Great Stuff Found on the Web — Thoughts on a Failed Resolution by Pr. William Weedon

February 22nd, 2012 Post by

by Pastor William Weedon on Weedon’s Blog:

 

My parish had sent up a sort of trial balloon at the District Convention. it more or less made it through floor committee. It was to encourage the parishes of our District and of our Synod to use for our services and rites one of the Synod’s hymnbooks/agendas: TLH, LW, LSB and even All God’s People Sing, Hymnal Supplement ’98, and Worship Supplement. It specifically wasn’t speaking of hymns or other attendant music – it spoke to the services and rites.

It was fascinating to HEAR how people perceived the resolution. Some apparently thought we were saying that uniformity in man-made ceremonies were necessary, and persuaded the convention to include the words of AC VII – as though any of us really denied them or thought that the unity of the church hung upon observance of man-made ceremonies and rites!

Others fixated on the use of the word “exclusive use” as though the Synod Constitution had never said that a condition of Synodical membership is the exclusive use of doctrinally pure Agenda and Hymnbooks.

Some noted that this WAS the language of the constitution but that it really had been ignored (and apparently rightly ignored) for a long time.

Some rightly noted that the liturgy was gift and could not be compelled by any law. Others noted that though the language was “encourage” the clear intent was to use it as a club.

One very sane man pointed out that the Lutheran Symbols had a LOT more to say on this subject than the single snippet from AC VII and that if we heard the Symbols all the way out, they actually sounded rather in harmony with what the resolution was proposing.

Sigh. So much fear, so much reading into and failing to put the best construction. What if the resolution meant no more than it said: that we should encourage each other toward what our constitution itself says that we aim at? What if it never was about coercion or manipulation but about encouraging each other toward the faithful use of faithful resources?

I hesitated to speak on it since it DID come from us and thus it was our own words that had the attention of the convention, but how utterly disheartening to see them misconstrued in this manner. The Synod is and remains ADVISORY to the member congregations. It CAN advise. It CANNOT legislate. But when it cannot encourage for fear that it is in fact thereby legislating, we have something seriously broken in our relationships. No, you’ll never hear me say that the problem is we don’t trust each other. Jeremiah 17:5 is in my Bible. The problem with us isn’t’ that we don’t trust each other; it’s that we do not trust our Lord’s words – at least we don’t trust them to deliver what they promise without a boost from us.

And sooner or later someone really needs to do the hard work of assessing what it means to “submit to one another” in the Lord and how that isn’t in conflict with, but is the expression of, perfect Christian freedom. I know, I know. Luther already did that hard work. But no one reads him anymore… Sadness.

Or even Walther (this is for you, Petersen):

“We are not insisting that there be uniformity in perception or feeling or taste among all believing Christians-neither dare anyone demand that all be minded as he. Nevertheless, it remains true that the Lutheran liturgy distinguishes Lutheran worship from the worship of other churches to such an extent that the houses of worship of the latter look like lecture halls in which the hearers are merely addressed or instructed, while our churches are in truth houses of prayer in which Christians serve the great God publicly before the world.

“Uniformity of ceremonies (perhaps according to the Saxon Church order published by the Synod, which is the simplest among the many Lutheran church orders) would be highly desirable because of its usefulness. A poor slave of the pope finds one and same form of service, no matter where he goes, by which he at once recognizes his church.

“With us it is different. Whoever comes from Germany without a true understanding of the doctrine often has to look for his church for a long time, and many have already been lost to our church because of this search. How different it would be if the entire Lutheran church had a uniform form of worship! This would, of course, first of all yield only an external advantage, however, one which is by no means unimportant. Has not many a Lutheran already kept his distance from the sects because he saw at the Lord’s Supper they broke the bread instead of distributing wafers?

“The objection: “What would be the use of uniformity of ceremonies?” was answered with the counter question, “What is the use of a flag on the battlefield? Even though a soldier cannot defeat the enemy with it, he nevertheless sees by the flag where he belongs. We ought not to refuse to walk in the footsteps of our fathers. They were so far removed from being ashamed of the good ceremonies that they publicly confess in the passage quoted: “It is not true that we do away with all such external ornaments.””

