Attempts to find Concord (not compromise) in Texas!

April 26th, 2013 Post by

Worshiping the LORD with a self-chosen form taken from culture.

Worshiping the LORD with a self-chosen form taken from culture.

Last week I had the great joy of attending the 3rd Annual Free Conference of the ACELC.  The theme this year was on worship, and in the group’s earnest desire to restore unity and concord within Lutheranism they attempted to do something great – a grassroots effort to gather all sides to the table to discuss the disputed points of theology under the Scriptures and Lutheran Confessions.  This of course being a grassroots effort means that it is not troubled by bylaws, resolutions, candidacies, longstanding personality feuds, or politics for that matter.

What I heard was a number of pastors give presentations from various positions on worship.  I heard one of the finest presentations I have ever heard when Pr. Richard Stuckwisch spoke on high church liturgical worship.  His entire presentation was so seasoned with Scripture, Confessions, and especially Small Catechism language that it sounded like Revelation does to someone well versed in the Old Testament prophets.  It was remarkable.  I also heard a great presentation on the “concordist” position by Pr. Bryan Wolfmueller.  All of the presentations can be read here.

One honorable mention should be given to Pr. David Langewisch who presented on Contemporary Worship.  I applaud his desire to come and present and interact with the other pastors of more “traditional” worship.  One of the principle things taught to me in seminary by Dr. Masaki was the idea of starting points in theology.  He preferred us to always start with Christ, whether you were talking about the Sacraments, the Office of the Ministry, the End Times, or whatever.  Pr. Langewish started with “freedom”.  With such a starting point it did not take a special revelation to see where the presentation would go.  Although he did have a more “moderated” contemporary position, his theological underpinnings started at the wrong point.  Diversity was a good thing for him and he argued for a very “lowest common denominator” (as I would call it) form of uniformity.  But again, the starting point was all wrong.  For an awesome example of a proper starting point for any theological discussion see Pr. Stuckwisch’s paper.

Freedom in Lutheran theology (our very name reflects the freedom given in the Gospel) is not what some folks would like to make it.  In a manner which would make the Corinthians blush, many Americans use freedom to embrace selfish forms and snub the nose at the neighbor (I did it my way! Tolerate me!).  This selfishness is usually masked with some evangelistic motivation for pious veneer.  This is license, not freedom.  And in the end, this embrace of a self-declared freedom is actually slavery to self and the selfish whims and fads of the Old Adam and his sensual desires and needs.  This slavery is to be shackled to the ever changing culture which according to our Lord’s words about the end of all things will be getting worse and worse.  As one father in the faith taught me, a church which marries the culture of its day will soon find itself a widow (wasn’t the Church supposed to be the bride of Christ?).

The conference had a couple free conversation sessions, one designed to find where we agree, and one to bring out the points of disagreement.  Of particular note I found a point made by Pr. Wolfmueller to be very remarkable – that contemporary worship by its nature is impossible to pin down and is not be able to be handed down.  The moment that it begins to be handed down is the moment it is no longer fitting with the theology and reasonings of Contemporary Worship.  It is anti-catholic (that is anti-universal) by its very nature (going against what the creeds confess about the church).

LiturgicalAbuseIn the end, concord could not be found among all of the speakers – a sad statement of just how far apart we have sought and been allowed to drift apart.  Lovelessness and its love-child of innovation are killing us.  But still, it can be said that this was an honest attempt to find concord at the grassroots, free of the trappings so commonly found in a political environment, especially in an election year.  Congratulations to the ACELC for making such a valiant effort.  This conference accomplished more in two days that any other effort in recent memory.

My question for those who advocate contemporary practices – what is so deficient in Lutheran Service Book?  What in it makes it unable to be used?  In the end I believe there is nothing in LSB that makes it unusable by the practitioners of Contemporary Worship, but the dividing point is found in the theology of those practitioners.  Their theological foundations will not accept such a loving book designed to serve the Church.  Their theological foundations will not strive for uniformity or humbly accept that which has been given to them from our fathers (including our fathers in the Scriptures).  Instead they will seek to redefine uniformity to mean diversity and in the end leave nothing but generational chaos and poor souls who never know what to expect when visiting a “Lutheran” church.  Papers like that of Pr. Wolfmueller, Pr. Sawyer, Pr. Poppe, and Pr. Stuckwisch give me hope for the future of concord under the Scriptures and Confessions for the Evangelical Lutheran Church wherever she is found.

