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. Rev. McCall
    May 8th, 2013 at 11:53 | #1

    Is this synodically approved for use? ;-)

  2. John Rixe
    May 8th, 2013 at 14:39 | #2

    Will this fit on the projection screen? :)

  3. John Rixe
    May 8th, 2013 at 15:11 | #3

    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.

    (…..to turn this into a 300 comment thread)   What are the girl catechumen? Potted plants?

  4. Rev. McCall
    May 8th, 2013 at 18:55 | #4

    @John Rixe #3
    No, but they do need to hide behind them lest we think they are trying to usurp the Office of Ministry. :-)

  5. John Rixe
    May 8th, 2013 at 21:15 | #5

    Good point.  I’m always getting 12-year-olds mixed up with the real pastor. :)

  6. John Rixe
    May 8th, 2013 at 22:12 | #6

    Pastor Riley

    The article is interesting and indeed shows how much times have changed.  The language is beautiful.  Even as late as the early 1950’s some of this rigor had been maintained.   Our confirmation classes were 1 hour each Tuesday and Thursday and 1 1/2 hours on Saturday over 2 years.

    On the Saturday before Pentecost, we in robes were publicly examined in front of the congregation.  The elders sat in the second row to judge whether or not we were ready for confirmation.  The oral examination covered all 331 questions in the Catechism – no books, no notes.  We had completed the written exam the prior week.
      
    It was sort of scary but parents, elders, congregation and pastor were kind and encouraging.  No one ever failed the exams.

  7. May 9th, 2013 at 06:32 | #7

    So, I’m curious … how was this rite used? As a rite of public examination before confirmation? As the rite that opened every session of catechesis for young catechumens? Or otherwise?

  8. Rev. McCall
    May 9th, 2013 at 09:10 | #8

    @John Rixe #6
    I went through the same process. After the 331 questions our pastor allowed for the elders or anyone else to ask additional questions if they wanted. Thankfully no one to my recollection ever took him up on it. :-)

  9. May 9th, 2013 at 09:33 | #9

    @Kantor Dennis Boettcher #7
    I use this rite (adapted a bit) for the opening and closing of each confirmation class. It allows them to recite the Ten Commandments, Creed, Lord’s Prayer, and texts related to the Sacraments (like in Bender’s Lutheran Catechesis) each week, we break for teaching time, then come back for the closing prayers.

  10. Rev. McCall
    May 9th, 2013 at 13:07 | #10

    @John Rixe #6
    Is this the purpose of the article? To show how times have changed? or is it to present an order of service for use in congregations? The title is ambigious but IMO seems to imply that this service is posted for our use, not just for historical context. I’m going to play a little devil’s advocate here, but seriously. Everytime you (John) bring up a churches order of worship or any CoWo order of worship the cry is “it is not Synodically approved!” So why should this be any different? This is not a synodically approved liturgy and I can find it nowhere in any of our our Agendas or hymnals. The knife needs to cut both ways. If we can’t and shouldn’t use CoWo resources that don’t go through doctrinal review then we shouldn’t use ANY liturgy that doesn’t do through doctrinal review, traditional or otherwise. Does BJS randomly post CoWo or Creative Worship orders of service to show us how times have changed or for use in congregations? I didn’t think so! :-)

  11. John Rixe
    May 9th, 2013 at 13:29 | #11

    @Rev. McCall #10

    Good question but it’s too complicated for me.  I’m sure Pr Scheer uses only synodically approved liturgies so it must be among the thousands and thousands.

    “If you include all the varieties and possibilities that CPH provides for Sunday morning worship, every bit of which has been through doctrinal review and carries the imprimatur of Synod, there are thousands and thousands of liturgies.”
    – Rev David Petersen, Gottesdienst Online, 3-13-2012

  12. Carl Vehse
    May 9th, 2013 at 13:48 | #12

    @Rev. McCall #10: This is not a synodically approved liturgy and I can find it nowhere in any of our our Agendas or hymnals. The knife needs to cut both ways. If we can’t and shouldn’t use CoWo resources that don’t go through doctrinal review then we shouldn’t use ANY liturgy that doesn’t do through doctrinal review, traditional or otherwise. Does BJS randomly post CoWo or Creative Worship orders of service to show us how times have changed or for use in congregations? I didn’t think so!