 

 

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  1. February 29th, 2012 at 23:16 | #1

    Dear BJS Readers,

    @Pastor Tim Rossow #198

    Pastor Rossow claims that: I demonstrated above that Pastor Louderback’s reasoning in defense of COWO is faulty (#109 above).

    But this is not true, since I rejected his syllogism as an accurate statement of my position. So at best, his claim can be “I demonstrated what I think Pastor Louderback’s reasoning is, is faulty.”

    Which is hardly news…

    He dismissed my accurate and logical reconstruction of his argument by restating his deduction in some new form (# 137)

    Once again, I reject that his is accurate. It is logical, but when you begin with an inaccurate statement of your opponents argument…well, you can hardly say you have countered it.

    but it still makes a logical leap from debate in a lecture hall to worship of the One, True God.

    Note carefully readers: both involve the proclamation of the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.

    Clearly, everyone understands that. The Gospel is the only message that will save. It is the same message proclaimed in any place.

    I am constantly amazed that this is the only Scriptural argument the COWO people have.

    This is actually not true. There are other Scriptural arguments. This is just one of several.

    For example, one can just as easily argue for CoWo from the call of love — how many times does Scripture speak about loving others. What is the loving thing to do when reaching the lost—have them adopt your world view and then proclaim Christ, or for you to speak in terms of their world view and proclaim Christ. Which is more loving?

    I could also simply argue from the freedom that Paul speaks of: either we are free to worship as we will or not. I mean, in Christ we are free. Do not submit to a yoke of slavery.

    Those who want to say “Well, you can’t do CoWo” need to have a Scriptural reason of opposition — other wise it is just mere opinion. But it has been stated that CoWo is diverse — so, is there really one Scriptural issue in opposition? Not really.

    There is the argument from Predestination — by this I mean our correct Lutheran understanding that we are saved by God’s grace. This being true, we are free to worship any way we chose — after all, we are not saved by our correct liturgical worship. We are saved by grace. So, how we worship is pretty immaterial.

    Readers, I’m just writing off the top of my head here — there are probably other better Scriptural positions that I am forgetting. So do not be fooled: there is not merely one position in support of CoWo.

    I would also urge you to read the book of Leviticus: the book is all about bringing forgiveness to people. That the whole point of so many of the sacrifices — the proclamation that the individual is forgiven. It is done in a real, concrete way — the sacrificial system — that brings the forgiveness to the individual in a personal way.

    Pr Rossow (who, incidently has dropped calling me “Louderback” — I’m sure he is ashamed of that juvenile behavior — but not shamed enough to apologize for it…) probably thinks that Leviticus insists on certain rituals. But we know this not to be true — God is fairly clear that the empty following of ritual is not pleasing to Him at all. (Isa 1:11, Amos 5:21)

    Go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.”

    Readers, in summary, it seems fairly clear that Pr Rossow is not representing my position and is not countering it either. His arguments are spurious.

    Ask yourself: doesn’t Dr Evil have a cat?

  2. February 29th, 2012 at 23:39 | #2

    @T. R. Halvorson #197

    Pr Mark, I asked a direct question, and you gave a direct answer, providing a rough but servicable definition of what you mean by a “seeker.” You might anticipate that I will have some points of disagreement with it, but I must pause long enough to thank you for the considerate and fair way you did give a direct answer.

    I am a big believer in serious discussion TRH. And the only way to get anywhere is to answer questions and lay out positions.

    The inclusion in your definition of a work of God by his Law is also a good point. I was glad to see that.

    Part of the Law’s purpose is to lead to Christ. This is true of natural law as well as revealed law. Now, the Law is not the Gospel, yes, but it’s work is always a Godly one. That is why it is good.

    You probably did not mean to, but your posting sounded like the work of the Law happened outside the Church and brought a seeker into the Church, though the seeker still had not received the gift of contrition, and that once in the Church, the seeker would hear the Gospel, apparently without the law.

