because it's 'cute' I think you're probably right. In another age where discipline was a virtue--one where the culture respected the musical offering of our kids, I would have to suggest that kids in front would be totally fine.

You know another thing that is totally shameful is when you can tell that the kids are trying hard and out of innocence they do something silly. People laugh. What does that tell the kids about the hymn they are singing to God? I agree with you John about the kiddy sermons. get rid of em. When I was a kid I could tell when I was being patronized.

These C&Cers speak with the same condescension that the politically liberal use.

Anonymous said...

dk, et al

Curious... do you disapprove of how most wedding services are done? With couple and possibly entire party in the chancel during the service? Does this practice take focus off of Christ? What would be a better way of doing it?

Anonymous said...

"do you disapprove of how most wedding services are done? With couple and possibly entire party in the chancel during the service?
Does this practice take focus off of Christ?"

Yes.

"What would be a better way of doing it?"

The traditional way. Vows etc. (with the witnesses etc.) at the very beginning (at the entrance to the nave preferrably). Everyone enters the church and goes to their place. Follow with the Divine Service.

Regards,
Et Al

Anonymous said...

"Curious... do you disapprove of how most wedding services are done? With couple and possibly entire party in the chancel during the service? Does this practice take focus off of Christ? What would be a better way of doing it?"

To be perfectly honest, yes, weddings tend to take the focus off of Christ. Think about it. Most WELS congregations would throw a fit if you suggested they stand and face a crucifix during a processional. But they will gladly stand and face the bride as she processes into the church. What does that tell you?

I have only two consolations during weddings. First, that weddings don't take place during the Divine Service on Sundays. Second, that, if a wedding is done tastefully (and that's a big "if"), then the bride and groom are pictures of Christ, the bridegroom, and the Church, the bride. I doubt many people who attend weddings think about this though.

How could it be done better? I've heard of weddings in which the processional is led by a processional cross and in which bride and groom and the entire wedding party sit in the pews for most of the service, with the bride and groom stepping forward only to take their vows. This would seem to put the focus on Christ and not on the wedding party.

Anonymous said...

I've never heard of it done that way. Where can I read more about it? Where would all the people be if there is a tiny narthex like most older churches seem to have? Outside?

Freddy Finkelstein said...

Anon @ 03/09/09-8:18AM,

Any service where it is to be understood that those in the chancel area, though they are functioning in manifestly Representational capacity (i.e., addressing the the assembly, whether in word or song, or offering prayers on behalf of the assembly), are somehow to be regarded otherwise, is asking the congregation to suspend the language of one of the most important liturgical devices in their possession – the church's architecture.

The chancel area in the neo-gothic architecture represents the Holy of Holies, the veil torn away. It is where God dwells, and those who function in this area are those who do so under Divine Call and with the authority of God. It is from the Holy of Holies that God serves His people, and the Sacramental parts of the Divine Service occur there. We enter into His presence, in the Holy of Holies, to receive the Sacraments (where the communion rail and the baptismal font ought to be located). Ministers under Divine Call, speak on God's behalf when they address the assembly (facing the assembly), and when they address God in Sacrificial parts of the service, they speak on behalf of the congregation (facing away from the assembly). What occurs in the chancel is Representational activity. This is what makes female lectures so offensive – their presence in the chancel, addressing the assembly, militates against the message of the church's architecture as it was designed in the context of the Western Rite. The same goes for choirs, whether children's choirs or otherwise, that would presume to address the assembly from the chancel, preaching in song.

One solution is to have them address the assembly from the floor of the nave, in the space between the pews and the chancel. But addressing the assembly, being Sacramental in the context of the Divine Service and Representational in function, belongs where Representational and Sacramental activity is designated by the church's architecture (in the chancel), if the language of the architecture and it's purpose is not to be overtly contradicted. The nave is reserved for the Sacrificial activity of the congregation (serving God from the “belly of the ship”). In fact, it is during corporate Sacrificial activity, like congregational singing, that the chancel is to be clear – no one standing between the people and God as they together offer their worship directly to Him. It is during these portions of the service that the pastor ought to vacate the chancel, taking a seat on the floor of the nave with the rest of the congregation, or exiting to his sacristy. Choirs, as co-worshipers and specifically not as preachers, do indeed belong in the nave, not facing the assembly but facing the Holy of Holies with the rest of the worshipers, participating with them in a way that does not draw the attention of their co-worshipers from Christ, and instead upon them. And so, choirs belong in the choir loft, completely out of sight. This is how the church's architecture serves the Western Rite as a liturgical device, and assists the people in their worship.

But what about wedding services? The couple, being present in the chancel, are passive. They do not speak or act, except in response to God's Representative as he addresses them directly. They do not face the congregation, until they are presented to the congregation by God's Representative as a product of His work -- united in marraige. They are privileged to stand in the Holy of Holies throughout, in the presence of God, as He brings them together in the rite of marriage (and may no man tear them asunder!). This practice of having the bride and groom present in the chancel teaches the congregation as well as the couple, and is appropriate in this sense.

One commenter above points out his dislike for the processional, and the reverence given the bride. Understand that the whole wedding of groom with bride is a picture of Christ's relationship to the church. The bride, in the processional, is a picture of the Church being presented to Christ, holy and without blemish. Unfortunately, the commenter above is right: most brides today think it is about them, as do most of those who stand to reverence her. The groom, waiting in the Holy of Holies, represents Christ, standing as a picture of having initiated the relationship with his Bride and having called Her to Him. Unfortunately, most grooms these days are too hung-over at this point to think much of anything...

Not only the Western Rite, but the appointments of the worship chamber and the architecture of the building itself speaks the Gospel loudly and clearly to us in the language of symbolism – a language that is being lost because the pastors do not teach it. The building and the appointments, as devices of the liturgy, are part of the Western Rite. I am sorry to be critical, reverend sirs, but the congregations are crying out for understanding of their rites. The symbolism of Christian Art teaches it to them, yet they suffer because they have lost this symbolic language.

In a previous, recent blog entry on Bailing Water, I mentioned a book by Dr. P.E. Kretzmann, Christian Art in the Place and in the Form of Lutheran Worship. It is an old book (1921), but a very good book. It was written to help provide guidance to Christians at a time when the gothic architecture was experiencing a glorious revival. The information I cite above, and much more, is contained in this good, old book. In book form, it is only available used (and I repeat, it would be of great service to American Lutheranism if NPH or CPH would reprint it!). Another poster pointed to an online copy of this book, here and here. I highly recommend it.

Freddy Finkelstein

P.S. -- I'm still working on my thoughts regarding instrumentation, in case anyone is eagerly anticipating it...

Freddy Finkelstein said...

My apologies to all for a misleading phrase in my most previous comment, due to mis-spelling. I stated, above, "This is what makes female lectures so offensive..." "Lectures" is a mis-spelling -- it should be "lectors."

Freddy Finkelstein

Anonymous said...

What do you think of women who no longer wear a head covering in worship?

JK

SL said...

I have worhipped in several WEF (that's Worship, Education, Fellowship) buildings my entire adult life, thinking it wasn't the building or architecture that mattered, but that Law and Gospel was preached and Means of Grace were properly administered. This may shock some of the readers here but in my current church there is no communion rail, no pews (we sit in chairs), the organ is in the front, no balcony for the choirs(if we are blessed enough to even have one) and there are jello stains on the carpet from the many fellowship meals that we have shared in the building. We have about 3 feet between the front chairs and the chancel. There are variations in worship in the WELS, and not all of it is because of a C & C conspiracy or efforts to incorporate elements of church growth into our beloved church body. It is just our reality. Seems like we need to be careful that man's traditions and preferences are not made into laws.

Anonymous said...

My wedding party was led into church by a crucifix. It was printed in the bulletin NOT to stand or face the bride when she entered however my de-churched sister decided to become the focus of attention and motioned people to stand up anyway.

I believe my wedding was very tasteful and pointed to Christ. We sang about six hymns all of which were about Christ's love for us rather than the froo-froo marriage hymns scattered about Christendom.

Schottey

Freddy Finkelstein said...

SL,

You make an important point about necessity. If you take a look at Kretzmann's work, above, he describes the attitude of Lutheran's in the 19th century. Often lacking in funds to build a proper church, they would build stick buildings as well as they could, understanding that the situation was temporary. The plan, usually, was to use such a building until enough money could be saved to build a full masonry sanctuary. Necessity is one thing. Lack of understanding is another. But crass and belligerent indifference, is something altogether different.

The fact is, I, too, worshiped in WEF buildings, for fifteen years, from age 14 to age 29 -- and at the time I didn't think that there was anything was wrong with worshiping in a sterile box, either. Since then, and having studied the issue (especially after having married a professional artist, and begun to learn the language of art), I have come to think much differently. The building is the most expensive and valuable liturgical device a congregation will have. It is an investment that will serve Christians well into the following generation, at least. How well that investment serves Christians as a liturgical device and reinforces Lutheran expression within Western Rite, is a question of planning and stewardship. If no thought is put into it because we are misled with open-ended rhetoric like "it's all adiaphora and nothing else matters," we are left in a poor position to exercise the kind of stewardship that we ought. Worse, if we are consistently directed away from the mind of the church, which has over the centuries developed the gothic structure as the stone edifice of the Western Rite, merely because some may think that it is passe, we are left to fend for ourselves, to experiment with our own seemingly good ideas, and because we are too narrow to think outside of our time, we will generally fail to communicate in symbolic language that transcends the generations. When we shun our catholicty, we slouch toward sectarianism.

Regardless, the point of the statements in my previous post had less to do with defending the neo-gothic architecture than it did with describing how these structures communicate and complement the Western Rite. Gothic structures, like the Western Rite, will communicate in the way they were intended, though more strongly among those who understand their symbolic language -- the point being, those congregations who engage in practices inconsistent with how their building is designed to communicate, succeed only in communicating contradictory messages, over time breeding confusion and satisfaction with ignorance.

An example of such contradictory messages, is of pastors who abandon the pulpit and parade about on the floor of the nave. Do they preach every Sunday regarding their Office, their Representational function, and spiritual authority? Congregations would be lucky to hear such a sermon once a year! Yet, the chancel and the pulpit clearly communicate these important doctrines every Sunday. Pastors who abandon the pulpit and leave the chancel vacant, and congregations that do away with such architectural distinctions, in effect rob themselves of this consistent teaching, and will eventually lose it.

Freddy Finkelstein

Anonymous said...

"What do you think of women who no longer wear a head covering in worship?"

I think you ought to study the New Testament a whole lot more, learning to distinguish between principle and application. This is such a tired and fallacious argument against anything labeled "traditional" that it's laughable.

"I have worhipped in several WEF (that's Worship, Education, Fellowship) buildings my entire adult life, thinking it wasn't the building or architecture that mattered, but that Law and Gospel was preached and Means of Grace were properly administered."

Yes, of course law and gospel are what matters, but the point that Freddy was making was that architecture most certainly can and does proclaim law and gospel.

"There are variations in worship in the WELS, and not all of it is because of a C & C conspiracy or efforts to incorporate elements of church growth into our beloved church body."

You know, it's funny you say that because the truth is that WEF buildings actually are the result of Church Growth in the WELS. The WEF buildings were mandated by the first proponents of Church Growth theology in the WELS in the 1970s. They didn't understand how architecture and symbolism proclaim law and gospel. All they cared about was putting up the plainest, cheapest, most generic shacks possible (just as megachurches today are renowned for being big, plain, ugly shacks). Countless WELS churches are now suffering the consequences as they worship in poorly designed, non-liturgical buildings. WEF units are widely considered to be one of the biggest mistakes the WELS ever made.

P.S. Schottey, your wedding sounds wonderful. Would that more people followed your example.

dk said...

Dear Bailing Water Posters

I’ve read the comments on this conversation and I appreciate dedication that most of you have exhibited.

I have an observation that I would like to share.

There are two kinds of legalism afflicting the Lutheran Christian Church today. One, which this blog exists for to snuff out, is the Enthusiastic, Reformed legalism. This is the legalism that manifests itself in rock bands. The kind of legalism that insists that you Feel your Christianity lest it disappears. This is the kind of legalism that demands an emotional response from its adherents. I dub thee: Happy Clappy.

The second sort of legalism is much the same as the first, though it wears a different mask. This second legalism yearns for the mystical, the traditional. It demands to preserves the “Holy of Holies”; not accepting a reverent, well behaved Children’s choir, standing in the “chancel” enhancing worship with a hymn, or a wedding ceremony—with a Christian couple pledging their vows before an alter of the true God. This is the kind of legalism that insists that Christians accurately follow the traditional Church Calendar. This is the legalism that requires a crucifix processing down the isle at the start of a service. I dub thee: Liturgical Nazi.

I admit my disgust, hearing about a WELS pseudo-megachurch not celebrating Lent. I admit my disgust hearing about a WELS member demand that wedding vows be taken
“…(at the entrance to the nave preferably). Everyone enters the church and goes to their place. Follow with the Divine Service.”

To the Happy Clappies: Do you realize that you can be confident of your faith regardless of what your emotions tell you? Your feelings are understandable but do you realize that relying on a need to feel your Christianity is destroying your faith?

To the Liturgical Nazis: When will it become clear that outward signs will not save you? You too are relying on your feelings. You Feel a sense of awe when the crucifix is walked down the isle—your feelings are ok but demanding that EVERYone feel the same as you do (about a Histographical rite) is a non sequitur!

Christians must live the nebulous. That might sound weird. To all you Happy Clappies—you can’t save the world by bringing good feeeeeelings. To y’all Liturgical Nazis: Rite and rituals damned the pagan.

Christians live a contradiction. We believe but it aint our doing. We convert unbelievers, but we can’t take credit. We do good works—it’s us but because of the Holy Spirit. We live but it aint life, because of sin. We die but it aint death, because of Christ.

Christus Paradox.

David Kreuter

Anonymous said...

"When will it become clear that outward signs will not save you?"

Are you serious? Really? This is the biggest strawman I've ever seen! NO ONE SAID THIS!!! No one here ever said that outward signs will save anyone. Please apologize for lying and saying otherwise.

Outward signs are valuable because they can and do communicate the gospel, which does save. It is simply foolish to claim that outwards symbols and architecture and ceremonies are completely neutral or that they communicate nothing. Of course they do. Why did God establish so many outward ceremonies and rituals for his people? Because he knew that they communicated so vividly.

I'd also warn you about calling those who value the Western Rite "Nazis". In politics, Nazi is used as an attack term by those without a logical argument. It seems that you must resort to the same sort of baseless name calling. It's ironic, and hypocritical, that you would accuse others of emotionalism when you engage in emotionalism of the worst kind: using emotionally packed terms like Nazi to win an argument.

Why don't you do us all a favor and retract what you just wrote, Mr. Kreuter?

Anonymous said...