    Correct. Furthermore, the alleged “thousands and thousands of liturgies” likely refers to the permutations in the use of hymns available in Synodically approved hymnbooks. It would be interesting to see whether any special liturgical worship services held by/for synod or district officials have documentation of approval by the LCMS Board of Doctrinal Review.

  13. Rev. McCall
    May 9th, 2013 at 14:09 | #13

    @Carl Vehse #12
    I agree with your observations about the hymns being factored into the permutations. I am more curious about the documentation for particular services held by/for synod. For instance the National Youth Gathering uses contemporary Christian music songs by folks such as Jeremy Camp. Were these synodically approved just for the Youth Gathering? If they were synodically approved for the Youth Gathering then by extension shouldn’t any church be able to use them now as part of their worship service? What a confusing bunch of sinners we are!

  14. May 9th, 2013 at 23:12 | #14

    If you noticed, in my mini-conversation with Rev. Scheer above, he uses this rite (modified) as the opening and ending of his confirmation/catechism class. It’s used as an orderly rite to begin and end his teaching for the day. Certainly there is nothing wrong with reciting the primary texts of the catechism. Does anybody see anything theologically wrong with the prayers and other parts of these rites? Pastors, you are trained as theologians. You should be able to distinguish good theology from bad theology. What say ye?

  15. May 10th, 2013 at 07:16 | #15

    What specifically entails approval for synodical use, pray tell?

  16. May 10th, 2013 at 08:46 | #16

    Please note the Constitution of the LCMS requires all members to use doctrinally pure hymnbooks, agendas and such… (note it does require use of the hymnal)

    It does not say synodically approved. Doctrinal review is what each thing published by Synod has to go through (I am assuming that includes the songs for the Youth Gathering).

    In a way the things used in Confirmation here are Synodically approved. The Wyoming District still does a visitation that is more than just “how are you doing”. The Circuit Visitor (we still call them that here – there is a lot in a name) actually examines sermons, studies, materials being used in worship and catechesis. It is what visitation has historically meant (not just a free meal and conversation about feelings). Maybe this is one reason why the Wyoming District already has koinonia…

  17. Carl Vehse
    May 10th, 2013 at 08:47 | #17

    @J. Dean #15: “What specifically entails approval for synodical use, pray tell?”

    Specifically, it is entails LCMS Bylaw 1.9 Doctrinal Review.

    Bylaw 1.9.1 defines: “Doctrinal review is the exercise of the Synod’s responsibility to determine that every doctrinal statement made in its or any of its agencies’ or auxiliaries’ materials is in accord with the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions.”

  18. Lifelong Lutheran
    May 10th, 2013 at 13:04 | #18

    “Maybe this is one reason why the Wyoming District already has koinonia…”

    Or maybe it’s because you live in WYOMING. This is a big country with a lot of different cultures and ways of looking at things. Wyoming is not Texas, is not California, is not New York, is not South Carolina. That’s what makes uniformity in the synod difficult to achieve. We all need to pray without ceasing for the LCMS and show love to each other.

  19. Rev. McCall
    May 10th, 2013 at 15:37 | #19

    This isn’t as cut a dry as eveyone would like. This is titled a “service”. Has this service or order of worship passed doctrinal review? Has it been submitted to synod? Synod retains the right to review doctrine, not districts or individual pastors. Unless this has passed synods doctrinal review it would appear it should not be disseminated for use, just as any CoWo service or song also should not be.
    FYI, since synod alone retains the right to approve doctrine it would seem that doctrinally pure and synodically approved are one and the same.

  20. May 10th, 2013 at 16:03 | #20

    @Lifelong Lutheran #18
    No. Sinful hearts are always wanting to go for false teaching. Visitation counters that by adding accountability and fraternal admonition. Sorry, Wyoming is a great place, but not unique in its pastors and congregations (other than that visitation is taken very seriously here-kind of how it used to be in the LCMS).