 






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  1. Nicholas
    April 27th, 2013 at 10:54 | #1

    @#4 Kitty #49

    You are not even a Christian, let alone a Lutheran: http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=27294&cpage=1#comment-808297

    All, in addition to claiming that the Holy Scriptures are “forgeries,” “kitty” has also made it quite clear on BJS and elsewhere in the blogosphere that she supports the murder of unborn children, homosexuality, placing women in armed combat, and denies that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation.

  2. Nicholas
    April 27th, 2013 at 10:57 | #2
  3. April 27th, 2013 at 11:46 | #3

    @helen #38
    The Dr. Just quote is from this book: http://www.cph.org/p-2881-lutheran-worship-history-and-practice.aspx?SearchTerm=lutheran%20worship%20history%20and%20practice , the last line of p.37, in an article titled “Liturgical Renewal in the Parish”. It talks about how the most important things are the integrity of the Service of the Word and the Service of the Sacrament, even though these things are expressed differently from time to time and culture to culture. I imagine that Dr. Just didn’t have quite in mind the kind of diversity we have today, but at the same time it is liberating to think that I don’t have to die by every letter of the LSB. When picking my battles, it is important to know what the priorities should be.

    Besides, the Lutheran approach to worship is inherently more flexible than the Roman Catholic. Catholics must live by the very letter of the mass, with no deviation or variation. The Divine Service, on the other hand, is much more organic. We are free to use metrical paraphrases of the liturgical hymns, and we have multiple textual versions of the Divine Service which are acceptably orthodox. Plus we allow substitutes, now with the additions of “This is the Feast” and “Thank the Lord,” we have demonstrated an open-handed approach to the appropriation of tradition and liturgy in our churches.

    We need to keep a broader cultural and historical perspective when it comes to the Divine Service. Lutherans in Africa are going to do their hymnody differently, because their culture is different. The LSB is not a law to restrict us in our worship, otherwise we become like Calvinists and their regulative principle of worship. The LSB, imo, is a tool to assist and a light to guide, an invaluable and indispensable resource. But it is not the doxological canon. I use it as the primary resource, and believe all our churches should, but recognize that we will all supplement it to differing degrees and express it with stylistic variations. Part of what makes it so great is it’s built in flexibility!

  4. Nicholas
    April 27th, 2013 at 11:50 | #4

    @Miguel #3

    Regarding Catholic masses, here is a video you should see: http://badvestments.blogspot.com/2011/02/why-this-site-started.html

  5. April 27th, 2013 at 11:54 | #5

    @Mark Louderback #44
    The early church also did invite unbelievers to their worship services. They were welcome to attend the Service of the Word, where they could hear the gospel clearly presented, and then dismissed for the Service of the Sacrament. They did not taylor their music in the Service of the Word to appeal to secular interest: rather, faithfulness to the message was the sole priority: If a visitor gladly grants you the gift of their presence and you have one shot, their takeaway should not be, “Wow, they have great music!”, but rather, “Wow, they have a great Savior!” It’s not that the music should be bad, but we must recognize that it’s function is subservient to the message, and some music does this better than others. Most CoWo does not proclaim the Gospel, it proclaims me and my personal relationship with Jesus, and how much I love my cosmic boyfriend, and how fully surrendered I am to his will: Now I have traded the wrong for the right, praise the Lord I saw the light. Skeptics rightly take away from this that the church is full of hypocrites who think they’ve got their life all put together, thanks to Jesus of course, unlike the rest of the unbelieving world.

  6. April 27th, 2013 at 12:07 | #6

    @Nicholas #4
    Episcopalian examples do not count. As the saying goes, all services in the Episcopal church are clown led. :P
    I’m not entirely sure if I should feel comforted by the fact that the Roman Catholic church has it just as bad as the Missouri Synod these days.

  7. Nicholas
    April 27th, 2013 at 12:09 | #7

    @Miguel #6

    The video was put together by a Roman Catholic, with mostly Catholic examples. It is not Christopher Johnson’s video.