    But they have already heard the law—I mean, the law brought them to church.

    That is beside my point anyway. Three things: in Mark 9 the Father says ““I believe; help my unbelief!” How do you understand that?

    Does a person with unbelief believe? Isn’t the man mistaken? Or is he not?

    #2: In CS Lewis’ the Screwtape letters, there is a scene when a non-believer sits down in a museum and his thoughts start to wander. Screwtape relays about how immediately the enemy is there, working on the individual.

    Do you know the scene? What do you think is going on there?

    #3: When I was a kid, I thought I went a whole day without sinning. I was sort of proud of myself (ironic, eh?). Now, obviously I was wrong — I did not fully grasp what sin was.

    Does that mean that I was not forgiven, that I was not a Christian, that I was not contrite?

    My point is, that people have a great deal of misconceptions about Christ and sin when they walk into church. And it is not our object to get it all ironed out in one service. Over time, over passes, over people continuing to return and grow in their faith, they understand more and more their sin and their Savior.

    But yeah, I disagree with this: “Yes; because the faith which lays hold on Jesus Christ and His merits can be wrought in that heart alone which deeply feels its need and misery under sin.

    I didn’t “deeply feel” the need — but I was still forgiven. I think you can lightly feel it as well.

    Do you understand what I am saying here?

    Just to clarify something: why are we talking about this? I’ve gotten a bit lost on the connection of this to CoWo…

  3. February 29th, 2012 at 23:40 | #3

    @James Sarver #200

    Because blended worship is passe’ dontcha’ know.

    And the sitar definitely is.

  4. February 29th, 2012 at 23:43 | #4

    @John Rixe #194

    No, because they are passe.

    Seriously: no, because they are hardly contextual. And don’t lecture me on the Beatles — yes, yes, they had a sitar in their psychedelic rock phase. But most don’t listen to psychedelic rock.

    I’d be a little more open to a ukelele actually…

  5. James Sarver
    February 29th, 2012 at 23:48 | #5

    Pr. Louderback @ #192,

    “Well, first, your statement was that no one would use it right? But some did.”

    Yeah, I gotta stop trying to use hyperbole for effect. It gets me nowhere. I said none and there were like, maybe three. Touche’.

    “How many is enough to say that it was of some use?”

    I could go with “a statistcally significant sample” as defined by some qualified third party. Fair enough?

    “The sermon deals specifically with the time and place of the people.
    So, Lutheran theology does indeed allow that.”

    Never said it wasn’t allowed. Just that it isn’t the main focus of the Divine Service. I just don’t recall reading Lutheran theologians pointing to time/place/culture (what Cowo advocates are pushing as the context of worship and the excuse for anything they want to do) as the overriding concern.

    “I can’t just pluck a sermon out from a few years ago and use it — different church, different context, different issues.”

    I dunno. I have read some 500 year old sermons that were pretty much spot on for today. Some German dude named Luther. Heard of him? :)

    “Those are my thoughts on the subject. I hope they answer your question and are not obtuse.”

    Thank you. No surprise that we don’t agree but the discussion still needs to happen.

  6. March 1st, 2012 at 00:05 | #6

    @Mrs. Hume #182

    You have contemporary services. You know who is there. You know whether those in the service came into your church as unchurched adults or as infants baptised by you whose parents are Christians.
    Could you share with us your personal experience? Are those who attend contemporary worship mostly those who came in as unchurched adults, or are they young people born into Christian families?

    Ok. My current congregation was started from another congregation — families went with a pastor to start a church plant in a new location. So, a chunk of my congregation consists of these members still.

    The other chunk come from unchurched folk…now, by unchurched I mean “not going to church”. I mean, most of my congregation comes from a church background. They just have not been attending church.

    And some of these unchurched folk when they come have their children baptized as well.

    But I do not have any kids coming who were attending another church and come over because they like our worship better, or something like that.

    Does that answer your question?