Anon 522...It seems to me Paul was pretty clear about head coverings for women. Why would we be selective then regarding women's roles? Your argument could be used regarding more modern worship forms.

JK

Anonymous said...

Herr Kreuter,

You write,

"I admit my disgust hearing about a WELS member demand that wedding vows be taken
'…(at the entrance to the nave preferably). Everyone enters the church and goes to their place. Follow with the Divine Service.'"

Don't see the word "demand" there. Thus a third kind of legalism, that which judges hearts. The rest of your tripe speaks for itself.

Et Al

Anonymous said...

Davey Kreuter writes,

"...with a Christian couple pledging their vows before an alter (sic)"

Hmm, what are they altering?

And again, you instruct us,

"...when the crucifix is walked down the isle—your feelings are ok but demanding that EVERYone feel the same as you do (about a Histographical [sic] rite)"

What does a treatise on organic tissue have to do with a procession with crucifix?

I dub thee, Dufus.

Et Al.

Anonymous said...

dk, I think I know where you are coming from. But you come off as a contradiction. And you also paint with a broad stroke. You can not look on my heart and know what is there. There is good christian music that has a modern feel that is quite appropriate for worship. My joy and emotional response still comes from the same perspective it always has. That has never changed. I think you owe some folks an apology.

JK

Anonymous said...

"It seems to me Paul was pretty clear about head coverings for women. Why would we be selective then regarding women's roles? Your argument could be used regarding more modern worship forms."

Umm, have you ever studied this particular section of Scripture? You don't seem to have any idea what it's about. Do yourself a favor, pick up a commentary or even the People's Bible, and study this section of Scripture before you embarrass yourself. I'll give you a hint. There's a glaring mistranslation in the NIV. Find it and you'll see what this part of Scripture is really saying.

Anonymous said...

"about a WELS member"

Can't assume that either. I suspect there are many non-WELS posters on this blog, under the cloak of anonymity.

John said...

JK
"Anon 522...It seems to me Paul was pretty clear about head coverings for women. Why would we be selective then regarding women's roles? Your argument could be used regarding more modern worship forms."

If we follow your premise than women ministers should be allowed. Why be selective about Paul's directive that women remain silent? JK- Do you believe that a woman pastor is Scripturally acceptable?

Anonymous said...

John asks,

"Do you believe that a woman pastor is Scripturally acceptable?"

The WELS believes so, with restrictions.

BABW

dk said...

Gosh, I don't respect anonymous people who demand I retract. Especially people who use my name several time in a post.

Anon 6:43:
There are people on this board and people all over the WELS who DEMAND that the organ is ONLY instrument used in Church. There are people here who DEMAND that the traditional church calendar/lectionary be used(with all the Weird names for each Sunday and predefined scripture readings) People who DEMAND these sorts of things (whether they know it or not) are turning each thing into an object of worship--therefore a false god. (By the way, the Happy Clappies do this all the time too)

Yes Anon there are people here like this. And since you didn't criticize me for dubbing the Rock n Rollers as "Happy Clappies" I suspect that you are one. Since you really let me have it for dubbing conservative legalists as "Liturgical Nazis" I will use the kindest words to rebut.

A couple things I must point out. Brave soul that Anon 6:43 is, he (or she) accused me of lying. But yet it his response he clearly misrepresented me. What is the definition of a lie? I don’t want to get bogged down by this, but I did want to point it out. I get a little touchy when accused of lying.

We must not allow ourselves to be censured by anonymous people who would degrade language because of their 'sensitivities'. Nazi is a wonderfully descriptive word because of who the Nazis were. Nazis, fascist by definition, are Ultra-Conservatives. Nazis observed rigorous discipline mixed with a strange aura of elitism. Nazis were obsessed with ritual. That's why I chose the term Liturgical Nazi for those who PUSH ON ME stylistic demands that are extra-scriptural. I chose the term for those who INSIST on a prescribed Worship outline. It is a good description, not an ad hominem fallacy.

I appreciate the Western Rite as much as the next bloke—because it’s saturated with the Word. The LEGALISM practiced by some traditionalists (not nearly all) is what makes that traditionalist a Liturgical Nazi. In the Conservative arena we never talk about this because we’re focused on a common enemy—The Happy Clappy, or as Jackson would put it, UOJ Storm Trooper.

The benefit of the Western Rite is that it’s saturated with the Word. Any number of other services could be as saturated. There’s something to be said of tradition that’s been fine-tuned by centuries of the Faithful—and something to be said about a Worship Style that does not frantically mimic the ‘cool’ style of the day. But it is it’s relation to the Word that makes the Western rite special—nothing else. Conservatives need to be aware of the potential (and sometimes present) Legalism/ pietism in their own midst. It difficult to nail down, and it’s difficult to look at ourselves with same lens we look at the Happy Clappies. But it’s vital to do so.

This is where I’d like to raise up and complement the actions of most WELS pastors. Most WELS Pastors that I know do not absolutely demand one worship style over the other. Most Pastors, I think work hard to take a neutral stance. A crucifix carried in during the opening hymn may be nice and fresh, but it does nothing to add to the validity of the service. The freedom that most WELS Pastors allow of course allows for the possibility for Baptist rock songs too, but the road is narrow.

Anonymous said...

John,

The answer to your question is emphatically no.

All I am saying is where do we draw the line on certain issues? It is different depending on who you ask.

JK

Anonymous said...

"I dub thee, Dufus."

Agreed. Kreuter seemed to be trying to hide his ignorance and his judgmental attitude behind long, fancy sounding words that he didn't know the meaning or spelling of.

Anonymous said...

dk, your latest post is filled with so many gems, I just can't respond to them all. But I'll pick a few.

"There are people on this board and people all over the WELS who DEMAND that the organ is ONLY instrument used in Church."

Name one. I dare you. Seriously, just one. Name one person on this board or "all over WELS" who demands (not suggests or encourages) that the organ should be the only instrument used in church. Just one. If you can't do it, shut up.

"Nazi is a wonderfully descriptive word because of who the Nazis were. Nazis, fascist by definition, are Ultra-Conservatives."

You can't be serious. This sounds like I'm reading the Daily Kos blog. They call conservatives Nazis all the time. Here's the deal. The word Nazi is completely stigmatized. It conveys genocide and war. It is packed with negative emotions. Whenever a liberal calls a conservative a Nazi, they don't do it with history or geopolitics in mind. They do it because they have no logical arguments and must resort to name-calling and stigmatization and emotionalism. That's exactly what you did. Rather than respond logically to anything a supporter of liturgical worship has actually said or written, you simply label them as Nazis and expect everyone to nod and say, "Yup, Nazis were evil, so the liturgy must be evil too." It's a childish and offensive line of argumentation.

"The LEGALISM practiced by some traditionalists (not nearly all) is what makes that traditionalist a Liturgical Nazi."

Again, I dare you to quote someone on this board who has been legalistic about liturgical worship. The arch-supporter of liturgical worship on this board is Freddy. I dare you to call him a legalist. He's the furthest thing from a legalist I've ever seen. He teaches, he encourages, he suggests, but he most definitely has never demanded something against Christian freedom.

What you don't seem to understand is that gospel freedom is the beginning of the discussion, not the end. Thus, when someone says, "Yes, we're free to do something, but it's not a wise idea", they are by no means a legalist for restricting freedom. They are actually doing what Scripture commands all of us to do--use freedom with love and responsibility. You give the impression that you would call Paul a legalist for saying, "Yes, eating meat sacrificed to idols is free, but if it offends I will NEVER eat it." That's not legalism, that's mature Christianity.

Speak less and listen more Kreuter. You are speaking loudly and using a broad brush in areas you don't seem to know much about. That's always dangerous.

dk said...

Okay I'm going to have to ask the anonymous poster to read my posts again. I'm not trying to be inflammatory here. The point I made is accurate. To the "arch-supporter of liturgical worship"? Freddy seems in favor of tradition for very good reason. I agree with him. He seems to achieve balance, as far as what read by him. Likewise, most the people who write well and leave their names seem to recognize when to put their preferences down.

But to the other criticisms, I did make a spelling mistake. I'm really sorry if confused the conversation. I'll be more careful. Historiographical is what I meant.

What's unfortunate is that you cannot address my very reasonable points because of one spelling error.

I'm trying hard not to be a wise guy here, but I get accused of trying to hide ignorance? If I was trying to hide I betcha I'd have posted anonymously...

Look folks, I didn't write anything to pick a fight; I wrote very reasonably, albeit with quite definitive language and I'd hoped to encourage thoughtful comments, not anonymice throwing argumentum ad hominem at me.

Anon 11:10 JK wrote: "where do we draw the line on certain issues? "

I'd like to bring to attention the narrow road vs. the wide road. JK is asking: How do we know we're on the narrow road on x, y, or z issue.

That is my statement:
Legalism affects conservatives as much as it does liberals.

Anonymous said...

"Look folks, I didn't write anything to pick a fight; I wrote very reasonably, albeit with quite definitive language and I'd hoped to encourage thoughtful comments, not anonymice throwing argumentum ad hominem at me."

Are you serious? When you call someone a Nazi, you're trying to start a fight. When you call someone a Nazi, you're not trying to encourage thoughtful comments. When you call someone a Nazi, you can't accuse other people of ad hominem attacks. You most definitely used inflammatory language and you know it. Few words are as absolutely inflammatory as the word "Nazi". Don't pretend that you don't know that.

By the way, I noticed you were unable to list a single person who demanded the things you claimed they demanded. I'll take that as a silent admission that you realize you were making unfounded charges you couldn't back up with the facts.

Tim Niedfeldt said...

I must say as one who is dubbed a "Happy Clappy" (Of course I don't actually put myself in the "happy clappy" camp as our contemporary service still follows the western rite and uses CW songs and such...just with a band...that does not gyrate and sits off to the side mostly hidden in a corner)I could not be more amused at how the traditionalists will beat up their own. I think DK has it spot on. Look who howls...well we don't actually know who is howling...but in a sense we do. Its the very people DK called out.

I'm pretty sure I could find some posters who in response to me in the past have come pretty close to saying the organ is all there can be. I think his name was Anonymous.. I can name at least 7 people in our mother congregation that say the organ is all there should be (that includes no brass choir or string quintet either) They all stated that they would leave the congregation if they converted one of the 5 weekly services to contemporary. Then of course there is my father. He's in heaven right now in the WELS room probably pissed about any presence to cymbals or strings.

DK I'm with you on the Nazi thing but I've never been accused of being sensitive either.

I might say that you migt be mispoken on UOJ being a church growth or "happy clappy" doctrine. That is WELS..period...traditional or contemporary for my great grandfather down to my 14 year old. UOJ is taught alongside SJ and has been for generations. Every WELS catechumin learns that Christ died for the sins of the entire world and we receive the benefits of that justification through faith only. Those without faith are damned for their unbelief. I think this is important to note because even though for instance "Rob" and I disagree on most things regarding the particulars of worship, I found myself most emphatically agreeing with everything he said in the BM/UOJ/SJO discussion of late. Thats because WELS doctrine is consistent in this teaching...that is totally outside the differences in the particulars of worship. Some folk say that WELS teaches OJ but forget to mention that along side it we teach SJ. Thats not right..you can't separate the two. Most people are good at ignoring me..so lets not start a debate on this again or just go back to the other discussion and put it there.

Anyways I appreciate the opportunity to watch you turn on your own for a change...Sometimes us "happy clappies" need a breather. It sure is revealing and I thank DK for that

Tim "Felt Needs"

Anonymous said...

No admission here, I just don't assuage the demands of anonymous people. And sometimes you have let people search for themselves.

And I did explain earlier why Nazi is not an ad hominem. Read up. Also a good page for you to read can be found here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaphor

I don't think Nazi is a naughty word. I speak English, not newspeak.

Sorry John, I didn't think it'd turn into this.

--dave

Anonymous said...

"I'm pretty sure I could find some posters who in response to me in the past have come pretty close to saying the organ is all there can be."

Again, I say, "Prove it." Show us the quote. If you can't, you have no business making the claim. I'm "pretty sure" that no one here has ever said that the organ is "all there can be". Seriously people, you can't make broad accusations against entire groups of people and call them names, backed up simply by, "Well, I kinda sorta remember somebody maybe saying something." Doesn't work that way.

"Also a good page for you to read can be found here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaphor"

This just keeps getting better. Now Kreuter is claiming that anyone can call anyone anything as long as it's a metaphor. Yikes. So, in theory, I could say that Kreuter is a @#%@# piece of @#%#@%, and that's perfectly fine, because it's a metaphor. Talk about someone searching desperately for an excuse for his inflammatory language, rather than simply apologizing.

Tim Niedfeldt said...

I agree with you Dave. It is not a naughty word...amongst many other words that are not naughty. But alas society is filled with the new sensitivity and tolerance which surprisingly is not that tolerant.

I additionally use nazi as a metaphore for those who seek national honor and glory by blindly putting their faith in the government to solve the problems and issues of the day based on vague promises of hope and change using blame of others as the scapegoat for all the current problems. Hmmm I think people should get used to the nazi metephore. They might need to use it again....soon.

Tim

dk said...

oh but Tim...

I wish I could've consolidated a few comments here.

I hope it's not too delicious for you. I don't have "my own" except those who preach Christ crucified. You are one and so is (I assume) everyone who posted here so far. This ain't you against me or me against them or anything like that.

So don't try to stir up a hornet's nest.

I think you, the proto-clappy (you said it, not me) are wrong in regards to alot of things: how to approach worship and evangelism, for starts. You and fellow clappies act as though you can increase the Holy Spirit's potency by your good intentions.

The Liturgical Nazi's think they can make a service more meaningful and more 'legit' by worshiping as they did in the 4th century.

Both are distracting to the Word and it's pure and perfect power.

In case anyone's wondering where I fit into this I say that use to love it up in the rock n roll churches. I became disillusioned and joined an Armenian Orthodox church. Both extremes are piestism and legalism, the CORE of the human tendency. It'll be a lifelong struggle for me and you and everyone.

Pietism is a two way street. And I think that UOJ very well could account for both. I think Prof. Jackson is very convincing in his book "Thy Strong Word" (especially Chapter V.

I'd be curious what Jackson would say.

Tim Niedfeldt said...

"Seriously people, you can't make broad accusations against entire groups of people and call them names, backed up simply by, "Well, I kinda sorta remember somebody maybe saying something." Doesn't work that way."

Seriously?? You have got to be kidding! If this were the case this blog and many many others would cease to exist. Thats all thats done here.

Hardly a soul here has been to the contemporary churches they criticize. Hardly anyone has personally addressed anyone they criticized here online. Hardly anyone has spoken to all the people involved in this event or that news release or whatever topic is at hand to get a complete picture. Everything we do here is painting with a broad brush as hardly anyone could possibly have the time to research each thing in the detail needed to avoid it. We make conjectures and assumptions as to motivations all the time.