  8. Rev. Weinkauf
    April 27th, 2013 at 12:09 | #8

    For discussions as this, it’s very unfortunate the Lutheran Confessions don’t speak in several places about Lutheran worship, how Lutherans should worship and practice; and if every pastor and every LCMS congregation take unconditional (quia) vows to those very documents. And further if we had a Synod constitution that would address doctrinal review of worship resources.

    Oh wait a minute…

  9. Rev. Robert Mayes
    April 27th, 2013 at 12:56 | #9

    @wineonthevines #41

    Wine:

    “Dignus Es” is Latin for “Worthy is…”, as in, “Worthy is the Lamb”.

    In Christ,
    Rev. Robert Mayes
    Beemer, NE

  10. Carl Vehse
    April 27th, 2013 at 13:17 | #10

    @Nicholas #4,

    If any (or all) of the blasphemies shown in the video were (or have been) done in Missouri Synod churches, the LCMS response would likely be nothing more than:

    By the grace of God, we have worked through a very challenging situation. It has been our deepest mutual concern in dealing with one another to be faithful to Christ, our respective vocations, and to each other as brothers. Our dealings have been marked throughout with patience, kindness, and love. We implore the church to do likewise.

    We have mutually forgiven each other where we have fallen short.

    We are reconciled.

    We are at peace.

  11. Nicholas
    April 27th, 2013 at 13:32 | #11

    @Carl Vehse #10

    Ain’t that the truth. :(

  12. Nicholas
    April 27th, 2013 at 13:41 | #12

    How long before the seeker-driven “pastors” in the LCMS follow the ELCA in putting together something like this: http://theoldadam.com/2009/08/21/another-disaster/

    Unless it has already been done…

  13. #4 Kitty
    April 27th, 2013 at 13:56 | #13

    @Nicholas #12
    It looks no different than the three LCMS national youth gatherings I attended back in mid 90′s early 2000′s.

  14. Carl Vehse
    April 27th, 2013 at 14:03 | #14

    @Nicholas #12, “How long before the seeker-driven “pastors” in the LCMS follow the ELCA…”

    Unless it has already been done…!

  15. wineonthevines
    April 27th, 2013 at 14:06 | #15

    @Rev Robert Hayes #9

    Thank you!

  16. Jim Pierce
    April 27th, 2013 at 14:28 | #16

    @jim #2

    One of the largest defects with multiculturalism and “diversity” of worship is that it is antithetical to what it claims to be. The CCM used in most contemporary services is pop music with a glittering of rock. You don’t find these congregations using metalcore, punk, and maybe screamo. Why is that? Because they aren’t really interested in the inclusiveness they claim, since the form of worship they utilize is designed for marketing to a segment of the population (The Emo and Punk kids get left out!). “Worship” is a marketing tool targeting a demographic, for CoWo.

    If we want to really talk about the diversity of “language” in worship, then take a look at the first four chapters of the book of Acts. Who is it that is bringing the “diversity”? Is it the Jewish Apostles? No. It is the Holy Spirit working through His Word and the Sacraments. Our attempts to mimic the work of the Holy Spirit through our marketing schemes serves to demonstrate the “golden-ness” of the calf-idol we have erected. IOW, rather than being the Church proclaiming the Gospel and rightly administering the sacraments, some have taken it upon themselves to try to do the work of the Holy Spirit and draw people to Christ through their own practices rooted in sociology and business principles. Hence the Golden Calf of “worship.”

  17. Jason
    April 27th, 2013 at 14:31 | #17

    @#4 Kitty #13
    @Carl Vehse #14

    When I when as a youth to Denver in 1989, I didn’t think or know much. After working with youth for a while, and a year at Concordia St. Paul, I went to Atlanta in 1998. Drove me a little bonkers. Because the youth gatherings have gotten to be bad schlock, Higher Things was born. If we weren’t so bad at our worship crap, I kind of doubt Higher Things would be around to help educate, teach, admonish and correct how we should do getherings.

    So, Kitty, it was wrong then and it is still wrong now.

  18. #4 Kitty
    April 27th, 2013 at 14:39 | #18

    @Jason #17

    I was there in Atlanta. Hated it. To the consternation of the other leaders I had to walk out of one of the late afternoon “performances” for a while before talking myself into returning.

    So, why hasn’t President Harrison disbanded these charades and replaced it with Higher Things?

