So this Church-Growther and this Liturgomaniac Walk into a Bar…; Micro Koinonia Project Coming to BJS, by Pr. Rossow

So this Church –Growther and this Liturgomaniac walk into a bar… Well, it isn’t quite like that but it is close. It’s not a joke, it’s not a bar and it’s not really a church-growther and a liturgomaniac but it is about a pastor who espouses many church growth principles and a pastor who espouses the liturgy sitting down to talk to see how far apart they are and how close they can get, and doing it all for the world to see here on BJS.

One of my friends and colleagues is Pastor Mark Schulz from Trinity Lutheran Church in Lisle, Illinois, the next suburb over from me and my church, Bethany Lutheran in Naperville, Illinois. He and I have been in the same circuit for over ten years, had coffee together through the years, given each other grief about how we “do” church and also shared some life experience together. I had the pleasure of teaching religion/confirmation to his son Christian for two years at our day school here at Bethany.

We had lunch together today and agreed to have an online discussion about our similarities and differences and invite the BJS crowd to chime in via the comment section.

We will start out with each of us giving a summary view of what goes on in our churches and the principles that we use to guide those activities. Then in consequent postings we will critique each other’s practice and principles. We are not sure where it is headed or how long it will go on but we are both really enthused about having it out on line here and seeing where out little Micro-Koinonia Project ends up. We hope and pray it will be a blessing for our beloved Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.


Comments

So this Church-Growther and this Liturgomaniac Walk into a Bar…; Micro Koinonia Project Coming to BJS, by Pr. Rossow — 242 Comments

  1. @Mark Louderback #197

    And someone please point me to a concise, organized treatise in support of not wearing vestments.

    I am unfamiliar with any. Sorry.

    So, how did you come to be persuaded that not using vestments is helpful?

    It appears many others agree with that position. It seems that such a widespread idea would have someone write on the topic. It makes me wonder how or what persuaded those who did not grow up with pastors dressed as laity in the service. Those who grew up with it just continue in it, I assume.

  2. @Mark Louderback #198

    Basically, churches where pastors that…

    …do wear vestments = belief in efficacy of Word and Sacrament
    …don’t wear vestments = denial of efficacy of Word and Sacrament

    As a Lutheran pastor why would you want to be associated with churches that deny the efficacy of Word and Sacrament?

  3. @John Rixe #3

    Generally speaking churches that deny the efficacy of the means of grace are characterized by pastors who do not wear vestments. I suppose I should add that those churches that are associated with Pietism also would be characterized by pastors who do not wear vestments, in which case, why would a Confessional Lutheran want to be associated with that?

  4. From the AFLC website:

    Rooted in Revival …
    Around the beginning of the 1800’s, a Norwegian farmer’s son, a layman, began tramping over the mountains and valleys of the country preaching a message of repentance and personal salvation. HANS NIELSEN HAUGE was immediately branded a troublemaker by the government and the state church, and spent 10 years in prison. The fire the Lord lit through him, however, could not be stifled.

    Hauge’s message and ministry reflected the spirit of LUTHERAN PIETISM, a powerful movement of awakening that began among German Lutherans in the late 17th century, led by PHILIP SPENER and AUGUST FRANCKE. The pietistic emphasis on personal faith, godly living and study of Scripture caught fire among the common people, igniting a spiritual and social revolution whose impact is still evident today. A subsequent wave of awakening in Norway, often associated with the ministry of a theological professor, GlSLE JOHNSON, is especially remembered for its influence on a new generation of pastors, ensuring that this renewal would be perpetuated within the church.

    Revival fires also burned brightly in Sweden, Finland and Denmark, under the godly leadership of such men as CARL OLOF ROSENIUS, PAAVO RUOTSALAINEN, and WILHELM BECK. These evangelical movements shaped the convictions of many of the Lutherans who planted the church in America.

    Thousands of Scandinavian pietists emigrated to the United States to find a better life during the 19th Century. They brought their faith and love of education with them, and they wanted to make sure their children had schools where they could be trained in God’s Word and useful skills. Many Lutheran colleges and seminaries which exist today began at this time.

  5. @Rev. James Schulz #4

    I’m still confused – sorry.   In the LCMS there are hundreds of churches where for at least one service the pastor doesn’t wear vestments (my own included).  Are these the ones who deny efficacy of Word and Sacrament?

    I guess I never knew before that the AFLC denies efficacy of Word and Sacrament.

