“Ding Dong the Witch is Dead,” the Witch of LCMS Liberalism, or at Least it is on Life Support, by Pr. Rossow

The DayStar Journal, a publication of disgruntled LCMS’ers who reject Scriptural truth,  is putting out a series of articles based on the premise that liberalism is dead in the LCMS, or at most, on life support with nothing but their own flimsy, Gospel reductionism version of hope to get them through the dark days of the Harrison presidency.

Here is the introduction to this series of articles.

The Future of the LCMS

           The spring issue of the DayStar JOURNAL features a symposium on the “Future of the LCMS.”  It is quite evident, as the Synod loses members every year that the church body is aging and shrinking.  With the election of Matthew Harrison as President it is also clear that the Synod will be moving in a more conservative direction.  Women wonder whether to remain in a church body where their voice is not heard and their ministries are not honored. Moderates in the Synod are growing older and fewer.  What are they to do when they find themselves excluded from the decisions on the future of the church body? People brought up to believe that Lutherans were a confessional movement in the church catholic, now grieve as they feel bound in a sectarian church body seeking leadership among social conservatives.

           The symposium looks into the future of the LCMS with both trepidation and hope.  It begins with exploration of what it means to be a remnant with pitiful power but a patient hope.  It then goes on to ask the question about whether for the LCMS the “articulus stantis aut cadentis ecclesiae” (the article whereby the church stands or falls) is the Gospel or is its stand on homosexuality.  Then the symposium looks further into the future with hope and celebrates the ordination of Pastor Stephanie Zimmermann.  After the three part symposium, Dean Lueking, in a major article, revisits the vision of Lutheranism as a confessing movement in the church catholic.  Below is the first article in the symposium.

We will keep you posted with news and commentary on these articles. For now here’s a few thoughts on this provocative introduction.

As I asserted above, the DayStar folks reject Scriptural truth. They do so in favor of their own social and political whims. They have replaced the common sense truth of the words of Scripture with a hermeneutic (approach to understanding language) that wrongly thinks words are signs of the solipsistic reality of the mind and that no two minds can know the same thing objectively. What I mean is this. Because they have given up on the possibility of objective truth, words can only stand for subjective feelings of the individual. This threatens the very reality of the forgiveness of sins. The death of Jesus on the cross means one thing for you and another thing for me according to their hermeneutic. All of life and truth is not much more than art to them and everything is subject to the individual’s view of things. Viewing Scripture and all words for that matter, is much like looking at an abstract painting. Everything is open to interpretation. This is what we fought against and won in the LCMS in the 60’s and 70’s. These DayStar people are bitter clingers. Instead of clinging to their guns they are bitterly clinging to their demonic subjectivism by which the truth of Scripture is lost.

That is why they reject the clear teaching of Scripture that women are not to have authority over men in the church (I Timothy 2:12) and other clear teachings of the perspicuous Word of God. They remain on the same path and use the same rationale the ELCA employed which has brought them to the point of apostasy.

So I say, “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead.” Good riddance. I do so, not in some sort of social support of conservativism, nor in some sort of political support of Matthew Harrison, nor in some sort of social-political support of men. I do so because Christ compels me through His blood shed for me. The Gospel compels me to uphold the common sense truth of Scripture. Jesus love me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Or, as we sang yesterday in the Divine Service, on Good Shepherd Sunday, “I am Jesus little lamb – ever glad at heart I am” (LSB #740). Where words are stripped of the power to carry objective truth, we Christians lose our childlike faith and trust and are the most pitiful of men.

The DayStar crowd by their own admission is pitiful. But don’t accept their invitation in this new series of articles to their self pity party. Instead renew your devotion to the Word of God and pray with me that these liberal LCMS’ers give up their devotion to cultural whims and accept the truth of the Gospel in all its articles.

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.


“Ding Dong the Witch is Dead,” the Witch of LCMS Liberalism, or at Least it is on Life Support, by Pr. Rossow — 94 Comments

  1. @Female Slave to Christ Only #48

    You may wish to do a little research on that email. I can find no Carol Schmidt who might be connected to Immanuel Lutheran Church, Clifton Texas. Further, if you look at their site, and then look at the information about them on the Synod site, it does not seem that a member of Immanuel would write such an article. Immanuel sends off all the signals of belonging to the far right wing of the Synod.

