Another response To President Forke, by Klemet Preus

Dear President Forke,  

Let me respond to the five assertions you made in your most recent letter.

 1.           Since the Scripture and the Confessions do not prescribe a form of liturgy, (my definition) I think it is appropriate to admit that all liturgies are manmade.

Your definition of the word liturgy is “a man-made order for the public service of God to men, through the Word and Sacraments.” This is a fine definition for the sake of discussion. But, for you to conclude on the basis of this definition that “all liturgies are manmade” seems to be a bit circular to me. This is especially so since the definition of the word Liturgy in the Scripture is different from popular usage. Let’s say that the orders of service we employ are manmade in the sense that they neither dropped in one piece out of heaven nor are they in their entirety prescribed in the Scriptures. Still both the verses which make them up and the gospel direction of their order are from God and are from His Holy Word. So perhaps another distinction that we need to make is between those “liturgies” which are derived in their parts and in their function from the word of God and those which are not.

2.           Since the Scripture, in the context of worship, enjoins us to do all things in order it is appropriate to acknowledge that there should be order to this service. (Something that appears to be lacking in what passes for “worship” in many places.)

OK, I would agree with this. Additionally, in I Corinthians 14 the word “order” is deeper and broader than a simple suggestion that there be an order where one thing follows another in a sensible or predictable way. It also suggests that the “orders” of the church ought to reflect the “orders” of creation and the offices of the church which God has established and ordered. Further the word “decently” suggests a nobleness and decorum to the service.
3. Since we are talking about what takes place in the context of the congregation I acknowledge that this is a public, and not prescribing private devotionals.

Yes. Private devotions have a different purpose and different set of criteria. Anything said in the public Divine Service should apply to all Christians whereas private devotions or prayers can be much more specific both about the law and the Gospel. For example, all Christians can call themselves sinners who would be justly condemned without the mediation of Christ. But in his devotions a man might confess an extramarital affair which would not be appropriate to confess in the public confession of sins.  
4. Since God is always the giver and we are always the receiver it is essential that we acknowledge the service rendered by the use of a liturgy as God’s service to us. This little detail, if admitted by all would help carry the conversation past many disagreements. I am afraid that a large part of the LCMS would be unwilling to confess this. (I fully aware of the argument that we respond to the service of God with prayer and praise. This too we receive, but it is not primary.)

I think that in this point you have hit upon a big issue among us and one that is deeply theological. Apart from questions about Adiaphora, uniformity, tradition, etc. if we could at least agree here two salutary things would happen. 1)   A gradual uniformity would ensue as people sought to use forms which communicate God’s grace toward us rather than our to Him praise most clearly. 2) The acrimony would decrease as we could have a common starting point in our discussions.      
5. Since God has bound us to receive His gifts through the Word and Sacraments it is fitting to confess that the liturgy is also bound to His means of grace for the sake of its purpose, that is proclaiming the Gospel.

 This follows from your point 4. And this point is crucial not only for our understanding of Worship but also for our understanding of Grace which is always mediated through the Gospel and Sacraments. What makes worship uniquely Christian is that worship is essentially the gospel and Sacraments given to us. The expressions “Gospel” and “means of grace” are synonymous. We do not exercise the means of grace for the sake of the gospel. Rather we give the means of grace because they are the gospel.

 Again, Brother Forke, thank you for the dialog. I pray that it can continue not only between us on the BJS site but that somehow these conversations can take place all over the synod and the entire church can come to a common understanding of what is our confession and what is not.

Klemet Preus

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.


Another response To President Forke, by Klemet Preus — 34 Comments

  1. Pr. Preus:

    Your discussion has been excellent and given in a brotherly spirit. I like especially your comments under point number 4–that if we could see and agree to Forke’s assessment on this point “a gradual uniformity [amazingly!!] would ensue as people sought to use forms which communicate God’s grace toward us rather than our praise to Him most clearly.” This is not imposed uniformity, but rather the kind that is genetically part and parcel of the unity of Scripture, the common confession of a united church body, and the place of the Gospel as that which is central in said church body led and ruled by Sacred Scripture.

    Your further comment that an agreement on President Forke’s statement that “since God is always the giver and we are always the receiver it is essential that we acknowledge the service rendered by the use of a liturgy as God’s service to us” would lead to a lessening of acrimony is also helpful because I think it shows that in many ways the issue is only secondarily about liturgy and more accurately about being Lutheran and confessing the divine monergism of grace.

    How will we know that this is indeed a church-wide discussion and that all sides are talking and listening and digesting what everyone else is saying?

  2. Indeed, Klem, as you point out in your reply to Pres. Forke’s point #4, this is where, largely, the argument/discussion in the LCMS lies these days.

    How many Christians stay away from worship whenever they can b/c, deep down, they resent that God somehow requires worship from them? They have been mistaught (either by their pastor or other pastors OR by their twisting of the Word when they hear it — of this latter thing, we are all, in varying degrees, guilty). If we could all be properly taught that it truly is God who comes to us in His Word and Sacraments, it would change our entire posture toward the worship service. Rather than looking at our watches to see how long we must endure the Divine Service (though we, like the Gethsemane disciples, b/c of our flesh, will always fall pray to this in our weaker moments), we rejoice to be in this spot where heaven descends to us for a few moments. Rather than looking for some cute innovation which we think we might bring to God (“This will make God glad!”), we come to realize that there is nothing which we can bring to the DS which can ever “top” what God gives (and that includes dancing in the aisles or way cool instrumentalization or even super duper visualization — we can be guilty of this with new or old technology).

    The sad truth is that even some of our leadership are permitting themselves to be mistaught by false teachers who insist on notions like “God needs your worship.” (Rick Warren in 40 Days of Purpose, if I recall correctly.) Our fallen nature always wants to put us in the middle of things so as to help God out (and maybe even make Him beholding to us?).

    Our fallen nature always thinks that if we can adopt some “new measures” of some sort which will enliven worship, that then things will be hunky dory again. But only the proper understanding of what worship is will cause us to truly value it.

    Thanks, again, for your clear reasoning and fraternal tone.

  3. Question:

    1. Since the Scripture and the Confessions do not prescribe a form of liturgy, (my definition) I think it is appropriate to admit that all liturgies are manmade.

    4. Since God is always the giver and we are always the receiver it is essential that we acknowledge the service rendered by the use of a liturgy as God’s service to us.

    These seem to be in rather flat contradiction of each other.