I think it is ironic that this very post started out as a guessing game as to the reasons and motivation behind Bruce Becker's resignationa and switch to Time of Grace. I doubt there is a person on this board who has more insight to "Time of Grace" than myself or at least the ability to get it. No one here actually knows the details behind it but we make assumptions, guesses and conspiracies.

I tend to doubt you understand the blogosphere at all. If the national media can't avoid characterization, painting with a broad brush, and bias how in heaven's name are a collection of idea hacks in the blogosphere going to be different.

Tim

Anonymous said...

"The Liturgical Nazi's think they can make a service more meaningful and more 'legit' by worshiping as they did in the 4th century."

I'm rolling my eyes. Making a service more meaningful? Well, if you have architecture and art and symbolism and ceremonies which preach the gospel, as opposed to those that don't, then of course the service will be more meaningful. Is a service that uses words more meaningful that a service that uses no words? Of course. Well, architecture and art and symbolism and ceremonies say just as much, if not more, than the words we speak in worship.

Worshiping as they did in the 4th Century? Again, this is a complete strawman. No one here has advocated worshiping exactly like they did in the 4th Century. Don't be ridiculous. You're making the same mistake as the contempos when you say this. Liturgical worship is not defined as "doing things the way we've always done them". That's a total fallacy. Go watch the Schroeder video that was posted earlier on this thread. He forcefully refutes those who attempt to define liturgical worship simply as "the way it was done before".

Anonymous said...

Hey Dufus,

You wrote

"I did make a spelling mistake. I'm really sorry if confused the conversation. I'll be more careful. Historiographical is what I meant"

about using the "histographical" in reference to the use of a processional crucifix when you said. "but demanding that EVERYone feel the same as you do about a Histographical rite"

OK. But now what in all the world is the rite that is about "the body of literature that speaks of the subject"? What is this rite that speaks of historiography?

Yeesh.

It is not your alleged mispellings but your obvious ignorance and use of straw men and your inability to answer those who challenge you that shows you to be incapable of discussing these matters.

Et Al

Anonymous said...

DK wrote,

"I'd be curious what Jackson would say."

He'd say everyone is a heretic except him. (He is in fellowship with, well, himself.) And then he'd post a funny picture (I do like those pictures.).

The Anti-Jackson (AJ)

Anonymous said...

Kreuzer,

Would you please name and quote one of these Liturgical Nazis. You know, so you don't look foolish.

Dingus

Gregory L. Jackson said...

DK - I won't discuss metaphor with Felt-Needs until he learns to spell the word. I agree with your 6:05 PM comment. I have known doctrinal neutrals who are patristic fundamentalists on the fine points of liturgical movement and dress. The Happy Clapper Chapel people are much the same - very strict on the show, loose on the doctrine. I favor high church in general but not when it supplants sound doctrine.

Tim Niedfeldt said...

"You and fellow clappies act as though you can increase the Holy Spirit's potency by your good intentions"

Well here is where I always disagree to no avail by this broad brush that is so oft repeated.

No one in these churches is trying to usurp the role of the Holy Spirit. Everyone knows full well that credit for faith goes only to the Holy Spirit. Perhaps Mr. Detail can go check that out and find those in the contemporary churches that do. We'll make a list.

The mission of at least my church is evangelism pure and simple. I know many focus on worship in this forum but that is not the focus of my church. Since faith comes by hearing the Word then it is imperative that we spread the Word. Our church wants people to spread the Word. Not just the pastor on Sundays. I'd say there is a lot more focus on getting people into Bible Instruction than church. How do those people get there? They met someone who talked to them. So if that is assisting the Holy Spirit then our church can fall into the same condemnation as the others and I'll be proud to go down with it.

Again for Mr. Detail...this forum paints contemporary worship as having the same motivation and direction as the evangelicals use it. Since evangelicals use their services as seeker services to extort a decision for Christ...this broad brush is applied to contemporary worship in all locations and situations without consideration for individual Lutheran implementations. That is okay though because wouldn't all this high level discussion be pointless if we just sat around analyzing whether something was the exception to the rule? It doesn't change the facts or the truth of the matter only an outsider's perception which in all honesty are not that important to those who are actively engaged in the mission of the church.

Tim

John said...

It seems this discussion has been turned sideways. A new line of discussion is forthcoming.

However, feel free to offer a new discussion thread that you feel needs attention.

I am wondering about the new push for alternatively funded ministries.

Tim Niedfeldt said...

If I have not made the public statement recently, I will state it again. I type too fast to worry about the occasional typo or misspelling. I type on my phone most often and stuff happens. This is a blog not a business presentation, a graded assignment, or professional journalism. Additionally, the added feature that I will not get commentary from Greg for bad spelling is an added bonus.

Those whose opinions of ideas are based on spelling might be called...are you ready for this Mr. Detail...here it comes...."Spelling Nazis"

I also apologize for calling the United Way nazi's at work who strongarm you into giving from your heart the United Way Gestapo

Tim

MusicMan said...

Hey Tim--
You mention that your contemporary service follows the Western Rite.

I'm interested in knowing exactly what you mean by this and how closely it adheres to it.

Tim Niedfeldt said...

Well with the assumtion that CW is our WELS Western Rite. Here is our order of service. I'll just put what we have in the bulletin for this next Sunday and you can compare.

Opening Hymn

Greeting/Invocation

Opening Prayer

Confession of sins

Absolution

Gospel Lesson:

Hymn of the Day:

Epistle Lesson

Sermon

Confession of Faith

Hymn

Offering

Prayers of the Church

Lord's Prayer

Benediction

Closing hymn


Last week we had an affirmation of baptism and communion. Those are done straight out of CW (just printed in the bulletin of course as we don't have hymnals around)

Our service is printed in a full-sized bulletin with all the material in it. It is also produced on the screen for people to follow along. Although there is a rare video clip inserted that might make a point about a sermon, the pastor rarely uses multimedia in his sermons and we keep the screen black. He doesn't believe in putting something on the screen just to be showing something...it has to be truly valuable. Our multimedia is mainly a screen version of the bulletin.

All our music is done by a band. They are off to the right side behind the multimedia cart and speakers. Only the 1st two rows or so can actually see them well (and of course no one sits in the first two rows). They don't do nice little schmaltzy talking intros and are not showmen. I'm not sure we could get that out of them even if we wanted to.

In our new location we are moving to in two months, I think we might be able to get them even more out of view. I'll let you know this Friday when we inspect the facility. I'd love to be the first one on here to say that we would put the band in the back out of view with not one single issue if the logistics allowed it.

Our music each week is a blend of CW hymns and other songs. Our band's sound is more of a softer folk sound. Often we try to emulate Koine when possible. You can listen to our music here.

Victory Music

Tim

Anonymous said...

Kreuzer wrote,

"And I did explain earlier why Nazi is not an ad hominem."

Now, Dave, what color is the sky in your world?

Et Al

Wesley Jonsrud said...

Kreutzer is getting castigated for misspelling one word and using language to it's fullest extent.

Not one person has looked past his harsh words and looked to the meat of what he's saying. I think he's deliberately silent on naming specific people because he's given his opinion that legalism exists in all of us--not just the WELS Church growthers.

Not addressing kreutzers substance is illogical--unbecoming of anyone who considers them self to be a thinker.

Anonymous said...

"Kreutzer is getting castigated for misspelling one word and using language to it's fullest extent."

Umm, really? You're serious?

Kreuter is getting castigated because he is making broad accusations without providing a shred of evidence and is using inflammatory language to insult people.

"Not one person has looked past his harsh words and looked to the meat of what he's saying."

That's because he hasn't provided any meat. We have asked him on several occasions to provide some meat, some evidence, some quotations, but he has provided nothing. How can we look to the meat if he won't provide it?

"I think he's deliberately silent on naming specific people because he's given his opinion that legalism exists in all of us"

Hmm, yeah, or because he can't name any names, because no one has really said what he claims. If he wants to say that legalism exists in everyone, fine. But don't accuse me or anyone of a certain type of legalism that I'm not guilty of. If you're going to condemn specific sin, you'd better be completely sure that I'm committing that specific sin.

"Not addressing kreutzers substance is illogical--unbecoming of anyone who considers them self to be a thinker."

No, supporting Kreuter's unsubstantiated accusations is what's actually illogical.

(Does anyone else get the feeling that this Wesley might be Kreuter under a pseudonym?)

Anonymous said...

"(Does anyone else get the feeling that this Wesley might be Kreuter under a pseudonym?)"

Well, I googed the name and there were zero results. So I think you're right.

Tim Niedfeldt said...

Watch out David... the pharisees are picking up their stones. :-)

Being an independent thinker who is not afraid to say what he believes, I don't think David needs to hide behind a pseudonym to make a point. I don't even know him and I'm pretty sure he would tell you right to your face. It is easy enough to distinguish someone with integrity. Even if David was a raging liberal *shudder* I'd have to defend him because at least he has a position and will publicly state it in a non-anonymous way.

Even though I disagree on points with people like Freddy, David, Rob, Brett, John and others, and particularly Greg, I respect them because they are calm, reasoned, and forthright with their beliefs. For right or wrong they have their beliefs and stick to them. Not a one of them has such low self esteem that they can't take a direct caution or criticism whether it was done with a broad brush or a directed statement. We all should be open to that kind of thing if we are dipping our toes in the blogosphere.

With that being said, your reaction is just plain nutty....are you feeling a little guilty maybe..because me thinks you doth protest too much.

Tim

Anonymous said...

"Being an independent thinker who is not afraid to say what he believes,"

Belief is one thing, but proof is another. To ask us to believe that there are liturgical Nazis out there (and as some would have us believe, that is not an insult) without proof puts oneself in the place of God. That is the offense.

"Reasononed"? Please.

Et Al

Anonymous said...

" whether it was done with a broad brush"

No generalization is worth a damn.

Anonymous said...

"I'd have to defend him because at least he has a position and will publicly state it in a non-anonymous way."

You defend everyone who publicly states a position, no matter what that position is? Umm, I don't think that's a good idea.

Anonymous said...

"Watch out David... the pharisees are picking up their stones."

First those who support liturgical worship are Nazis. Now they're Pharisees. You know, those who are politically liberal and those who are doctrinally liberal are quite similar. They share the same tactic in argumentation. They realize they don't really have a logical and reasonable case to stand on, and so they resort instead to name-calling, attempting to demonize their opponents. In both cases it's extremely transparent and extremely pathetic.

dk said...

If I'm critical of anonymous snarkers then could I really post under a pseudonym?

Thanks Tim; I agree, I'd much rather argue with someone who can keep a thick skin and a cool head.
(evem if you can't spel.)
And you have posted your name. Therefore we can have a real conversation.

The mistake I made was honoring the comments of anonymous posters with response. I learned. Won't happen again

Freddy Finkelstein said...

Many moons ago, there was a series of lengthly discussions on Bailing Water attracting defenders of high-church ritual expression, mostly from outside WELS. The Berg brothers were among them. One of these discussions was kicked off as John posted details of the Thirteenth Annual Octoberfest and Liturgical Seminar at St. Paul's Ev. Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Kewaunee, IL. As the rhetoric got rather hot, an anonymous poster referred to the “Two-headed calf” entry that Dr. Jackson posted over on Ichabod. Perhaps this is what dk was referring to when he was speaking of liturgical NAZIs and legalism.

Regardless, I bring this up to point out another vital fact differentiating the “Worship War” occurring in the WELS right now from the heated “high-church low-church” debate occurring in greater Confessional circles. In that same BW discussion, above, Rob asked me if I had researched the claims of high-church defenders, and what I thought of them. I really didn't have much of an answer, but said I would look into it. I did. I didn't get very far, however, before I ended further active investigation realizing that the “high-church low-church” debate is not at all the struggle we are having in WELS right now. Our struggle is much more serious.

Let me begin by illustrating. Over the past eight months or so, I can't remember a single discussion where anyone, WELS Church Growthers included, failed to recall with fondness the good old days of worship using the old The Lutheran Hymnal (TLH). I don't recall anyone failing to acknowledge that Christian Worship (CW) is “less churchy” than TLH, or to put it in “high-church low-church” terms, that it is “lower-church” than TLH. Most know this by experience, and this has been the appraisal of qualified critics, as well, who have ridiculed CW as "Lutheran-lite," and worse.

Interestingly, the ELS was initially part of the CW project, but abruptly withdrew early in the development effort. I don't know that we were given any detailed explanation for their withdrawal, but a comparison of the result of their relative efforts may give us a clue. CW, published in 1993, was regarded as having lowered the bar of catholicity in our worship. The Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (ELH), published three years later by the ELS, however, was critically received as a remarkable achievement, especially for such a small church body. The ELH is considered equivalent to, or higher than, the TLH with respect to its churchly expression. The 2008 publication of the Lutheran Service Book (LSB) by the LCMS has met with similar critical approval. In contrast, the direction of worship trends in the WELS since 1993 has continued southward, as exemplified by the introduction of Christian Worship: New Service Settings (CWNSS) in 2002. This work was generally pilloried, especially its Order of Matins. One critique of the CWNSS Order of Matins that I keep on file is located here and here. Two separate PDFs, it is definitely worth the time to read.

So, what has been happening in WELS? Professor Tiefel, in his 1992 paper Toward a Liturgical Unity, provides us with a bit of history. Dr. Jackson, over the years has done an excellent job of filling in the gaps which are found in recent “official” history.

The DNA of Pietism coursing through her veins, the introduction of TLH in 1946 marked a liturgical sea-change in WELS, according to Prof. Tiefel – it was the first hymnal WELS ever had with a full liturgy. The challenges associated with its introduction, including those of language, were largely overcome, reports Tiefel, and by the early 1970's WELS enjoyed near unity in worship practice under the TLH, and a relatively happy contentedness. By the early 1990's, however, the situation was much different. Tiefel writes:

“In 1992 there is nothing approaching liturgical uniformity in the Wisconsin Synod. The roster of our 1200-plus parishes includes congregations which will use nothing else but The Lutheran Hymnal as well as congregations which will use everything else but The Lutheran Hymnal. A visitor to our congregations just in the state of Wisconsin could find the very liturgical Common Service at one end of the spectrum and a very unliturgical “seeker service” on the other end. A poll of our home missionaries, conducted by the Commission of Worship in 1986, revealed that the majority we see regularly using dozens of hymns from sources other than The Lutheran Hymnal. Homemade rites for marriage, installation, confirmation, and baptism abound, and are often shared among congregations. Replacements for the Common Service, prepared by men considered to be wise innovators, are duplicated and mailed upon request. Even before the new rites from Christian Worship began to appear, it was not uncommon that congregations would have a different order of service each Sunday of the month. Such has become more common since those services began to be issued. Many of our pastors no longer preach on the basis of lectionary texts; expository preaching (defined by its advocates as chapter by chapter preaching) is growing in popularity.”

