Order of Service for Catechization, from Liturgy for Christian Congregations of the Lutheran Faith, by Wilhelm Loehe

May 8th, 2013 Post by

*The service begins with a hymn, suitable to the part of the Catechism to be studied. During the last stanza the minister approaches the altar and reads, whenever possible alternately with the congre gation, one of the following Psalms 1; 19; 34; 119, 1-19. Then:

catechism_lessonP. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.

P. Let us pray : ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, inasmuch as it is Thy will that not one of the least of these Thy children be lost, but hast sent Thine only Son to seek and to save them, and through Him hast commanded us to suffer the little children to come unto Thee, for of such is the Kingdom of God: we beseech Thee to bless and rule our youth with Thy Holy Spirit, that they may grow and increase in Thy Word, and give Thy holy Angels charge over them, that they may be protected and defended against all harm and danger, through Jesus Christ, Thine only Son, our Lord. Amen.

Or:

O ALMIGHTY God, our Heavenly Father, inasmuch as our salvation depends on a right knowledge of Thy Word: grant to these children here assembled, we beseech Thee, freedom from all worldly thoughts and entanglements, that they may hear and learn Thy Word with all zeal and diligence, so that they may daily grow and increase in the saving truths of the same, believe from their hearts the holy Gospel, and remain steadfast in obedience to Thy holy will, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, etc.

Or:

O ALMIGHTY, Everlasting God; grant, we beseech Thee, that, as Thine only begotten Son, because of His great love for Thy house, remained in the temple for three days and was found sitting among the doctors by His Mother, these children also may have an earnest desire for Thy house, cling to Thy Word and its saving truths, increase and grow in knowledge and wisdom, in virtue and obedience toward Thee and all mankind, and attain to the full stature of manhood in Christ, Thine only and well beloved Son, to the praise of Thy Holy Name, to the great joy of the saints and to their own eternal salvation, through Jesus Christ, etc.

Following these prayers the minister says:

P. Let us recite the holy catechism.

I

What is the First Commandment?
R. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me! 
In similar manner all the other questions are answered.

What is the second Commandment?
What is the third Commandment?
What is the fourth Commandment?
What is the fifth Commandment?
What is the sixth Commandment?
What is the seventh Commandment?
What is the eighth Commandment?
What is the ninth Commandment?
What is the tenth Commandment ?
What does God say concerning all these Commandments?

imagesII.

P. What is the first article of our Christian faith?
P. What is the second article of our Christian faith?
P. What is the third article of our Christian faith?

III.

P. Let us pray: Our Father, Who art in Heaven, etc.

*Note. The Lord’s Prayer may also be said in questions and answers.

P. What is the introduction to the Lord’s Prayer?
P. What is the first petition? etc., etc.
P. What is the conclusion?

IV.

P. What are the words of our Lord Jesus Christ concerning holy Baptism?
R. In the last chapter of St. Matthew, verse 19 : — Go ye therefore, etc.

V.

P. What are the words of our Lord Jesus Christ concerning the holy Sacrament of the Altar?
R. The holy Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, together with St. Paul write thus: etc.

VI.

P. What are the words of our Lord Jesus Christ concerning the office and power of the Keys?
R. The Lord Jesus said to His disciples: He that heareth you, etc.

*For the sake of variety only one of the chief parts of the Catechism may be used, but then always with Luther’s explanations. Two boys then come to the entrance to the chancel, somewhere near the font, so that they may be easily seen and heard by the con gregation. They then ask and recite alternately one of the parts of the small catechism, together with Luther’s explanation. The parts shall be taken in their order. On high Festivals the Questions of Rosinus or Bellinus shall be asked and answered in similar man ner (Vid. Loehe’s House, — School and Church-Book, Part 1.) When the boys have finished their part, the boys and girls shall antiphonally recite suitable hymns. The catechist then takes up a part of the catechism, and begins to catechise not only the children and those to be confirmed, but also the older and matured members of the congregation. Adults shall not be forbidden to ask questions, state doubts or whatever may trouble them, so that the minister may encourage or warn them as need may require.