  6. @Rev. James Schulz #199

    I would be uncomfortable wearing vestments.  I’m a retired accountant.

    Seriously, if I were a pastor, I would probably start wearing vestments – not that important.   It’s not a hill I’m willing to die on.  

  7. @John Rixe #6

    No, they are the ones associated with, have a distinguishing characteristic of, can easily be confused with either Pietism and/or those who deny the efficacy of Word and Sacrament.

    @John Rixe #7

    It’s important because those who see a pastor not wearing vestments in a Lutheran church could be easily led to think they might not be hearing Lutheran doctrine, but instead Evangelical/American Protestant sacrament-denying doctrine.

  8. @John Rixe #6

    Are these the ones who deny efficacy of Word and Sacrament?

    The congregation, pastor and constitution probably don’t deny it.

    Perhaps the actual words used by the pastor in the contemporary service may not be so clear that those in the pews who deny it will be aware that the congregation is supposed to believe it. Using vague language could obscure such a teaching, I suppose. So, the pastors clothes are not saying that, but the words used in the contemporary service may not clearly proclaim it.

    Are there congregations in which the pastor does not wear vestments while using the LSB service settings? Is it the case that the LSB is being used word for word while the pastor is dressed like the laity? In such a case, the only issue is the vestments rather than contemporary worship as kind of a package deal where the words are different, the service is different, the music is different, the visual aspects are different, and the pastor is dressed as the laity, etc.

  9. @Rev. James Schulz #8

    Is this an issue in the WELS? I’ve often wished there was a WELS church around here. At one time at least they seemed more calm, happy and united than us rowdies in LCMS. I don’t think you folks care about clerical collars.

  10. @John Rixe #10

    I don’t think you folks care about clerical collars.

    If they truly don’t care, why not wear them? Why do something new and different if it makes no difference?

    When my husband wants chicken instead of beef for dinner, I don’t insist on making beef while at once claiming I don’t care what we have for dinner.

  11. @John Rixe #10

    It is fast becoming an issue in WELS. As an example of cutting edge:

    http://www.gotocore.com/

    Whereas wearing a clerical collar will bring on suspicious stares. Pr. Rydecki summed it up in his first post here on BJS:

    Top Ten Reasons why so many WELS pastors eschew the clergy collar in favor of the tie:
    10) We’re very traditional in the WELS. (Tradition = what I’m used to)

    9) If I wear a collar, someone might actually call me “Father.” Then lightning would be sure to strike me dead.

    8 ) We’re afraid people we meet on the street might know we’re pastors. We prefer stealth mode.

    7) Because uniforms get in the way of our rugged individualism.

    6) Can’t be “all things to all men” wearing a collar. Because that’s exactly what St. Paul was referring to. Exactly.

    5) Decades ago, the collar used to be eschewed by confessionals and embraced by liberal Lutherans. Nobody bothered to inform us when that changed.

    4) Why distinguish the pastor as minister when every member is a minister?

    3) Seriously, why distinguish the pastor as minister when every member is a minister?

    2) It’s too Missourian.

    1) It’s too Catholic.

    //steadfastlutherans.org/?p=15466

  12. I think it’s terrible that WELS pastors don’t wear clerical collars.   They should be made to stand barefoot in the snow and dump garbage on their heads.

  13. @Mark Louderback #197

    Louderback: “I celebrate the fact that you gain so much from the white that your pastor wears — and how you yourself are covered as well by the righteousness of God. I guess the question is, as comforted as you feel is as off-put as others feel. What is to be done about them, you know?”

    Crandall: “Teach them, of course.”

    Louderback: “Unpack this a bit: how would you do this?”