Although Tiefel, in mentioning “seeker service[s],” alludes to the cause of growing disunity in WELS through this intervening time, Dr. Jackson on Ichabod, with a seemingly endless database of source material, does so directly. One recent post (I can't seem to find the specific one I have in mind) includes boasting by Roth, Kelm, and others in the early 1990's that Church Growth had been effectively promoted by them, at that time, “for fifteen years now.” Church Growth agitators, beginning in the mid- to late-1970's, whether or not one regards them as well-intentioned, worked their sectarian leaven until, by the early 1990's, manifest disunity was the result. Tiefel goes on to say that one main purpose of CW (due to be released the following year), was to restore unity in the Synod's worship practice. In this sense, it was definitely a success – but the cost was to lower the bar of churchly expression.

Since then, Church Growth agitators have continued to work. As a result, we have seen the release of CWNSS, which has been objectively regarded as a further lowering of churchly expression, we have seen the continuation of “experimental” churches, we have seen the emboldening of the Board for Parish Services in their insistence that congregations move further away from an overtly Lutheran identity in name and in practice. Disunity in practice has grown severe enough that the CoP has declared a need to study the issue.

So what is my point? My point is this: the “high-church low-church” debate, while about removing or reducing the influences of 18th century Pietism and the effects of the 19th century Prussian Union, begins with the TLH as the lower boundary of bona fide Confessional Lutheran worship. To progress southward of this boundary is to exit from the boundaries of catholicity and Confessionalism, and progress toward rank sectarianism. “High-church” and “low-church” are terms that describe “strong” or “weak” expressions of Lutheran catholicity in our worship practice. Worship practice outside these boundaries is not considered “catholic,” but “sectarian.”

No, the “Worship Wars” that are currently raging in WELS are not “high-church low-church,” but “low-church no-church,” for we at best aspire to the lower boundaries of churchly practice. In the end however, weak worship practices in WELS are not the real issue, they are a symptom of a much deeper issue, and that issue is the status of Confessionalism in WELS. The only winning play in the “Worship Wars” (which is really only an extended battle in a larger war), and in the struggle against the leaven of Church Growth, is to point our church body back to the Lutheran Confessions and the Means of Grace.

Freddy Finkelstein

MusicMan said...

Freddy,

Have you looked at Christian Worship Supplement yet?

I believe that it moves towards greater, as you put it, "churchly" expression. The two orders it provides are more closely based on the Common Service from TLH.

Anonymous said...

Kreuzer,

Your write "The mistake I made was honoring the comments of anonymous posters with response."

No, that is precisely what you did not do. You made sweeping generalizations without providing one wit of substantiation. That is hardly "honoring." Rather, it is smug dishonor, a smugness in which you and Timmy now seem to enjoy wallowing.

So, one final time, give us a concrete sustantiated example of what you label, liturigical nazism.

Et Al

Anonymous said...

Well, gotta go to our chanted mass, with smells and bells, and I will bow when the processional cross enters, as my Gestapo pastor orders us, or it is off to the gas chamber for me!

Et Al

Anonymous said...

"Have you looked at Christian Worship Supplement yet? I believe that it moves towards greater, as you put it, "churchly" expression. The two orders it provides are more closely based on the Common Service from TLH."

Agreed. The Supplement is a definite step toward "higher" church. Divine Service II even has a eucharistic prayer. This is evidence of a swelling interest within the WELS in the catholicity of the Lutheran church. (The National Worship Conference are another example of this.) As Freddy points out, it took the WELS a long time (too long) to emerge from its pietistic roots, but serious progress is being made. If the Supplement is any indication, the new WELS hymnal in 15 years is going to be solidly Confessional and catholic.

Anonymous said...

Freddy, you have hit at the heart of what has intrigued me for quite some time as I've posted on other occasions. Is the WELS of its grandfathers worth recapturing? Or should something else be the aim - something "more" confessional and/or Lutheran? It seems much effort is spent diagnosing the symptoms.

The pietism and anti-Catholicism built into the foundation remain ever so influential today as people more learned than I have addressed. It seems to me to be a big part of why Wisconsin finds itself where it does. Wauwatosa is also a factor.

Maybe WELS has put most of its eggs in the Intro to Lutheranism basket. That's fine for the new members and the kids. But that approach does impact the laity. I've heard people say that going deeper or studying the Confessions would be boring, or that members couldn't handle it.

So then, something more interesting is sought. Or something more entertaining. And maybe that accounts for the divide discussed here. People unsatisfied with what WELS has become - or always been. Broad brush? Yes. It's hard not to generalize.

Anyway, enough rambling. I find the times quite interesting in and out of the synod. God is at work.

Rob

Freddy Finkelstein said...

Anon @6:07PM (and others),

You ask, "Have you looked at Christian Worship Supplement yet? I believe that it moves towards greater, as you put it, 'churchly' expression..."

I don't own a copy of it, but our congregation does. I have briefly scanned it, but do not have enough time with it to comment on it. I have heard that it is a definite improvement, but purposely left it out of my commentary, above, lacking first-hand experience, or direct assessment from more objective sources. Perhaps I should have at least mentioned it.

I believe that the first setting of the Divine Service in the new Worship Supplement is basically the "Common Service" from CWNSS, which may represent some vindication for CWNSS... Interestingly, our congregation has had the new Supplement for quite some time now (several months) but has yet to use it. My understanding is that no one quite knows what to do with it -- the liturgy being "more involved," as I've heard our musicians say.

Freddy Finkelstein

MusicMan said...

Interesting. It is true that the canticles in Divine Service I are more technically difficult than the previous CW canticles. I think that is partially a challenge of long pieces with no regular metrical form - it is hard to latch onto something new. I have been to many services that have used it, though, and I would say once the congregations and musicians have gotten used to it, it is quite worth the effort, especially when used with the full brass setting.

Divine Service II, however, is not "more involved" musically. I believe it has just two canticles - the Angus Dei and General Verse of the Day and the rest of the canticles are strophic, allowing you to use seasonally-appropriate hymn tunes to sing them with.

I wonder if your musicians are, in this case, a little adverse to change or perhaps just content with what they have (which is fine!)

dk said...

Thank you Freddy,

I appreciate your time and thought, and the insight into the TLH was very interesting.

Unfortunately I disagree with you. I think you wrongly think that the “high-church/low-church-ometer” (my term) is measuring how Confessional a church is. The 'higher' the church the more strongly confessional it is, you say. [You wrote: “High-church” and “low-church” are terms that describe “strong” or “weak” expressions of Lutheran catholicity in our worship practice.]

High Church and Low Church however refer to a church's worship Style.
If the church uses what we would classically understand as liturgy.
If sensors are used.
If the congregation sing only classic hymns.
If the Pastor preaches from a pulpit.
Whether or not a church treats the Chancel as the New Testament “Holy of Holies”, in spite of the Book of Hebrews.

These are the sorts of stylistic things that will help define a church into a category of high vs. low church. My experience tells me this, but also colloquial use of the terms and the encyclopedia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Church_Lutheranism

True Christian Worship however, totally depends on it’s saturation of the Word of God. True Christian worship also follows the lead of the examples laid out by the early Christian church. (In Acts, and the Epistles) Interestingly the Holy Word is nearly silent on specific styles of worship.

If a person insists (I’m sure You, Freddyk, don’t insist this) that a High church, ipso facto, is more confessional, then I would be forced cry ‘legalism’. But plenty of High Church proponents in the Lutheran Church do insist exactly this.

Take the Bailing Water poster Et Al, for example:

Anon: “do you disapprove of how most wedding services are done? With couple and possibly entire party in the chancel during the service? Does this practice take focus off of Christ?"
Et. Al.: Yes. What would be a better way of doing it? The traditional way. Vows etc. (with the witnesses etc.) at the very beginning (at the entrance to the nave preferrably). Everyone enters the church and goes to their place. Follow with the Divine Service.

This may seems like a roundabout way of describing what I’m talking about but it is fair to read into what Et al is saying. Et. Al’s response clearly shows that the High Church mentality has warped her perspective. She says that a typical wedding party takes the focus off Christ, because it clutters the Chancel. Good grief, they are free Christians, giving respect to God by their proximity to the alter. This is an Old Testament mentality, one that focuses on outward things, like ‘The Temple” (Jeremiah 7:4) The Old Testament is the Law. Et al. should let go of the Old Testament ceremonial law and recognize the ceremonies are no longer what save us. (Sorry ma’am, but I used you as an example because you write anonymously)

This is just one example. There are others.

That being said, I do prefer High-type Church. It is safer than Rock n roll churches in our current day and age because it is different than our culture. (Besides the fact that most Rock churches have adopted, or originate from Enthusiasm) I think it’s good for a church to separate itself from the world in belief (obviously) AND practice. It gives believers and visitors a physical sensation that “I am part of something different now”. No doctrinal importance attached, however.

Legalism, however, afflicts every church and each of should strive not to be a Liturgical Nazi or a Happy Clappy Hippy.

MusicMan said...

Oh my... Agnus Dei.

*Ducking from the spelling nazis...*

dk said...

Oh and Freddy.

Examined TLH this evening. Musically speaking, in regards to harmonies and such, I am reminded by how superior it is....

dk

Anonymous said...

"If a person insists...that a High church, ipso facto, is more confessional, then I would be forced cry ‘legalism’."

Umm, have you ever read the Confessions? They insist that the true Lutheran Church rightfully retains all of the ceremonies of the Roman Catholic church that can be retained. That's awfully high church. Thus, according to the Confessions, the "higher" worship is, the more Confessional it is. This has nothing to do with legalism. I'm beginning to wonder if you really know what legalism actually is.

Let me say this again. The Confessions say that the Lutheran church is a "high church". Thus, the higher the church, the more confessional it is. Simple as that.

Anonymous said...

Saying
"...[The confessions] insist that the true Lutheran Church rightfully retains all of the ceremonies of the Roman Catholic church that can be retained."

and therefore demanding that High Church is therefore more confessional is illogical. You put words, I think into the Lutheran Fathers' mouths. The writers of the Confessions may have recognized that much of Rite was in accord with Lutheran theology, but I don't think they were trying to set anything in stone.

If the Lutheran fathers were actually attempting to codify the "one Confessional and True" way of worshiping, in exclusion of anything else then they were guilty of legalism too. (*gasp* he just said what??)

If God had intended for us to worship in unity (of procedure) he never would've abolished the ceremonial Law when Christ completed His work. Instead we worship in unity of doctrine.

Orthodoxy instead Orthopraxy

JB said...

Anonymous 7:14 writes: “Umm, have you ever read the Confessions? They insist that the true Lutheran Church rightfully retains all of the ceremonies of the Roman Catholic church that can be retained.”

As someone who dearly loves the Confessions, I hate to see them used this way, to make a casual generalization. Because the Confessions are a true echo of Scripture, they function like Scripture. They don’t give a ton of laws, other than calling us to do that which would glorify God, edify faith, and show love to our fellow man.

Also like Scripture, the Confessions are a massive body. They say many things. They do indeed, in places, extol the virtue of retaining the historic liturgy. But to then say that they “insist” that “true” Lutheranism retains “all” of the ceremonies of the RCC… that is not accurate. Consider Article X of the Formula of Concord, the affirmative statements of the Epitome:

“ We believe, teach, and confess that the churches of God in every place and at every time according to its circumstances has the power to change such worship ceremonies in a way that may be useful and edifying to the churches of God. Nevertheless, all frivolity and offense should be avoided in this matter. Special care should be taken to exercise patience toward the weak in faith (1 Corinthians 8:9; Romans 14:13). We believe, teach, and confess also that no church should condemn another because one has less or more outward ceremonies than the other, for these are not commanded by God. This is true as long as they have unity with one another in the doctrine and all its articles and in the right use of the holy Sacraments. This practice follows the well known saying “Disagreement in fasting does not destroy agreement in faith.”

Again, the Confessions stress concern that we uphold that which benefits faith. We may only change “worship ceremonies in a way that may be useful and edifying.” It stresses love for our fellow man, who may be “weak in faith.” It stresses that we should not “condemn” others because they do or do not retain outward ceremonies, SO LONG AS the decisions that are made on the basis of those two questions: a) what edifies? and b) what shows love for my fellow man?

Now, onto some of the negative statements of that same article.
“We reject and condemn as wrong and contrary to God’s Word when the following are taught:
-Human ordinances and instructions in the Church should be regarded as a divine worship in themselves or part of it.
-When such ceremonies, ordinances and institutions are violently forced on the community of God as necessary, contrary to its Christian freedom, which it has in outward things.
-When these outward ceremonies and adiaphora are abolished as thought the community of God were not free to use one or more ceremonies in Christian freedom, according to its circumstances, as may be most useful at an time for the Church.”

Look at how beautifully balanced the Confessions are! One the one hand, it rejects forcing “human ordinances” upon the Church as though. On the other hand, it rejects abolishing “ceremonies” which might indeed be “useful.”

Anonymous 7:14’s claim is tantamount to the person who reads Matthew 7:3 (about the plank/speck) and says, “We should never judge anyone.” Yet in that very chapter Jesus says we can determine the health of a tree by looking at the quality of its fruit – an act of judgment. So the point of Matthew 7:3 is not “don’t judge” but “don’t be self-righteous.”

Likewise, while the Confessions do indeed talk about retaining the historic liturgy, they are a BIG body of work. Context is important. The whole of the Confessions is important.

I don’t mean to sound like I’m harping on you, Anonymous 7:14, cause I can see you love the Confessions, and in that sense we are kindred spirit. But I hate to see them used the way you did, because a) it twists the Confessions (which I dislike almost as much as one twisting the Word of God), and b) it brings the Confessions under attack. At a time when the WELS needs to look for guidance from the Confessions, precisely because they are a true echo of the Word of God, people will say, “See how they use the Confessions! They use it to promote their pet agendas!” And so they dismiss the Confessions, which is too bad. Because the problem isn’t with the Confessions. The problem is when we erroneously cry, “But the Confessions say…” when the Confessions say nothing of the sort.

With love for you all,
JB

Anonymous said...

"If the Lutheran fathers were actually attempting to codify the "one Confessional and True" way of worshiping, in exclusion of anything else then they were guilty of legalism too. (*gasp* he just said what??)"

Well, at least you admit that you reject what the Confessions say and the Lutherans who wrote them. This entire debate would be so much simpler if the contemporary worship supporters would just come out and say what you've just said: that they disagree with the Lutheran Confessions. Why can't they just be honest and say this? By their practice they show that they despise the Confessional statement: "Falsely are we accused of abolishing the Mass". Might as well let your words match your practice.

Anonymous said...