  2. Concerned Seminarian :
    @David Hartung #35
    I couldn’t find a link to it under “Recent Articles.”

    The article I found was entitled “The Remnant.” It seems to be the source document for the email to which Pastor Rossow referred. To me, that article is a combination of scary and infuriating.

  3. There is a “Carol Schmidt” who posted several times on the BJS thread, “More Trouble at Our Concordias – Problematic View on Women, from Concordia Bronxville.”

    There is also a “Carol Schmidt” who posts on the blog, The Creator’s Tapestry: A Thoughtful Response, the feminist political agenda of which resulted in one of the CT/TR bloggers clarifying: “This blog has no relationship with the earlier organization and list-sevr, Different Voices/Shared Vision. The sentiments and questions are probably the same but this is not a recycled V/V.”

  4. Re: Post #48, from “Female Slave to Christ Only.”

    This “sermon” by one Carol Schmidt bears careful scrutiny. I am not a pastor, nor trained in either theology or logic, but still can see through some of her arguments.

    This is an emotion-laden piece of writing, full of straw women. (I think it only fair to give women an equal role in images of straw).

    Straw woman #1. The reason women have not been allowed to be ministers is fear.
    Straw woman #2: That fear is fear of homosexuality–that is homophobia.
    Straw woman #3: The LCMS is the denomination of “no.” A page from the DNC.
    Straw woman #4: Each of us hears God’s word in our own way. We apparently don’t need interpreters for this form of speaking in tongues (or “hearing in tongues.”)
    Straw woman #5: The Holy Spirit gifts women for the ministry. How can you argue with that one?
    Straw woman #6: To continue to prohibit women pastors is to “Silence the voice of God,” speaking thru women pastors.
    Straw woman #7: To deny women the office of pastor and teacher is to enslave them, and to treat them as the property of men.

    Well, there’s more. This article is a masterpiece of anti-male polemic, and is designed to portray all who prohibit women pastors as (1) male, (2) oppressive slave-owners, (3) blasphemers (equal to God), (4) elite power-mongering faulty interpreters of scripture, who are controllers of “female flesh” and its voice.

    I think that’s about enough. You get the drift. An article that is pro-female pastor, loaded with feminist, pro-homosexual, anti-LCMS, anti-male baggage. And not a shred of genuine Biblical support for her arguments.


  5. I am unable to verify the authenticity of this piece, unfortunately. If it turns out to be a legitimate article from a woman that is a member of the LCMS, I pity her for being so misguided in thinking that the men of the LCMS have anything less than the best intentions for women within our church body. If it turns out to be a fabrication making the email rounds, it probably still provides a good glimpse into the mind of someone who favors women’s ordination and demonstrates what lengths they’ll go to try to convince us all that women are mere slaves in the LCMS–a view that is quite laughable in my mind.

  6. @Female Slave to Christ Only #56

    Dear Female Slave to Christ–

    Thank you for the clarification, and your defense of the LCMS.

    Please forgive me for lumping you in with the author of the article you quoted. It appeared to me that you might have been Ms. Zimmerman. I will ask the Web-Meister to delete the offending paragraph of my post #55 above. I should have waited my usual quarter-hour before hitting the “submit” button.


  7. What does she mean by women being ordained in the LCMS. Scripture is clear on this issue

  8. The article makes no sense. When were women ordained in the Missouri Synod? She seems to be addressing some event but we don’t have any information on what it was or is. By my calculations 25 years ago would have been 1986. On the other hand she sounds like something is just now happening. Taken all together, it sounds as if someone is off her meds.

