At one time in the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, every congregation was united in doctrine and practice. Scripture’s teaching on Holy Communion were taken seriously, and Closed Communion was the order of the day. In the 16th century, Lutherans took their theology a bit more seriously than we do now as well, as the following quote from The Lutheran Confessions: History and Theology of The Book of Concord clearly illustrates. At the time, Tileman Hesshus was a professor of theology at the University of Heidelberg, president of the church council, and general superintendent of the churches of the Palatinate. Wilhelm Klebitz was the deacon of Hesshus’s congregation:
Hesshus deposed Klebitz after tussling with him over the chalice in front of the altar of the Holy Spirit church in Heidelberg because he believed it impious for someone who denied Christ’s real presence in the Sacrament to distribute it.
You won’t see anyone fighting over Christ’s body and blood today. Now, we’re all talk and no tussle. I hope that will change, because it’s worth fighting about.
References: Charles P. Arand, Robert Kolb, and James A. Nestingen, The Lutheran Confessions: History and Theology of The Book of Concord, (Minneapolis, Fortress Press, 2012) 237.