JB, I agree with most of what you said. However, I don't agree with your interpretation of the phrase in the Confessions upholding the freedom to change worship ceremonies. In context, this phrase means that local congregations are free to make changes within the Western Rite (e.g. Perhaps a small country church wants omits the Gospel processional, while a larger church retains it). The Confessions, though, do not allow for the wholesale abandonment of the Western Rite. If you had told the writers of the Concordia that what they wrote would be used to excuse non-liturgical worship they would have been aghast. Doing such a thing would have been unthinkable at that time; that's why they didn't make it clearer that they were talking about freedom within the Western Rite, not freedom to destroy the Western Rite.

Anonymous said...

Yes, 12:15, I'm so glad someone made this point. In a sense, the way that doctrinal liberals and conservatives approach the Confessions is like the way political liberals and conservatives approach the Constitution. Liberals see it as a "living document" which must be continually reinterpreted according to the times. Conservative see it as a static document which must be interpreted according to the original intention of the original writers.

Thus, when the Confessors uphold the fact that we are free to make changes in worship, liberals interpret it as proof that we can discard the liturgy. But conservatives understand that that's not at all what the writers of the document meant when they wrote it. They actually meant what 12:15 said, that changes were permissible within the liturgy, as opposed to the Roman church in which liturgical changes weren't allowed in local parishes and had to be approved by the Cardinals. That's the real intent of what the Confessors wrote.

So, JB, perhaps it's you who must beware twisting what the Confessions say.

JB said...

Anonymous1215,

I agree with you wholeheartedly. I think that the Confessors would be aghast if our Lutheran Churches were to abandon liturgical worship. It would not be, however, because those churches left the Western Rite. Their objection would not have been rooted in sentimentality for the Western Rite... not some odd liturgical nostalgia. (And I do not think you were saying that, Anon1215! I think you'll agree with what I'm about to say.) I feel the Confessors would be aghast because, as I mentioned previously, they continually stress the need to retain that which edifies (because it is truth, and communicates truth clearly) and to jettison that which doesn't edify (because it is false, or does NOT communicate truth - I.E. proclaiming the truth of God's word in Latin to those who spoke only German). So they would be aghast at non-liturgical worship, because liturgical worship edifies. (And here we are back to the overly-draw-out discussion of what constitutes "liturgical" worship. Suffice it to say, it's more than having an order of service. Liturgical worship is rooted in a) the historical songs of the Church, which are themselves found in Scripture and b) the Church Year. Side note: We spend so much time talking about the Western Rite. To me, the retention of the Church Year is probably even more important. I hear some harp on C&C worship because it has abandoned the Western Rite. Well... OK. Not wise. But how about when one is in the season of Lent, and instead of having Gospel lessons that point to Christ's passion, one is having a sermon series on something... more trivial. THAT is what is more spiritually careless, in my estimation. Sorry for that side note!)

So... back to your thoughts, Anon12:15. Again, I agree. It would be unthinkable to the Confessors to abandon liturgical worship, but for one reason and one reason alone - liturgical worship edifies. I think you'd agree with that.

To illustrate, I don't know that Martin Chemnitz or David Chytraeus would be pleased to attend a worship service where the Kyrie was punted and El Shaddai was sung in it's place! However, I really doubt they'd get bent out of shape over whether the Kyrie was sung to tune A or tune B, whether it was chanted or not. They might not LIKE tune A as much as tune B, or might prefer chanting to melodic canticles. They would probably say whatever helped people to remember the text better -- letting the Word of Christ dwell richly in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs - would be the preferred musical vehicle. Cause that would be what best edifies.

Yours in Christ,
JB

dk said...

I wrote anon 11:07, I just forgot to put my name on it.

I wrote
If the Lutheran fathers were actually attempting to codify the "one Confessional and True" way of worshiping, in exclusion of anything else then they were guilty of legalism too. (*gasp* he just said what??)

JB is right on the money. It's wrong and legalistic to argue that there is one right way to worship.
I completely agree with the Lutheran confessions because they don't institute new Laws.

Anon 12:15 wrote "If you had told the writers of the Concordia that what they wrote would be used to excuse non-liturgical worship they would have been aghast"

This is a perfect example of the conservative legalism I was talking about. If Anon 12:15 truly thinks the Confessions teach this then for his own soul's sake he should abandon the Confessions because they lead him to a legalism.

This is not arguing with the Confessions however. What they really say is wonderfully balanced, as JB points out. It's merely stating that Anon 12:15 should be aware of his weakness-- and that we are commanded to 'cut off' our hand if it causes us to sin.

We Confessional Lutherans need to be aware of the legalism that exists on our side, at the same time as we battle the Enthusiastic influences in our church.

Freddy Finkelstein said...

Anon @12:08 has a very good point. The Confessions do more than confess, they point to practice as proof of our confession. In the statement he cites, Melanchton answers the accusations of Rome, that we stand outside of the One True Church, by a) declaring the accusations False, "Falsely are we accused...", and by b) pointing the Romans to our practice as proof of our answer, as proof that we are catholic, "...for the Mass is retained among us..."

As for FC X (Epitome), it is elucidated further in Article X of the Thorough Declaration, stating directly that practices which would associate us with the heterodox are not adiaphora, but are to be avoided as prohibited by God (emphasis mine):

“When under the title and pretext of external adiaphora such things are proposed as are in principle contrary to God's Word (although painted another color) [such as, fundamentally anthropocentric worship practices replacing christocentric practices, which openly conceal the Marks of the Church by removing the Sacrament from the Divine Service, which adopt worship practices defining human acts of worship as a Means of Grace, or which promote human experiences as assurance of salvation --FF], these are not to be regarded as adiaphora, in which one is free to act as he will, but must be avoided as things prohibited by God [the practice of immersion, for instance, falls into this category --FF]. In like manner, too, such ceremonies should not be matters of indifference, as make a show or feign the appearance, as though our religion and that of the Papists [or the Reformed, or the Baptists, or the Pentecostals... --FF] were not far apart, thus to avoid persecution, or as though the latter were not at least highly offensive to us; or when such ceremonies are designed for the purpose, or required and received in this sense, as though by and through them both contrary religions were reconciled and became one body; or when a reentering into the Papacy [or turning to the Reformed, or the Baptists, or the Pentecostals... --FF] and a departure from the pure doctrine of the Gospel and true religion should occur or gradually follow therefrom.”

The point is, the Confessions point us, as well as our adversaries, to our Practices as proof of our Confession. Therefore, our Practices must manifestly prove our separation from the heterodox and from sectarianism.

JB states that it is abhorrent to put words in the mouths of the Confessors, to make them say what they do not say. I agree, but at the same time, I say, it is abhorrent to take words from their mouths, to make them say any less than they do, by failing to take their words at face value. Much of what the Confessions say is very easy to understand, if one is accustomed to didactic reading -- neither secret hermeneutic nor deep knowledge of dead languages is required to to unveil their "true meaning."

I ended my 03/11/2009-5:14PM comment by stating that the only winning play is to return to our Confessions. They require a Church Practice that proves them. In the Confessions we will find a degree of freedom in Practice, but no freedom to jettison manifestly catholic rites; and we will find the requirement to remove from them only what cannot be practiced without sinning.

Freddy Finkelstein

Anonymous said...

Umm, dk, again I have to point out that you don't seem to understand what legalism is. You accused 12:15 of legalism. I read through his or her post several times and didn't see anything legalistic at all. He or she was simply pointing out what the Confessors mean when they talked about freedom.

It seems that you are making your accusations from the position that we have absolute freedom and that any imposition on our free will is legalism. This is the antinomian heresy. We do not have absolute freedom. God's law is still in effect and still binds our freedom. We aren't free to do whatever we want. That's not what Christian freedom is. Christian freedom is the freedom to obey the law, not the freedom to discard the law.

Thus, we aren't allowed to do whatever we want in worship either. God's Word establishes principles for our worship. The Confessors point out that we have freedom to make changes within the bounds of those principles, but we are not free to discard those principles.

dk, I have no desire to pick a fight with you, but I seriously think that you ought to study legalism, antinomianism, and the Confessions for a while before you continue with your accusations against others. They only serve to accuse you of ignorance. Charges of legalism are serious things, not to be thrown around lightly or ignorantly.

JB said...

Agreed. Practice proves confession. In that, the confessions only echo James 2:18 - "I will show you my faith by what I do."

dk said...

Well,
You ask why I call this legalism--or suggest I don't know what it is?

I'll explain it to you, not to pick a pick a fight either. I'm going to be very plain--not to be offensive even though the simplistic nature of my comment might in fact bugs some people.

I *believe* in the Bible (primarily because the Holy Spirit gave me faith through Baptism; Secondarily, I know it to be true be I understand it through my New Nature.)

I *appreciate* the Creeds and the Lutheran Confessions. The only purpose the Confessions serve (as the title of this blog reads) is to point to Christ.

Believing vs. appreciating. This is an important distinction. Luther would agree with me here. When you read Luther and believe what he writes you aren't believing Luther--you're believing the Word that he's pointing back to. You appreciate his truthful proclamation and insight. Conversely you oughtn't believe every word Luther said, for when he departs from his (prolific) truthful proclamations, he is just an ordinary sin-ridden Christian man. The same goes for the book of Concord and it's authors.

In every author not inspired by the Holy Spirit there are things to throw out—things to laugh away—or things to admit depart from the truth of Scriptures. If you deny this then we have a bigger problem among us. The transcendent revelation of God was completed by the Apostle John on Patmos. I certainly hope you don’t place inerrancy on Luther or the Confessions. Because if they knew someone was adding their writing to Scriptures they would’ve burned every book letter and napkin! Rev 22:19

So, you say, I don’t know what legalism is, eh? When a person or church Requires something of Christians that isn’t required in the Bible they are guilty of legalism. Pharisees, for example were legalists because they demanded an ever increasing set of Laws. Nobody on this board is proposing, in so many words that “liturgical’ worship is necessary for salvation but never-the-less several people have linked it inextricable to True doctrine. If you link a human prescribed extra-Scriptural Liturgical worship to (very much so) God prescribed Scriptural doctrine you are in essence requiring something beyond God’s prescription for being right with Him. Yes you are legalist if you do this.

Some examples:
Anon wrote (in regard to worship style): “God's law is still in effect and still binds our freedom. We aren't free to do whatever we want.”

Freddy wrote: “In the Confessions we will find a degree of freedom in Practice, but no freedom to jettison manifestly catholic rites; and we will find the requirement to remove from them only what cannot be practiced without sinning.”

Anon wrote: “Thus, when the Confessors uphold the fact that we are free to make changes in worship, liberals interpret it as proof that we can discard the liturgy. But conservatives understand that that's not at all what the writers of the document meant when they wrote it.”

You see, in each the writer is requiring something beyond Biblical prescription. The Bible does not prescribe Worship styles beyond a demand for a pure doctrine. Had each of these people wrote (or even inferred) that ‘we hold onto the Western Rite because it accurately reflect the Scripture and we would likewise accept any other worship style that purely reflects the scriptures’ each one would be right.
As it is, you are dangling your toes in the water of legalism. I don’t think you’re reading the Confessions the right way, but if the Confessions do teach this, you need to put them down and return to Scripture Alone, as Luther put it. The Confessional writers were not inspired. We can remove or jettison any physical manifestation of the Church on Earth except the inerrant and inspired Scriptures (66 books), truly preached and the Two Sacraments.

That being said, I do think it’s arrogant to replace 2000 years of Christian TRADITION for the sake of change. I do think it’s foolish and bad doctrine to create a worship style that Apes the secular world and their tastes.

Anonymous said...

Well, dk, based on your latest statement, we've gotten to the heart of the matter. You do not have a quia subscription to the Lutheran Confessions. You have a quatenus subscription. You admit this quite clearly when you say:

"when he departs from his (prolific) truthful proclamations, he is just an ordinary sin-ridden Christian man. The same goes for the book of Concord and it's [sic] authors....there are things to throw out—things to laugh away—or things to admit depart from the truth of Scriptures."

This is a quatenus subscription to the Confessions, subscribing to the Confessions in so far as they agree with God's Word, not because they agree with God's Word, and feeling free to throw out those things you don't like.

I'll be very blunt, dk. You cannot be an orthodox Lutheran without a quia subscription to the Confessions. By definition, a quia subscription is the very thing that makes one an orthodox Lutheran. Every orthodox Lutheran pastors swears a quia subscription to the Confessions, a subscription you have denied.

Would you like to retract your statements dk? Was this something you said in haste or ignorance, or was this something you said knowingly and willingly? Think carefully before you respond with some defense, this is a serious matter. If you hold to what you said, you are putting yourself outside the Lutheran church.

Freddy Finkelstein said...

dk,

You don't understand Confessional subscription. For now, I'll blame that on those charged with teaching you. Fortunately, this topic has been treated here, on this blog, and rather recently. I quote from Anything that isn't unbiblical is fair game:

"This line of thinking has been addressed on this blog many times before, by myself and others. I'll quote a more recent statement: 'I'll respond very simply by suggesting that you investigate a little more fully the reason for having Confessions. The simple explanation, given over and over by WELS and other Confessional Lutherans is enough to address this: To establish and maintain Fellowship, it is not sufficient to say, 'I believe everything the Bible says,' because such a statement fails to answer the very next question, 'What do you say the Bible says?' Confessions answer this question for us. In appealing to the Confessions, we are appealing to what we say the Bible says. In this regard, our Confessions are definitive -- even more so given that our agreement to the Lutheran Confessions is not just rhetorical, but carries with it the force of conscience, as we agree to our Confessions, not rhetorically, but as a matter of Christian Conscience, and as we carry out our Confessions in Practice. Read Ch. V of Krauth's Conservative Reformation on this specifically, and Preus' Fire and the Staff to see generally the importance and outworking of Confessions in our practice. And so it follows, being Confessionally literate is vitally important to maintaining Fellowship.'

"When true Lutherans subscribe to the Confessions, they do so unconditionally because it is necessary to clearly and unanimously set forth what they are convinced as a matter of conscience the Scriptures teach, to give a clear testimony of the Truth on disputed points and give a firm testimony against error, to be clearly distinguished and separate from the heterodox (who may also claim to meticulously follow Scripture), and, in full confidence, to enjoy unity under common confession. Any qualification in one's subscription vacates his confessional subscription entirely, leaving unclear what the Confessions set forth with all clarity.

"Read the introduction to the Formula of Concord (Epitome), which states, in part: 'We believe, teach, and confess that the only rule and norm according to which all teachings, together with all teachers, should be evaluated and judged are the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures of the Old and New Testament alone. ...Other writings should not be received in any other way or as anything more than witnesses that show how this pure doctrine of the prophets and apostles was preserved after the time of the apostles, and at what places. Right after the time of the apostles, and even while they were still living, false teachers and heretics arose. Therefore, symbols were written against the heretics in the Early Church [Apostles, Nicene, Athanasian Creeds]. These symbols were regarded as the unanimous, universal Christian faith and confession of the orthodox and true Church. ...We pledge ourselves to these symbols, and in this way we reject all heresies and teachings that have been introduced into God's Church against them. However, schisms in matters of faith have also happened in our time. Therefore, we regard as the unanimous consensus and declaration of our Christian faith and confession ...the first, unaltered Augsburg Confession. ...[A]ll teachings are to be conformed in this way. What is contrary to these confessions is to be rejected and condemned, as opposed to the unanimous declaration of our faith...' (quoted from my Reader's Edition).