  9. @Richard Lewer #59

    Perhaps Ms. Zimmerman is represents all those women who want to be pastors, and this is simply a fanciful “look into the future.” Whether this is a ficticious event or not is of no consequence. It is the language here that is important. The negative stereotypical language of the feminist is designed to lay a load of guilt upon those who oppose women’s ordination. Her assertion that this opposition is based on fear–especially fear of homosexuality, is revealing. For the very same arguments that were used for women’s ordination are now being used to promote ordination of homosexuals. Yes, there is a connection. The use of feminist code words and gratuitous label-mongering is typical of this kind of stuff.
    Forget about the identies, and focus on the language, for that is the language we should expect to read and hear. Interesting that her portrayal of the LCMS is eerily similar to that of Fred Danker in “No Room in the Brotherhood” not so much in content but in form and language.

    Liberalism ain’t going away you-all. And the push for women’s ordination is at the top of the list.

    I think we should see the striking parallels between this thread and the “Doctrinal Indifference” thread. Doctrinal indifference and liberalism are cut from the same cloth.


  10. @Johannes #60

    But there is hope in that younger generations of women (and men for that matter) have seen and experienced the results of all that feminism has to offer the world . . . and we now say “no thanks” to its empty promises. Don’t count out the faithful remnant of women who will do battle with these liberal segments. We’re proud of all the work we do changing diapers, making meals, caring for our men, educating our children and faithfully living out our God-given vocations. Continue to call us slaves, and you’ll see us respond mightily.

    Surprisingly, women who espouse these liberal views have no idea how much they are actually alienating younger generations of women who are intelligent enough to see through their rhetoric. We have letters after our names, too. We just don’t demand the recognition for our pursuits. It’s enough to know that we’re honoring God by serving within the vocations that He has granted us permission to serve in and not demanding to serve within those He hasn’t. This is where true freedom is found!

  11. @Johannes #60
    Doctrinal indifference and liberalism are cut from the same cloth.

    Agreed. They aren’t going away, either, any more than they did in Seminex days. They’ll crawl into the woodwork where necessary but they’ll be there waiting for the confessionals to relax.
    Besides, they’ve still got the majority of the DP seats. Are they going to make their districts more Lutheran!? No, like Minn So, they are attacking the only good things going, to weaken confessionalism for the next time around.

    Please, gentlemen, don’t get complacent! Half trained laymen are being put into our parishes still. [Sorry, David, but you don’t get men like Dr. Scaer with shortcut methods. And people like you get cheated because you don’t learn from them.]
    “Entertainment” still absorbs more dollars than Lutheran doctrine and very probably gives back less.

    All the devil needs is for you to think he’s defeated.
    TCN and that Trojan horse of liberalism, NYG, are not dead.

  12. @Richard Lewer #59
    The article makes no sense. When were women ordained in the Missouri Synod?

    There are LCMS women ordained in elca. (Many of the ones I met on lthrn-l were PK’s), No doubt if the climate was right they’d move back. Also no doubt that people are working on the “climate” in LCMS!
    Interesting that Daystar combines women and homosexuality. If we ever descend so far, we’ll get both of them in our pulpits at once. Elca did; they just didn’t know it right away.

  13. This article, as well as the supposed sermon by Stephanie Zimmerman, makes it sound like anyone who doesn’t agree with female ordination is a misogynistic and ignorant bigot. Can’t someone be against women’s ordination AND pro-female? I disagree with women’s ordination because Scripture clearly and repeatedly speaks against it. To allow for women’s ordination is to deny the authority and veracity of Holy Scripture. It’s not because I’m some kind of rampant woman-hater. I actually consider myself to be fairly progressive. I support equal rights for women in all areas of society, but God’s Word has the final say.

  14. While understanding the history of liberalism is important, I don’t think that’s where the heat of the battle is at the moment.

    Our youth group just returned from a trip to St. Louis which included attending a chapel service at the Seminary. One informal report came to me that the 20-minute service became a 40-minute service because the preacher came down into the midst of the congregation, put his hands up in the air and had spontaneous prayers being called out.

    Even if the details of such a thing have to be refined, it is by no means rare for some rather unusual worship experiences to be had at the St. Louis Seminary chapel. It seems to me that such things are not the result of liberalism but rather enthusiasm.

    History has known cycles which run from rationalism to enthusiasm to mysticism, and the “three ladders to heaven” about which Dr. Nagel writes in his doctoral dissertation on Luther’s doctrine of the Lord’s Supper.