  19. Jason
    April 27th, 2013 at 14:54 | #19

    @#4 Kitty #18
    Probably political reasons for now. We will see what Koinania brings about. I like the concept of the one big natiaonal gathering, IF it was designed more like Higher things. And HT provides smaller anuual gatherings, to help kepe the youths’ appetites wet. I just wish the NYG were a (much) better quality.

    As for Atlanta, the part the p****d me off the most was the CSP presentation. Beforehand, I knew a couple of classmates working on it and had seen a little preliminary. I saw the dragon costume thing they were working on. But then the one guy I knew and talked with, he was the MC, and launched into the whole Martin Luther King video stuff. They were given a 20 minute alottment and went 45. (or was it 45 min and they went 1 hour, 25 mintues?) Whatever it was, they blew over by way more than a mile. Very poor planning and stewardship. Because it was like having two unrelated topics mashed together. I felt ashamed and embarassed that this could represent my college. I think this was the tipping point to when I started turning from (and kind of despizing) CoWo, seeker-freindly, liberal Church Growth, et al. I saw people trying to outdo themselves (and the Holy Spirit) with a look-at-me marketing.

  20. Nicholas
    April 27th, 2013 at 15:12 | #20

    @Carl Vehse #14

    Not surprised that Kieschnick was there.

  21. John Rixe
    April 27th, 2013 at 15:58 | #21

    “Each night, we gather to hear speakers, watch skits, experience the talent of artists, sing our lungs out for Jesus, and learn more about what WE BELIEVE. Mass Events are a great time to laugh, learn, praise, and hang out together.”
    - 2010 NYG publicity

    I don’t understand.  Isn’t the intention of the Mass Events wholesome fun and entertainment (not Divine Services)?  What’s wrong with that?  

    (Please folks no personal insults.  I’m just asking a question here.)

  22. April 27th, 2013 at 19:56 | #22

    @Jason #19
    My pastor described the national gathering as: “Just traditional enough to be somewhat Lutheranish, but with enough youthy stuff to try to convince the kids that the Synod is still with it.” To which I replied, “So the entire event is build around a big lie?” When the LCMS is “with it,” that’ll be the day. :P

  23. Carl Vehse
    April 27th, 2013 at 20:10 | #23

    “somewhat Lutheranish”

    That’s like being “partly pregnant.”

  24. John Rixe
    April 27th, 2013 at 20:45 | #24

    Dr Strickert

    You just need to sing your lungs out for Jesus :)

  25. helen
    April 27th, 2013 at 20:52 | #25

    @Carl Vehse #23

    Yes, but NYG has been sleeping around with Pentecostals, Babtis, and non-denominationals.
    My grandson was at Orlando and didn’t find much “Lutheran” at all…
    (esp. not the “First wife” in the pulpit.)

  26. John Rixe
    April 27th, 2013 at 20:59 | #26

    My grandson was at Orlando and didn’t find much “Lutheran” at all…
    (esp. not the “First wife” in the pulpit.)

    Was this at a Divine Service or a Mass Event?

  27. Jason
    April 27th, 2013 at 21:01 | #27

    @John Rixe #26

    Sometimes they are the same thing. And the powers that be really don’t care to distinguish between the two.

  28. April 27th, 2013 at 21:40 | #28

    Miguel,

    I can’t say all those singers on that clip had beautiful voices, but man, their singing was beautiful – each and every one!

    I can’t get that hymn out of my head, nor do I want to.

    YBIC

  29. April 28th, 2013 at 08:29 | #29

    @Nicholas #46

    And he is wrong. And the place of evangelism is most certainly NOT the Divine Service, and it never can be.
    ——-

    And WHERE does it say this in Scripture, exactly?

    Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” (Acts 17:1-3)

  30. Nicholas
    April 28th, 2013 at 08:35 | #30

    @Mark Louderback #29

    That was a congregation of unbelievers. The equivalent today would be proclaiming Christ in a modern synagogue or mosque. If you seriously believe that this passage supports your “doing church for the unchurched” nonsense, you might want to ask the seminary for a refund, and then get out of the ministry.

