Chapel Doesn’t Need to Be That Hard, by Pr. Ben Ball

This is a comment (# 55) posted by Pastor Ben Ball of St. Paul’s Brookfield, Illinois in response to the contextualization gobbledygook used to defend the new chapel practices at the seminary in St. Louis.

Pastor Ball did not intend this as a post. I (Pastor Rossow) have simply copied it from the comment section. It is written in the less formal style of a comment.

To help the reader understand the first paragraph below know that Pastor Ball is responding to a rhetorical question that he asked in the comment string about the use of “Latina” and “Latino” in the seminary’s document. His question was mistaken to be a non-rhetorical question. Paragraphs two and following speak for themselves.

Jason, et al.-
yes, thank you for responding, I do know that.  I was attempting to show how unfruitful an excercise it is to contextualize male Latin culture, female Latin culture, Nicaraguan, Puerto Rican, Guatemalan, Mexican (of various regions) Peruvian, Honduran etc……, where would such a thing end?  Why chapel has to be so difficult is still the unanswered question.

At our parish school we have daily chapel.  The children come from a variety of backgrounds, modern Anglo, post-modern Anglo (Anglo being the term for all white people I guess, although there are white people who are not Anglo present, but Italian, Irish, German, Czech, Slovak, Scottish etc.), plus Mexican, Nicaraguan, African American, Filipino people, etc.  Plus people who never even consider what they “are” other than Christian, because this is what we are trying to teach in the first place.  For example if you asked my daughter who is in kindergarten what she is, I guarantee you would get a blank stare in return, and she is a smart kid.

And how does chapel work?  There are hymn numbers and page numbers put up on a hymn board, and there are handouts with the Psalter printed out for chanting because we use The Lutheran Hymnal, copies of which all the literate children have and carry into chapel themselves with pages marked and ready to go.  And the Word of God is preached by the pastors- every day.  And the organ plays, and the children sing Lutheran Hymns, even TLH 260 (check that one out, it’s by a guy named Martin Luther and it isn’t in LSB).  On the Feast Days of Christ, and some other feasts, the Sacrament of the Altar is offered.  It is chapel, at a Lutheran School, with people coming from different cultures.   And members of the congregation show up to join in, and parents of the children and anyone who rolls in off the street is welcome it is at 9:00am every day.   It isn’t that hard.

Chapel – A Bible, a hymnal, a hymnboard, an organ (sometimes a piano), a preacher, the children of God gathered, the Gospel preached.  It really isn’t that difficult.

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.

Comments

Chapel Doesn’t Need to Be That Hard, by Pr. Ben Ball — 42 Comments

  1. But, but, but… If chapel were that simple, we couldn’t present the changes we’ve made (praise band, small groups) as the result of careful and profound theological pondering of the Church and culture.

    And, and, and… we wouldn’t get to use $25 words like “contextualization” and “inculturation.”

    Party pooper.

    TW

  2. “With fraud which they themselves invent
    Thy truth they have confounded
    Their hearts are not with one consent
    On Thy pure doctrine grounded
    While they parade with outward show
    They lead the people to and fro
    In error’s maze astounded”

    (TLH 260, v. 2)

  3. ” The children come from a variety of backgrounds, modern Anglo, post-modern Anglo (Anglo being the term for all white people I guess, although there are white people who are not Anglo present, but Italian, Irish, German, Czech, Slovak, Scottish etc.), plus Mexican, Nicaraguan, African American, Filipino people, etc. “

    I believe “Anglo” refers to those with an English ancestry. So we have “Anglo-Americans,” “Anglo-Germans (aka “Anglo-Saxons),” “Anglo-Africans,” etc.. And, that is what makes the whole talk of an “Anglo culture” somewhat amusing. Are we talking about English culture? White culture? White Americans? Maybe the dreaded (dreaded according to liberal progressives who like to push multiculturalism) “White Anglo-Saxon Protestants?”

    Here, how about this… how about we talk about the “Post-Anglo, Postmodern, Post-Americans” in a “Post-White, Post-Colonial, Post-North America?” Nah, I prefer Post Toasties.