"Thus, the Book of Concord is as inviolable as its source (the Scriptures), and the various confessional writings it contains (AC, AP, SA I-III, TR, SC, LC, EP, SD, etc.) are equivalent in status and authority to the Apostles, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds. Both Scripture and the Confessions are normative, the Scriptures primarily, the Confessions secondarily. For a Lutheran to pit the Confessions against Scripture, far from elevating the Scriptures, is to rob them both of their authority – is to say that the Scriptures are wrong."

Not only have true Lutherans through the centuries regarded the Confessions as definitive and inviolable, the Confessors themselves did, as well. This includes Luther. My suggestion is that you spend some time with the Confessions. Get a copy of C.P Krauth's The Conservative Reformation and Schmauk and Benze's The Confessional Principle. Alternatively, Kermit Preus' The Fire and the Staff is a good contemporary work that provides a good introduction to Confessionalism. You have much passion, but you'll do yourself and others more good if you hold it check for the time being, while you get better acquainted with the Confessional Principle and allow yourself to be guided by Scripture and the Confessions.

Freddy Finkelstein

dk said...

Wow, just wow...

I'm being quasi ( I know Latin) excommunicated by an anonymous poster. Gosh, I am finally justified in the use of my new-found favorite term.

This anonymous poster, who questions whether or not I should be part of the Lutheran Church is a Class A Liturgical Nazi. This guy is just a fake smile and a bass guitar away from being a Happy Clappy. He’s just a different kind of legalist. Thank you anonymous. You proved my point. I’ll go so far as to say that anon and his ilk are the very reason that the Happy Clappies exist in the first place…but I digress.

Anon is not brave enough to post his real name, and so he makes up for it by mouth-farting Latin terms; terms he may use correctly, but yet does not perceive their true meaning. He only knows enough Latin to be almost dangerous. I don’t know Latin, so at least I won’t pretend to.

I hope to God ( I don’t speak flippantly) that no one else adheres to anon’s hollow and deceptive philosophy. In fact, it’d be nice if Dr. Jackson, or some other level headed folks offered Anon a rebut. I’m just a layman.

But so that Anon doesn’t work himself into a froth, thereby imploding, I’ll respond to what he said, and more importantly so that folks unsure of their beliefs might not be led astray.

Anon is academically dishonest. If he were not a post-modernist he might have been aware of his dishonesty. Please note how Anon’s inserted ellipsis (…) changes my words to mean what Anon wished I would’ve said. He’s playing the same games as the liberal media—but he’s not quite as undetectable:

I wrote: “for when he (Luther) departs from his (prolific) truthful proclamations, he is just an ordinary sin-ridden Christian man. The same goes for the book of Concord and it's authors. In every author not inspired by the Holy Spirit there are things to throw out—things to laugh away—or things to admit depart from the truth of Scriptures. If you deny this then we have a bigger problem among us. The transcendent revelation of God was completed by the Apostle John on Patmos. I certainly hope you don’t place inerrancy on Luther or the Confessions.”

In his academic dishonestly Anon accuses me of a pick-and-choose attitude toward the Lutheran Confessions. But the onus (I know Latin!) is on All You who claim that the Western Rite is de facto (I know Latin!) the right way to worship Confessionally. Remember, I wrote that “I don’t think you’re reading the Confessions the right way…”

Even if Anon were honest his Quia and Quatenus references would be moot.

Christians are people who believe and follow the Bible. It sure sounds like you are placing the Confessions on the same plane as the Bible. That would be idolatry. Hmmm…Christ incarnate or some German Christians…hmmm

If Jesus Christ cared about the particular FORM of Worship, or if your beloved Lutheran Fathers cared about the particular FORM of Worship, why wouldn’t Jesus, Paul, John or the Lutheran Fathers have written the “Right” service, so that all could know what’s “right”?

I’ll say it again. I David Kreuter publically defy anyone to Biblically condemn what I have already written: “We can remove or jettison any physical manifestation of the Church on Earth except the inerrant and inspired Scriptures (66 books), truly preached and the Two Sacraments.”

dk said...

Yo Freddy,

I read what you wrote and I’ll think about it more but I’ll say this. I’ve done my homework. I’m no Book of Concord Newbie. I will respond briefly to your note.

You quoted:
"When true Lutherans subscribe to the Confessions, they do so unconditionally…”

Freddy, despite your very good reasons for maintaining the Confessions as a standard (Which I agree with), relying on ANYTHING but the Scriptures unconditionally is Idolatry. I’m worried that you may be adding to the Word (Rev 22:19) because of your need to treat Scripture in an Aristotelian fashion. I don’t think the Luther Fathers erred this way—I think they’re right on the money, but I do think that IF there is error to be found in the Confessors thought pattern it would be manifest itself in over-classification.

You don’t need to understand every part of the Bible. You can’t. Luther may not have sinned by over-classification of the Bible but since Luther, lesser theologians certainly have, hanging on every word of Luther and friends. (As if the Lutheran Confessions were something more than a corrective commentary on Scripture!)
Any unconditional subscription to something apart from Scripture is deadly. It truly seems like you are suggesting that Luther and friends were inspired. I hope that you don’t think this, but from what you are saying it’s fair to extrapolate this.

*Christians* believe that the 66 canonical books were God-breathed. Inspired. Not trying to talk down to you here, but there is a LITTLE bit of difference between God-breath transcendent Word and Luther. Luther would’ve torn his robes and called you, Freddy, foul names (in his way) for acting as if his writings were a perfect mirror of Scripture.

I agree that the Confessions can be revered on the same level as the three ecumenical creeds. Furthermore I believe that the Confessions are 100% Biblically accurate. It is inaccurate to suggest that the Lutheran Confessions strictly codify one particular worship style. Dear Heaven!! If the Lutheran Fathers thought a particular Worship practice was so almighty important, in context of their prolific writings WHY PRAY TELL, didn’t they formalize the “right” service. Because the Lutheran Father recognized that Style and outward manifestation doesn’t matter a bit……DOCTRINE DOES!!

But even if you read the Confessions and use their meaning to support the Spiritual supremacy of the Western Rite, they are still only writings of dirty human sinful Christians.

Look back to the Bible only to discern what the faith demands of you.

liberal gangster said...

Freddy wrote:

"allow yourself to be guided by Scripture and the Confessions."


who;s he? Mista Arrogant, thaz who.
He's talkin ta everyone but his self. lol
Freddy believes in TWO Gods. The real one and Luther. No one can serve two masters though...

The real Q is, can Freddy talk about his faith without bringin up the Luthern Confessions?

Or is it even faith. May be it's just a formulatic sorta deal fo him. Like prayin the rosary.

Bide ya time. do ya thang. Go ta heaven. daz wht I'm hearing, yo.

yeah...I thought so...

Anonymous said...

"Any unconditional subscription to something apart from Scripture is deadly."

Well, even after Anonymous and Freddy gave dk a chance to think about what he said and correct it, dk has forcefully upheld his quatenus subscription. In so doing, he has condemned every single Lutheran pastor in the past 400 years.

At his ordination, every Lutheran pastor takes a vow to God, swearing that he subscribes unconditionally to the Confessions, something dk considers "deadly".

It should be clear to every orthodox Lutheran here that dk is in serious error. As Freddy said, this seems to be the result of a passionate, but ignorant, zeal.

dk, I implore you, read and study the books that Freddy suggested. You don't understand the things you're saying. And to make matters worse, you're accusing good men of sin based on your own ignorance. Stop. Don't write anything else right now. Listen, read, and study. Then come back and we can have a discussion.

dk said...

Will somebody else join the discussion? (Someone not condescending)

Will somebody stand up beside me and support the TRUTH that the Bible is the ONLY given Word of God, the only God breathed text in past present or future?

Or will someone kindly explain why believing that the Confessions carry the same weight as Scripture is not Idol Worship? They don't use Scripture to defend their stance--they don't even use Scriptural ideas.

How many times do I have to throw down the glove? Once again I write:

I’ll say it again. I David Kreuter publicly defy anyone to Biblically condemn what I have already written: “We can (without sinning) remove or jettison any physical manifestation of the Church on Earth except the inerrant and inspired Scriptures (66 books), truly preached, and the Two Sacraments, The Lord's Supper and Baptism.

Tim Niedfeldt said...

Wow..you should just replay the tape of my introduction to BW. Actually I think one of the things Freddy re-pasted up above from an earlier discourse was from my confessional throttling here.

DK I can tell you everything you're going to hear here. However I'm with you 100% and you clearly say things better than I did/do. I keep a private wiki of some of the more thoughtful reasonable writings out here and I'm adding your post. I have a lot of Freddy, Pastor Tomczak and a few others. It doesn't matter if I agree with it all. It just helps me gather ideas.

Our differences remain in that although I have a love of the liturgy and actually prefer TLH over CW and even was a church organist for a few years...I am willing to be flexible enough (as the father of a Marine It is called "Semper Gumby") to be in a church with a blended contemporary-ish service (sorry but no one really claps at Victory...If you are looking for a contemporary church that is emotional we are an epic fail.) not because of the service but because I want to be in a church actively engaged in evangelism to the unchurched. If there was a church engaged in the same level of evangelism and community outreach that was liturgical I'd probably be there. The point for me is not so much in what the service offers other than Word and Sacraments but in telling people the gospel so that one day they might be at a service...liturgical or contemporary or somewhere inbetween.

The other difference would be that I unconditionally disagree with with the SJO (subjective justification only) crowd. The WELS position of OJ/SJ is grounded and biblical. The UOJ accusation against WELS is equally inaccurate. Those who are masters of selective context can make the doctrine of the WELS say what they want but it is abundantly clear. That is not to say that UOJ as described by the SJO's doesn't exist out there in American Christianity, just not in the WELS proper. The SJO crowd subjects themselves to too much rationalization.

So I just wanted to let you know that I have seen nearly every word spoken to you so far already about a year ago and is standard fare. Your arguments will be fruitless but just know there are some silent ones out there who have been around for awhile nodding and going, "yeah.." For those who have been here awhile we'll also go, "oh they are gonna crucify him..let's watch"

Well I'll keep cheering you on here. Good luck with your little brood of vipers.

Tim

Anonymous said...

C&Cers may "Plunder the egyptains' but these guys "Plunder the Pharisees"

C&Cers may play rock, but these guys throw 'em.

Anonymous said...

Riddle me this...

There are WELS mission churches throughout the world who do not worship via the Western Rite. From what I am understanding of this confessional argument from the one side of the aisle is this:

These churches are not Confessional Lutheran Churches. I say they are.

JK

Anonymous said...

dk, your ignorance of these issues is astounding.

No one claimed that the Confessions are the inspired Words of God! It's absurd that you would even claim that. It's a complete strawman argument.

What we have said is that we uphold the Confessions BECAUSE they are a correct exposition of what God's inspired Word teaches. We uphold that there are no doctrinal errors in the Confessions.

You, however, uphold the Confessions IN SO FAR AS they are a correct exposition of God's Word. This means that you believe that the Confessions do contain doctrinal errors. Thus, you cannot, by definition be an orthodox Lutheran since you disagree with the Confessions of the orthodox Lutherans. Do you understand?

You said, "I David Kreuter publicly defy anyone to Biblically condemn what I have already written: “We can (without sinning) remove or jettison any physical manifestation of the Church on Earth except the inerrant and inspired Scriptures (66 books), truly preached, and the Two Sacraments, The Lord's Supper and Baptism."

I condemn what you have said, not because it is wrong per se, but because it is incomplete. All heterodox churches can agree completely with your statement. Thus, it's not enough simply to say, "I believe what the Bible says", because the very next question is, "Well, what do you believe that the Bible says?"

That's why the Confessions exist and are so necessary. They lay out what exactly orthodox Lutherans believe the Bible says, over against the Romans and the Baptists and all other heterodox churches.

You might feel more comfortable, dk, in a non-denominational church where there is no confession beyond, "We believe the Bible." That's why there's so much disunity in churches like that--because each person is allowed to have his or her own opinion about what the Bible teaches.

Confessions are absolutely necessary for the church. (All church bodies have them.) In fact, Scripture demands that we confess what we believe.

dk (and Tim, since you have pledged your agreement), if you truly believe that a quia subscription to the Confessions is idolatry, then you have the obligation to go to your pastor and warn him of his sin, since he swore a quia subscription at his ordination. You also ought to build a time-machine and warn the Reformers of the Church about their sin, since they required a quia subscription to their own Confessions.

Anonymous said...

Right Jk they seem to arguing that unless a church 'follows the correct worship method' they couldn't be confessional.

I thought confessions were about the right teachings not mathods.

I wonder, what key should the 2nd hymn of the service be in on the third week of lent.

"A minor!" proclaims one.

"You scurvy Dog! how dare you suggest--why, everyone know they used Bb Major up until 1325! I'm a true follower of Christ because I do things the Right way." says cardboard faced gent.

"Isn't it clear how liberalism has effected us! Egad, the rabble we get in here! Everyone knows Lenten services are chanted, in Strict organum--You ignorant buffoons! this would clearly be modal--every knows the phyrgian mode is doctrinal for the seond hymn of the third week of lent!" says freddy

Anonymous said...

dk, JK, and Tim, I would suggest that you read the following article:

http://www.wlsessays.net/files/OttoAugustana.pdf

It deals first with the issue of quia and quatenus subscription, and then applies it to worship. The author doesn't speak quite as strongly as I'd like in some areas, but in general it's quite good.

Just in the case that you refuse to read it, at least read this excerpt:

"We are confessional Lutheran pastors. At ordination, we professed our belief that the Lutheran Confessions as contained in the 1580 Book of Concord are true expositions of the Word of God. We hold to these confessional writings because (quia), not in so far as (quatenus), they faithfully express the truths of Scripture. The Lutheran Confessions serve as the norma normata of our faith and practice, second only to Scripture in determining what we believe, teach and confess. The confessions authoritatively define what it means to be Lutheran."

Anonymous said...

And the merry-go-round continues to spin on the Groundhog Day topic.

There are obviously different views on the place, use, value, etc., of the Lutheran symbols - as well as interpretation. And does that not testify as to the state of the unity of fellowship, the catholicity and confessional nature of the WELS? Does it not testify to the catechesis, the seminary, the teachings, the pastors, the doctrines, the history and the Lutheranism of WELS? What makes a church Lutheran?