    Cleaning up a few other things: I simply disagree with you concerning the creeds. If the Apostles were that easy, we would not need catechism instruction on it.

    We had this exchange:
    Does it render laity who are better catechized than liturgical worship?
    Yes.
    Can you give some examples?

    Those in my congregation I guess. These are people who were not attending church and now are. Surely that has got to be an example of better catechesis.

    You asked about confession/forgiveness:

    I have to say this is pretty exasperating. It was your example. Could you just explain your own example.

    So: I think that Lutheran CoWo ought to have confession and forgiveness. It does not have to be written out, does not have to be the same each week (it does not have to be different each week) but I do think that some teaching, acknowledgement of sin is important.

    I do not think there needs to be absolution ("As a called and ordained…") but there does need to be pronouncement of grace ("…to be children of God…")

    Are there any other questions you want answered?

  7. Mrs. Hume
    March 1st, 2012 at 00:14 | #7

    @Mark Louderback #2

    I am a big believer in serious discussion TRH. And the only way to get anywhere is to answer questions and lay out positions.

    I have a question.

    Pastor Louderback,
    You have contemporary services. You know who is there. You know whether those in the service came into your church as unchurched adults or as infants baptised by you whose parents are Christians.

    Could you share with us your personal experience? Are those who attend contemporary worship mostly those who came in as unchurched adults, or are they young people born into Christian families?

  8. March 1st, 2012 at 00:22 | #8

    James Sarver :

    Yeah, I gotta stop trying to use hyperbole for effect. It gets me nowhere. I said none and there were like, maybe three. Touche’.

    Never, ever use hyperbole! Never!!!

    I could go with “a statistcally significant sample” as defined by some qualified third party. Fair enough?

    Shoot, I’d settle for a biased self-reporting: how many churches do you know that have blended worship? I don’t think there are any in my circuit…maybe one…

    Never said it wasn’t allowed. Just that it isn’t the main focus of the Divine Service. I just don’t recall reading Lutheran theologians pointing to time/place/culture (what Cowo advocates are pushing as the context of worship and the excuse for anything they want to do) as the overriding concern.

    Well…I guess I question this. First, I just don’t hear CoWo people talking in that way (time/place/culture as the overriding concern).

    The over-riding concern is connecting people to Christ. The over-riding concern is preaching the Gospel. That is the over-riding concern.

    The question is then “How do we do that?”

    Now…outreach in America was outreach to a churched population. Much of that is changing now. You want to see a Synod struggling with culture in an unchurched population, read through the 1930 synodical proceedings on what chinese word ought to be used to speak about God. That is quite the debate that went on. So, I think the issue appears more than you might think in the history of the Synod.

    I dunno. I have read some 500 year old sermons that were pretty much spot on for today. Some German dude named Luther. Heard of him?

    I read Luther just as much as the next guy. He’s good. He rarely talks about porn.

    Thank you. No surprise that we don’t agree but the discussion still needs to happen.

    It does. It certainly does.

  9. March 1st, 2012 at 00:23 | #9

    @Mrs. Hume #7

    Did you see my post of:

    @Mark Louderback #6

  10. Mrs. Hume
    March 1st, 2012 at 00:45 | #10

    Thanks, I forgot to refresh!

  11. Mrs. Hume
    March 1st, 2012 at 02:09 | #11

    @Mark Louderback #6

    So, basically all of the people who attend your church were already Lutheran or non attending Christians/Christian background. Is that right? Does that mean they were baptised already or just that some folks in their family background were Christians? I don’t think of baptised Christians as unchurched, do you? Or does it depend on the person? My family sent me to Catholic school for academics for a couple of years but they didn’t go to church and didn’t take me but for a couple of times. But they would let me go with the neighbors if the neighbors were willing to take me. I wasn’t baptised till age 15, although my parents did drive me on that occasion. Would you call that unchurched? I guess I have been assuming that unchurched meant people who had even less church background and are not baptised.