    A part of me thinks that this is wrapped up in the deeper issue of “What is the Office of the Ministry?” The drift of the discussions into “good order” remind me of the reformed/some-Lutherans arguments for why we need the prediktampt. There is a residual “Law” tone to our arguments for why we need the “Gospel.”

  4. @revfisk #3

    It is contradictory and it also belies a scriptural view of the means of grace, since if both 1) and 4) are true, then God comes to us through something outside His Word, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper. That is, if God comes to us through a “manmade” liturgy, then we are well into enthusiasm.

    Point 1) is obviously false since we know from Acts 2 that the early church congregated together in the temple and homes to break bread together, hear the teachings of the Apostles, and pray together. Of course, we also have Jesus’ own words that as often as we come together we should have the Lord’s Supper. Surely these are a form of liturgy given to us through the scriptures?

  5. What consistently is overlooked when dealing with the Formula is that two of its major drafters (Chemnitz and Andreae) just years before it was promulgated wrote a Church Order for the Duchy of Braunschweig-Wolfenbuettel in which we might find the following:

    How the teachings and ceremonies of my principality Braunschweig, the Wulffenbüttel region, and the matters and institutions of the churches attached to the same should henceforth be kept, by God’s grace.

    all of my pastors and ministers should act according to this in doctrine and use of the highly worthy sacraments, marriages, funerals, the burial of the dead into the earth, and other such things, in a thoroughly uniform way, and also otherwise as to not give offense in their holy calling and high office.

    And although Christians are not everywhere bound to one certain type of ceremony, rather Christian freedom has its place in this area, as the ancients say: “Disagreement in rites does not take away agreement in faith,” [Dissonantia rituum non tollit consonantiam fidei]. However, because there is yet all sorts of benefits when ceremonies, as much as is possible, are maintained uniformly and this also serves to maintain the unity in doctrine, also common, simply weak consciences are all the less troubled, rather the more improved, it is thus viewed as good that as much as is possible a similarity in ceremonies with the neighboring reformed church be affected and maintained. And for this reason henceforth all pastors in the churches of our principality shall in ceremonies strictly abide, and orient themselves, by the order described below, and not depart from it without special, grave cause.

    And nevertheless, the common people can be instructed regarding such ceremonies as to how they are a matter of Christian freedom, to what end they are maintained and used and so that the old papistic delusion not again be hung about the ceremonies.

    After the first sermon and hymn are ended, the bells should be rung for the mass or communion and it should begin, which shall occur at seven o’clock. And because hitherto in these lands at communion the customary vestments [ornatus ecclesiasticus] with cassock, alb and chasuble have been used, likewise, the altar bedecked with pure paraments and other vestments [ornat], also adorned with burning candles, [and] because some who are not in this instance sufficiently instructed in Christian freedom would perceive it as something strange and offensive where the ministers of the church [kirchendiener] should begin to hold communion merely in their daily, ordinary clothing, the pastors and ministers [kirchendiener] who desire to hold mass when communicants are present shall not merely in their common clothing, but rather in their ecclesiastical vestments [ornatu ecclesiastico] such as alb, cassock and chasuble, very honorably and with great reverence and invocation of the Son of God approach the altar and commence, hold and accomplish the office of the mass [officium missae].

    The altar shall also be bedecked and clothed with pure vestments and other ornatu, likewise lights burning on the altar, because such is the case in neighboring churches which have been reformed, and nevertheless the common people may be instructed that such things are not necessary, as though divine service consisted particularly of such things or the sanctification [heiligung] of this sacrament depended upon them, rather that they be maintained as free matters [neither commanded nor forbidden], without any superstition. And so that henceforth in all the churches of this principality the ceremonies in the office of the mass [officio missae] may be conducted on all parts honorably, orderly and uniformly [eintrechtigen] ever so much as possible, first an introit of the day [introitum de tempore] shall be sung, then the Kyrie eleison and the Gloria in excelsis, likewise, the et in terra pax, at times in Latin, and then in German.

    So far the Church Order. Anyone who presumes to interpret the Formula of Concord X in a way that flies in the face of the above is simply rewriting history and falsifying it. The men who WROTE the Formula also WROTE the above words. They need to be dealt with.

  6. Point 1) is obviously false since we know from Acts 2 that the early church congregated together in the temple and homes to break bread together, hear the teachings of the Apostles, and pray together. Of course, we also have Jesus’ own words that as often as we come together we should have the Lord’s Supper. Surely these are a form of liturgy given to us through the scriptures?

    Jim Pierce. You are possibly starting a different liturgical discussion than you expected. It is true that there is an irreducible minimum in the “liturgy” for the Lord’s Supper. We have Paul’s words in I Cor 11:23 making it clear what is necessary for the Lord’s Supper. However, there is no prohibition on “appropriate” additions to the ritual.

    As for Acts 2, there is very little evidence that “breaking bread” there means more than “eating a meal”. Later in Acts it is actual meals that is concerned in Acts 6. The phrase is used as a synonym for the Lord’s Supper in Paul’s letters, but in Luke, also written by the same author, the phrase obviously means a meal (for example, the feeding of the 5 thousand and the meeting on the road to Emmaus).

    The idea that a church service is synonymous with a church service is very late in LCMS, apparently stemming from the so-called “Modern Liturgical Renewal” teachings. Looking a prime Lutheran proponent (Luther Reed), their ideas stem from a lack of faith in either God or His Word and so a desire for something for the congregation to do.

    While this is a worth while discussion topic, it is extraneous to this thread, except for the fact that there is indeed Scripture talking about liturgy and practice, at least in I Cor 11 & 14.

  7. @Arthur Bolstad #6

    My point is that there is that the Apostles obviously had a form of liturgy they practiced as we read in Acts 2. As for appropriate additions to the liturgy I will leave that discussion to those much more well versed in theology than myself. 🙂 However, I think it is safe to assume that such additions would be scripturally based and Christ centered.

  8. Since the Scripture and the Confessions do not prescribe a form of liturgy, (my definition) I think it is appropriate to admit that all liturgies are manmade.

    Between both Pr. Preus and Pres. Forke, I am noticing a really inexplicable reluctance to grapple with Augsburg and Apology XXIV. I frankly do not understand the avoidance of its rather clear statements that explain much about post-reformation, pre-Pietism liturgical practice among Lutherans.