    🙂

  4. As Dr. Nagel might have said, or may even be saying if he is reading this in his nursing home room – “Contextualization is one of those words that is hard to nail to the cross” and so is suspect.

    I would add, “Yes, it’s one of those slippery, gooey words. Your just not sure which syllable to drive the nail through and if it will stick even at that.”

    TR

  5. Just for the record, I hate being referred to as an “Anglo.” I may be from an Anglophone culture, but none of my ancestors were ethnically Anglo in any sense of the word. I wish people would just say white or Caucasian since that it what they mean. I think (and could be wrong) the term “Anglo” comes from the Latin American world (which is also Caucasian). But just as Latin Americans don’t (and justifiably so) like to be referred to using terms northern North Americans have come up with, so I don’t like being referred to with a word that just means not Latin-American Spanish-speaking.

    Bethany

  6. PS –

    I would humbly suggest the term “gobbledygook” be avoided. I can’t see anything in the above statement that qualifies as such. The implication of this term is that the terminology of the academy is inaccessible to the confessional Lutheran crowd. This is surely not the case, since I believe confessional Lutheranism has the intellectual high ground. Confessionals should avoid giving the appearance of anti-intellectualism since this is a label that tends to get stuck on “conservatives” in general. Believe me, you simply cannot be a confessional Lutheran in the academy without it seeming bizarre due to the assumed anti-intellectualism of the tradition.

    Bethany Kilcrease

  7. I grow weary of the cheerleading from this website and of its contributors for those who ridicule any thoughtful reasoning for contemporary worship. I have seen a great deal of ink spilled over “historic liturgy” and the reasons behind it and there are plenty of $25 words in that Wilken. I think it is time that you grow up and realize that there are plenty of intelligent, conservative, Lutheran people who disagree with you. They are not going to ditch their worship style because you don’t like it.

    I have seen numerous calls for us to get behind President Harrison’s Koinonia project, but if this is the attitude with which the people on this site are going approach it then it will fail. It cannot go all one way. We have to find a happy middle.

  8. @Jim Pierce #3

    Jim and Bethany too-
    you got it. This “Anglo” nonsense has got to stop. Just call ’em white. Of course the “white” culture of say, Nantucket Island, Mass. is a bit different than that of say Harrisburg, Saline Co. Illinois. If you’ve been to either place, you know what it mean. Hence, saying that there is such a thing as “Anglo” culture, unless you are speaking of English speaking white people in America, and then dealing only with their language and color of their skin, is to speak of something that can’t be defined.

    So how about we the drop all the silly labeling of people; isn’t there something in the Bible about, there being neither Jew nor Greek? I believe that is what Jack Bauer was saying.

  9. When have to make up a new word, it’s a pretty good sign that you’re introducing a new idea. Is there a Biblical term for “inculturation”? Not really.

    There’s also the abandonment of Biblical vocabulary:

    Unbelievers became the unchurched.
    Sinners became seekers.
    Church became community.

    TW

  10. Timmy :
    “With fraud which they themselves invent
    Thy truth they have confounded
    Their hearts are not with one consent
    On Thy pure doctrine grounded
    While they parade with outward show
    They lead the people to and fro
    In error’s maze astounded”
    (TLH 260, v. 2)

    Good material here. Amazing how we Lutherans can be lead away and astray, when we have the truth in front of us.

  11. @Bethany Kilcrease #7
    The implication of this term is that the terminology of the academy is inaccessible to the confessional Lutheran crowd.

    Bethany,
    I don’t happen to think that the piece was very “intellectual”. What do we call it… “smoke & mirrors”? It seemed meant to hide rather than elucidate.

    I could understand Prof. Marquart; I can even ‘get’ David Scaer, [with a repeat, sometimes, on the humor]. 🙂 So I don’t think it’s me that’s the problem with that piece. I manage to follow the PhD’s I talk to on a daily basis and I daresay most of this ‘crowd’ could, as well.

  12. I agree with Helen. I brought the term “gobbledygook” into this discussion and think it is the I right word to use. I am not opposed to academia – afterall I have three degrees beyond my bachelors degree. What I am opposed to is fancy language that obfuscates and muddies stuff.