    Does it render laity who are better catechized than liturgical worship?
    Yes.
    Can you give some examples?
    Those in my congregation I guess. These are people who were not attending church and now are. Surely that has got to be an example of better catechesis.

    It seems like you are saying that people who attend church get more instruction than those who don’t, which is of course true. However, my question was really pointing to something else. Take for example two faithful Lutheran families and their kids. One family’s children attends liturgical worship with them for 18 years, the other family and their children attend contemporary worship with them for 18 years. So when those kids, all born into Lutheran homes, go off to work, marriage, college, do you think that those who attended contemporary services for those 18 years will be better catechized than those who attended liturgical services for those 18 years?

    I simply disagree with you concerning the creeds. If the Apostles were that easy, we would not need catechism instruction on it.

    Okay, I agree that there needs to be more instruction than just reciting the creeds. However, it seems that looking as such simple clear statements and going the other direction and not using them at all or using them rarely is the logical opposite of extra teaching. It is reduced teaching, less catechesis not more. So, children in a family who only attends services without creeds and doesn’t bring the them for catechism would have even less than just the creed. People benefit from being exposed to the creeds. They benefit more if they take a class with the pastor who explains them fully and their biblical bases. They benefit less if they rarely read or say them.

    Lutheran CoWo ought to have confession and forgiveness. It does not have to be written out, does not have to be the same each week (it does not have to be different each week) but I do think that some teaching, acknowledgement of sin is important.

    I don’t understand the not written out part, nor am I sure what is meant by “some teaching, acknowledgement of sin is important.” Is that the same as Luther’s first of 95 theses, “that the whole life of believers should be repentance.”?

    I do not think there needs to be absolution (“As a called and ordained…”)

    Why not? I mean what is the point of acknowledging your sin if you don’t hear that you are forgiven? I don’t feel better just recalling my sins and my failings. My conscience would be more at ease if I just came up with some lame rationalizations for my faults and misdeeds or better yet just not think of them at all. Why don’t you want to say, “I forgive you” ?

    but there does need to be pronouncement of grace (“…to be children of God…”)

    That is pretty vague. It is not as clear as saying, “I forgive you.” Folks who can’t understand the Nicene Creed, might miss that meaning there. I might and I even understand the Creed.

  12. March 1st, 2012 at 10:56 | #12

    @Mark Louderback #2

    why are we talking about this? I’ve gotten a bit lost on the connection of this to CoWo

    The links in the chain go like this: I postulate that the efficacy of CW depends on the notion of a seeker; I postulate that whether seekers exist and, if they do, when a person becomes a seeker, is dependent on what we confess concerning sin and contrition. The fact that you have lost this connection in the discussion is one of the reasons I intuit that sin and contrition have been left out of the equation of CW.

    I disagree with this … [that I had quoted from an Explanation of the Catechism

    Again, I must pause to express appreciation that you have answered another question directly. Too often people would have danced around that question.

    It startles me that you disagree with a widely used Explanation of the Catechism (H. U. Sverdrup, based on Erick Pontoppidan, translated from Norwegian to English by E.G. Lund). But, since Explanations of the Catechism are not themselves confessional writings of the Lutheran Church, I will grant that our subscription to them is only insofar as they agree with Scripture and the Confessions, whereas our subscription to the Confessions is because they agree with Scripture. So I will leave Explanations of the Catechism (which I did support from FoC, SD) and move directly into the Confessions.

    I believe and confess that any notion of a seeker either is excluded by or must be conditioned and properly explained by Formula of Concord, Article II. Here, the question of human powers in spiritual things are by Lutherans alone properly viewed in four distinct states: (1) in Adam before the fall; (2) after the fall and before a person’s conversion; (3) after a person’s conversion and before the resurrection; and (4) in the resurrection.

    Many errors are spawned by a multitude of sects and by divisions within so-called Lutheranism by failing to distinguish these four states. That Adam’s will was free before the fall is no guide to its condition as damaged by the fall. That a converted sinner-saint has a reborn, recreated, awakened will is no guide to the power an unconverted sinner has.