    What isn’t clear below?:

    1] Falsely are our churches accused of abolishing the Mass; for the Mass is retained among 2] us, and celebrated with the highest reverence. Nearly all the usual ceremonies are also preserved, save that the parts sung in Latin are interspersed here and there with German hymns, which have been added 3] to teach the people. For ceremonies are needed to this end alone that the unlearned 4] be taught [what they need to know of Christ]. And not only has Paul commanded to use in the church a language understood by the people 1 Cor. 14, 2. 9, but it has also been so ordained by man’s law. 5] The people are accustomed to partake of the Sacrament together, if any be fit for it, and this also increases the reverence and devotion of public 6] worship. For none are admitted 7] except they be first examined. The people are also advised concerning the dignity and use of the Sacrament, how great consolation it brings anxious consciences, that they may learn to believe God, and to expect and ask of Him all that is good. 8] [In this connection they are also instructed regarding other and false teachings on the Sacrament.] This worship pleases God; such use of the Sacrament nourishes true devotion 9] toward God. It does not, therefore, appear that the Mass is more devoutly celebrated among our adversaries than among us.
    Augsburg Confession, Article XXIV,1-9

    At the outset we must again make the preliminary statement that we 1] do not abolish the Mass, but religiously maintain and defend it. For among us masses are celebrated every Lord’s Day and on the other festivals, in which the Sacrament is offered to those who wish to use it, after they have been examined and absolved. And the usual public ceremonies are observed, the series of lessons, of prayers, vestments, and other like things.
    Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XXIV,1

  9. And doesn’t this make clear the liturgy is Divine Service (Gottesdienst, Gudstjaenst, Jumalanpalvelus, theia leitourgia) and that Pentecostal praise services fall into a similar error as the Roman view of the Mass as our doing (this is why I think we ought to say “Divine Service” rather than “worship service” or something else centered on our activity):

    Of the Term Mass.

    78] The adversaries also refer us to philology. From the names of the Mass they derive arguments which do not require a long discussion. For even though the Mass be called a sacrifice, it does not follow that it must confer grace ex opere operato, or, when applied on behalf of others, merit for them the remission of sins, etc. 79] Leitourgiva, they say, signifies a sacrifice, and the Greeks call the Mass, liturgy. Why do they here omit the old appellation synaxis, which shows that the Mass was formerly the communion of many? But let us speak of the word liturgy. This word does not properly signify a, sacrifice, but rather the public ministry, and agrees aptly with our belief, namely, that one minister who consecrates tenders the body and blood of the Lord to the rest of the people, just as one minister who preaches tenders the Gospel to the people, as Paul says, 1 Cor. 4, 1: Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God, i.e., of the Gospel and the Sacraments. And 2 Cor. 5, 20: We are ambassadors for Christ, as 81] though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ’s stead, Be ye reconciled to God. Thus the term leitourgiva agrees aptly with the ministry.
    Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XXIV, 78-81

  10. Pres. Forke stated: “4. Since God is always the giver and we are always the receiver it is essential that we acknowledge the service rendered by the use of a liturgy as God’s service to us. This little detail, if admitted by all would help carry the conversation past many disagreements. I am afraid that a large part of the LCMS would be unwilling to confess this.”

    That same large part of the LCMS already doesn’t confess this, as demonstrated by their practice. What pastor in the LCMS doesn’t know what Article XXIV says, or that the Church Order for the Duchy of Braunschweig-Wolfenbuettel exists, as well as others like it? Every pastor was taught these things in the seminary, but some pastors, as I’ve learned from past experience, have a very selective memory. Thank you Pastors Weedon and Frahm for bringing up excellent points, and thanks to Pastors Forke and Preus for the dialogue.

    Personally, I don’t believe this dialogue is representative of one which would occur with many of the District Presidents. President Forke is one of the most Confessional District Presidents around. I assume he isn’t speaking for the Council of Presidents here, but for himself. This is a discussion that indeed should be a Synod-wide discussion, and it needs to be between those who want to practice the historic liturgy and those who don’t. Right now, it appears that the discussion is between someone who fights for the historic liturgy (Pastor Preus), and someone who also practices the historic liturgy when he’s pastoring a congregation, but steers a somewhat more constrained course now, due to his office (Pres. Forke), which is the correct thing to do.

    Pastor Johnson asked “How will we know that this is indeed a church-wide discussion and that all sides are talking and listening and digesting what everyone else is saying?” We’ll know that when the conversation degenerates and people start calling each other names and making allness statements. It would take a very big table, a group superbly collegial and dedicated theologians, many years, and a Synod President willing to address the issues in a forthright manner to facilitate a dialogue that will result in meaningful progress. In the mean time, I’m glad this conversation exists, and hope it will continue.

  11. Klemet, your comments are as always clearly laid out and theologicaly sound. I would support them totally. I would add a pastoral, practical concern. We live in a very mobile society. When people move and are looking for a new church do they not look for a church that is like the one they just left? If the one they just left has a Baptist style of worship guess what church they are going to join when they settle in their new community. Most people judge a church by what they see going on in the sanctuary (or on stage) on Sunday morning; not on what is in their formal confession. If we train people that a good Baptist service is what worship is all about why not go for the real thing?

    One working definition of “church” is “God’s people gathered around Word and Sacrament.” Our worship is the outward expression of our theological unity. It is no accident that the unity of the LCMS has suffered at the same time we have seen disunity in worship practice. It is a “practical” issue as well as a theological one.

  12. Pr. Frahm, Thanks so much for reminding us all of article XXIV. Until we come to terms with it, we will be spinning in little (theo)logical circles not making progress in any direction. Someone said, The poet wants to get his head into heaven; the logician wants to get heaven into his head. I’m afraid too much of our theology and practice reflects the latter. Reflecting on what it might mean for us that Jesus was submissive to His parents (Luke 2) and then grew in favor with God and man, I came up with the following: we would be obedient to God’s holy family the Church by reverencing
    — the Church’s book (Holy Bible)
    –the Church’s songs (Hymnal)
    — The Church’s prayer (Liturgy)
    — The Church’s ministry (Bishop, Pastor, Deacon — Word and Sacraments included here)
    — The Church’s Teaching/Confession (Book of Concord)
    — The Church’s Battle (against sin and unbelief, speaking truth in love, etc.).
    This more than anything I’ve heard or read about would result in a lively, vital unified in teaching and practice Church; something to be reckoned with; something the devil the world and our flesh would fear.
    Pr. Paul Becker

  13. Pr. Frahm (Augsburg and Apology XXIV) and Pr. Weedon (the view of church orders by the Formulators) have reminded us of basic issues that weigh strongly on the side of uniformity.