  15. It is written as a view from the future, 25 years after women’s ordination supposedly began in the LCMS. That’s clear from the introduction. It’s from a vantage point that looks back on and criticizes our own time and beliefs and talks about them as passe and misguided. Then it goes on to describe the ‘status’ in that future time. What the S.Z. connection is is not completely clear to me, but I think that it might be written from the vantage point of an ordination sermon for this imaginary female.

  16. Johannes @ #60,

    “Perhaps Ms. Zimmerman is represents all those women who want to be pastors, and this is simply a fanciful “look into the future.”

    That is exactly what is going on. The introduction to the symposium refers to it as such:

    “Then the symposium looks further into the future with hope and celebrates the ordination of Pastor Stephanie Zimmermann. ”

    This is a textbook example of “future history”, a variation of the propaganda technique of arguing inevitability. The author of the ‘Stefanie Zimmerman’ story is certainly well schooled in propaganda techniques. I had to quit counting them when I ran out of fingers and toes…. 🙂

  17. I always found it interesting that this group has chosen the name “DayStar” for themselves when Isaiah 14:12 uses it in the following way, “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!”

  18. @James Sarver #68
    You said, “This is a textbook example of “future history”, a variation of the propaganda technique of arguing inevitability. The author of the ‘Stefanie Zimmerman’ story is certainly well schooled in propaganda techniques. I had to quit counting them when I ran out of fingers and toes.”

    Thanks for verifying my suspicions. I had no previous experience with “future history.”

    I tried to list a few of the propaganda highlights above, but had to give, just as you did. It was not a matter of fingers and toes, so much as wearying of the task. The inflammatory rhetoric saps one’s energy. I’m just getting over the guilt laid on me for my women-and-voice-of-God-silencing attitude, for my elitist power-mongering, and woman-enslaving-blasphemous scripture distorting and my proclivity for homophobic misogynist male domination of women.


  19. @Rev. Joel A. Brondos #66

    Yes, we have communal prayers during chapel services once a week. The liturgist will descend from the chancel into the nave and make a number of petitions. Then he will spread his arms (usually) further to signal that others in the congregation can speak their own petitions aloud following the “For…, let us pray to the Lord” form, to which the congregation responds with “Lord, have mercy.”

    Not to put words into Dr. Burreson’s mouth, but I recall that the reason he introduced it last year was as a practical reminder that the “Prayers of the Church” are actually the prayers of the Church and not just the prayers of the pastor on behalf of the church.

  20. @Concerned Seminarian #72
    Isn’t that why the congregation joins in with the “amen” at the end of the prayer (to take ownership of the prayer and make it their own?). Maybe the seminarians should be taught about the word “amen” and its use in our worship.

    What theological reason is there for departing from the custom of prayers going up from the altar as the pastor stands in a position noting that it is a “sacrificial” action?

    I fear we may read the word “contextualization” one more time…

    knowing the propensity for seminarians to become first year pastors introducing all of the neat changes that they saw at seminary, I fear for our people and what may come.

  21. @Pastor Joshua Scheer #73

    To answer the last question first, what seminarian in his right mind introduces all of the neat changes that he saw at seminary in his first year at the parish?

    We are taught about the word “amen” and its use in worship as part of our Worship class (or at least I remember learning that somewhere along the line). However, no matter how many times I learn something, I never seem to remember it every time it comes up in worship; I only remember my baptism about half the times I cross myself! I think that this helps make the communal nature of our prayers more explicit, but that is just my impression.

    The only response I can think of to your second paragraph is that the liturgist (for the most part) remains in the orans position during the communal prayers, just as he would if it wasn’t communal prayers. I don’t know if Dr. Burreson has wrestled with theological reasons one way or the other.

    Oh, and for the record: CONTEXTUALIZATION!!!!!!! 😛

  22. @Concerned Seminarian #74
    ugh, you spoke the word which allows for all sorts of practices to be foisted upon the Church.

    Many first year pastors have done so – just ask many of the congregations who have had candidates from seminary.