    The issue concerning seekers and hence CW is within the second state. What I hear you saying in your description of seekers, what happens with them, and what the Church does in relation to them is excluded by the Formula’s description of the damage done to human nature by the fall. Even though you give place to the Law outside the Church as bringing them to a state of seeking, that goes too far as against the Formula. Seeking requires power, and though God by the Law grants the gift of contrition, contrition is not a power. God grants power only by the Gospel and the Sacraments. The notion of a seeker before Law-mediated contrition is outright Pelagianism, and the notion of a seeker after Law-mediated contrition but before the Gospel or Holy Baptism is Semi-Pelagiansim or Synergism.

    Therefore I believe that the trouble with CW is that, for all its claims of sensitivity (seeker sensitive), it is not nearly sensitive enough. The service should be sinner sensitive before it is seeker sensitive.

    Someone else, I think it might have been Mrs. Hume, asked about the identity of the seekers at your congregation, whether some or many of them had once been baptized. This is a vital point, because no matter how a person appears presently to be living, and no matter what the person currently says to describe himself or herself, his or her true state is whatever God sees and whatever God says. A baptized and weak person might seem to us to be in state 2 of the Formula’s states, but the person might actually, thanks to Baptism, be in state 3. When we observe what happens with such people, we must not let ourselves become confused by attributing those phenomena to the case of persons in state 2. Lutherans are susceptible to this confusion because we are often dealing with people who were baptized but at present appear to be what the ELCA calls “fallen away.” We oberve in them what appears to be some power in spiritual things, and indeed, thanks to Baptism, this observation is often right. But since it is from Baptism, it says nothing about people who never were baptized and who are in state 2. For those in state 2, the only possible power is the Gospel.

    The gospel is the power of God for salvation to them that believe. There is no power in seekers, unless by seeker we mean someone who by the Gospel or Holy Baptism has received power from the Holy Spirit, who calls, gathers, enlightends, or sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth.

  13. March 1st, 2012 at 11:48 | #13

    @Mrs. Hume #11

    So, basically all of the people who attend your church were already Lutheran or non attending Christians/Christian background. Is that right?

    Basically, yes.

    Does that mean they were baptised already or just that some folks in their family background were Christians? I don’t think of baptised Christians as unchurched, do you? >

    Well, I thought I touched on that a little bit. We need some distinction between those who are in church and those who are not. If we want to call it “de-churched” or “un-churched” or whatever, that is just a matter of semantics to me.

    Yes, I would say your parents were unchurched. Or de-churched — or whatever.

    So when those kids, all born into Lutheran homes, go off to work, marriage, college, do you think that those who attended contemporary services for those 18 years will be better catechized than those who attended liturgical services for those 18 years?

    No. I’m sure it would be the same.

    I don’t understand the not written out part, nor am I sure what is meant by “some teaching, acknowledgement of sin is important.” Is that the same as Luther’s first of 95 theses, “that the whole life of believers should be repentance.”?

    No, I am just saying that in a worship service I think there ought to be some teaching/proclamation to those there that they are sinners. I think they need opportunity for confession of their sin.

    Why not?

    I explained this above: some people get hung up when they hear someone say “I forgive you.” They think “How can you forgive me? How can a person forgive sins? Only Jesus can forgive sins!”

    Rather than having to explain every single time about absolution, the same results come with a straight proclamation of the Gospel.

  14. Mrs. Hume
    March 1st, 2012 at 13:48 | #14

    some people get hung up when they hear someone say “I forgive you.” They think “How can you forgive me? How can a person forgive sins? Only Jesus can forgive sins!”

    That perplexes me. I am thinking Matthew 16:18-19 and John 20:22-23. It seems well catechised people would understand that. But even without catechesis, the words themselves are direct and clear, “In the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

    It seems that people need to have it clarified for them if they don’t understand, rather than continuing to be hung up.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolution#The_Reformed_tradition

    When they hear you say, “In the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” and they question it, it gives you the opportunity to explain the biblical bases for it. If you don’t say it, they just continue on without understanding.