When the catechization has been completed, the minister, according to circumstances, admonishes obedience to the truth, and exhorts to prayer. The children then kneel, and pray in concert:

images (1)LORD God, Heavenly Father, most heartily do we thank Thee that Thou hast kindled the light of Thy holy Word and hast granted it to shine in us, and we beseech Thee that Thou wilt not per mit Satan nor this evil world to extinguish it from our hearts. Be merciful to us, dear Father, for we are especially liable to such temptation. We are young and inexperienced, and constantly need to be instructed and trained in Thy fear, so that the older we grow the more we may know of Thee. But the enemies of Thy Word have set themselves to lead us into idolatry and superstition, yea, even to deprive us utterly of Thy truth . Defend us, we pray, from such great evil for the sake of Thine own Name. Thou hast said Thou wilt perfect Thy praise out of the mouth of babes and sucklings. For this grace we beseech Thee now. Give peace to Thy Church, and destroy all the enemies of Thy Word that threaten us, so that we and our brothers and sisters, who are growing to manhood and womanhood, may not be deprived of the light of Thy holy Word, but be enabled day by day to acknowledge, praise and worship Thee, Who, with Thine only Son and the Holy Ghost, art our only hope.
R. Amen.

Then all together pray the LORD’S PRAYER, during which the prayer-bell is rung. After the prayer one or more verses of a hymn are sung. The Collect with proper sentence then follows. One or the other of the following sentences may be used:

How amiable are Thy tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts. Hallelujah. My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord. Hallelujah. Sanctify us, Lord, through Thy truth. Hallelujah. Thy Word is truth. Hallelujah. O that my ways were directed to keep Thy statutes. Hallelujah. Then shall I not be ashamed when I have respect unto all Thy Commandments. Hallelujah.

P. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.

P. Let us pray: WE thank Thee, Lord God, Heavenly Father, that Thou hast preserved unto us Thy holy Word, and hast built us up in Thy faith by its mighty power: and we beseech Thee graciously to forgive us everything that we have done contrary to the same. Preserve among us this precious treas ure, that through its power we may come to ever lasting life, through Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son, our Lord. Amen.

Or:

WE thank Thee, Lord God, Heavenly Father, that Thou hast granted to us to know the chief parts of the Christian truth; and most heartily do we beseech Thee to seal and preserve with out error in our hearts the testimony of the same, so that we may remain steadfast in Thy fear and faith, always rejoice in hope, and finally obtain the end of our faith, even the salvation of our souls, through Jesus Christ, etc.

Or:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWE thank Thee, Lord God, Heavenly Father, that Thou hast also deemed our children worthy to come to the knowledge of Thy truth as it is in Jesus Christ our Savior ; and we humbly beseech Thee to enlighten and strengthen their hearts and minds by Thy Holy Spirit, to increase Thy Kingdom among us, and to keep us in the true faith unto everlasting life, through Jesus Christ, etc.

P. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.

P. Bless we the Lord.
R. Thanks be to Thee, O God.

P. The Lord bless thee, etc.
R. Amen.


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  1. John Rixe
    May 13th, 2013 at 13:54 | #1

    @Diane #48 pg 1

    “*The service begins with a hymn, suitable to the part of the Catechism to be studied. During the last stanza the minister approaches the altar and reads, whenever possible alternately with the congregation, one of the following Psalms 1; 19; 34; 119, 1-19…

    Two boys then come to the entrance to the chancel, somewhere near the font, so that they may be easily seen and heard by the congregation.”

    What is your evidence that the service above is for a catechism class?  Thanks.

  2. helen
    May 13th, 2013 at 14:06 | #2

    *The service begins with a hymn, suitable to the part of the Catechism to be studied. During the last stanza the minister approaches the altar and reads, whenever possible alternately with the congre gation, one of the following Psalms 1; 19; 34; 119, 1-19. Then:

    @John Rixe #1
    What is your evidence that the service above is for a catechism class? Thanks.

    Maybe the forward above, which you quoted!… and Pr. Scheer’s statement that he used it for catechism class?

    If it’s an old order, it may well have been designed for the Sunday afternoon catechism classes which involved the whole congregation, once upon a time, when we were literate in Lutheranism.

  3. John Rixe
    May 13th, 2013 at 14:22 | #3

    @helen #2

    Thanks. I’m definitely not literate in Lutheranism. Never heard of a Sunday afternoon catechism class involving the whole congregation. There must have not been many NFL fans.