    This is the domain of the liberal academia and it is particularly prominent in liberal theology. Traditional Biblical theology is straight-forward and common sensical. God created us perfect. We sinned. He was angry. He took out his wrath on his son through the shedding of his blood. The sins of the world are paid for.

    Since the days of the 18th century when the blood atonement was forsaken and considered archaic and mythic, professional theologians began lusting after the idealism of Hegel. The classic ELCA doctrinal theology text by Braaten and Jensen is a perfect example of this sort of gobbledygook theology.

    Sadly, many professional LCMS theologians have gone off and studied with these idiots and they have been unable in some cases, to distinguish the bad Hegelian and rationalisitic idealism that is at the heart of this theology and they sometimes bring it into the LCMS. Dr. Burreson did his PhD work at Notre Dame – where this theology is rampant. (My close friend and conservative Roman Catholic rightly despises Notre Dame and how it is a constant force against what is true and right in the RC church.)

    To say that it is all Hegelian is an oversimplification. Places like Notre Dame are also now characterized by lots of post-modern linguistic theology. It is even more gobbledygooky than the Hegelian stuff if that is possible.

    Pastor Ball’s short essay on how to do chapel is a perfect example of straight-forward, common-sensical theology. Dr. Burreson’s stuff smells of the modern and post-modern gobbledygook.

    Where necessary – e.g. with the subtle theology of the two natures of Christ – we need sophisticated academic distinctions made. But these distinctions are not based on the constant fluidity of the Heraclitean, Hegelian and Foucoultian river of flux of human imagination. Instead, they are built on the solid, unchanging revelation of the Holy Spirit in Holy Writ.

    Hope that helps.

    Down with theological gobbledygook!

    TR

  13. @Helen #10

    Hey youse guys–

    It ain’t necessarily gobbley-gook. It’s just a lot of big words. He likes big words. No problem there. Da real problem is that he seems to have a rather serious case of obfuscationism. No big deal. He needs a copy of Strunk & White next to his computer.

    BTW, as I use the term “guys”, it is meant to be gender-neutral. Let me express that in less obfuscationary terms: When I use “guys” I mean all of youse out there. OK?

    Johannes

  14. @Johannes #12
    …he seems to have a rather serious case of obfuscationism

    True, Johannes!

    He’s missed his calling. Obfuscationists write our laws, as Congressional clerks, (or our computer manuals, as one who has learned English imperfectly as a second language).

    Those who teach our faith to the men who are going to be called to our congregations should be intelligible even to children, as our Pastors will have to be if they are to be of any use.
    Cultivating an “I’m so smart you can’t possibly understand me” mindset is not the way to go. Students do imitate their teachers! 🙁

  15. No chapel does not need to be hard, but we make it that way. I often have. Why? The answer is not usually Christ. That is the big clue in. If the reasoning is not about Christ, don’t do it.

  16. Irony abounds. Back in the very bad old days of just before seminex when Concordia was run by liberals, worship was so High Lutheran in form that you needed an oxygen mask. I went to chapel every school day during the 72-73 year ( my first two years of seminary were at Westfield House with Martin Franzmann and Ron Fruerhahn) I never remember a guitar ever. Also in worship class everything was traditional up to and including turning the correct way to avoid turning your back on the invisible deacon (that’s another story). And as to students not being accustom to this style of worship, George Hoyerman would say, “That’s why you are here, to learn to do it right!” I certainly hope all the blood letting of those years was for something because it wasn’t to develop Lutheran worship! Then of course, when I heard about Ablaze I laughed so hard I fell out of my chair.

  17. @Johannes #14

    “He needs a copy of Strunk & White next to his computer.”

    Great suggestion. And for anyone who would like to be able to better recognize gobbledygook and avoid it in his own writing, might I also recommend a thorough reading of George Orwell’s great essay, “Politics and the English Language.” Written about 70 years ago but still applicable today.

  18. @Phillip #8

    “I grow weary of the cheerleading from this website and of its contributors for those who ridicule any thoughtful reasoning for contemporary worship.”