    Pr. Weedon notes an important dictum, that at first glance might give weight to diversity in the church: “disagreement in rites does not take away agreement in faith.” This quote of Irenaeus–via Eusebius Scholasticus’ “Church History”–has confessional status in Augsburg 26 and Formula 10 (Epitome and Solid Declaration). The issue that gave rise to Irenaeus’ statement originally was the difference in celebrating Easter–with churches in Asia Minor (and later Ireland) celebrating Easter on 14 of Nisan on whatever day of the week that might fall, and those that celebrated every year on Sunday–the Lord’s Day (Kyriake). This historical background is included in the Augsburg Confession immediately prior to the quote being given. A point I have made previously I think applies here: the “adiaphora” that was legitimately exercised in the ancient church over Easter involved larger language issues, as well as political and ecclesiastical jurisdiction issues. I just don’t see these same boundaries as playing a role in what has gone on in the Synod over the last 20 years. Also, you might notice that “adiaphora” was not invoked to initiate a departure from previous practice, but rather came into play after the various churches began to feel difficulty in the different practices that were already well established in the various areas of the church. That differences in rites could cause unease in itself tells us something of the laudability of uniformity in rites as the “default setting” in Christian history.

    Even differences in church orders among German Lutherans were a result of different political (and language) boundaries. And in those cases, each different region with its own differing church order…had a church order!!

    The spirit of the original Synodical constitution (and Walther’s writings on the subject) commended church orders and a common hymnal. In 2010 the Missouri Synod has a common hymnal (that is genuinely Lutheran), we share a common language, and we all live in one political jurisdiction. In the case of mission congregations where a different language is spoken, I would agree that uniformity would be in process and not as much of a given as it should be in almost every other circumstance.

  14. Dear Pastors Preus and Forke,,

    Great conversation here! Since the initial discussions started about worship at BJS, I have been trying to find a set of principles that people would agree constitute Lutheran worship. I don’t think that the division into traditional or contemporary worship is helpful, for a number of reasons. I think, though, that we can make a lot of progress if we can agree about what is “Lutheran worship” vs. “non-Lutheran worship.”

    Here is what I have come up with. Since we agree in the LCMS that we subscribe unconditionally to the Lutheran Confessions, they define for us what is “Lutheran.” I have mentioned in a previous post the excellent book by James Brauer, “Worship, Gottesdients, Cultus Dei” (CPH). It is all confessional citations.

    Many of the confessional citations are historic statements, i.e., they tell us what the 16th century Lutherans did. They do not tell us directly what we should do. Apology XXIV and the 16th century church orders are of this nature. We can learn from them the principles invoked, but only indirectly. We have to look elsewhere for direct statements of principles.

    I have come up with nine principles from our Lutheran confessions regarding worship, i.e., what it has to be followed or it is not “Lutheran.” I am sure other citations can be found to support these principles. These are just the most obvious citations, to my knowledge:


    1) WORD PRINCIPLE – In worship Lutherans teach, preach, read, hear, and seriously ponder the Word of God (LC 1st part, 92).
    2) SACRAMENTAL PRINCIPLE – In worship Lutherans receive the sacraments and confess their sins publicly (LC 4th part, 1; LC Brief Exhortation, 10).
    3) REVERENCE PRINICIPLE – In worship Lutherans show respect to God with songs and prayer (LC 1st part, 84).
    4) PETITION PRINCIPLE – In worship Lutherans ask God for blessings, help, and comfort (LC 1st part, 17).
    5) PRESCRIPTIVE PRINCIPLE – In worship Lutherans obey what is commanded by God’s Word, and avoid what is forbidden therein (FC SD X, 1).
    6) INTEGRITY PRINCIPLE – In worship Lutherans avoid practices that are deceptive, i.e., which portray themselves as being something different than their true character (FC SD X, 5).
    7) SYNCRETISTIC PRINCIPLE – In worship Lutherans avoid practices that give the impression that Lutherans have no serious disagreements with another faith, or that Lutherans are getting close to coming to agreement with that faith tradition (FC SD X, 5).
    8 ) SPECTACLE PRINCIPLE – In worship Lutherans avoid useless or foolish spectacles (FC SD X, 7).
    9) CHANGE PRINCIPLE – When change is being considered in worship, Lutherans will avoid frivolity and offense, and use the criteria of good order, Christian discipline, evangelical decorum, and the edification of the church; and they will consider such change as a community of faith, not as isolated congregations or as “lone wolf” pastors (FC SD X, 9).


    If we can apply these principles to specific practices, and specific cases of practices, then I think that we will be on the way to real unity of spirit and practice in our Lutheran churches.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  15. Pr. Noland, the distinction between worship principles of the Confessions and historical statements in the Confessions is helpful and important. What you have laid out looks excellent. It is interesting that as I examine these principles I find myself not only dealing with issues of worship but also am taught something about the character of the “una sancta.” Your work and Klemet’s help the discussion stay oriented.

  16. Dear Pastors Preus, Forke, Johnson, Wollenburg, Fisk, Pierce, Weedon, Bolstad, Frahm, Gallup, Becker, and Gene White and Scott Diekmann,

    It appears to me that with eleven pastors on this post, and two laymen, that we might qualify as a “non-geographic circuit” under the Blue Ribbon proposals for LCMS structure. 🙂

    Seriously, I think that the LCMS is in “a commotion” about worship because laymen and pastors are concerned about our COMPETITION, which is primarily the independent Evangelical churches.

    These are usually the ones listed in the Yellow Pages under “Independent,” “Independent xxx,”” “Calvary Chapel,” “Evangelical,” “Nondenominational,” “Nondenominational xxx ,” “Interdenominational,” “Charismatic,” and “Vineyard.” These are the churches that have high visibility today, have the largest facilities (mega-church), and have the most visible young people.

    All the other Protestant denominational churches are in the same “boat” as the LCMS, and also are imitating the independent Evangelical churches, more or less. The LCMS mission executives in District offices (or their boards) see the imitation of Evangelical churches as the only way to compete. So when they can’t find a local congregation to start “contemporary worship” services, they start “satellite churches” next to traditional LCMS churches.

    If we don’t admit that this our problem, or the motivation behind our worship troubles, we will never solve those troubles and they will only get worse. Nor will hiding behind, or rallying to, the Lutheran flag help that much. If we want unity in the LCMS (which I do), then we will as a church have to admit: 1) competition from Evangelical churches is the problem; 2) X, Y, and Z (whatever that might be) is what is wrong with Evangelical worship and their churches.