I often feel Lutheranism in WELS (and elsewhere) has been reduced to some phrases used as cliches - Law and Gospel, Word and Sacrament, Real Presence. As if you merely speak the jargon.

Is ELCA Lutheran?

Rob

Anonymous said...

"I thought confessions were about the right teachings not mathods [sic]."

You can't have one without the other. The right teaching will express itself in the right "method", and the right "method" will spring from the right teaching. Remember what Jesus said about judging the veracity of a person's teaching by examining the fruits he produces?

""You scurvy Dog! how dare you suggest--why, everyone know they used Bb Major up until 1325! I'm a true follower of Christ because I do things the Right way." says cardboard faced gent."

I absolutely love the strawman arguments! Anyone with a modicum of intelligence can see that no one is making an argument even vaguely related to this.

"I often feel Lutheranism in WELS (and elsewhere) has been reduced to some phrases used as cliches - Law and Gospel, Word and Sacrament, Real Presence."

Law and Gospel a cliche? Yikes. Word and Sacrament a cliche? Yikes. I think I might know what you were trying to say, but you might want to reconsider what you just said. You sound like an ultra-liberal emergent church kind of person. We've gotta get past all of this Bible stuff to get to what Christianity is really all about!

"Is ELCA Lutheran?"

Most definitely not! In fact, the question really is whether ELCA is Christian or not. Sadly, a growing number of them are not Christian. When you have baptisms with rose petals in the name of a female God, and Communion with hamburgers and punch, you are not Lutheran or Christian. This is what happens when you have a quatenus subscription to the Confessions, rather than a quia subscription--you can throw out whatever you want!

Anonymous said...

"Right Jk they seem to arguing that unless a church 'follows the correct worship method' they couldn't be confessional."

Wait a second here. We're not to that point in the argument yet. First, we have to establish that the Lutheran Confessions are a correct exposition of Scripture and a norming authority for the orthodox Lutheran church. That should be a given, but apparently it isn't for some people. Only after we establish that can we start discussing what the Confessions have to say about worship. Why bother arguing about what the Confessions say about worship when people claim that the Confessions are idolatry and are in error?

Anonymous said...

It seems to me about perception. Some folks interpret the Confessions by what it says and others by what it doesn't say.

I'd really like someone to answer my previous question because I think it gets to the heart of the matter on worship vs. the Confessions.

Do you consider WELS missions outside of the US (in other words other cultures) who do not worship according to the Western Rite Confessional Lutheran churches?

JK

dk said...

The question is not whether the Confessions are true.

They are--every jot and tittle.

The question is whether they cannot be used to sanctify one Rite, one style of worship, to the exclusion of others, even if the others are faithful to the Word.

You allege that the Confessions demand the Western Rite to the exclusion of other Biblical worship practical. This is unBiblical.

So you are reading the Confessions incorrectly. If you continue to demand that you do in fact read the Confessions correctly and that the Confessions (you say) demand that the Western Rite is the only Biblical framework for worship, then the Confessions are wrong.

I think the common course number in most universities for a survey of Logic is PHI 201. Enroll.

If you and the Confessions agree and you are wrong, then the Confessions are likewise wrong. If the Bible and the Confessions agree (which they do) then you must be wrong. hmmm choice B.

Oh and Brave soul Anon 11:07

You condemned what I said, but not with Scripture. Try again.

You wrote: "...it's not enough simply to say, "I believe what the Bible says", because the very next question is, "Well, what do you believe that the Bible says?"

Interpret Scripture with Scripture.

Freddy Finkelstein said...

Rob,

I have to hand it to you – I think you had this nailed months ago. Can anyone point to evidence that anywhere in its history, the WELS was comprised of a largely Confessional minded laity, or a clergy that was overtly so-minded? Ever since Rob brought it up, I've been on the lookout for such evidence – but can't seem to find it. Have Pastors been prepared with a form of “wholesome conservatism” with the unhappy result of perpetuating Confessional ignorance? When was the last time anyone had a class on the Augsburg Confession or Formula of Concord at church? How often have such requests from the laity been refused in your congregations? In my own congregation, I've lost count of the number of times that such requests (by myself and others) have been publicly refused – and those were just the times I was present to hear it! And what is the result? The Symbols are confused with idols, Confessionalism is regarded as idolatry, and unity continues to elude us as Lutherans everywhere continues to qualify their public confession! And who profits from this? It seems that the Church Growthers in WELS have been building a fine little kingdom for themselves from the raw materials of this ignorance and disunity, taking gross advantage of terms like “adiaphora” -- which seems to have lead to a separation of practice from doctrine and public confession, and the complete elimination of not only the term, but the very concept of catholicity from the WELS lexicon.

But is the sort of discussion above evidence of Confessional Crisis – of Confessionalism in decline? Or is it merely the growing pains of a Lutheran Church Body that is finally emerging into Confessional adolescence from an infancy of German Pietism and Prussian Evangelicalism? Time will tell, I suppose. In the end, although an active laity will be a factor, in my opinion, August Pieper is ultimately correct: Scripture places the health of the church under the responsibility of the Pastors – after decades of seeming silence, they will need to show public leadership in these matters. As they do (or fail to), I think it will become apparent what the status of Confessionalism truly is in WELS.

Freddy Finkelstein

(Oh, and it is Klemet Preus' The Fire and the Staff, above, not Kermit. My mistake...)

Anonymous said...

"Interpret Scripture with Scripture."

That's exactly what the Confessions do! That's why they are a proper exposition of Scripture! The Confessions are nothing other than an orderly explanation of what Scripture says when interpreted properly! Why is this so difficult for you to understand?!?

You sound like an ultra-Biblicist, saying that we aren't allowed to formulate any thoughts or write any words unless they are straight from Scripture. In other words, we can't come up with a book (like the Concordia) which explains what the Bible says, because then we would be going beyond Scripture. This is absurd.

I must say, though, dk, I'm glad to hear you say that you think the Confessions are without error. That's different than what you said earlier. I'm glad you're beginning, at least, to see your errors.

Anonymous said...

"But is the sort of discussion above evidence of Confessional Crisis – of Confessionalism in decline? Or is it merely the growing pains of a Lutheran Church Body that is finally emerging into Confessional adolescence from an infancy of German Pietism and Prussian Evangelicalism?"

Freddy, I'm convinced that the latter is the case. WELS is most definitely leaving its pietistic roots (all too slowly) and growing into true Confessionalism. I know several WELS churches that have celebrated the Presentation of the Augsburg Confession in worship. I also know of some churches that study the Confessions in Bible class. It's a painfully and frustratingly slow process, I know, but progress is being made (despite the evidence to the contrary that you see here in the persons of dk and Tim and the like).

dk said...

Freddy, would you comment on what I wrote?

"The question is not whether the Confessions are true. They are--every jot and tittle.
The question is whether they can be used to sanctify one Rite, one style of worship, to the exclusion of others, even if the others are faithful to the Word."

This is the meat of the conversation. The Confessors would not say, and their writings do not say that The Western Rite the only correct way to worship God.

If they or Luther or Paul or Jesus himself thought that there was only One Rite, one way to worship correctly why did they not explicitly write out the detail?

Why is no one answering this question? I've asked it before... I think no one answers because they can't without contradicting themself. Freddy? Moderator? Jackson? Someone?

I think it's a fair question.

cd said...

Freddy,

Only God knows where things are going... but at least the WELS church where I have been for a few years now has reviewed the Augsburg Confession in Bible Study, promoted the purchase of the Book of Concord and study of it regularly, reviewed every single teaching by name and point of the Small and Large Catechism, follows the same for BIC and youth confirmation class. And honestly that's just a start. In the mean time, we've found time to study many of the books of the Bible... oh, yes, and we just recently had a Bible Study on the liturgy and the blessings and benefits of the Western Rite.

We need to know the Confessions.

A quia subscription is essential. A someoneelse just pointed out a quatenus subscription is no subscription at all. Any Christian can claim a quatenus subscription to the Lutheran confessions and we're no further along in our discussions or relationship with them than before.

We need to excercise a bit of caution in the reading of the confessions or scripture. Does the one elucidate the other? The caution is this: that we don't read into either what's not there. Many in LCMS do with Article IV making it about the public ministry rather than the means of grace because they need to for what they believe. As to worship AC says, “Our churches are falsely accused of abolishing the Mass (the historic liturgy). In fact, the Mass is retained among us and is celebrated with the greatest reverence. Almost all the customary ceremonies are also retained.” For sure that says they hadn't abandoned the mass. It does not prescribe worship nor say this is what the Bible says about worship. Any study of the Mass at that time shows quite a variety in the RC church as well with, for example, many churches having regularly abandoned exposition of God's Word in sermon. In many ways the Lutherans restored that. Even frequency of communing in many RC churches had declined to but once a year. Luther's emphasis on the Lord's Supper urged more frequent communing (a thing which the Roman Catholics actually more readily and quickly adopted). As most everyone knows, Luther cut out much of what the RC's had in the Mass when it violated God's Word. As a matter of fact, his scalpel cut out the eucharistic prayer which many confessional Lutherans now have restored. I think someone in this blog even suggested that to not have it is a weaker order of service (it's hard to remember 144 entries). Luther's Formula Missae and Deutsche Messe show great variety in music. All in all, the liturgy is a blessing from God because it is a theology that is centered on Christ for us and the means of grace. It certainly is a workshop for the Holy Spirit. To abandon it or its parts for a different "model" requires much more than just a cry of "freedom" or desire to reach the lost (the liturgy jammed full of the gospel does just that), but rather strong confessional and Biblical supports.

FWIW...

cd

Anonymous said...

Freddy, I agree. I think it will move either way or break altogether. It doesn't seem that the status quo can continue or will be allowed to for too much longer. I'm hoping for it being, as you phrased it, "merely the growing pains of a Lutheran Church Body that is finally emerging into Confessional adolescence from an infancy of German Pietism and Prussian Evangelicalism" as opposed to the alternative.

Anon 12:47, I apologize for the confusion. I'm quite disappointed that American Lutheranism has been, what seems to me to be, a reduction to some its unique terminology, often bandied about like cliches. I certainly don't use them as such. I think some here throw them around and say they are Lutheran when much of everything else they espouse is Reformed theology at best. But that's just me. As we can see, we often talk past one another on these blogs.

Rob

Anonymous said...

"This is the meat of the conversation. The Confessors would not say, and their writings do not say that The Western Rite the only correct way to worship God."

I have already discussed this. The Confessors didn't explicitly say that the Western Rite is the correct way to worship God because it was simply assumed at that time. No one at that time would have even thought about discarding the Western Rite.

If the Confessors had even an inkling that in the future Lutherans would be discarding the Western Rite, they most certainly would have said in unmistakable terms that orthodox Lutherans use the Western Rite, and that those who don't use the Western Rite are no longer orthodox Lutherans.

Really, that's pretty much what they did say when they wrote "Falsely are we accused of abolishing the Mass." That's how deeply they valued the Western Rite. They were offended simply by the false rumor that they had abandoned the Western Rite. The Western Rite is so closely tied to Christianity that the Romans were claiming that the Lutherans had stopped using the Western Rite as proof that they weren't really Christian anymore.

We have to remember to read the Confessions in context, just as we read Scripture in context, just as we read everything in context. What I described above is the context of the Confessions. Use of the Western Rite didn't need to be explicitly written about because it was assumed.

Thus, you can't make the argument that the Confessions allow any form of worship imaginable simply because they don't name a specific form of worship.

It would be like coming up with a manual that describes what it means to be a human. Would you include a while chapter on the necessity of breathing? Probably not. Why not? Because breathing is optional? No, because breathing is so vital that it's assumed. That's what the Western Rite was to Lutherans, just as vital as breathing.

Anonymous said...

You know, it's kinda funny that dk is chastising and mocking people who post anonymously and threatening not to respond to them or take them seriously when earlier on this very thread he said this:

"I understand why folks choose the Anonymous option when leaving comments. I don't see a single thing wrong with that."

If he can't even maintain a consistent position on anonymous posting over the course of a few days, then nothing he says must be very reliable or well thought-out.

DK said...

Anon 6:53 sadly lies to achieve victory. He is a post modernist.

Why, even a child could poke holes in his logic. It's laughable.

If he were so right (as he claims) wouldn't you think he would address my points...

Anon also wrote: "If the Confessors had even an inkling..."

Again illogic. The Confessors spelled everthing out, so why not a specific Rite???

Yo Anon(s), man up, why don't you answer my question instead of shaming your brain by spouting illogic. Every red herring thing you post only strengthens my position.

If they or Luther or Paul or Jesus himself thought that there was only One Rite, one way to worship correctly why did they not explicitly write out the details?


DK

p.s. You are also giving Tim N's doctrinal position credence. I don't agree with him but it sure looks like Tim was right--he told me I'd get stoned.

Benjamin Tomczak said...

Freddy ~

Just speaking for myself and those around me --

We studied articles 1-6 of the Augsburg Confession in 2007. I plan to continue that study eventually (though at the moment we're working through topics generated by the people, but I'll slip it in soon...)

We just finished a study of the Lord's Supper based on Luther's Small Catechism in Adult Sunday School.

Later this year our midweek Bible study will be working through the Large Catechism.

Our Elders have studied the Large Catechism, are working through the Epitome, and next year we're planning to do the Smalcald Articles.

The children are instructed based on Luther's Small Catechism. So too are the adult confirmands, even though it's not quite so obviously so.

Each Adult Bible class is opened with a reading from the Small Catechism.

I include weekly "Quotes from Concord" on our church's website.

Our circuit has done confessional studies.

Our conference assigns papers on confessional topics.

I'm sure I'm not alone in this. I'm guessing my other classmates from Sem could say the same things.

To paraphrase President Obama, "Things aren't always as dire as they seem."

Yet, they are, because the Roaring Lion is seeking whom He may devour, and our own traitorous flesh waffles, wavers, and equivocates to please ourselves, to please the itching ears to which we preach. But, in the words of James, "Submit yourselves, then, to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you!" And Paul, "Watch your life and doctrine closely, persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers."

I hope discussions like this and others can spur us only ever more and ever deeper ad fontes [Oy! Latin again! ;)] -- to the sources, the Holy and Inspired Scriptures!

And when we need help, of course we have the cloud of witnesses who have gone before, who were gracious enough to leave us written testimony concerning "how this pure doctrine of the prophets and apostles was preserved after the time of the apostles, and at what places" (FC Epitome, Summary/Content/Rule/Norm, paragraph 3).

Grace and peace!
Pr. Benjamin Tomczak

Anonymous said...

CD: please name a synod with a genuine quia subscription to the Confessions. By that I mean, they believe, teach, confess, and practice accordingly. I am drawing nothing but blanks on that score.

B. Spoke

Anonymous said...

"Anon 6:53 sadly lies to achieve victory."