    Phillip, I do not think that is a fair statement. I know there are those out there who think worship can only be done properly with a certain setting of the liturgy, a certain hymnal, or a certain instrument. But there are a number of contributors on this site who have been working very hard to combat that thinking. There is a great deal of thoughtful reasoning and discussion here from many different people with different viewpoints. But I think the mistake that keeps getting made is the idea that there is more than one kind of worship. Worship is worship–it is not a matter of “style.” There are not different kinds. We have divided ourselves into “contemporary” and “traditional” and “blended” worship camps–what better indication do we need that we don’t agree on what worship is? My husband has been fighting those labels for years and promoting instead what he calls “authentic” Lutheran worship. If the word “authentic” is too gobbledybooky and hard to wrap your brain around, just drop it and call it Lutheran worship. The point is there is only one definition that accords with Lutheran doctrine, and that is the definition we should all be gathering around (as Pastor Wilken has been trying to get us to do). Authentic Lutheran worship is not cookie-cutter worship. It will not look exactly the same in every church in synod. But at its core, in all the places it’s done, it will be the same. That’s not happening right now. Right now we have not just different worship “styles” but different theologies of worship. We should not have those distinctions and we should not have those camps. Until we can get rid of them and decide what worship is and embrace that one definition, we are not going to be at peace on this issue.

    “We have to find a happy middle.”

    No. There is no such thing. That is the wrong goal. We need to agree on what worship is and then do it. Again, it won’t look exactly the same everywhere. But if we agree on one definition and abide by it, we might all be able to worship in each other’s churches without feeling like we’ve been transported to another planet.

  19. It all comes down to pastors doing a careful, confessional review of the songs and liturgy each Sunday, and having the steadfast courage to say to congregations, “No, we are not going to sing ‘In the Garden’ during the service.” and “No, we are not going to sacrifice doctrine just for the sake of being multicultural.” On a positive note, say yes to Christ and his sacrements.

  20. @Phillip #8

    Phillip,

    You wrote,

    I think it is time that you grow up and realize that there are plenty of intelligent, conservative, Lutheran people who disagree with you.

    Believe me, I know there are plenty, probably most. But Lutherans don’t do theology by majority.

    They are not going to ditch their worship style because you don’t like it.

    It’s not a style; it’s a theology. And, whether I like it or not is irrelevant.

    It cannot go all one way. We have to find a happy middle.

    Shouldn’t we be trying to find the truth, rather than compromise?

    TW

  21. Ted #20 – Right, then that Pastor will join the growing list of modern day Lutheran Martyrs who find themselves rejected by their congregations, and left to hang by Synodical officials such as the DPs and CCs. It’s all about the money. Congregations give to support the Districts, and Pastors don’t. It is the theology of being Lutheran that has been lost for at least 4 generations now.

  22. CW is like doing Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven” and hoping because it has a religious title that somehow the Gospel will shine through.

  23. LOL @ JohnE @#22

    That pretty well sums up much of CW. If you have a few religious words included in a song you can have lyrics that are 180 degrees off of the Gospel.

  24. Dear Pastor Rossow and BJS Bloggers,

    Looks like this is where the discussion is continuing on the Saint Louis seminary chapel issue (praise bands, small groups, contextualization, etc.) so I will comment here instead of at any of the older posts. Thanks to Pastor Rossow for keeping the posts+comments to a manageable size, by continuing discussions in subsequents posts like this.

    In my opinion, it is not really fair to criticize the memo for using academic or technical terms. The memo was not intended to be a defense or public statement of their position. It was intended just for the faculty at the time, without a later public in mind.

    Academic faculty, when they are in the same field (as our seminary faculty are) commonly use technical terms, jargon, and high-level vocabulary not found in Webster’s dictionary. This only makes sense. Otherwise, every time you use a complex concept, you have to explain yourself with three or four paragraphs. That is “pedantic” and an offense–as if your peers don’t know what you are talking about!

    The bigger question is whether or not the terms “contextualization” and “culture” are being used univocally (i.e., with the same unabiguous meaning) by the seminary faculty themselves when they talk about worship. A related question is whether or not these terms “import” into Lutheran theology alien concepts when they are not properly defined or qualified. Here is where I think that Pastor Rossow has something to contribute, and the faculty should listen.