    The biggest problem with Evangelical churches is not their worship, but their attitude that they are “more holy” than you or me. This HOLINESS PRINCIPLE is integral to their Methodist, Holiness, and Pentecostal traditions. They may think they are “more holy” than Lutherans because we permit smoking and drinking (outside of worship, mind you!); or because we use many of the external aids to worship that are found in the Catholic church; or because we believe that sacraments bestow grace; or because Lutherans are more reserved about talking about their “faith life.” Whatever the reason, they always think they are superior to us for these reasons; and we always come off looking bad, because we have no apparent defense!

    Our young people, and other “seekers,” are attracted to these Evangelical churches because of the HOLINESS PRINCIPLE and/or because of their PERFORMANCE MUSIC PRINCIPLE in worship. That principle, which is the defining feature of “Contemporary Worship,” is that worship starts with exciting pop/rock music, and a good portion of the worship time is dedicated to pop/rock music (probably one-third to two-thirds of the time, from my experience).

    Lutherans reserve performance music to: 1) preludes, postludes, offerings, where it serves as background to other activities, and 2) ONE anthem. In other words, for Lutherans, music that does not accompany congregational song serves in a supportive role, not a “magisterial role.” I am not excluding the use of pop/rock music (with its band, guitars, drums, electronics) entirely, just saying that it needs to keep the supportive role that music has always had in the Lutheran church. By the way, in the Zwinglian and Anabaptist churches, instrumental music was outlawed altogether, while in the traditional Calvinist and Anglican churches, it was limited to accompaniment to paraphrased Psalms.

    The HOLINESS PRINCIPLE and the PERFORMANCE MUSIC PRINCIPLE cannot be added to the Lutheran principles that I outlined above (comment #15), because neither of these two are biblical. The HOLINESS PRINCIPLE is heretical (a type of Pelagianism). The PERFORMANCE MUSIC PRINCIPLE takes something useful (performance music) and elevates it to a principle, or main component, of worship. It is the elevation to a principle (in practice) or main component that makes it wrong.

    If we in the LCMS can agree to a set of principles, like the nine I listed under comment #15, agree that modern-Evangelical-church-competition is at the root of our ills, and agree about what is wrong with modern-Evangelical-church worship (and theology), and agree to practice accordingy, then I think we can lick this problem.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  17. I’m not sure that I’d characterize Lutherans as being in competition with Evangelical churches. I’d prefer to think of it as standing in contradistinction to Evangelical churches. Some people really buy into the competition aspect, in a way that you likely don’t intend it Dr. Noland. They co-opt the other guy’s practices to “bring ’em in” (which I know you agree with). Therein lies part of the danger. We should offer God’s gifts as He intended for them to be used. Let the other mainline churches fight over who can best entertain.

    Along with, or a subset of, the PERFORMANCE MUSIC PRINCIPLE should be the ME MUSIC PRINCIPLE. I go to church to sing about ME. Not only has the performance music been elevated to a principle, what is being taught via the lyrics, in their churches, and in our churches, is often anthropocentric.

    I like your nine principles. Many pastors out there would agree with these principles, although a portion of them, by their practice, do not uphold them or confess them. There might be a few honest pastors who would even verbally reject one or two of them. Kudos to them for being honest, but why remain a Lutheran in that case?

    Some pastors reject the WORD PRINCIPLE by preaching self-help sermons.

    Many pastors reject the SACRAMENTAL PRINCIPLE. If you allow open Communion, your Christology is amiss and the Eucharist just isn’t that big of a deal.

    I’ve seen plenty of church services where the REVERENCE PRINCIPLE and the SPECTACLE PRINCIPLE have been seriously violated.

    The INTEGRITY PRINCIPLE is violated by those congregations who are LINO’s – Lutheran In Name Only.

    The SYNCRETISTIC PRINCIPLE is violated by all of the above.

    The CHANGE PRINCIPLE went out the window decades ago.

    What are indeed the basic tenets of Lutheranism and self-evident to many of us “fundamentalists” (as I was called the other day), are relics of the past for a goodly chunk of the LCMS. These nine principles are something to shoot for. It will take a lot of catechesis to embed these in the hearts and minds of many laymen who are currently being shepherded in another direction. I pray that the Lord of the harvest will send us more faithful shepherds to lead the flock to greener pastures, where we can feast on Word and Sacrament in relative tranquility.

    Crux sola est nostra theologia.

    Scott Diekmann

  18. Dear Scott, et. al.,

    Thanks for your insightful response to my comment (your #18 to my #s15 & 17)!

    I agree that we should view ourselves in “contradistinction” to the Evangelicals, instead of seeing ourselves in “competition” with them. Note that I said “1) competition from Evangelical churches is the problem.” I could have been a lot clearer about that point, which you have really clarified. So thanks! That is why good dialogue is always better than monologue!

    I think that the idea that we are in “competition” with the Evangelicals, and with other churches for that matter, came from the Church Growth Movement. If you clear away the verbiage in the Church Growth Movement, it is really just about “marketing” the church, which is just another way of saying “competition.”

    I don’t think that we talked this way in the LCMS before the Church Growth Movement started in our midst (about the mid 1980s). We did have books and seminars on “public relations,” but “competition” or “marketing” was not implied. It was more important that people knew WHO you were, than WHAT you offered. Now the programs and rock bands are more important than Jesus’ word. John Lennon once said the Beatles rock music was more popular than Jesus. He was right! That principle has found its way into our churches. The founders of the Church Growth Movement, MacGavran and Arn, even defend “sheep stealing” in some books, based on the “competition” principle.

    David S. Luecke, probably the main intellect behind Jesus First, recently castigated the Saint Louis seminary. The seminary’s journal noted how we have lost a sense of the “common profit” or “common good” in the church, while Luecke said that pastors have to be “entrepreneurial” and that churches have always acted out of “self-interest” and “entrepreneurialism” (see “Jesus First” newsletter, September 2009). It is no accident that Luecke used to teach, or was connected in someway, with Fuller Seminary, the leading seminary of the independent, competition-driven, Evangelicals.

    My point is that many of our leaders and many of our pastors have been affected by the church growth movement’s “competition” and “marketing” mentality, and as a result they compete against the Evangelical churches by doing what they do, and against their neighboring LCMS churches by drawing away their youth and young families. That IS our problem, and what drives the conflict over worship!