  15. March 1st, 2012 at 14:28 | #15

    @Mark Louderback #13

    some people get hung up when they hear someone say “I forgive you.” They think “How can you forgive me? How can a person forgive sins? Only Jesus can forgive sins!”

    Absolution is.

    Let me say that again: absolution is. It exists.

    There is no option about whether something will function as absolution. If the biblical, Lutheran, confessional absolution by the Office of the Keys is not used, something will fill that void and function as absolution, if only implicitly. And unless displaced by the true absolution, unless light shines into and displaces darkness, it will be a synthetic, man made absolution.

    Often it takes the form of an experience of a perceived, infused grace, from which a person consciously or unconsciously reasons backwards to an assurance of salvation. The classic is speaking in tongues, but lots of other things are also used, some of them more widely than tongues. In fact, what is somethimes called CoWo really is InWo, Infusia Worship, where worship itself is functioning as absolution or functioning as a sacrament.

  16. March 1st, 2012 at 18:56 | #16

    @Mrs. Hume #14

    It seems well catechised people would understand that.

    That is absolutely correct.

    And it is why we do CoWo — do you understand that? Because people are not well-catechized. Is a service directed to the well catechized or to the not-so-well catechized?

    Obviously you want to educate people and move them from ignorance to understanding — the question is, where is the appropriate time to do so? And how?

  17. Mrs. Hume
    March 1st, 2012 at 23:51 | #17

    “And it is why we do CoWo — do you understand that? Because people are not well-catechized. Is a service directed to the well catechized or to the not-so-well catechized?”

    Not really following what you are saying here. I mean the people who have not been confirmed or been through the new member class wouldn’t perhaps know all they should, but adults can read and the words are clear. Anyone who is coming for communion should understand confession and absolution, right?

    I don’t understand the connection to contemporary worship.

    “Obviously you want to educate people and move them from ignorance to understanding — the question is, where is the appropriate time to do so? And how?”

    Classes, sermons, the readings, the hymns, Psalms, etc. right?

    I don’t see how services that have less teaching in them are going to teach people more.

    Anyway how is it that marginally educated people living in shacks with dirt floors, no plumbing in extreme poverty could manage to understand these things but nowadays people with college degrees or anyway high school educations living in modern cities with tons of technology can’t memorize the same catechism that poor farm kids managed to learn 100 years ago? It just doesn’t add up. You can see why Martin Luther had a task ahead of him trying to teach people. They were illiterate and had no books. But now, with educated people, we can’t? It is just weird. It doesn’t make sense.

    Very cool story:
    http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ndoliver/JOHANN_ALBERS_history.htm

  18. March 2nd, 2012 at 09:42 | #18

    @Mrs. Hume #17

    the words are clear.

    Well, I do not believe the words are as clear as you believe them to be.

    Pro golfers will often speak about the swing feeling natural. Well, it is natural after you have practiced it 10,000 hours. Back in the day, it feels anything but.

    I think you see the words are clear because you have been in it long enough.

    I don’t see how services that have less teaching in them are going to teach people more.

    I don’t think CoWo has less teaching; I think it teaches in a different way.

    Anyway how is it that marginally educated people living in shacks with dirt floors, no plumbing in extreme poverty could manage to understand these things but nowadays people with college degrees or anyway high school educations living in modern cities with tons of technology can’t memorize the same catechism that poor farm kids managed to learn 100 years ago?

    Because those people were growing up in a churched society for one, where everything supported their attendance. Not so with today.

    And I’m not saying they CAN’T learn — I’m saying, do we expect them to have learned it already when it comes to worship?

  19. March 2nd, 2012 at 09:45 | #19

    @T. R. Halvorson #15

    TRH, you’ve raised a good question that I would like to talk about — but I’m tiring of posting on the site. Can we take the discussion off line? I’ll e-mail you.

    Mrs Hume

    I think it is time to put this thread to bed. If you have any more questions, just e-mail me at pastorQ at sharechristarlington dot net.