    I have read essays and articles by members of the LCMS, not at the seminary, who bandy about these and related terms in ignorant, or intentially subversive, ways. So Pastor Rossow is right to be concerned about how the faculty are using these and other related terms. But I think he will find that almost all of our LCMS seminary faculty will agree with him in his major concerns in this area.

    I noticed in the memo that the proposal to offer small groups came from the Spiritual Life Committee. This explains the change in chapel on Wednesdays. The problem that both seminaries face is that married students do not have a regular devotional life in dormitories, as the single men do (or at least, as they used to! I don’t know what they do today). And today married students are close to 90-95% of the population.

    The seminary tries to foster not only expertise, appreciation for, and respect for the corporate worship of the church (Divine Service [aka Traditional Liturgy with Holy Communion], Matins, Vespers, etc.), but also the devotional life of students.

    Pastors need to have their own personal devotional life, and that can only be taught EFFECTIVELY by example in a small group (like dorm devotions). By the way, pastoral evaluation forms always have questions about the pastor’s own devotional life (e.g., does pastor spend time personally in prayer and study of the Bible).

    What the seminary is finding is that, not only do most of the students NOT come from our Concordia University pre-sem programs, but that many have never even had private family devotions or a devotional life prior to seminary. How does one propose to bring that about as a habit in the life of a student?

    A good majority of the married students do not live on campus in Saint Louis, and none of them do in Fort Wayne. Many have to commute a long distance, and with different schedules. Plus many have to work part-time before or after mid-day hours, take care of children, etc. So the only really accessible time for married students is the mid-day hours (10a-2p), and chapel is the only consistent block of time in the academic week schedule.

    Pastors really need to have a private devotional time. And it needs to be sacrosanct, otherwise it does not get done. How can a pastor urge his people to private study of the Bible and prayer, if he does not do it himself? This is not Pietism. This is oratio, meditatio, tentatio, which was Luther’s own prescription!

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  25. @Martin R. Noland #25

    One thing I’ve been thinking about for a while regarding “culture” and “contextualization” is art. We (Lutherans) welcome and encourage the use of art, architecture, etc. in our church buildings. However, there is a limit to what art is welcomed in our buildings (could you imagine the “David” in a church?).

    I wonder if a better Lutheran understanding of the Seventh Ecumenical Council (which upheld liturgical art) would affect/inform this whole argument about the place of culture in church/worship.

  26. @Cheryl Magness #19

    It is precisely those distinctions that have been in the church for centuries whether you call it high church or low church, whether it is blended or traditional, contemporary or historic. The focus as you have rightly stated is “What is Lutheran Worship?” Can Lutheran Worship have a praise band? Can Lutheran Worship be done without chanting or genuflecting? How broad and wide do you want the definition to be? I gather from some posts that many would like the definition to be very narrow and would leave many who do not fit that definition outside of what that narrow definition calls “Lutheran Worship”.

  27. Ted Badje :It all comes down to pastors doing a careful, confessional review of the songs and liturgy each Sunday, and having the steadfast courage to say to congregations, “No, we are not going to sing ‘In the Garden’ during the service.” and “No, we are not going to sacrifice doctrine just for the sake of being multicultural.” On a positive note, say yes to Christ and his sacrements.

    Would this include singing Silent Night in German @ Christmas time? Daggum Multiculturalism!

  28. @Cheryl Magness #19
    @Phillip #27

    I appreciate both of your comments. But Cheryl, I have to say…”if it were only so.”

    Case in point: The opening worship service for the 2010 convention. That service was examined with a fine tooth comb for over a year to make sure it was doctrinally correct. It was the absolute intent of the planners involved that it would include many “styles” while still being authentic Lutheran worship. Yet it was ripped to shreds here on this site because of “style” (style of music, style of voice, style of communion wafer, style of processional cross…you name it). Many of the stylistic elements that were anywhere outside of the “norm” for BJS’ers were criticized, mocked, and judged by a good portion of the most prolific contributors to this site. The posture of people in the congregation, and the God-given gifts of some of the singers and musicians were judged and even made fun of. Some on this site said they walked out of the service rather than commune, and it wasn’t because we weren’t practicing close communion that day, it was because the “style” offended them.