OK, then name a lie I told. Just one. You are quick to make accusations, but slow to provide proof.

"Why, even a child could poke holes in his logic. It's laughable."

Again, please provide an example of my laughable logic. Just one. Go for it.

"Again illogic. The Confessors spelled everthing out, so why not a specific Rite???"

They did? Really? They explained every last detail of the Christian faith? The Concordia's a big book, but it would have to be a whole lot bigger to spell every last thing out. You demonstrate your ignorance of the Confessions. They weren't designed to spell everything out, but instead to summarize and defend the positions they held over against the Roman church. Since they both agreed on using the liturgy, there was no reason to spell this out.

"Yo Anon(s), man up, why don't you answer my question instead of shaming your brain by spouting illogic. Every red herring thing you post only strengthens my position."

And every ignorant accusation you make without providing proof strengthens mine.

"If they or Luther or Paul or Jesus himself thought that there was only One Rite, one way to worship correctly why did they not explicitly write out the details?"

They did. They commanded us to worship in a Christo-centric way. This is not optional according to Scripture and the Confessions. The Western Rite is the only Christo-centric worship form in existence today. The Eastern Rite is anthropocentric, because it seeks to use transcendent ritual to raise man up to the level of God. Contemporary worship is anthropocentric, because it seeks to use secular forms to touch man's emotions. The Eastern Rite and contemporary worship are by definition and by design anthropocentric. In other words, you can't make them un-anthropocentric.

Thus, if you want to obey the command of Scripture to worship in a Christo-centric way, you have no other choice but to use the Western Rite. If you were able to come up with another worship form that is equally Christo-centric as the Western Rite, then you would be free to use that form. I seriously, doubt, however, that anyone would be able to equal or surpass the rite formed by two millennia of Christian leaders and worshipers. It's the height of arrogance for anyone to think that he or his "worship team" have the ability to do better than Jesus, Paul, Augustine, Luther, etc.

dk said...

I'm disappointed that my very good question did not get answer. But I think know why.

Cherish the western rite and promote it. It's a rich body of work and saturated with God's Word.

But never turn it into a requirement, an exclusive act, and indivisible from the Doctrines of Christianity. Setting up the Western Rite as a sort of Law for the New Testament--it will only serve as a distraction and for some a stumbling block.

I argued my point and for the most part I've argued it well. I'm sorry to those who I purposely antagonized. (I'm not apologizing for my Main point or for my strong language. I'm not recanting in the least. But there are things I should've said differently.)


If anyone would like to answer my question my email is folkright@gmail.com

Again my question is: If the Confessors or Luther or Paul or Jesus command that there is only One Rite, one way to worship correctly why did they not explicitly write out the details?

Each one, when they had something important to say they explicitly spelled it out--Without ANY doubt. If there is only one proper way to worship, The Western Rite, then would that seem to be a mighty failing if not one person wrote a definitive work on the "supposed" One Correct Way.


That being said I'd love to continue the conversation via email.

But I am done with this medium. Snark destroys good conversation

Anonymous said...

That's OK, dk. I asked a question twice that never got addressed. That's because they are stumped.

JK

Anonymous said...

dk, JK, just because you didn't get the answers you wanted to your questions doesn't mean that answers weren't provided. Reading through this thread, it's pretty clear that all of your questions have indeed been answered.

John said...

"That's OK, dk. I asked a question twice that never got addressed. That's because they are stumped.

JK"

JK - You seem rather brash. I guess this comes from the worship style at the Rock and Roll church. For example, you claim there is no mandate to hold Lenten services. Why have our Lutheran churches recognized the historical Christian calendar for centuries? Is your pastor so much more insightful than other Lutheran theologians that he can toss the church calendar aside? Can't you find the right U2 tune to reflect the somber tone of the Lenten season?

Your questions have been clearly addressed in the above posts. It is clear that you don't believe that the Lutheran Confessions are a clear and correct interpretation of Scripture.

Anonymous said...

"I'm disappointed that my very good question did not get answer."

Are you kidding, dk? I provided a direct and lengthy answer to your question in the post immediately prior to the one in which you complained about not getting an answer. If you don't agree with the answer I gave, then explain why. But you can't simply pretend that I didn't answer your question at all as a way to try to win the argument without having to rebut the points I made.

Anonymous said...

John,

Thanks for all the kind words. I'm really touched.

My question did not get answer.

JK

John said...

"Do you consider WELS missions outside of the US (in other words other cultures) who do not worship according to the Western Rite Confessional Lutheran churches?"

JK - Is this the question you felt wasn’t answered?

I found a great post that addressed your question:

March 13, 2009 6:05 PM

I have already discussed this. The Confessors didn't explicitly say that the Western Rite is the correct way to worship God because it was simply assumed at that time. No one at that time would have even thought about discarding the Western Rite.

If the Confessors had even an inkling that in the future Lutherans would be discarding the Western Rite, they most certainly would have said in unmistakable terms that orthodox Lutherans use the Western Rite, and that those who don't use the Western Rite are no longer orthodox Lutherans.

Really, that's pretty much what they did say when they wrote "Falsely are we accused of abolishing the Mass." That's how deeply they valued the Western Rite. They were offended simply by the false rumor that they had abandoned the Western Rite. The Western Rite is so closely tied to Christianity that the Romans were claiming that the Lutherans had stopped using the Western Rite as proof that they weren't really Christian anymore.

We have to remember to read the Confessions in context, just as we read Scripture in context, just as we read everything in context. What I described above is the context of the Confessions. Use of the Western Rite didn't need to be explicitly written about because it was assumed.

Thus, you can't make the argument that the Confessions allow any form of worship imaginable simply because they don't name a specific form of worship.

It would be like coming up with a manual that describes what it means to be a human. Would you include a while chapter on the necessity of breathing? Probably not. Why not? Because breathing is optional? No, because breathing is so vital that it's assumed. That's what the Western Rite was to Lutherans, just as vital as breathing.


I'm sure you can comprehend this. Also, you have not clearly identified why a Rock and Roll church would abandon the historical church calendar and not honor the Lent season.

Anonymous said...

John,

Wow.

I think there are some missionaries that would take exception to what you and other folks are saying here if that is your answer (which is no). It was a yes or no question. I tend to glaze over after awhile from all the blathering that goes on.

Maybe we need an official definition of what a Lutheran Confessional church is. Maybe that's the problem. I guess by YOUR definition of what CL is, then my church would not be considered confessional. But the last time I checked neither you or anyone else on this blog is responsible for determining WELS doctrine. (Thank God!)

There. Now I blathered. There's your answer. I hope you can comprehend it.

JK

Anonymous said...

"I think there are some missionaries that would take exception to what you and other folks are saying here if that is your answer (which is no)."

Well, JK, the truth is that, almost without exception, most foreign missionaries use the liturgy. They use the liturgy for two reasons. First, because they understand that the liturgy transcends culture, and is easily transferred from culture to culture. Second, because the people they serve would be offended if the missionaries tried to use the secular music of their society in worship. The people of the African bush want church music to sound nothing like the music of their pagan rituals. If only the people of America had the same depth of spiritual understanding as the people of the African bush!

"I tend to glaze over after awhile from all the blathering that goes on."

Is this your admission that you don't actually read what other people write here? That would explain your repeated demands for answers to questions that have already been answered. JK, have the respect to read what other people write before you respond to it. You might actually learn something!

"Maybe we need an official definition of what a Lutheran Confessional church is."

How about this: a "Lutheran Confessional church" is a church that subscribes unconditionally to the Lutheran Confessions, including the sentence "wrongly are we accused of abolishing the Mass"." Simple enough for you, JK?

"I guess by YOUR definition of what CL is, then my church would not be considered confessional."

Correct. Your church is not a Confessional Lutheran church for the simple reason that your congregation rejects what the Confessions have to say about worship.

Anonymous said...

John, if you are equating liturgy, Western Rite and the Mass, you are very ill informed about overseas missions.

JK

Anonymous said...

"John, if you are equating liturgy, Western Rite and the Mass, you are very ill informed about overseas missions."

Huh? I don't understand this sentence at all. Are you saying that the liturgy, the Western Rite, and the Mass are not the same thing? If so, you're incorrect. Or are you saying that foreign missions don't use the liturgy? If so, you're also incorrect.

I was wondering today why JK is so surprised and offended that people would say that his church isn't Lutheran. His church does everything it can to distance itself from Lutheranism and everything it can do to associate itself with Evangelicalism. Why, then, would you be surprised and offended by people saying you aren't Lutheran? It seems to me you should see it as a good sign that you have reached your goal and successfully de-Lutheranized yourself.

Anonymous said...

"I was wondering today why JK is so surprised and offended that people would say that his church isn't Lutheran. His church does everything it can to distance itself from Lutheranism and everything it can do to associate itself with Evangelicalism."

Good question. If you reject the way that Lutherans have worshiped for 500 years and if you even remove the word "Lutheran" from the name of your church, then you have absolutely no right to be offended when people wonder if you're a Lutheran church.

Anonymous said...

And then you have ELCA that keeps that Lutheran name and drags it through the mud with their shoddy doctrine. I wonder how many folks are put off by the name Lutheran? You see it can go both ways. I'm just saying.

JK

Anonymous said...

"Huh? I don't understand this sentence at all. Are you saying that the liturgy, the Western Rite, and the Mass are not the same thing? If so, you're incorrect. Or are you saying that foreign missions don't use the liturgy? If so, you're also incorrect."

The last time I checked, liturgy is a generic term. Although you probably wouldn't call the format we use at our a church a liturgy, it is still an order of worship, hence a liturgy whether you like it or not. You are equating liturgy with ritual which is what the Western Rite and the Mass are.

There are foreign missions that have and continue to use different forms of liturgy as well as more modern instrumentation.

JK

Anonymous said...

"The last time I checked, liturgy is a generic term. Although you probably wouldn't call the format we use at our a church a liturgy, it is still an order of worship, hence a liturgy whether you like it or not."

Good grief! JK, you are demonstrating your complete ignorance when it comes to liturgical worship. No, "liturgy" doesn't just mean any order of service. Where did you get that idea? If that were the case, all worship could be considered liturgical simply because things happened in order. When we talk about the liturgy, we are referring to the Western Rite, a particular order of service.

It's more than a bit discouraging to know that you have been arguing here for months about worship, without having educated yourself regarding what the liturgy is. Perhaps if you actually studied the liturgy and understood what it really is you wouldn't be so quick to discard it as garbage.

Anonymous said...

Anon 950,

It sure would be nice to know I'm talking to. I doubt you would be talking like you are if you had to sign your name to it. You have no business posting if you can't own up. For someone who eschews principles, you are sorely lacking.

If you would look up the word in the dictionary, you would find that both of our definitions are right. But since you want to stay in the context of formality and ritual that's OK. But then how can you condemn my worship? We sing, have a confession, receive absolution, have corporate prayers, recite creeds, pray the Lord's Prayer, have baptisms and receive Lord's Supper. No one is discarding it like garbage.

I'm beginning to see responsible discussion is becoming more and more futile here.

JK

Anonymous said...

Good news everyone! JK looked the word "liturgy" up in the dictionary! He's done all the research he needs to do and can now speak as an expert about worship.

What arrogance!

You know what, JK? I used to be just like you. I had never learned about worship, about the liturgy, about anything. And yet I thought I had it all figured out. I mocked those who supported the liturgy, looked down on them, and patted myself on the back for being more progressive and advanced than those old Germans stuck in the 1500s.

But then I actually started learning about worship. I had the liturgy explained to me. I read books and listened to experts. And my eyes were opened to the majesty and beauty of the Western Rite and to the shallowness and emptiness of contemporary worship.

I know several other people to whom the exact same thing happened. In fact, I'd even be so bold as to say that those who support contemporary worship are almost always those who are most ignorant about worship and that those who support the liturgy are almost always those who are most educated about worship.

You have two choices, JK. You can respond with a nasty retort, and call me all kinds of terrible names ("legalist", etc). Or you can start learning everything you can about the history of worship, and specifically of the Western Rite. I'll bet you that if you do that with an open mind, you won't be so enamored with contemporary worship anymore.

Anonymous said...

Anon 614,

You don't know me or what I know much less been to my church. And who is being nasty?

At least I have fortitude to hang it out there and put my name on it. Tomorrow I will be JK and you will still be an anonymous coward.

This is a waste...

Joe Krohn (aka JK)

Freddy Finkelstein said...

JK (aka Joe),

For what it's worth, I enjoy having both you and Tim around on this blog. Stick around...

Freddy Finkelstein

Anonymous said...

"You don't know me or what I know much less been to my church. And who is being nasty?"

What I say is based completely on your words here and on your blog. Your words demonstrate that you are ignorant about the history and theology of worship. (By the way, "ignorant" isn't a "nasty" word; it just means you lack knowledge.) Believe me, I've said everything that you've said; I've used every argument that you've used. In hindsight I can see how silly and ignorant I really was. There are many good resources out there to help you understand what the liturgy is all about. I implore you to read and study and think about them with an open mind. What have you got to lose?

dk said...

Despite what I said about not dignifying the "blog" medium I must make a comment.


JK (Krohn... sp?) made a comment. And then a multiple of anonymous posters made comment. JK (whoever he is) at least has the balls to list his initials. If you believe what you say then you should leave some identifying mark. All the cowards who leave anon postings are lame.

Anon posters: Grow up!

If you don't leave your name then I can only assume that you don't actually believe what you write.

Cowards!

Anonymous said...

First dk said:

"I understand why folks choose the Anonymous option when leaving comments. I don't see a single thing wrong with that."

Then he said:

"All the cowards who leave anon postings are lame. Anon posters: Grow up! If you don't leave your name then I can only assume that you don't actually believe what you write. Cowards!"

My, my, that's quite a change of opinion over the course of a couple weeks! What in the world could have caused dk to make such change? Perhaps he didn't have a problem with anonymous commentators until they started making good points that he couldn't respond to, and so he decided to pull an ad hominem attack on their courage instead, forgetting that he had just said he found nothing wrong with anonymous comments.

Courageously Anonymous

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this website! It has done so much to help me see all the bad things that are going on in our dear WELS!

But do you have to keep calling each other names all the time! Especially in public!!! I remember one sermon where my poastor said that when people call each other names, that that really makes people think bad things about them! (I mean about the people doing the name-calling.) (I don't remember exactly what he said, and I'm sure he said it better than I can, but it wads something like that.)

I guess what I'm saying is that, if there are really all these heretics in our WELS, then we should be saving all our name-calling for them! (Otherwise people (I mean most people like me) won't know who the good ones are and the bad ones. SO PLEASE STOP WITH ALL THE NAME CALLING AND GET BACK TO SMOKING OUT ALL THE HERETICS AND THOSE ROCK MUSICIANS!!!!!

Thanks again and KEEP BAILING THE WATER!