    Crandall: I remind my flock of the symbolism of the robe whenever the Scripture readings mention the righteousness of Christ covering us sinful human beings. (There are lots of them in the lectionary!)
    And I look for opportunities to remind them that it is not my opinion, but the Word of God that I strive to preach from the pulpit.
    (Aside: I went with my 12-year-old son to a community “Spring Cleaning” for the needy this morning, sponsored by the United Methodist Church that sponsors his Boy Scout troop. After the kick-off breakfast in the fellowship hall, Pastor Susie invited us all to pose for a group photo and “worship experience” in the sanctuary. She was in a T-shirt, but that was understandable, as we were all on our way to rakes leaves and such and this was an informal devotion – I thought. Getting to the point, she preached from the Book of Disney’s Sacajawea. (You can’t make this stuff up!) Trees and rocks are part of our “hoop,” the circle of life, so we should not judge the people we might run into today who have made choices we might otherwise question. (She conveniently skipped the part from the song and movie that claims, “The rock has a soul; it’s my brother.”) We declined to join in when they all filed to the front, pinched off a bit from a loaf of Italian bread, dipped it into a chalice, and popped it into the mouth on the way out to serve. I mention this aside just to demonstrate why I am so very grateful to be Lutheran.)
    Wearing vestments symbolizes, too, that it is not me, the private person, sharing with them my opinions, but their called and ordained pastor, speaking the Word of God.
    And I continually challenge my congregation to be as noble as the Bereans, to listen eagerly for the Word, and then check the Scriptures to see if what I taught them was true.

    And now, from what I’ve learned here recently, I can teach my people that Jesus more than likely did wear vestments — with tassels!
    If you really want to dress like Paul did, you probably ought to vest up!

  14. My concern is more about who is promoting change and why? The why is both “woher” and “wozu”

    Where did some get the idea that this change would be good?

    Was it some document, person, seminar, doctrine? Where does it come from?

    And then, to what end? Who is on the receiving end of it?

    Pastor Louderback is one pastor and he chooses what he does in his parish.

    He was influenced by someone somewhere to change and do things differently. The people who taught him were taught by someone else, etc. Just continue working back till we get to the source.

    Now, people can choose to worship with Pastor Louderback’s congregation, or not.

    But what about district and national youth gatherings? Youth are sent there. They do not choose it per se. They may choose not to go back three years later when they are older. Parents are encouraged to send their kids, but why? Why is it beneficial? or is it beneficial? Anyway, who chooses what they do and see? Teens have little discernment. They are a captive audience. If those who wish to promote contemporary worship are free to make the youth events all contemporary all the time, most parents in most parishes won’t even know. Is there a concerted effort to get congregations’ input? I have a teen and I don’t know how they choose leaders. Who chooses the leaders? This is how a tiny group of people gets to influence the entire synod. They present their style to over 20,000 of our youth every three years. And they do it with parents’ and pastors’ endorsement.

  15. @Rev. James Schulz #200

    Not wearing vestments says to me, “we believe the divine service ought to be designed more for attracting the unbeliever than it is to strengthen the believer.” That’s not good for the gospel because the gospel must convey the whole essence of who God is: his transcendence, his authority, the Law and Gospel – a message which vestments intend to convey. Not wearing vestments weakens that message.

    Well, I guess I don’t understand why a service that is focused on attracting the unbeliever would not convey the whole essence of God.

    Why would that be? A pastor who didn’t want to preach the whole counsel of God so as not to offend people could just as easily be at an established, liturgical congregation.

  16. @Mrs. Hume #1

    I guess hearing other pastors speak about it. That would be why I came to do it.

    Plus, when I took my call, it was the tradition of the congregation.

    @Rev. James Schulz #2

    Sorry, but to be honest the choice is:

    …do wear vestments = deny justification by grace through faith
    …don’t wear vestments = denial of efficacy of Word and Sacrament

    So, either way there is a negative example.

    @John Rixe #7

    I would be uncomfortable wearing vestments.

    Hilarious line.

    @Ted Crandall #16

    Crandall: I remind my flock of the symbolism of the robe

    Right, I’m not talking about those who are in your flock—I’m talking about those outside the flock. What is the opportunity to teach them?

    why I am so very grateful to be Lutheran.

    I hear ya.

    @Mrs. Hume #17

    Re: Youth — we have Higher Things offering activities as well, so there are options for youth.

  17. @Old Time St. John’s #193

    Well, I got all over Jason (I think) for people not reading my posts, so fair is fair.

    You are not responding to what I wrote, but if I were responding to all that you said, I’d say this is not exactly new. Even when congregations did stuff the same on Sundays, they were still very different. You could not just say “Oh, well, they do the liturgy, they are fine.”

    Once again, I think that changes in the liturgy are done out of love for the community. I don’t think Satan has a field day from the love of Christ shown to others.

    And once again, I think it is not a matter of “I’m ok” but rather a matter of “I’m proclaiming the Gospel.”

    Better?

  18. @Mark Louderback #18

    “Well, I guess I don’t understand why a service that is focused on attracting the unbeliever would not convey the whole essence of God.”