    I guess I would wonder where this practice comes from. I have never read a Lutheran father who wrote of such a way to pray “the prayers”. We don’t have the right to introduce novelty into the church.

    What does the practice teach about the Office of the Ministry and the Priesthood of the Baptized? What about the distinction between preachers and hearers? Seems to muddy the waters even more.

    Why is there so much change being introduced at the Seminary chapel? Shouldn’t it be a place where fundamentals are taught by example, instead of the fringe elements of worship which many would deem strangely non-Lutheran if not inappropriate?

  23. It’s not just 1st year sem grads. It will become part of the person/pastor. (again reasons why I left) my last congregation we called a pastor who was a second career, and had run a mission start up for 8 years. We were his second congregation. After one month he disbanded ministry/staff oversight committee not listed in our constiution(’bout the only time thatdocument was ever acknowledged). At three monts reactivated teh worship committee, so that at six months hte particular leadership ramrodded through changing a traditional service into an ultra-contempoary one. Four months and the acolyter proram was tanked, conveniently removing an obstacle for the service change. Six months Bible were put into the pews, but after I had worked at getting the new hymnal I desired the ESV. Pastor single handedly ordered all NIV. (so I wasted $200 getting lectionaries we cannot use…) Seven months added a quasi council position for some mission/outreach “let’s do things” coordinator (even though many thought we needed to shrink the size of council). I was getting presurre to make Sunday school fun, but after eight months I quit as Parish Ed chair, which cleared the way for an overhaul to VBS style sunday school. (I knew I was never going to be part of the “leadership”) I like Joel Brondos’ word: enthusiasm.

  24. @Pastor Joshua Scheer #75

    I was not suggesting that it is an example of contextualization; I was responding to your statement:

    Pastor Joshua Scheer :
    I fear we may read the word “contextualization” one more time…

    I do not know where the practice came from; why don’t you ask Dr. Burreson? I’m sure he would be willing to explain it to you. As far as there being “so much change being introduced at the Seminary chapel,” there really isn’t. I’m not sure if this is the place to rehash all the worship practices at CSL, but I’ve explained several times that we really haven’t introduced more than 2 “new” things regarding chapel in the 2 years I’ve been here.

  25. @Concerned Seminarian #77
    Thanks for the suggestion to contact Dr. Burreson.

    I think I can count three things which are rather large changes, and I am out of the loop. First doing away with chapel altogether, Second bringing in the praise band, Third, this new method of prayer during services.

    Maybe some of those changes are older than 2 years I suppose.

    I always appreciate your input C.S.

  26. @Pastor Joshua Scheer #78

    I wasn’t considering the praise band to be a “change” because I consider it to be an extension of the various musical groups we already were using in chapel services (brass, handbells, and the Seminary Chorus, being some examples). From the services I’ve been to where they played, my impression has been that at least 95% of what they play is canticles and hymns straight out of the hymnal (arranged for their group, of course); of the other 5%, I think about 3.5% is theologically sound while maybe 1.5% is questionable. But then you get songs which are questionable in some circumstances but not others. For example, one song a couple weeks ago I thought was highly questionable until the sermon put it into its proper perspective. For what it’s worth, I suspect that most accompaniment-related groups (brass and handbells) would break down into roughly the same percentages (though the theology of non-hymnal pieces is less noticeable since brass and handbells do not have vocalists).

    The question of whether the “praise band” is appropriate from a musical perspective has been thrown about quite a bit, but I don’t know of any theological reason it would per se be inappropriate.

    The two things I was thinking of were the small-group Bible study and communal prayers, and the small-group Bible study question has already been discussed on here, so I don’t know if we really need to re-open that can of worms!

    I also enjoy getting feedback from those on here, since I admit I haven’t wrestled as much with all of these questions as perhaps I should.

  27. @bcb #41
    Besides the fact that Jude and James were Jesus’ (half)brothers? (I think that those are the right ones, please correct if I have it wrong)

    Matthew 12:46 “While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him.” Also Mark 3:31, John 7:1

    Matthew 1:24 – “Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son.[e] And he called His name JESUS.” (note the “till” in there).