  31. April 28th, 2013 at 13:59 | #31

    @Rev. Bolland #37:
    We are in a Synod and we used to be comfortable in saying to our people that they could travel on vacation or business and visit other LCMS congregations without fear of being “ambushed” by some false doctrine or errant practice. It was considered part of “walking together”.

    Me:
    I thought of your earlier post as I am investigating a possible move across the country, as your point about false doctrine should not get overshadowed by the discussion on this thread about “practice.”

    This (Sunday) morning I attended two different traditional LCMS churches. One was just fine, but at the other the lady leading the ten-minute children’s message (no communion btw because of time constraints) told the kiddies after her talk on “gifts from God” (Stewardship theme) that they too will go to heaven if they “pray hard and continue to ask God for gifts.” That’s verbatim!

    This was only topped by the pastor quoting from his favorite Max Lucado book during the sermon.

  32. Drew Kornreich
    April 28th, 2013 at 14:09 | #32

    @#4 Kitty #18

    Sorry for being slightly off topic, but I just commented to my pastor in a similar vein re the Lutheran Witness. He places them out and I borrowed the Nov and March issues (I think) and noted to him that I had NEVER read LWs that were so “meaty.” I had stopped reading the LW because it was a bit “fluffy,” but there certainly has been a nice change at the LW, IMO, at least based on this small sampling. Maybe there’s some “higher” influence going on? Whatever it is, I like it!

  33. #4 Kitty
    April 28th, 2013 at 15:40 | #33

    @Drew Kornreich #32
    It’s the editor, Adriane Dorr. She’s turned things around for the LW.

  34. April 28th, 2013 at 18:28 | #34

    @Nicholas #30

    I am out of the ministry.

    Ok — so, even granting that the Jews at that time were unbelievers — a bit dubious, but we’ll go there — what passage do you have to forbid the action?

  35. Nate Bargmann
    April 28th, 2013 at 20:40 | #35

    Until several years ago our congregation was solidly TLH. While we had moved away from 5/15 every other Sunday, we had arrived at 15 for Communion with Matins and Vespers most every non-Communion Sunday with 5 once in a great while. I grew up with TLH until LSB, a period of almost 45 years. While I have learned more about the liturgy due to the excellent annotations in the LSB, I find a number of the liturgical arrangements very difficult to sing. Most of that is familiarity, after all, I heard every note of TLH countless times. But some of the arrangements are just a bit “too much” for a country boy like me. Simple measures that don’t involve a lot of movement are well-learned and sung.

    Today we used LSB Setting Three which is TLH 15 and it was good to be in familiar territory. It just seems to me that some of LSB’s liturgy was written with music majors in mind and while they’re beautiful arrangements they just haven’t lent themselves well to congregational singing. Maybe we just need more practice! :)

    LSB or TLH, it’s traditional liturgy for me. CoWo need not apply.

  36. Rev. McCall
    April 29th, 2013 at 08:48 | #36

    @John Rixe #26
    I have to say John you are right here. I have only been to one Youth Gathering, 2010. The mass gathering was not worship nor was it billed as such. They are simply called mass gatherings and served as a pep rally/cap to the end of the day. The worship service was on the last day and it had male only, LCMS, vested clergy, complete with an altar and pulpit and followed (although a little loosely) an order of liturgy from one of our synodically approved hymnbooks. Neither I nor my youth were confused as to which one was worship and which one was just a mass gathering.

  37. April 29th, 2013 at 09:50 | #37

    @Drew Kornreich #32
    Hi Drew,

    Long time, no see! You still working in Los Alamos? As to the slightly off topic subject, yes, some things are progressing in our Synod, but little is changing to actually resolve our differences. The Synod is still as badly divided on any number of issues as it has ever been which is part of the Kieschnick legacy for us…and he still has plenty of fans. For a complete listing of the areas of division I recomment the following site: http://www.acelc.net Click on “Key Documents” and then on “Letter of Fraternal Admonition”. Frankly, I am quite incredulous that after three years the current administration can’t even produce a list of concerns, let alone actually speak to them. It would appear that the Koinonia Project is going nowhere fast. My e-mail is richardabolland@gmail.com. Send me a note and I’ll give you my phone number and we can chat. It’s been way too long.