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  19. Dr. Noland and all others:

    Having come out of the Church growth movement for many years, I was told that growth movement churches were more ‘alive’…that the Holy Spirit works through our allowing ourselves (our bodies and minds) to be free from constraints of traditional worship. So traditional practices, according to a church growther, stifle the Spirit’s moving and are considered ‘dead’.

    And of course, the increase of members in these churches ALONG with their congregants’ hunger to read the Bible and go deeper into the Word seem to support their reasoning. There are many mature Christians who take their faith and study of the Bible VERY seriously. There is a real sense in non-demons that that the hearts of the people in denominational churches are not interested in growing in their faith or drawing others to Christ. In some cases, I think they are right!

    I was raised in an LCMS church that did not encourage reading of the Word, bible study, or reaching out in our vocations. The people mainly showed up on Sunday and went home. After that kind of environment, I hungrily went to Baptist and pentacostal churches, for the people truly desired and hungered for Christ through reading and studying the Word. Also, the sermons were expository….verse by verse. I loved that and still do! It may be a teaching style, but there are many of my friends who prefer that style of sermon than taking a verse/verses, making a story out of it, and using that story for application. So they choose a PCA, Baptist or non-denom church whose pastor uses that style of preaching.

    I wonder if there aren’t things that can be learned from the growth movement, without sacrificing the Divine Service.

  20. By the way, I’ve come back to LCMS….for better or worse.

    First I came back because I thought LCMS had an interest in classical music by their ownership of KFUO-FM, and secondly because of Pastor Biermann’s most excellent teaching at our church! Our church also does a great job of reaching out to the community around us, which I DO think very important. Finally, I came back because we still have a traditional service and I was tired of the shallow, repetitive nature of some (not all) contemporary worship practice.

    As a classical musician, I am acutely aware of performance issues on either side…the organ bench or the praise band….but prefer the Divine Service for it focuses my heart soul and mind on the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit instead of performance or myelf. Also, I find it musically much more satisfying. To me, it is God’s song that is thankfully different from what the world has to offer.
    Diana Haskell-Zimmerman, Associate Principal Clarinet

  21. Diana,
    What a very thought filled post. Your post addresses, some of the reasoning, for bringing IN Emergent of CGM into the LCMS.
    One thing, amongst others, struck me: what you were “taught” was a church that was “alive”. by who’s standards?
    By who’s (or by whom) were you taught to weigh a church that way? Here is the rub I see & have heard in this theology (heard it too)
    We are told, in a gambit of ways, what we should do, what we must do, and what we must see.
    What you won’t hear: Is the No Go’s. “You should not” “you must not” & the “no’s”. When we teach children the difference, between, what is right & wrong. What is the first word they learn? “No”. You can’t…go, touch, have, etc. Professionals call those “boundry” lines. You will never hear, from those who understand the soverignty & Holiness, & Justness of the Trinity, say that word, “no”.

    The world is famous, for saying “this is okay, or that is okay” or “you can, or you should”. Parents teach right & wrong differently than that. Our Heavenly Father, is the Perfect Parent, I need to know, what He does not want me to do, see, hear or say. It gives me a measure to weigh “HIS boundry” line, between His “yes” and the world’s “yes.” He governs by “know” not by “feel”. That is a huge difference, I have seen, by what you stated above.
    In those you listed in post #20, did you hear or were you taught more, “should’s & do’s” or “should not’s & do not’s”. Knowing where not to go or do, saves us from trying to discern things, which we should be taught are wrong, rather than learn by our own error.
    Does that make any sense?

  22. Hi Dutch:

    I think you are saying that the freedom in church growth worship may not be based on Scripture and that the freedom is a false sense of freedom, right? I agree wholeheartedly. And yet……

    Being raised in an LCMS church where women were not allowed to vote until the early 1980’s, where women were literally told to stay home, where the pastor was stern and distant, (I could go on and on….) led me to understand a God who was uncaring, cold, and did not think highly of women who worked outside of the home. This was confusing for then why did God gift me with the ability to play in an orchestra? For a long time I rebelled and was angry with God.

    In addition, I got the impresson from the leadership of my church that God was a God of rules and law only. ‘Do this and do that’, ‘according to the catechism’, etc. Rarely did we read the Bible directly, and never did we hear about God’s love, forgiveness and desire for a personal relationship with Him. Sure, part of that was my own issue, but it took a pastor of a different denom to show me that 1) my giftedness as a classical musician was given to me by God and was to be used for His glory, not something to be ashamed of 2) that God is personal, cares about/loves me deeply, and yearns for a close relationship with me, and 3) He is a God of grace and healing as well as law.

    I was deeply damaged by the misuse of power by men at my church and consequently in other areas of my life. Thankfully, through much prayer, Godly counsel, and pouring over Scriptures about God’s deep love through His Son, Jesus, (along with an unbelievably Godly, caring husband!) I am strong in Him now. Sometimes I think it took 15-20 years of going to other denoms to rid myself of the hindrances that I experienced as a young child. At least in the non-denoms there is a great deal of Godly love and acceptance, which is what I needed at the time.

    I am not alone. It is easy for people inside of LCMS to lose sight that there are many like myself who are truly seeking the whole truth, but truth in love and gentleness. That is why I think some go elsewhere, in an honest attempt to search for God. There is a lot of doctrinal discussion and a lot of correcting going on, which is great, but I pray that this is always done in love and gentleness. There are many who read this blog who either are not Christians or who are in pain from their past experiences and are looking for God who is real, loving and compassionate. Some might need a good dose of law, but there are many who never hear about the love of Christ, either, and that is missing sometimes if we aren’t careful. It depends on the person, I think.

  23. Dear Diana,

    Thanks for your comments and insight! I think that you and I agree on a whole lot of things!

    I grew up in a family, among relatives, and in a congregation that had not been “secularized,” like so many others in the LCMS. I grew up with values and practices that were common in our church-body, before the ecumenical movement destroyed missions and evangelism, and before historical-critical movement destroyed real Bible study. These values and practices were part of the Pietist heritage in the LCMS, which heritage had been reformed by Walther, Wyneken, Loehe, and other LCMS founders.