    So, while I appreciate your comments, and I don’t doubt your sincerity, I DO believe most often on this site style is judged and condemned before doctrinal soundness is ever examined. I would hope that one day we could at least respect each other’s different “styles” of worship done within the parameters of “authentic Lutheran worship”, but I don’t see the beginnings of that within this blog with all the sarcasm and name-calling that goes on.

  29. Concerned Seminarian :@Martin R. Noland #25
    One thing I’ve been thinking about for a while regarding “culture” and “contextualization” is art. We (Lutherans) welcome and encourage the use of art, architecture, etc. in our church buildings. However, there is a limit to what art is welcomed in our buildings (could you imagine the “David” in a church?).
    I wonder if a better Lutheran understanding of the Seventh Ecumenical Council (which upheld liturgical art) would affect/inform this whole argument about the place of culture in church/worship.

    Now your talking! It did more than just uphold “art”, it affirmed venerating images. Unless we give the kiss of peace to the Saints, we are left with “phesel” as the Hebrew says in Ecclesiastes.

  30. The St. Louis letter is gobbledygook through and through. It doesn’t matter who the audience is, if it was only intended for faculty, then it is even worse that they can’t use plain language to explain the change in worship. Contextualization means changing to suit current or local preferences.

    When people want to avoid criticism, they are intentionally vague about what they believe and propose. That’s been my criticism of the liturgical pietists here who seem to think liturgy without the ordinaries, or using guitars, praise bands, or power point, or whatever the criticism du jour is, should be banned across the synod, but refuse to say it and hide behind their own brand of gobbledygook, to avoid the clear statements in confessions and Luther that we don’t condemn such indifferent matters.

    Especially when there’s so much obvious bad doctrine to criticize.

  31. The ‘contextualization” motivation is my biggest problem with contemporary worship. If you are changing adiaphora only to please current culture and preferences, then I don’t trust you to stop at adiaphora and not undermine doctrine as well.

    I think there can be good motivations to adopt contemporary worship, but it wouldn’t look the way it looks in nearly every LCMS church I’ve encountered it. Contemporary worship dumbs down, and if one dumbs down Lutheran doctrine, you should constantly be smacked in the face by Law and Gospel dichotomy, bodily presence on the altar, saving power of baptism, the purely receptive nature of our relationship with God, etc. I think these great themes could make praise songs barely tolerable for me. But nobody is writing them…

  32. @Fr. Daniel #30

    Don’t get me wrong, I realize that the Second Council of Nicaea did more than just “uphold liturgical art;” it made worshiping icons the accepted practice in Eastern Orthodoxy. Lutherans do not accept that aspect of Nicaea II. However, I have heard Nicaea II used by Lutherans as simply a defense of the arts (in the sense that without Nicaea II defending icons, art in Europe would not have developed in the way that it did). I wonder if the same arguments used to defend icons against iconoclasm (not defending the worship of icons) could also be applied to other cultural elements.

  33. “Chapel – A Bible, a hymnal, a hymnboard, an organ (sometimes a piano), a preacher, the children of God gathered, the Gospel preached. It really isn’t that difficult.”

    So you guys are crying foul because they are substituting guitars and drums in the “organ (sometimes piano)” slot and they sing a song that’s not in the hymnal but approved by seminary faculty? Gasp!

    Also: “Where 2 or 3 are gathered..” Not 20 or 30…

    I think the real people who need to be worried about pietism are the ones who add “confessional” to their title and sport their fancy profile pics and join their clubs as if they were a cut above the rest of us lowly Lutherans. All Lutherans are called to be, and have confessed to be, confessional, why do you guys need an extra adj.? If they aren’t confessional then they aren’t Lutheran, come on out and say it.