  21. May 10th, 2013 at 16:05 | #21

    @Rev. McCall #19
    What you are saying has never been the meaning of what doctrinal review or doctrinally pure hymn books… Has meant.

  22. Diane
    May 10th, 2013 at 16:32 | #22

    @Pastor Joshua Scheer #21
    Pastor Scheer,

    Could you please explain what is meant by doctrinal review and doctrinally pure hymnbooks?

    Kantor Boettcher said that men are trained in our seminaries to be theologians. I have seen Lenten services written by our pastors, printed in bulletins, that have the people confessing their sins but there isn’t absolution after the confession! I noticed it and I’ve never attended the seminary. That’s why I’m so suspicious of orders of service printed in bulletins. Sorry for my rant.

    Thank you.

  23. May 10th, 2013 at 16:47 | #23

    @Diane #22
    Doctrinal review is what is the official process for anything produced by LCMS inc.
    doctrinally pure hymn books and so forth is a paraphrase of what the constitution says that members ofnSynod are to use. They are not the same.

    With regard to services, what you describe is not doctrinally pure and said pastor ought to be encouraged to fix the error of leaving out the most important part of confession. There should be suspicion of everything. Even things that have gone through doctrinal review should be evaluated by the pastor, for he is God’s man in that place to feed the sheep the pure doctrine of Christ. That being said, the sheep have a biblical command to provide their own doctrinal review of things that come from their pastor.

  24. Rev. McCall
    May 11th, 2013 at 15:21 | #24

    @Pastor Joshua Scheer #21
    I’m looking at Carls quote in #17. Please explain what that means. If you are free to use Loehe’s order of worship that has not been approved or reviewed by synod why can’t any CoWo service use what they would like as long as it passes that pastors doctrinal review. In fact, why even bother with producing a synodically reviewed hymnal?

  25. Carl Vehse
    May 11th, 2013 at 16:05 | #25

    Article VI.4 requires “Exclusive use of doctrinally pure agenda, hymnbooks, and catechisms in church and school.”

    Bylaw 1.9.1.1 states:

    The following materials are subject to doctrinal review:
    (a) All official periodicals and journals of the Synod as well as any material with doctrinal content issued publicly by boards, commissions, or other subordinate groups of the Synod except as stipulated in these Bylaws shall be subject to doctrinal review.

    Thus doctrinal review would include all synodically published agendas, hymnbooks (and liturgies), and catechisms used in church and schools.

    If a member of the Synod uses something other than synodically-published doctrinally-approved agendas, hymnbooks (and liturgies), and catechisms then the burden of proof is on those members and congregations to demonstrate they are not violating their promise to abide by Article VI.4. Otherwise, if a pastor is allowed to use whatever he thinks is doctrinally pure, the requirement of Article VI is rather meaningless.

    Unfortunately, we already have too many members in the Synod who mentally crossed their fingers when they signed their Synod membership application, agreeing to abide by the Synod Constitution.

    We even have (at least one) pastor preaching in LCMS church for over a year, who not only does not obey the Constitution and Bylaws, but is actually a former XXXA pastor, forced to resign after he was discovered having sex with three women in his congregation, and who, for three years, performed illegal marriages at his Las Vegas wedding vendor business.

  26. May 11th, 2013 at 23:19 | #26

    @Rev. McCall #24
    The difference between the Loehe rite and Cowo is vast, one being Lutheran and the other not. I know congregations, solidly Lutheran ones which use non-LCMS hymnals. Please all keep in mind that TLH has never been synod adopted either. The fact is that congregations are not bound to use synod approved materials, only doctrinally pure ones. This is in keeping with confirmation and ordination vows made to the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

  27. Rev. McCall
    May 12th, 2013 at 05:23 | #27

    @Pastor Joshua Scheer #26
    It is indeed vast, but as Carl points out in post #25, it doesn’t really matter. We have all agreed to the bylaws he quotes by virtue of our membership in synod.
    He rightly says:
    “If a member of the Synod uses something other than synodically-published doctrinally-approved agendas, hymnbooks (and liturgies), and catechisms then the burden of proof is on those members and congregations to demonstrate they are not violating their promise to abide by Article VI.4. Otherwise, if a pastor is allowed to use whatever he thinks is doctrinally pure, the requirement of Article VI is rather meaningless.”