    How many “Seeker Services” offer Holy Communion where Christ’s body and blood is in, with, and under the elements (complete with closed communion)? How many preach the importance of baptizing babies because it saves by covering them with Christ’s righteousness? My guess is not many because those things are foolishness to the unbeliever and offensive to the Evangelical American Protestant church shopper. When those things are not being preached, then the whole essence of God/Christ is not being conveyed.

    Besides, Scripture, the Confessions, and the history of the universal church tells us that corporate worship is to be designed for believers, not unbelievers.

  19. @Mark Louderback #19

    Re: Sorry, but to be honest the choice is:

    …do wear vestments = deny justification by grace through faith
    …don’t wear vestments = denial of efficacy of Word and Sacrament

    So, either way there is a negative example.

    I believe we achieved consensus!

  20. I’m sorry but I still don’t understand any of this.  The great majority of vestment wearers are Roman Catholic.  AFLC and Pietist Lutherans in general never deny the efficacy of Word and Sacrament.  Could we start over please?   Is it possible that generalizations don’t fit in this case?

  21. @Mark Louderback #19

    Crandall: I remind my flock of the symbolism of the robe

    Louderback: Right, I’m not talking about those who are in your flock—I’m talking about those outside the flock. What is the opportunity to teach them?

    Crandall: Those outside the flock would only see you in your vestments if they were at your Divine Service and you could then teach them why you’re vested.

  22. @Mrs. Hume #17
    Re: Youth — we have Higher Things offering activities as well, so there are options for youth.”

    So, parents are on their own? If we don’t know what is going on at the synod events, why would we look for something that we don’t even know exists? Either they are lucky and someone cares enough to tell them, or they are just in the dark. Is this supposed to make me feel better. It sounds kind of like, “well if you don’t like it, then go somewhere else.” Seriously? That is supposed to build community?

    Besides, that doesn’t answer why the synod events are moving ever more contemporary. The participants aren’t unchurched. Most of them are confirmed members. They aren’t kids who haven’t been to a Lutheran church. So, why all this new stuff for that audience?

    I only know what I know because I stumbled onto this site. If I just went to church and participated there, I wouldn’t even know about Higher Things.

  23. @Rev. James Schulz #21

    How many “Seeker Services” offer Holy Communion where Christ’s body and blood is in, with, and under the elements (complete with closed communion)?

    I’d say it was a mix: some do, some don’t. I could not tell you numbers or percentages.

    How many preach the importance of baptizing babies because it saves by covering them with Christ’s righteousness?

    Just to clarify: I’m talking about Lutheran seeker services, not overall seeker services. So the number would be 100%.

    My guess is not many because those things are foolishness to the unbeliever and offensive to the Evangelical American Protestant church shopper.

    Well, I guess I disagree. I see my services as seeker sensitive and we do both. So, your perception is simply different from my own.

    When those things are not being preached, then the whole essence of God/Christ is not being conveyed.

    Correct. But that has to do with whether they are being preached or not — it has nothing to do with whether the individual is wearing vestments.

    Besides, Scripture, the Confessions, and the history of the universal church tells us that corporate worship is to be designed for believers, not unbelievers.

    The Gospel is for the believer and unbeliever alike — and unbelievers are found in the worship service. In fact, Sunday morning is where the unbeliever is most likely to be to hear the Gospel.

  24. @Mark Louderback #26

    Besides, Scripture, the Confessions, and the history of the universal church tells us that corporate worship is to be designed for believers, not unbelievers.

    The Gospel is for the believer and unbeliever alike — and unbelievers are found in the worship service. In fact, Sunday morning is where the unbeliever is most likely to be to hear the Gospel.

    Just because an unbeliever might walk into your service on Sunday, doesn’t mean you design the entire service to cater to the unbeliever. Because the overwhelming testimony and practice of Scripture, the Confessions, and the history of the universal church tell us that corporate worship is to be designed for believers, you and others who design the divine service for primarily unbelievers in mind are really doing something quite radical and contrary to what millions of Christians who went before you found to be the best way to proclaim the gospel.

  25. @Mrs. Hume #25

    “I only know what I know because I stumbled onto this site. If I just went to church and participated there, I wouldn’t even know about Higher Things.”

    I’m a pastor and I only stumbled across Higher Things after stumbling across first-hand accounts of how bad things had gotten at the synod’s official gathering for my children. Amen, Mrs. Hume! We should be able to trust those who agreed to walk with us as Lutherans and never be told, if you don’t like it, go somewhere else.