  28. @Concerned Seminarian #79
    From listening to “Issues, Etc” the main concern would be: are they there to lead the members in worship, or as entertainment? This debate has been around since Luther; for a while Italian composers were frowned upon as writers of hymn tunes because they were the writers of opera and other popular music.

    One rule of thumb that I’ve seen says something like: if the band/choir/soloist is in the back /on the balcony and can’t be seen by the congregation, then they are performing for the glory of God and the edification of the congregation. If they’re up by the pastor, there may be a conflict.

  29. @Paul of Alexandria #81

    Good rule of thumb! The chapel band always sets up in the right transept, so they are on visible but off to the side. Not sure which way that falls according to the rule of thumb; I usually think of off to the side as being for the edification of the congregation and glory of God.

    Also, for the most part they are leading the members in worship, though that was less clear at first. At first they did not have the melody printed in the bulletin, only the text, so the congregation had a difficult time singing along. From discussions in class (I was taking Worship at the time), we found out that the band was under the impression that printing music would just confuse the congregation, and that very few people could read music. However, they quickly began providing music when they realized 3/4 of our Worship class read music!

  30. @Concerned Seminarian #82
    However, they quickly began providing music when they realized 3/4 of our Worship class read music!

    I hope that they will find that people in their congregations read music, too. 😉

  31. @Concerned Seminarian #82

    I guess tha tis one of by beefs with praise bands: the attitude that they need to dumb down everything. More people can read music than many realize, even if not proper pitch, at least some can still tell if the notes are going up or down. So when new songs are introduced, I for one would like to sing but can’t, because I do not have the notes as well (I can read music) so am unsure of where to go with the song. So I end up being “entertained” and do not participate. All because too many bands assume I’m an idiot. And maybe I am because I so rarely listen to the Christian radio stations, so I don’t know the songs…. I sing and know too many hymns….

  32. @Concerned Seminarian #79

    Concerned Seminarian:

    Here are some theological reasons why praise bands should not be acceptable for Lutheran churches:

    1) Rom. 12:2. I fail to see how moving to have a praise band keeps the spirit of “not conforming to the pattern of this world.” It seems to me that having a praise band is precisely trying to conform to the pattern of this world.

    2) Contemporary worship has a lot of similarity with 19th century revivals. Listen to this quote, and notice the similarity with the counsel of CW proponents: “Ministers ought to know what measures are best calculated to aid in accomplishing the great end of their office, the salvation of souls. Some measures are plainly necessary. By measures I mean what things should gbe done to get the attention of the people, and bring them to listen to the truth… The object is to get up an excitement, and bring the people out. They know that unless there can be an excitement, it is in vain to push their end.” Guess who said this? 19th cent. revivalist Charles Finney. By these “new measures”, Finney’s aim was to lead people to choose Jesus (i.e., decision theology). Contemporary worship seems to be the modern day equivalent.

    3) Even if one was to consider the use of praise bands adiaphora, we would be Confessionally bound to resist it because of what FC X says about adiaphora. In times of great spiritual confusion and assault against the truth, Christians cannot yield to those who confess against the pure Lutheran teaching, even in indifferent matters. Doing so teaches the weak that there are no differences of any merit between the Lutheran church and those who confess differently. Today, Neo-Evangelicalism confesses against the pure Lutheran faith by decision theology, sacramental symbolism, and no real distinction between the office of pastors and lay people. They are also a very prominent and influential church body. Their services are known by praise bands and other “new methods”. To yield to having praise bands in the Lutheran church in this current climate is to suggest a similarity between the false theology of Neo-Evangelicalism and the pure Lutheran teaching, and would lead the weak in faith to see no difference between the two.

    There’s much more that I could address, particularly about the arguments for contemporary worship in general. But I don’t have time to write them all. If you would like, email me and I’ll send you a medium-brief paper I wrote on church music. It looks at a lot of Scripture passages used by proponents of contemporary worship, and asks whether these arguments are biblically sound or not. (If you can’t find my email, maybe the moderator would be so kind to send it to you so you could write me and I could send my paper to you).