    When I first attended Concordia, River Forest in the mid-1970s (at the time was 95% church-worker students), some of my LCMS college friends there thought that I was a charismatic, because:

    1) I did not become stupefyingly drunk every other night;
    2) I did not engage in promiscuous behavior or a “hands-on” approach to dating;
    3) I took dorm devotions seriously;
    4) I was interested in group Bible study, i.e., a sequential-verse approach to entire books of the Bible;
    5) I was interested in personal and vocational evangelism, and joined the few students who helped local congregations canvass their neighborhoods, and witnessing door-to-door, even in snowy weather;
    6) I was interested in “living the Christian life,” not because it made me more holy than others, but simply because I loved Jesus and His Word;
    7) I went to contemporary Christian rock concerts, including some of the first-generation originals like John Fischer, Second Chapter of Acts, Resurrection Band, Honeytree, Phil Keaggy, Love Song, Paul Stookey, etc. (Amy Grant was second-generation); and
    8) (this is what got me in trouble) I took objection to the theology faculty members who taught historical-criticism on campus, and I was critical of the church-next-door (Grace Lutheran, River Forest) that identified itself with the Liberal ecumenical movement.

    My River Forest friends were wrong; I was not charismatic and have never been. I have never had any of the experiences claimed by charismatics or Evangelicals. I have always been Lutheran, formally and internally. When I have had Lutheran friends who have joined Evangelical or charismatic churches, I have always tried to dissuade them on the basis of Scripture.

    Today, I still prefer teaching Bible classes in that way (Books of the Bible, taught exegetically, verse by verse, with extensive class discussion), I have a teaching approach in my sermons (we used to call this “doctrinal sermons”), I attempt to get my congregations interested in group and personal Bible study, I attempt to get my congregations interested in evangelism, I attempt to get my congregations involved in “study retreats” (and have been a speaker at such things for other congregations), and I talk about living the Christian life, but in a Lutheran way like Gene Veith does.

    These things, which are perhaps not common in the LCMS today, used to be. It is what we have in common, in a good way, with the Evangelical churches.

    Group and personal Bible study, expository or doctrinal sermons, personal evangelism, and a concern for living a Christian life are good things. The “church growth movement” leaders may claim that they are the source of these things, but if so, then they are patent liars. These good things are a common heritage of all Protestants, though maybe few Protestants practice them today. We don’t need to learn from other denominational traditions; we need to re-capture and reinvigorate our own!

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  24. Diana,
    The Lord works in amazing ways! I have the perfect analogy for what I was trying to say! I just picked up my boys from school. We had a huge snowstorm yesterday, and there was a huge snow/ice jam on the second story, right above the doors. I get out, to get my boys. Now, from my vantage point, I can see, if the crowd of kids, succeed in knocking it off, everything behind it (ice jam) will fall on that crowd of kids. There was an adult less than 4 feet away. “No, don’t do that” w/o explaining WHY, doesn’t go far with kids. I said, “Hey! Guys, I wouldn’t do that, then explained what they learned in school about avalanches, & then explained, what you see there, isn’t all that IS there. Showed them what I could see, and only then did said other adult, bring misbehaving kids inside.
    On my way to my car, one boy, said, “Mrs. S, you’re so cool, you say “no” alot, but ya always explain why.” My response? “Kiddo, wouldn’t it be great if everyone who said no, explained “why? It’s alot easier to know what to do, when ya know what & why ya shouldn’t do something, isn’t it?” “Yeah, Mrs S.”

    Don’t we wish sermons were more about the no’s & why we have the “no’s”, than the cavalcade of “do’s & should’s” we hear now? But, that, is a relic from our Grandfather’s church.
    You can be 2 or 92, but to our Heavenly Father, you are still a child, and He teaches us as a Loving Perfect Parent should, He says NO & tells you why He said no. I wish He shepherd still did.

  25. Dear Dr. Noland:

    I can’t quite figure out yet how to quote just a section of a post, so please forgive. What you are describing sounds superb, and all in the context of the Divine Service? Even more excellent. I’d love to come visit your church sometime.

    It is quite amazing to me that the church growth people think they are the source of Bible study, expository sermons, personal evangelism, etc….and yet I bought into it because I was so angry at the distorted approach at my childhood church. I am the first to admit I was also rebellious, but there was no one to show me another way, other than those in the CW-type circles. There were not Lutheran pastors at school, no one came to share the truth of Christ’s Word at Eastman School of Music. But there was a great, dedicated non-denom Christian group, and they certainly got my attention. Did they teach correct doctrine all the time? Probably not. But they were kind, always there, and talked about God as loving.

    Now I can see that my pendulum had swung from ‘all Law all the time’ to ‘all freedom all the time’. Neither approach is right, and now that I am healthier and have a church where there is an attempt at balance between Law and Gospel, (along with that great husband of mine), I see how true your words are that we must re-capture and reinvigorate our own denomination…..There is much work to be done.

    Yours in Christ,
    Diana Haskell-Zimmerman

  26. Dutch, your words are kind and loving. What a great picture and what a heart you have. Your joy is infectious! Counting it all joy…..

    Yours in Christ,
    Diana Haskell-Zimmerman

  27. Dr. Noland: (sorry for the detour, Pr. Rossow)

    I don’t enjoy a lot of Christian pop, but Phil Keaggy is amazing! What a gifted guitarist and a quiet presence on stage.

    Yours in Christ,
    Diana Haskell-Zimmerman

  28. Diana,
    Thank you so very much for your kind words. I’ve heard & seen what you explained above. I was blest, I didn’t know that growing up. I’m so sorry that happened to you. The pain & damage done is visible in your words.
    This is how it was explained to me, the “woman” thing. Pastor Nolan, correct me please, if I am wrong or not echt.
    God, is a Perfect Creator. He has never, nor will He ever, design, create or make a “weak” thing. What you learned, was the “weaker vessel, as in less than”. No, Diana. It is “weaker vessel” as in fragile. God created, a great many things, beautiful & wonderful things, that are very fragile. Cut crystal vases, are strong, they have great weight to them, they can take alot of bangs & bumps. But, they are not like glass. If it has a flaw or crack or fragile point, you cannot see it, like ya can with glass. Now, it takes an awful lot, to compromise cut crystal, but if you damage it, or know how to , it doesn’t just break (like glass) it shatters. It shatters, Diana.
    Does that make crystal “weak of lesser value” than glass, no way! It is fragile, rare, of great value, and you cannot see when it has been compromised. Such is a woman. We are not weak, as you were taught, how could we be a “help meet” if we were? Does God design things to fail in a weakness? No, He never has. Fragile, you bet, and aren’t we glad we are! “A virtuous women’s price, is far above rubies”. Rubies, Diana, were once the most rare & priceless of gems. So, my dear girl, are we!!!! (we don’t to cast any vote, to prove it!)

