(Editor’s Note: Late last night we posted a comment on President Kieschnick’s new book from Pr. Tom Messer. He has read the book from cover to cover and offers the following. This post is taken from a comment that Pr. Messer left in response to a point made by Pr. Wilken which can be viewed here. It is comment #9.)
Yes, President Kieschnick does know that there’s more to it than that. The portion of the quote I excluded with the ellipsis reads:
“. . . The pastor might or might not be robed and leads an order of worship consisting primarily of singing, Scripture reading, homily, and prayer. The Sacrament of Holy Communion is sometimes, but not always, offered. The confession and absolution, ecumenical creed, and Lord’s Prayer are often, but not always, a part of the service. Casual, even informal attire is often worn by worshipers, who include people of all ages.”
What President Kieschnick does NOT realize is that there is a different theology of worship at work among congregations that employ these Pentecostal and revivalistic worship forms. That fact is simply lost on him, which is no surprise, since he has been endorsing and promoting these sorts of congregations for years.
Interestingly, in the paragraphs immediately following the referenced quote above, President Kieschnick goes out of his way to defend the right of congregations to use non-Lutheran worship resources. After acknowledging that there is disagreement in our synod on this matter, he quotes Article VI of our Constitution (“Exclusive use of doctrinally pure agenda, hymnbook, and catechisms in church and school”), but follows this with, “Strictly speaking, this condition of membership does not limit members and congregations of the Synod to use only materials published by or under the auspices of the Synod, since materials published by other sources might also very well be doctrinally pure; for example, songs or hymns consisting exclusively of direct quotations from Holy Scripture” (p. 62).
It is obvious to the reader what President Kieschnick is getting at here, namely that it is perfectly acceptable for congregations in our Synod to determine for themselves how they will worship and what resources they will use. For Kieschnick, as long as these non-Lutheran resources contain direct quotations from Scripture, they’re good enough. He is really like a fish out of water when he tries to discuss this matter and it is clear that he has no idea what our Lutheran theology of worship is.
Having read his book from start to finish, there are two ways I would describe President Kieschnick: 1) At Home in the House of McGavran; 2) At Home in the House of Our Bylaws. He is definitely NOT At Home in the House of [Our] Fathers (but, I know someone who is).