    In Christ,
    Rev. Robert Mayes
    Beemer, NE

  33. @Rev. Robert Mayes #85

    I prefer traditional music and liturgy over praise band led stuff. However . . .

    When did the organ become the standard for church music? Didn’t churches conform when the began using the organ? Can churches have web-sites? If they do, are they not conforming to the world around them? Can churches send out e-mails to their members? Isnt’ that what society does, isn’t that conforming?

    My point is this, where do we stop? I did appreciate though the reminder that we are not necessarily free on matters regarding adiaphora.

    (going into my bunker to prepare for the replies)

  34. @Paul of Alexandria #81

    I’ve been to quite a few LC-MS Churches that use praise/performance bands. They are always in the front — some maybe be off to the side a little.

    Some of the Churches somehow forget the Altar when they use a praise/performance band.

    Put the band in the balcony or the back of the Church. My guess is that if you did this, gradually there would be less and less band members.

    Get my drift?

  35. @Not that cool #86

    The use of organ (or any accompaniment) was prohibited by the church through most of the middle ages (if I recall correctly); even in the Reformation period organ use was vastly different than our current practice. In Reformation-era church music, the congregation would sing a cappella (which literally means “as in the chapel” in homage to the earlier practice!) or with light accompaniment (brass, wind, or string ensembles were common). When the organ played a stanza of the hymn, the congregation was expected to sit and listen while meditating on the words.

    To be honest, I think it was a little of both when the church began using organ: there was some conforming on the part of sacred music, but also some on the part of secular music.

  36. @JAM #87

    I think it also depends on the size of the ensemble. If it is too big, it can’t fit in the back or in the choir loft. I toured with the Concordia Chicago Wind Symphony, and most church services we played were from the front (off to the side) or setting up on the altar because there was not enough room to put an 80-member group elsewhere! I think that bit of logistics would also cause the group to have less band members!

  37. @Not that cool #86

    Friend in Christ:

    Joseph Herl has a very good book that includes how organs were used in early Lutheran churches. Check out his Worship Wars in Early Lutheranism.

    As to email and technology – You are right in that Rom. 12:2 has nothing to do with email or web-sites or anything like that. However, it has to do with something. We don’t want to suggest that because we can use email or websites, so Rom. 12:2 is now neutralized and out of the discussion. Obviously, it says something. We need to ask in what way Rom. 12:2 applies, and how it does not.

    I would argue that Rom. 12:2 applies only to doctrine or our practice in worship. It did not apply in the 1st century to other non-doctrinal and non-practice related matters, such as civic vocations, housing, or civic contracts. But doctrine was not to be syncretistically mixed. Practice, being the expression of doctrine, was also not to be mixed. Practice flows from doctrine. Ok, so how does this relate to praise bands? Praise bands are the modern equivalent of 19th cent. revivals. It flows out of the same theological perspective of Charles Finney and others, namely, that by exciting people and moving them emotionally, one can manipulate people to make a decision for Jesus.

    Evangelical style, when mixed with Lutheran substance, leads to a discrepancy in the ears of the hearers. Like does not attract unlike here. Over time, either the style will be changed, or the substance will be. Here, I recommend Klemet Preus, The Fire and the Staff. I compare it to a fruit and tree. Doctrine is the tree, practice is the fruit. Doctrine gives shape to practice. Practice flows from doctrine. But because fruit also grows seeds that become new trees, so practice that is planted in the hearts and experiences of people will grow the doctrine that it is connected with. In the case of praise bands, that is Neo-Evangelicalism.

    I’ve got to get going. Thanks for the questions.

    In Christ,
    Rev. Robert Mayes
    Beemer, NE

  38. @Ariel #64
    It is indeed a leftist polemic not a sermon. There isn’t a scrap of law, much less gospel in it. Being against the ordination of women is not being against women, this is a bit of rhetoric intended to put us on the defense, and argue against a negative. Best to not accept the false premise at all.

  39. There is very little humility or generosity or loving-kindness in these posts, only a certain alienating eagerness to condemn those with whom you disagree as if these “liberal” views were held not by God-loved people but (as several posts directly state) by demons. I came upon this site in a search for information. What a turn off.

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