  38. helen
    April 29th, 2013 at 11:20 | #38

    @Mark Louderback #29
    And he is wrong. And the place of evangelism is most certainly NOT the Divine Service, and it never can be. –Nicholas
    And WHERE does it say this in Scripture, exactly? –Mark Louderback

    Christ told Peter, and the other apostles, “Feed my sheep.”
    Visitors should be welcomed at any Divine Service, but it should not be tailored to their whims (or the pastor’s) at the expense of the congregation of believers.

    CoWo enthusiasts not infrequently tell longtime Lutherans to “pay up and shut up, or leave”… (Interestingly, the “praise” devotees frequently leave also in a short time, “and the last state of that [congregation] is worse than the first”). :(

    I won’t ask, Mark.

  39. April 29th, 2013 at 17:09 | #39

    There seems to be a misunderstanding as to who leads, or who is given to lead, the public worship service of Christ’s church–not a small matter in considering the merits of a given style.

  40. April 30th, 2013 at 15:36 | #40

    @helen #38

    If you are going to make a statement that Scripture binds certain behavior — “The Bible teaches that X is wrong” then you ought to have some evidence to demonstrate that.

    “Feed my sheep” is hardly evidence that you can’t have an evangelism bent in worship.

    CoWo enthusiasts not infrequently tell longtime Lutherans to “pay up and shut up, or leave”…

    As do their liturgical bretheren…only they wrap it in statements of “The Bible forbids this.”

  41. April 30th, 2013 at 22:06 | #41

    @Mark Louderback #40
    2 Thessalonians 2:15 might beg to differ. The model of Scripture and Christian tradition is continuity with the past. CoWo is all about iconoclasm and discontinuity. You can’t just be a stark Biblicist and say “well, the Bible doesn’t explicitly and specifically forbid this thing that was invented 2000 years later, so therefore it couldn’t possibly be in conflict with Christian doctrine.” The fact is that Lutherans who want to copy the worship trends of other churches and import practices based on false doctrines into the Lutheran church do more harm than good. If you like the way other churches worship, you are better off joining one of them than trying to strongarm a Lutheran church into making a cheap imitation. And if one doesn’t understand the direct correlation between doctrine and worship practice, I humbly suggest said person ought not be given the reigns for determining either.

    There’s only one way for a worship service to be evangelistic: to proclaim the Evangel. Nothing does this more directly, clearly, and emphatically than the historic liturgy. You want to throw it out? I’m still waiting to see somebody come up with something better.

  42. May 1st, 2013 at 20:35 | #42

    @Miguel #41

    There is little doubt that Scripture does not specifically address things invented in our times by name — like say, the morning after pill — that are still prohibited by Scripture. So, yes, I agree with you.

    But if you are going to bind someone — “Drinking alcohol is a sin!” — you’d better have some passages to back it up — and if they don’t — And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18 ESV)— you can’t act as if they do.

    2 Thes 5:15 — So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter. (2 Thessalonians 2:15 ESV)— does not prohibit any type of worship service while allowing something else. In fact, it says the opposite — it is saying to hold to the Word, not to human traditions.

    As far as copying other worship services go: we Lutherans can have services that look positively identica to Roman Catholic services — but we don’t teach their doctrine. So I think that the connection between doctrine and practice is sometimes overplayed.

    I think that Lutheran CoWo is indeed distinctly Lutheran — that certainly is what Pr L is speaking of. You see that in his clear thoughts on how he is not for anything-goes-freedom.

    As far as the historic liturgy proclaiming the Gospel more clearly than anything else — so, if the historical liturgy was wiped out, God would have problems converting people? Not quite sure about that. I think this is merely pious opinion and that CoWo works just as well — because the power is in the Word.

  43. May 1st, 2013 at 20:41 | #43

    All genuine theology must proceed from the principle of speaking where God’s Word speaks and being silent when God’s Word is silent. – Sasse

    I mean, Sasse quotes end all arguments, don’t they?

  44. May 2nd, 2013 at 14:45 | #44

    @Mark Louderback #42
    Thanks for the pushback, but I’m gonna have to call you to task for some of that.
    My initial point is that Scripture doesn’t address “CoWo” specifically with a prohibition or a discouragement. The lack of either does not necessarily make it ambivalent: You can still make plenty of a scriptural case against it. All things are lawful, but not all things are beneficial.