  28. May 12th, 2013 at 07:03 | #28

    @Rev. McCall #27
    The rites at my congregation are reviewed through visitation and also through the congregation members who are strongly Lutheran. I understand what you are saying but the real solution to this problem is not stricter or more laws but enforcement of the current ones through visitation. It has worked in Wyoming where this rite can be found but where NO contemporary worship can be.

  29. Rev. McCall
    May 12th, 2013 at 07:14 | #29

    @Pastor Joshua Scheer #28
    I’m not advocating stricter or more laws, these are already existing “laws”. I’m honestly not concerned at all about circuit counselors or congregations or even individual pastors. That isn’t the question. To re-phrase Carl’s statement as a question, “If a pastor is allowed to use whatever he (or his circuit counselor or congregation) thinks is doctrinally pure, what is the purpose of the requirement of Article VI?” It makes it rather meaningless does it not? Perhaps we should make a motion to have it removed. ;-)

  30. May 12th, 2013 at 07:58 | #30

    @Rev. McCall #29
    Lack of Ecclesiastical Supervision makes it meaningless. The Constitution very clearly did not say to use only Synodically approved materials (doctrinally pure also allows us to NOT use some Synodical resources if necessary). That is why our confirmation vows are to the Evangelical Lutheran Church and also the ordination vows rather than to the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod Inc.

  31. Rev. McCall
    May 12th, 2013 at 08:45 | #31

    @Pastor Joshua Scheer #30
    So I just want to get this in writing for the sake of all the churches out there (CoWo or otherwise). A pastor can write services or use whatever resources he wants as long as they are doctrinally pure and have been approved by the congregation and are reviewed/approved by an ecclesiastical supervisor?
    How does this create unity within Synod?

  32. Diane
    May 12th, 2013 at 11:08 | #32

    @Pastor Joshua Scheer #30

    @Rev. McCall #31

    On Sunday morning in the Divine Service, is it too much to ask of pastors and congregations to use TLH, LW, or LSB-the hymnals published by our synod? If this doesn’t sound like America in the 21st century, I don’t know what does. We all have choices whether it’s CoWo or the historic liturgy! So, it’s really left up to each individual pastor to do what he thinks is ‘doctrinally pure?’ What a mess!

  33. Carl Vehse
    May 12th, 2013 at 11:09 | #33

    One wonders if any English translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s Agende für Christliche Gemeinden des lutherischen Bekenntnisses has ever been submitted to the Commission on Doctrinal Review by a member of or an organization within the Missouri Synod? Has the CDR ever received a request from a member of or an organization within the Missouri Synod to review Löhe’s Liturgy for Christian Congregations of the Lutheran Faith?

    Such a request, if it were made, should have received prompt attention and lickety-split approval, since the Chairman of the Commission on Doctrinal Review is also the President of the International Löhe Society, although Löhe himself would not have been qualified to be a member of the Missouri Synod, which requires a quia subscription to the Lutheran Confessions.

  34. Diane
    May 12th, 2013 at 11:41 | #34

    @Carl Vehse #33

    Interesting observation Carl. Loehe wouldn’t have qualified to be a member of the LCMS because he held a quatenus (insofar as) view of the Confessions? I didn’t know that. What’s the history behind this? I enjoy your responses on BJS. Thanks.

  35. Jim Pierce
    May 12th, 2013 at 12:19 | #35

    @Rev. McCall #31

    @Diane #32

    I think part of this is that we don’t want anything other than the Holy Scriptures to be the rule and norm for our doctrine and practices. It would be horrifying to set up LC-MS, Inc. as a “pope” who tells congregations what they should believe, teach, and confess. Rather, I think we have by-laws, and such, to document what those congregations in the LC-MS agree that we believe, teach, and confess. If I understand correctly, ecclesiastical supervision in the LC-MS is set up to be something more like “guidance counselors” than having police officers. I could be wrong about all this, but if I am getting it, then that explains why we have some of the messiness we do. It is built into the LC-MS system?