  29. Dutch,

    I know this now, though it is always good to hear it. Thank you.

    Blessings to you,
    Diana Haskell-Zimmerman

  30. Diana, I’m glad!!!!!
    Wouldn’t it be great to know it, beforehand, it so easy to, really, it is easy to teach this! This is one very important job, a parent has, than to make sure a little boy learns this, from day 1. Why? There is a little girl, somewhere, out there, who generations will depend on & be built upon. There are a great many things, I pray daily, I do right, the first time with my boys. This…is…one…of them. I know a great many, who live in great pain & sorrow, because it wasn’t taught, to someone’s little boy…by a parent, or a Pastor (yes, that does kind of count in this). How great the weight of those who teach wee ones!!! Little girls, should be taught their worth, not by what the world weighs, but as our Heavenly Father, through His most Loving Eyes, sees those little roses!!! (By Daddy’s & Pastors, mind you! I know…. I was.)

    And…a Pastor, somewhere out there, someday, that little rose, will depend & trust much upon! If a man is the shepherd & priest inside the home, how much more should those little boys be taught?!

    I have known both, I wish everyone had what I did, I think on it quite often. I think, in a way, this current situation in the LCMS, would look, I think, a fair bit different, if many had learned all this.

  31. Pastor Preus,
    You are three posts ahead of me. I will try to comment on all three here in brief.

    Decemeber 26:
    “…certainly the historic liturgy is and has been used as a type of norm”
    I agree the liturgy is not a norm but, there is a sense in which “lex orandi, lex credendi” is true. Theses III & V state that the liturgy is to teach the faith. Unfortunately, a high percentage of LCMS congregations are using the Divine Service time to entertain and not teach the faith. One of the reasons the Theses were written was to address this grave danger. I sincerely believe that this conversation must engage the Synod or there will be a mass loss of faith due to the fact that the faith is not being taught in what passes for the Divine Service.

    “I do so not to deprive others of their freedom but to encourage them to set it aside in deference to something more valuable.”
    This is a good practice and it will serve the Church well. On this topic I have two questions for you. 1. What happens when a congregation uses its freedom to change the liturgy in a responsible, (to teach the Gospel, AC XXIV), manner? My answer would be that of Thesis VIII. We should keep talking. Unfortunately, since we do not trust the Word of God to change people, we give up talking and start calling names. At this point let me note that I did write Jesus First about their article, “The Worship Wars are Over”. I asked them to retract the article. I doubt they will print my comments, but David Luecke responded to me and has agreed to keep up a correspondance with me on this topic. 2. What happens when a congregation uses its freedom to change the liturgy in an irresponsible, (e.g. outside the parameters expressed in Theses III & V), manner? My answer is that the ecclesiastical supervisor must deal with this through discipline. (Whether this actually happens is another question.)

    December 28:
    “But this noble quest for uniformity has been largely abandoned by our synod, and, in all due respect, by its leadership.”
    I agree. That is one reason I wrote the Theses. I think of them as a tiny step toward some sense of uniformity. (By the way, while I appreciate the extra-Scriptural, extra-Confessional references, our Pastors and teachers are not bound by them. That is why the Theses use only Scripture and Confessions.) However, if the proposed recommendations of the BRTFSSG are adopted the abandonment of this goal will be institutionalized. In my analysis of the recommendations to my District I note that the proposed wording of Constitution Art. II.B.7 no longer encourages congregations to “strive for uniformity in church practice.” Art. VI.B.2 deletes the words “exclusive” and “doctrinally pure.” This recommendation is the single most dangerous. If these changes are adopted it will take a very short time for the LCMS to become doctrinally rudderless in the name of varieties of practice. Please encourage your readers to pray that God will prevent this course of events.

    January 2:
    “But, for you to conclude on the basis of this definition that ‘all liturgies are manmade’ seems to be a bit circular to me.” I can’t slip much past you. I should have left the paranthetical statement, (my definition), out of that sentence and it would have stood without any circle. The bottom line is the common use of the term liturgy, (“We will follow the liturgy found on page 15.”), refers to a manmade order of service. You stated earlier that “page 15 is a string of Bible verses arranged in a way that the way of salvation is made apparent.” Some man strung those verses together. You have also agreed that page 15 is not the only way that Bible verses and songs could be strung together in a God-pleasing manner for the sake of communicating the Gospel. This is the freedom you prize so highly in regard to liturgy. I argue that it is within this freedom that we work together, tirelessly, for the sake of a uniform presentation of the Gospel in the Divine Service. The precise wording of “the liturgy” does not have to agree. (AC VII) But a doctrinally pure presentation of the Gospel must agree. It is mortifying to me that we do not have this kind of agreement, or uniformity in the LCMS.
    (By the way I think you create a tangential circle of reasoning when you conclude that if liturgy means “God’s obligation to us in Christ” we don’t have the right to modify this.)

    You agree that the Divine Service is God’s service to us, and you state, “if we could at least agree here two salutary things would happen.” Dear brother, I encourage you to continue working for these two good things by declaring what should be obvious. God serves us through Word and Sacrament in the Divine Service. I have determined that this little concept of God’s service to us should be made more obvious in the Theses and will be the benchmark in my presentations regarding worship.
    It seems to me that we are largely in agreement. I yearn for some means by which we could broaden the discussion to include those who are not in agreement. Unfortunately, the Theological conference on worship next week appears to be shaping up to be a showcase for a variety of styles as opposed to theological conference. Here is another matter for prayer.
    Thanks again for listening.

  32. Pastor Forke,
    I may take a great deal of time, to use my online translator, for Latin, however…,we must always remember, those who read this post, you have so thoughtfully written here, may not know the terms you use.

    Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi = law of Prayer, law of Belief

  33. Pastor Forke,
    Thank you, for posting here. It is no mean thing, to do so, in this current climate!! I do not envy you, your position, nor your decision and actions, that you must take in this. But, the one thing, that I can do, is thank you. For your candor, your honesty, and making yourself available, to those here, at BJS. Those, who were not valued & allowed or asked to leave our LCMS, for lack of what we discuss here.
    I value, your input, more than I can say. I pray, those who read your post, do the same.
    Again, please do remember, more than those who hold, or know terms used, in the Divine Office, or who know the terms used here: may not know what you referre to or speak of.

    You are a brave man indeed, to speak, here, as you have. I thank you, so very much indeed. I, once a plain member, appreciate it more than you may know.
    Sola Chistos,

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