  4. Rev. McCall
    May 13th, 2013 at 14:24 | #4

    @helen #49
    I am not suggesting there is any theological danger in this service. Here is what I am suggesting: We agree to use doctrinally pure hymbooks, agendas, (liturgies), and catechisms when we agree to be part of synod. Now, who determines what is doctrinally pure and what isn’t? Every pastor certainly can, but for the sake of our walk together synod reserves the right to review these sorts of things, especially pertaining to those things listed in Article VI that Carl quoted. They go through the process of doctrinal review and are judged based on Scripture and the Confessions to be either pure or not.
    Here is a scenario to show how this works:
    Pastor A decides to write his own “CoWo” service. He judges it to be doctrinally pure, his congregation agrees with him, and his circuit counselor agrees with him and allows him to use it.
    Pastor B decides to write his own “traditional” service. He judges it to be doctrinally pure, his congregation agrees with him, and his circuit counselor agrees with him and allows him to use it.
    Under Pr. Scheer’s criteria, why is pastor A wrong and pastor B right? Both pastors have the same training and degree, both of their ecclesiastical supervisors have signed off on their service as being doctrinally pure. So who is right? This is what synod reserves for herself, the right to review and judge doctrine based on Scripture and the Confessions, the process called doctrinal review. We don’t all run around doing our own thing, even if it is doctrinally correct. This is what Carl means when he says Article VI becomes meaningless if each pastor is allowed to be the sole judge of doctrinal purity in these matters. To a great extent we curb that right and freedom and leave it to synod to discern, especially on matters of liturgy, hymnbooks, agenda, and catechism (of which this posting IS a service). If we want to walk together as synod and we want our CoWo brothers and sisters to walk with us we ought to ALL be willing to submit to the same standards.

  5. R.D.
    May 14th, 2013 at 08:27 | #5

    @John Rixe #45
    “Is there any doubt that they and their congregations sincerely judge these services to be doctrinally pure?”

    Yes. I have had a CoWo pastor and his minions tell me that “doctrinally pure” is an impediment to church growth. I asked, “You have the Word, and with the Word works the Holy Spirit, and God says his Word does not return to him void but accomplishes the purpose for which He sent it, therefore why are you gutting [God's word] the Divine Service and repackaging it?” The answer with a finger in my face was, “So they’ll buy it!” I was 17 at the time.

    They drove us (some 50 of us) out of the congregation to make way for their Cowo.

  6. R.D.
    May 14th, 2013 at 08:48 | #6

    @John Rixe #45
    “Locally, we use synodically approved materials with our praise band Saturday service. Some of you folks still think we are doctrinally impure and compare us to worshipping a golden calf. Is there any advantage then in using synodically approved material? This is so confusing.”

    “Doctrinally pure” is a good statement in the bylaws, however, I would suggest this not be a rule, rather a statement to the world of what we do. After all, God’s Word is the only rule and norm.

    All you who would like synodical rule this, synodical statement that, or bylaw X.XX to finally decide exactly which materials to use, this is where John Rixe wins the debate. When you look to the synod to make a rule for us, in this case, “doctrinally reviewed,” it backfires, and John Rixe gets to have his CoWo from CPH because he doesn’t know any better. There’s not a thing you can do about his pastor, because after all, he’s following the rules. So you think, “We just need to strengthen the rules to take out the ‘loopholes.” That won’t fix anything. “Oh yes, we can, we can state *only* LSB may be used.” If we could do that, I admit we would seem better off than we are now, but remember there’s CoWo in LSB too. If you mandated only LSB, the only thing you truly accomplish is introducing more legalism.

    The real problem is doctrinal oversight.

  7. Diane
    May 14th, 2013 at 08:59 | #7

    @R.D. #6

    You’re absolutely right, R.D. However, maybe the laity would get better sermons and catechesis if pastors (some pastors, anyway) stopped trying to reinvent the ‘wheel’ of liturgy every week.

  8. Rev. McCall
    May 14th, 2013 at 09:24 | #8

    @R.D. #6
    Doctrinal oversight by whom? John Rixe’s pastor and circuit counselor and probably even his District President have no problem with his churches service. Where does the buck stop? With synod? That’s what I am saying that Article VI says. That’s why we give the duty of doctrinal review to synod in matters listed in Article VI. You want a book published? Fine! You are more than welcome to do so! Do you want that book to be approved as doctrinally pure for use within synod and her congregations? Then you submit it to synod, who acting on behalf of all member churches judges that book according to Scripture. Do you want to write or use a hymnal, hymn, or liturgy? Fine! Go ahead! Do you want that hymnal, hymn, or liturgy to be approved as doctrinally pure for use in any LCMS member church? Then submit it to doctrinal review where synod, on behalf of all member churches will judge that material to be doctrinally pure or not based on Scripture. No exceptions for CoWo, traditional, or anything in between. That’s how you walk together.