  36. Carl Vehse
    May 12th, 2013 at 13:11 | #36

    @Diane #34: “Loehe wouldn’t have qualified to be a member of the LCMS because he held a quatenus (insofar as) view of the Confessions?”

    This is true, as explained numerous times on various Lutheran blogs, such as here, which even includes a quote from Loehe admitting it.

    Another irony is that if Loehe were to have become a member of the Missouri Synod, he would have to affirm C. F. W. Walther’s Kirche und Amt as the definitive statement under the Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions of the Synod’s understanding on the subject of Church and Ministry, and agree to honor and uphold that official position of our Synod on Church and Ministry and teach in accordance with it. It was Loehe’s rejection of Walther’s Kirche und Amt that led Loehe in a July 1, 1853, letter to sever his relationship with Walther and the Missouri Synod.

  37. Carl Vehse
    May 12th, 2013 at 13:19 | #37
  38. Carl Vehse
    May 12th, 2013 at 13:22 | #38

    If any are wondering how the Founding Fathers of the Missouri Synod dealt with the requirement to use doctrinally pure materials, here, in the Missouri Synod’s Constitution adopted in 1853 (which was revised to include the establishment of four districts), is Article II.4:

    “The exclusive use of doctrinally pure church and school books (agendas, hymnbooks, catechisms, textbooks, etc.). If it is not feasible to replace the present unorthodox hymnbooks with orthodox ones in some congregations, the pastor of such a congregation may become a member of Synod only on the condition that he promises that he will use the unorthodox hymnbook only under public protest and gives assurance that he in all seriousness desires to bring about the introduction of an orthodox one.” [from August R. Suelflow, Chapter 4. "The Missouri Synod Organized", Moving Frontiers: Readings in the History of the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, Ed. Carl S. Meyer, CPH:St. Louis, 1964, p.150]

  39. Diane
    May 12th, 2013 at 14:29 | #39

    @Carl Vehse #38

    Thank you. I love all this history you and others supply to us. I always knew Loehe had had a falling out with Walther, but didn’t know the details. The Commission on Worship that produced LSB must have felt his hymn, ‘Wide Open Stand the Gates’ LSB 639 was doctrinally pure enough to be included in the hymnal. :)

  40. Rev. McCall
    May 13th, 2013 at 08:19 | #40

    @Jim Pierce #35
    You are right all around. No one wants a pope and of course the Scriptures are the sole norm. We also do not have true “ecclesiastical supervision”. Rather we have brotherly advisors if you will. You notice that Pr. Scheer did not answer my statement/question because to do so would leave the door wide open to the kind of mess Diane alludes to. Each congregation doing their own thing, as long as it is doctrinally pure. That only leads to the kind of unity the CoWo folks tout, unity in doctrine only but not in practice.

    However, we as synod have all agreed on our doctrine and have formed a synod in order to “walk together”. That would include, to as great an extent as possible, walking together in both doctrine AND practice. So rather than have each pastor do their own thing when it comes to hymns, services, and catechism our synod does this really great unifying thing, our synod doctrinally reviews and publishes hymnals, catechisms, and the like. This doesn’t mean each pastor can’t create his own or isn’t capable of reviewing doctrine, but we curb our Christian freedom for the sake of our brothers, the other members and congregations in synod; for the sake of unity precisely so that each congregation ISN’T just out their doing their own thing (doctrinally correct or not)! Could I review a service like Loehe’s and find it doctrinally pure and then use it? Sure! The question is, should I? In brotherly love shouldn’t I submit my service to synods doctrinal review as Carl suggests and have it approved for use by those brothers whom I am claiming to be in fellowship with? If we don’t walk together, even on doctrinally pure matters, we are no better than any CoWo practicing congregation who values christian freedom over unity.