  20. Mrs. Hume
    March 2nd, 2012 at 11:04 | #20

    I don’t think CoWo has less teaching; I think it teaches in a different way.

    I don’t follow this. You teach by telling people what you want them to know. You use words, right? So, they both use the same method, verbal communication, right?

    Well, I do not believe the words are as clear as you believe them to be.

    Why do you think that the general consensus among clergy for 1700 years was that the words were perfectly clear? Why do you think the words aren’t clear anymore? Praise songs are very vague. They don’t teach.

    And I’m not saying they CAN’T learn — I’m saying, do we expect them to have learned it already when it comes to worship?

    To sit in the service like/as little kids? no. To take communion? yes. You shouldn’t have communicant members who don’t know what is going on, anyway not in the general case.

    TRH, you’ve raised a good question that I would like to talk about — but I’m tiring of posting on the site. Can we take the discussion off line? I’ll e-mail you.

    That’s too bad. Probably others could benefit from following the discussion, even if they don’t happen upon it until sometime in the future. That is the nice thing about a forum like this. It is public, and people seeking information or discussions can refer back to them because they are accessible.

  21. helen
    March 2nd, 2012 at 13:26 | #21

    @Mark Louderback #18
    Because those people were growing up in a churched society for one, where everything supported their attendance. Not so with today.

    Your “churched society” is as much a fiction applied to a century ago as “Christian nation” is a fiction applied to the US today. Sure, the enclaves of Lutherans generally revolved around the church, but it was a language as well as a religious center.
    Society as a whole wasn’t all that “churched”.

    Today’s children “can’t memorize” because they have been told they can’t. Actually, they do it unconsciously, as soon as they are able to speak. You can’t learn what you aren’t taught or exposed to. [Ask them about the rules of a game, or baseball stats. They memorize!]

    From your comments, you are teaching a dumbed down Christianity. If you know better yourself, that sounds contemptuous of your congregation… “I have to do it this simple minded way because they can’t learn as much as I know.”

  22. March 2nd, 2012 at 19:54 | #22

    @helen #21

    I agree, Helen, and I would add to that, when a person considers salvation a matter of death and life, and matter of loving Christ because He first loved us, we can memorize. Death, life, and love are sufficient motivations to overcome imagined disabilities.

  23. March 2nd, 2012 at 21:32 | #23

    @Mrs. Hume #20

    Well, yes, if you go to the least common denominator, it is both verbal. In the least common denominator, liturgical and CoWo are both divine service and so they are identical.

    But there are other differences in philosophy and approach. CoWo tends to use different visuals when it comes to teaching — whether live painting or video — as opposed to the static stained glass. CoWo proclamation is more interactive — we had a whole section of a thread on that.

    Stuff like that.

    As to the general consensus…for a chunk of that time the church was moving to a position that understanding wasn’t all that important — all you needed to be was connected with the institution.

    Then, you begin to see the movement to reach out to people where they are in their context.

    You shouldn’t have communicant members who don’t know what is going on, anyway not in the general case.

    Sure. But what about the adults who aren’t communicant members?

    Probably others could benefit from following the discussion, even if they don’t happen upon it until sometime in the future.

    It’s just me, Mrs Hume. They probably wouldn’t benefit that much.

  24. March 2nd, 2012 at 21:37 | #24

    @helen #21

    Society as a whole wasn’t all that “churched”.

    Percentages attending worship were higher; clergy had higher respect in public polls — you know, you can measure these things and see changes through the years.

    As to the rest, sure, of course, whatever you think. Absolutely right. Can’t disagree.

    We good?

  25. Mrs. Hume
    March 2nd, 2012 at 22:13 | #25

    “Sure. But what about the adults who aren’t communicant members?”

    Yeah, that seems to be the focus, doesn’t it.

    It seems in the past when there were proportionally more children, the focus was more on what was good for them. Seems like a cultural shift. Now there are fewer children, so the focus is more on adults.

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