  9. Rev. McCall
    May 14th, 2013 at 09:30 | #9

    @Diane #7
    Amen!

  10. May 14th, 2013 at 09:42 | #10

    While I appreciate what you are proposing Rev. McCall, I just don’t get how Synod’s doctrinal review system is the sole arbiter of truth. Everything that happens in my parish I would gladly open up to review (and I do because of the visitation practices of my District). Where does your line stop – does a newsletter article need to be doctrinally reviewed? A Lenten Devotion that a pastor writes for his parish? Children’s Christmas program? An Easter Vigil which varies the LSB one due to congregational constraints? Bible Studies? Prayers? Sermons? It may sound silly, but you seem to place no ability for the pastor/congregation/circuit visitor/circuit to determine “pure doctrine” but instead would rather trust a politicized system of anonymous reviewers.

  11. May 14th, 2013 at 09:47 | #11

    @Diane #7
    You are right. One of the trappings of CoWo is the need to constantly change the liturgy. That is one of the most disastrous things about CoWo – it underhandedly teaches a constant need to change and also hints at a constantly changing God.

  12. Rev. McCall
    May 14th, 2013 at 10:24 | #12

    @Pastor Joshua Scheer #10
    Article VI seems to limit this to “hymnbooks, agendas, and catechisms.” To me this is a rather narrow scope that covers only hymns, liturgies, rites contained within the agenda, and the catechism. Everything else is certainly left up to the pastor and his congregation and/or eccelsiastical supervisor. Bible studies, prayers, sermons, devotions, childrens Christmas programs, and the like would be within an individual pastors wheelhouse, not synods. If you notice, I don’t think I have disapproved of your modifying and use of the service in this post to open catechism class. I don’t even find it to be doctrinally impure! God bless you for doing it and I think it is wonderful!
    However this post didn’t say anything about that. It was simply a post of “An Order of Service for Catechization” from a non-synodical hymnbook, presumably for readers use as a worship service or perhaps as part of a rite of confirmation. The way I read Article VI says that if that is the case it needs to go through doctrinal review. As Carl pointed out it should probably be no problem!

    Synod and her review process are not the sole abitrator of truth, God’s Word is. However in matters of “hymnals, agendas, and catechisms” we voluntarily, as members of synod, allow synod (using God’s Word alone) to judge the doctrinal purity of such things. A pastor can and should even review the things that pass doctrinal review! For instance, I have no intention of using some of the hymns included in the LSB and I do not like Setting Five at all. But if I want to write a new hymn or liturgy to replace them I am not free to do so without first submitting them to synod for her review. Past of this is for the sake of outward unity. Unity both here and now and throughout the ages.
    I don’t know if any of that makes sense. Often they make sense in my head, but don’t come out right when I type! :-)

  13. Carl Vehse
    May 14th, 2013 at 11:39 | #13

    I agree with Rev. McCall. There are, no doubt, publications that are orthodox, even though they have not been reviewed by the LCMS Commission on Doctrinal Review.

    However, members of the Missouri Synod, for the sake of outward unity, should agree to use hymnbooks, agendas, and catechisms that have gone through the CDR process for use throughout the Synod.

    Encouraging Missouri Synod churches to follow such a guideline would help to reduce aberrant contemporary worshiptainment. Lutherans who seek to repristinate some original, historical church liturgy may do so, but then submit their evidence for CDR approval for use in the Synod.

  14. John Rixe
    May 14th, 2013 at 13:28 | #14

    @R.D. #5

    I’m guessing (hoping) this was a weird outlier pastor and not typical of contemporary worship pastors.  This was indeed a tragic situation and I share your outrage.

  15. helen
    May 16th, 2013 at 15:34 | #15

    @John Rixe #14
    @R.D. #5
    I’m guessing (hoping) this was a weird outlier pastor and not typical of contemporary worship pastors. This was indeed a tragic situation and I share your outrage.

    I’m not so sure because I’ve been there, too.
    When a church officer says, “We’ve got to try something different because Word and Sacrament aren’t getting the numbers”, somebody’s accent is on the wrong sy lab’ le, as we used to say.

    [Interesting thing, though. They "tried something different" and the numbers went down.]

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