  26. All this talk about “seekers” reminds me of reading that churches designed to be attractive to the seeker end up stealing sheep from other Christian churches and making very few disciples at all. In other words, they might be packed to the gills with warm bodies, but when you ask them where they came from, very few of them had been unbelievers before visiting the seeker-oriented church. Nearly all of them had already been members of other Christian churches and were just looking for better entertainment.

    The sad part is that they may not have been Christian before they started seeking and may not become Christian at their new church, since Christ crucified is offensive and therefore not likely to be preached.

  27. @Mark Louderback #19

    I guess hearing other pastors speak about it. That would be why I came to do it.
    Plus, when I took my call, it was the tradition of the congregation.

    I find this statement truly amazing. It sounds like just going with the flow without careful consideration. It seems it could be possible to hear of something new and then study up on carefully reasoned arguments for it and then feel it is appropriate. Is that what you did? Because it seems like you are saying you just kind of did it just because. Do I misunderstand? You said (@197) you aren’t aware of any thorough reasoned defense of it. It seems a little flippant. I am going to assume you don’t mean it that way, but it kind of comes off that way.

  28. @Rev. James Schulz #27

    Just because an unbeliever might walk into your service on Sunday, doesn’t mean you design the entire service to cater to the unbeliever.

    Well, I think it is the loving thing to do for them. The sick have need of a physician.

    @Mrs. Hume #30

    It sounds like just going with the flow without careful consideration.

    No, it was pretty careful.

    You said (@197) you aren’t aware of any thorough reasoned defense of it. It

    No, I said there was not a “concise, organized treatise in support of not wearing vestments. Not that there is not a thorough reasoned defense. Listening to fellow pastors is not just a flippant thing. You can learn a lot from them.

    I am going to assume you don’t mean it that way, but it kind of comes off that way.</b.

    I'm writing a lot of stuff Mrs Hume. I can't spend tons of time crafting each post to my liking. Sometimes it is a bit of a dash-off.

    @Ted Crandall #29

    All this talk about “seekers” reminds me of reading that churches designed to be attractive to the seeker end up stealing sheep from other Christian churches and making very few disciples at all.

    Well, that has not been my experience. Most of the new people I’ve had come to church were not previously attending any church.

  29. @Mark Louderback #31

    Schulz: “Just because an unbeliever might walk into your service on Sunday, doesn’t mean you design the entire service to cater to the unbeliever.”

    Louderback: “Well, I think it is the loving thing to do for them. The sick have need of a physician.”

    And it’s unloving to design the service for believers? The “sick” are also believers. There are better ways to love the unbeliever than to design the divine service to cater to their desires, desires which consider the cross foolishness and weakness.

    I appreciate your willingness to discuss these issues. In the spirit of St. Paul who said, “for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized” (1 Corinthians 11:19), I suppose we’ll just have to let the practices you’ve spoken in favor of play out to see whether they’ll stand the test of time. As far as I’m concerned, since I’m repeating myself, I’ll bow out of this discussion now and tune in to read how Prs. Rossow and M. Schulz carry on their Koinonia project regarding worship forms. I’ll just repeat myself this last time: the testimony and practice of Scripture, the Confessions, and the history of the universal church overwhelmingly define corporate worship and its forms to be primarily for believers. Those who design the divine service primarily for unbelievers and disaffected church shoppers in mind are going contrary to what millions of Christians who went before them discovered to be the best way to proclaim the gospel.

  30. @Rev. James Schulz #32

    “I suppose we’ll just have to let the [CoWo] practices you’ve spoken in favor of play out to see whether they’ll stand the test of time.”

    I wouldn’t bet on them lasting too long. By definition contemporary worship practices are what’s happenning NOW, so the practices are not designed to be timeless, but will change to what is trendy tomorrow. Remember folk masses and koombaya? (May that tune play in your head all morning. LOL Oh, I am so mean! Bwahahaha!)

  31. @Mark Louderback #31

    No, I said there was not a “concise, organized treatise in support of not wearing vestments. Not that there is not a thorough reasoned defense. Listening to fellow pastors is not just a flippant thing. You can learn a lot from them.

    Okay, this is the kind of response that drives me to exasperation. It is what led me to say on another thread, for the sake of us poor laity, can we please get it in writing.