  34. You’re people. The word is You’re…………….a contraction of you and are.

    just thought I would change the subject and teach a little Anglo on the side

  35. Ok, forgive me if I don’t understand but either we believe, teach, & confess or we do not. For hundreds of years we have followed basically the same order and professed the same confession of faith, so why on earth would we want to accept or proclaim anything that can mislead or contradict that???

  36. @hi #34
    and they sing a song that’s not in the hymnal but approved by seminary faculty? Gasp!

    Yes, well, some of us remember the tunes out of St Louis faculty in the 60’s and 70’s (50’s ?) and that a lot of people who “sang them” didn’t leave. [Not to mention the ones who went out one door and came back in another, very quietly]

    So if something seems a little “non Lutheran” in the same place, we wonder if we will have to defend the faith yet again… on the inside of the church. 🙁

    Pardon us if we’re wrong! But a little plain English would clear that up.
    We rather like Lutheran Christianity, and that’s what we’d like our future pastors to be learning.

  37. @Concerned Seminarian #33

    Honest questions. First of all, “veneration” is probably preferred over “worshipping” icons; although rightly understood the latter can be used. The key is to know that in Greek two different words were used regarding our devotion to either God, or the Saint and their icons. Second, regarding your question about applying the the conclusion of the Seventh Council to other cultural elements; I would think a fair response is that such a question would only be answered in another such Council.

  38. hi :“Chapel – A Bible, a hymnal, a hymnboard, an organ (sometimes a piano), a preacher, the children of God gathered, the Gospel preached. It really isn’t that difficult.”
    So you guys are crying foul because they are substituting guitars and drums in the “organ (sometimes piano)” slot and they sing a song that’s not in the hymnal but approved by seminary faculty? Gasp!
    Also: “Where 2 or 3 are gathered..” Not 20 or 30…
    I think the real people who need to be worried about pietism are the ones who add “confessional” to their title and sport their fancy profile pics and join their clubs as if they were a cut above the rest of us lowly Lutherans. All Lutherans are called to be, and have confessed to be, confessional, why do you guys need an extra adj.? If they aren’t confessional then they aren’t Lutheran, come on out and say it.

    Dear Hi-
    well since you quoted me, I guess I’ll respond.

    1. I don’t have any profile pics because I don’t know how to do them.

    2. Currently the only “club” I’m a member of is the National Rifle Association. I am a proud member of the Northern Illinois Confessional Lutherans, but that really isn’t much of a club. You can check out what we do at our website, http://www.nicl.us I’m also a member of the Brothers of St. John the Steadfast, but really only because I would feel guilty as Rossow’s friend if I didn’t give something in appreciation for what he has done and does, plus they throw good parties and I’m down with that. I used to be a member of the He-Man Woman Hater’s Club, but then I found my “Darla” on vicarage and I let that membership expire.

    3. The reason why we use a piano once a week in chapel is that our Kantor’s day off is Monday. On that day our Principal Emeritus, who has suffered several mini-strokes and is unable to play the organ anymore to accompany the congregation, simply plays the piano. Believe me, if he could play our Berghaus organ again and lead the children of God, he would. So it’s pretty much organ for us, because as a pastor I have no desire to feed the children of God on the things that are transitory and embed them with the culture of the world or flesh or false teachers and preachers and teaching and preaching of the evangelicals. I want them to be Lutherans, that is, Christians.

    4. I certainly don’t think that I am a cut above anybody, I think most people are much better than I am in most ways. Not false humility, I actually think that. Some of those people are guys like Wilken and Rossow, who are really good guys and friends. That being said, whenever someone makes a statement of truth, it will always look haughty to someone, or arrogant, or prideful. So let’s look past the person speaking, do away with the ad hominem attacks and all that. So…

    5. Please point out specific instance of unLutheran doctrine espoused or advocated by the profile picture men like Wilken and Rossow that lead to pietism. What commandments are they breaking? I assume the 2nd and 3rd, since they would have to be telling lies in the name of God and despising the pure Word. Can you point to the specific examples? Wilken certainly has given you enough fodder to work with, hours and hours of radio shows are at your disposal to point out and then warn us of his nefarious teaching.

    I’ll be waiting and looking forward to your rebuking of Wilken’s public teaching leading to pietism “Hi”.

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