  41. May 13th, 2013 at 09:12 | #41

    @Rev. McCall #31
    Here is your answer (which wasn’t missing, but not here due to yesterday being the Lord’s Day and Mother’s Day):

    You stated/asked: “So I just want to get this in writing for the sake of all the churches out there (CoWo or otherwise). A pastor can write services or use whatever resources he wants as long as they are doctrinally pure and have been approved by the congregation and are reviewed/approved by an ecclesiastical supervisor?
    How does this create unity within Synod?”

    According to the current LCMS documents, yes you are right. Only right ecclesiastical supervision will correct abuses of this (including the false teachings which underlie CoWo in general).

    Unity is not found on outward rites (see the Augsburg Confession on that) – however uniformity can be very helpful to promoting unity and making it easier on our people. The LCMS Constitution encourages striving for uniformity.

    Please note the service this post is about is not a Divine Service, but a service meant to be used in the catechesis of children. It is used within the confines of a classroom much the same as an opening prayer would be (do you only use prayers which are from official LCMS hymnals?). Do you see the slippery slope you are running? There is a balance in trust that needs to be there, else any prayer or devotion or anything must come from LCMS (cult anyone?).

  42. Carl Vehse
    May 13th, 2013 at 09:12 | #42

    @Jim Pierce #35: It would be horrifying to set up LC-MS, Inc. as a “pope” who tells congregations what they should believe, teach, and confess.

    Well, not in the “horrifying” pejorative sense of a “pope,” or even a Löheist-type organization with pastors constituting an autonomous special (more holy) estate or sacred aristocracy. However, the LCMS is an incorporated organization (p. 206), and the Synod’s constitution does specify in Article II (p. 13) and in Article VI (p. 15) what pastors and congregations shall believe, teach, and confess if they are to be voluntary members of LCMS, Inc.

    Rather, I think we have by-laws, and such, to document what those congregations in the LC-MS agree that we believe, teach, and confess.

    Actually, the Missouri Synod corporate constitution specifies the purpose of the bylaws in Article XIV (pp. 22-3): “Bylaws, which may be adopted, revised, or eliminated by a simple majority vote of a national convention, are binding regulations for the Synod and its conduct and governance.”

    Article XIV also states that the bylaws are “consistent with and do not contradict the Constitution of the Synod (e.g., Arts. II and VI, regarding what members of the Missouri Synod believe, teach, and confess), which controls and supersedes such bylaws and all other rules and regulations of the Synod.”

    If I understand correctly, ecclesiastical supervision in the LC-MS is set up to be something more like “guidance counselors” than having police officers.

    According to Bylaw 1.2.1 (g), “ecclesiastical supervision” in the Missouri Synod is both:

    “Ecclesiastical supervision: The responsibility, primarily of the President of the Synod and district presidents, to supervise on behalf of the Synod the doctrine, life, and administration of its members, officers, and agencies. Such supervision, subject to the provisions of the Synod’s Constitution, Bylaws, and resolutions, includes visitation, evangelical encouragement and support, care, protection, counsel, advice, admonition, and, when necessary, appropriate disciplinary measures to assure that the Constitution, Bylaws, and resolutions of the Synod are followed and implemented.”

  43. Rev. McCall
    May 13th, 2013 at 10:22 | #43

    @Pastor Joshua Scheer #41
    Heaven forbid we become like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, only using the Watchtower! :-)

    You are reframing the argument slightly, clever, but I won’t take the bait! I am not saying that only things approved by the LCMS are doctrinally pure. I am not saying anyone must only use LCMS material for prayer, worship or otherwise. What I am saying, is that for the sake of unity (even if it is only outward unity of rites, which none the less are based on our doctrinal unity), why would you not? For instance we have the Service of Prayer and Preaching, which includes catechetical instruction, Ten Commandments, Creeds, Luther’s Morning or Evening Prayer, etc. AND has already been reviewed and published by our synod in LSB and adopted for use in over 90% of congregations. (I would say that it is also superior to this service of Loehe’s, but that is just an opinion ;-) ) Why not use or adapt this?