    I have asked for a thorough reasoned response in writing. That is usually called a treatise, but call it what ever you want. I feel like I keep asking the same questions over and over. And I keep getting responses that indicate that there are good reasons, but there isn’t time here to discuss them. But I am to rest assured they have been thoroughly discussed and that the reasons are all good and carefully considered, but those with these great reasoned ideas aren’t aware of them actually being written anywhere for others to consider. Is this some new oral tradition? Or what?

    Luther wrote out his stuff for the sake of the laity. Surely folks can still write stuff out and explain it.

  32. Well, I think it is the loving thing to do for them.

    Great, we all love the lost, but that is not a reasoned defense.

    What if Luther had said that marriage shouldn’t be a sacrament because it is more loving not to have it be a sacrament? Who would he have convinced with that basis? I am guessing he actually would have got some, but not serious folks. They would expect something with a better basis.

    I’ll just repeat myself this last time: the testimony and practice of Scripture, the Confessions, and the history of the universal church overwhelmingly define corporate worship and its forms to be primarily for believers.

    I just want to reemphasize those believers 18 and under. When you cut them off from historic worship forms, you make their own heritage foreign to them. That makes me extremely uncomfortable. I need to have a really really good argument to justify cutting our own children off from what their ancestors faithfully preserved for two millenia.

  33. @Mrs. Hume #34

    I have asked for a thorough reasoned response in writing. That is usually called a treatise, but call it what ever you want. I feel like I keep asking the same questions over and over.

    Well…you actually never asked “Pastor Louderback, could you give me a reasoned explanation of why you do what you do.” You asked for treatises and the like. I’ve said upstream why I do what I do.

    But I’ll give you the bullets again:

    #1: Because my wearing normal clothes is what people are comfortable with. Few people have people in robes talking to them. They would ask themselves “Why does he do that?” So I don’t.

    #2: I strip down because God sees us as we are and not with any masks or faces—and so we are false and fake with people in church and not honest and open. So we teach them to strip away their masks, be who they are, because God loves them as they are.

    #3: Wearing no vestments focuses the hearer on God’s Word. Who am I standing before them? Just another guy. Why do I have a right to speak? Not because of who I am, or what I wear, but because of God’s Word. That gives authority.

    #4: It meets people where they are.

    My own attention was drawn to Luther who went without vestments — and that had happened in a short, short time span. How much more do we have now?

    Like anything else, this will make sense to some and they will do it; it will not make sense to others and they won’t. But for me, for my people, in my context, it makes sense. So I do it.

  34. @Rev. James Schulz #32

    And it’s unloving to design the service for believers? The “sick” are also believers.

    The same Gospel that creates faith, sustains faith. A service the the unbeliever is for the believer; the problem is, a service for the believer is not for the unbeliever.

    There are better ways to love the unbeliever than to design the divine service to cater to their desires, desires which consider the cross foolishness and weakness.

    Well, Jesus healed the woman who touched the hem of his garment—He met her, with her superstitious beliefs, and brought her healing and salvation. He ate and drank with sinners, when most would say that it was wrong to be around them. He allowed the sinful woman to wash his feet.

    So, if Jesus caters to unbelievers and their desires, so can we.

    I appreciate the conversation and I hope that the mini-koin will be helpful and beneficial. Since I can point already to baptisms, people returning to church, lives turning around, etc — even if CoWo is but for a season, what a wondrous blessing it has been. And I have been blessed to be a part of it.

    Like Luther, we can never be afraid to say “Tradition is not the word of God.” Since Popes and councils can err, we should do what we think is best and right to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ, having been convinced not by men, but by the Word of God.

  35. #1: Because my wearing normal clothes is what people are comfortable with. Few people have people in robes talking to them. They would ask themselves “Why does he do that?” So I don’t.

    This is extremely weak as so many jobs have specific types of clothing, everything from nurses to mailmen. So, people feel uncomfortable with nurses and mailmen because of their clothing? Actually they feel more comfortable. If I were in the hospital, I would not feel at all comfortable with someone in their own street clothes. I feel comfortable with my kids opening the door to the uniformed mailman, not strangers in street clothes. So, no that doesn’t meet a reasonable standard in our specific cultural context.

    #2: I strip down because God sees us as we are and not with any masks or faces—and so we are false and fake with people in church and not honest and open. So we teach them to strip away their masks, be who they are, because God loves them as they are.