    …does not prohibit any type of worship while allowing something else. In fact, it says the opposite – it is saying to hold to the Word, not to human traditions.

    Are you kidding? You have literally stood that text on it’s head. It says, “hold to to the tradition you were taught by us.” The Word was not mentioned, you have to read that into the text. It’s not about whether this text bans CoWo, as it doesn’t address that either. What it models for us is continuity with the past. Paul is admonishing Timothy to practice his faith in the manner he was instructed, not to get “creative” and figure out his own way to do it. CoWo is all about throwing way the tradition we were handed and the triumph of individualism over historicity. The way most CoWo works is it thumbs its nose at the way saints have worshiped for centuries because we’re so enlightened that we know better, and we don’t need no stinking traditions. So basically it replaces a tried and true tradition, which has successfully handed down the faith for centuries, with a contemporary novelty which can’t even pass the faith to the next generation because it’s too rooted in the flavor of the month. The worst part of it all is that the CoWo proponents have seriously deluded themselves into thinking that 1. they are more genuinely spiritual than traditionalists, and 2. this is because they aren’t bound by a tradition. But they ARE bound by a tradition, one that is trendy, rootless, and Christless.

    we Lutherans can have services that look positively identica to Roman Catholic services — but we don’t teach their doctrine.

    Come again? There are MAJOR, significant differences between the Divine Service and the Roman Mass. We reformed the mass to get our worship, rather than starting with a blank slate, because we recognize that despite their corruption, the Roman Catholic church still delivered the faith to us through the Scriptures and Tradition.

    The question is, does the LCMS see itself as Catholic Protestantism, or are we merely Evangelicals of Single Predestinational orientation? I suggest we actually have far more in common with the tenacious Christo-centricity of Roman Catholicism then we should with the circus of Evangelicalism. Every err we have ever condemned in the church of Rome is today present in Evangelicalism in spades. They make Tetzel look like a defender of the faith. Should we be taking our cues from a tradition whose pope is Mammon? Seriously?

    That being said, I can believe that many Lutherans are trying to integrate modern innovations with the Lutheran tradition. Remaining distinctly Lutheran, however, becomes difficult when introducing practices based on false doctrine. Evangelicals today barely recognized such thing exists, so I suggest we use extreme caution when accepting materials from their sources.

    if the historical liturgy was wiped out, God would have problems converting people?

    Don’t be ridiculous. The Word of God is eternal, and the liturgy is 90% scripture. Are you suggesting God’s own words are revocable?

    God can and does covert people however he pleases. The question we ought to be asking is, how does he do this? He might use a sunset or an emotional crooner on the radio, but we do know this for sure: His Word, the means of grace, and the faithful proclamation of Christ crucified are his modus operandi. We would be fools to count on anything else.

    And I’m sorry, but CoWo does NOT embrace those things just as well. CoWo minimizes the role that Scripture plays in worship and removes the props of tradition which keep Christ the center of everything. CoWo is an inherently Christ-less tradition that is capable of speaking of Christ, provided the current leader cares to. But there’s nothing in the tradition itself that is essentially Christian, much less Lutheran.

    Mark my words, in the coming years, you will see the CoWo industry expanding to market similar products to Seeker Mormons and Purpose Driven Mosques.

  45. Nicholas
    May 2nd, 2013 at 17:54 | #45

    @Miguel #44

    Great comment Miguel. Both of us are Christians who have left the Evangelical circus for both the orthodox theology and divine liturgy of Lutheranism. It boggles my mind how many cradle Lutherans, especially ordained ministers, want to drink from the poison well of Evangelicalism/Enthusiasm/Seeker-drivenism. They’ve given in to the temptation.

    People like Mark Louderback, Tim Glende, James Skorzewski, Mark Jeske, Jerry Kieschnick et al are not Lutheran or catholic at all; they are enthusiasts and restorationists, just as much as any Anabaptist, Campbellite, or Pentecostal. This is what seeker-drivenism/CoWo is.

    I don’t think we’ll see any seeker-driven Mosques, however. I consider it a reproach upon so much of modern “Christendom” that so many professing “Christians” are so willing to profane the sacred. No orthodox Muslim would ever do that. You will never see a Message paraphrase of the Quran. If a Message lectionary were ever published, I’m sure that the Louderbacks in the LCMS would use it.

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