    Carl phrased the question in a similar way a few posts back:

    “If a member of the Synod uses something other than synodically-published doctrinally-approved agendas, hymnbooks (and liturgies), and catechisms then the burden of proof is on those members and congregations to demonstrate they are not violating their promise to abide by Article VI.4. Otherwise, if a pastor is allowed to use whatever he thinks is doctrinally pure, the requirement of Article VI is rather meaningless.”

  44. John Rixe
    May 13th, 2013 at 11:11 | #44

    “Please note the service this post is about is not a Divine Service, but a service meant to be used in the catechesis of children. It is used within the confines of a classroom much the same as an opening prayer would be (do you only use prayers which are from official LCMS hymnals?).”

    Small point but the Loehe liturgy seems to be more than a classroom prayer.  There are references to congregation, chancel, font, etc.

  45. John Rixe
    May 13th, 2013 at 11:53 | #45

    There are thousands of LCMS  pastors who conduct at least one contemporary service each weekend.  Is there any doubt that they and their congregations sincerely judge these services to be doctrinally pure?  

    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. :)

  46. Rev. McCall
    May 13th, 2013 at 12:02 | #46

    @John Rixe #44
    Read the following:
    “A congregation finds an alternate service that is not in any LCMS hymnal (maybe it’s Baptist or even Methodist). Their pastor modifies it slightly, judges its content to be doctrinally pure, the congregation and his circuit agree/approve and then he and the church begin to use it.”

    Now, if this service I just mentioned were a CoWo service that we were talking about, folks would be up in arms demanding this pastor return to our hymnal and use the liturgy(s) and hymns found there. Yet if this service were written by Loehe or another BJS approved source all of a sudden an individual pastor’s freedom of choice should prevail and it is OK to publish it and encourage its use, who cares if it is doctrinally reviewed by synod or in one of our hymnals.

    I’m sorry, but to me, that just smacks of hypocrisy.

  47. Jim Pierce
    May 13th, 2013 at 12:40 | #47

    @Carl Vehse #42

    Rick (“Carl”), I am truly thankful that there are brothers such as yourself who like to read, and keep up on, the synod’s bylaws, procedures, etc. Thank you for the information you have shared in this thread. It is helpful.

  48. Diane
    May 13th, 2013 at 13:11 | #48

    @Rev. McCall #46

    Most people in the LCMS couldn’t judge a service printed in the bulletin to be doctrinally pure at all. They depend on the pastor for his discernment. I think Rev. Will Weedon on ‘Issues Etc.’ has said that the liturgy (meaning TLH, LW or LSB) has served a lot of pastors well, when their sermons have been, shall I say, lacking in certain areas. The liturgies in our hymnals have been reviewed by committees, rather than one person and have stood the test of time. Now, granted, the service used as an example above is for a catechism class, but why not use the Service of Prayer and Preaching in LSB? I think it has more to do with the pastor feeling it is his right to choose whatever he feels is doctrinally pure. I know that sounds harsh and I don’t mean it to be, but I agree with Rev. McCall, it ‘smacks of hypocrisy.’

  49. helen
    May 13th, 2013 at 13:21 | #49

    @Rev. McCall #19
    FYI, since synod alone retains the right to approve doctrine it would seem that doctrinally pure and synodically approved are one and the same.

    Pr. McCall, it would help if you could point out any part of what Pr. Scheer posted that is NOT a part of some doctrinally approved service in LCMS. Then we could see what kind of theological danger we are in.
    I admit to not going over it with a fine tooth comb, but I haven’t seen the reason for your concern.

  50. Carl Vehse
    May 13th, 2013 at 13:25 | #50

    @Jim Pierce #47: “I am truly thankful that there are brothers such as yourself who like to read, and keep up on, the synod’s bylaws, procedures, etc.”

    And I’m not even a member of the Synod or part of the Concordia Plan.

    Those who, when ordained, applied to join the Synod and promised to abide by the Constitution and Bylaws, are probably even more intent and careful “to read, and keep up on, the synod’s bylaws, procedures, etc.” (unless they crossed their fingers when signing the application form).

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