    I don’t get this. God and people are not the same. We cannot see people as they are. We can only see them as they present themselves. There is nothing fake about uniforms. It is totally honest. The nurse isn’t fake by wearing her uniform. The nurse is being totally honest in wearing her uniform. She passed her exams and is licensed and officially employed by the hospital.

    #3: Wearing no vestments focuses the hearer on God’s Word. Who am I standing before them? Just another guy. Why do I have a right to speak? Not because of who I am, or what I wear, but because of God’s Word. That gives authority.

    Yeah, I don’t understand this at all. Our synod specifically designates teaching is to come from called ordained men who have studied and are in agreement with our confessions. God’s word is inherently authoritative, but in our synod, we, by consensus, do not hold that just anyone has authority to teach. There are lots of guys out there preaching all sorts of stuff and claiming it is God’s word, when all they are doing is taking stuff out of context and twisting it. You know that. You are not just another guy. You were approved by our seminary and called by a congregation in the manner agreed upon by all the congregations in the synod. Not just any guy can teach in the position of a pastor in our synod. Wearing vestment is being totally honest about who you are, what you have studied and your position in the church. You are not just a another guy, you even insist on being called Pastor.

    #4: It meets people where they are.
    My own attention was drawn to Luther who went without vestments — and that had happened in a short, short time span. How much more do we have now?

    I have no idea what you are saying here.

    Like anything else, this will make sense to some and they will do it; it will not make sense to others and they won’t. But for me, for my people, in my context, it makes sense. So I do it.

    I came to this discussion open to reading a credible defense. I have to say, I haven’t seen it. In fact, I am stunned, Pastor Louderback, that you aren’t even embarrassed to give such poor arguments. I was pretty open to being persuaded. I am probably one of the least committed to liturgical worship on this forum, but your statements actually push me away from seeing it as credible. Until about a year ago, I never even questioned contemporary worship. I didn’t think much about it at all. People on this site make fairly good points in favor of liturgy. I thought you might make some pretty good arguments for contemporary worship given that you seem so committed to it. I hope this doesn’t come off as insulting. No mask, not being fake, just saying what I honestly see here.

  36. Great, we all love the lost, but that is not a reasoned defense.
    “Some in theory, some in practice, I would say.”

    Do you realize this comes off as insulting?

    It seems to imply that some are insincere in caring for the lost because they don’t agree with you. It further implies that you think you are superior because you are actually doing something for the lost while others are just dreaming about it. I hope my reading is wrong, but do you see that smart alecky answers like that are very offensive?

    Proponents of historical practice could say that your practice is unloving to the lost and only loving in theory, in your own mind. I mean if people just want to be insulting rather than actually specifically explaining what they mean.

  37. @Mrs. Hume #39

    In fact, I am stunned, Pastor Louderback, that you aren’t even embarrassed to give such poor arguments.

    Well, I guess I am just sorta dumb when it comes down to it. 🙂

    Of course, maybe those I reach out to are dumb in the same way, eh?

    I am probably one of the least committed to liturgical worship on this forum, but your statements actually push me away from seeing it as credible.

    I’m sorry about that — perhaps I should have been more reticent in my responses.

    Since so many are doing what I do, perhaps you should hold your judgment until you meet someone smarter who would articulate better reasons. Perhaps they would be able to convince you better of why we do what we do.

    Do you realize this comes off as insulting?

    The Law is the Law, Mrs Hume. It cuts hard sometimes.

    It has been nice talking with you and I appreciate your interest and your questions.

    I feel as though my further response to your responses is not going to be very helpful. Suffice it to say, #1, I don’t think people see vestments in the same way as they see a uniform (or those that I’m trying to reach don’t); #2: I know I’m not just another guy — my point is that those who come don’t realize that. What is to convince them, what I wear or who I point to?

    As for the last, this is what I refer to:
    @James Sarver #179

    If ever you have any additional questions or thoughts, feel free to e-mail me at PastorQ at ShareChristArlington dot net.

    I’m sorry if my answers come off as smart-alecky. I certainly try to infuse a bit of humor into my words, but I don’t mean to be insulting. Whether we agree or not, we can take joy in the fellowship that we share with Christ through our baptisms, who has made us one.

  38. Great, we all love the lost, but that is not a reasoned defense.

    “Some in theory, some in practice, I would say.”

    Do you realize this comes off as insulting?

    “The Law is the Law, Mrs Hume. It cuts hard sometimes.”

    What law?

    What are you referring to?

    Makes no sense.

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