Every Sunday Pro-Choice Sunday?







Rev. Paul McCain has a very good posting on the topic of “worship wars”:   The High Church Danger to the Lutheran Church-A Fraternal Warning   with a germane quote from Hermann Sasse and on the top a picture of a very high church Anglican liturgy(above) and on the bottom a photo of a Contemporary Worship service(above)  Sasse points out that the uncritical acceptance of the Liturgical Movement will lead the Lutherans toward Rome and McCain rightly points out that the other extreme, “extreme worship” is not the right way either.  One is a reaction to the other. In my own words,  he wants the LCMS to steer a course between the Scylla and Charybdis of High Church and Contemporary Worship.

Recently, here on BJS, in another go around about CoWo, one pastor (revaggie) said that not all CoWo is the same, not all are devoid of Confessional Lutheranism.  I took him to mean that there is a kind of a scale, say from 1-10, on CoWo, from ‘Lutheran, really?’ to ‘Oh,yeah, sure is Lutheran’,  and I think that is probably correct.  Just as correct to state that Liturgical Worship (LiWo:  like we need another acronym?!) also is a sliding scale from 1-10, bare bones minimum to a high Mass.

I am of the age when I remember this was simply not a question.  The liturgy was page 5 or page 15 of  The Lutheran Hymnal or Matins.  What happened? Why are we steering a course between the Scylla and Charybdis of High Church and Contemporary Worship?  How did the ship, the Church, arrive in this dangerous pass and impasse?  Why is there a sliding scale in the first place?

In the Sasse quote, he cites the Liturgical Movement and for those who do not know about it, from Wikipedia:

“The Liturgical Movement began as a movement of scholarship for the reform of worship within the Roman Catholic Church. It has grown over the last century and a half and has affected many other Christian Churches, including the Church of England and other Churches of the Anglican Communion, and some Protestant churches. A similar reform in the Church of England and Anglican Communion, known as the Oxford Movement, began to change theology and liturgy in the United Kingdom and United States in the mid-nineteenth century.”

It did produce some good fruits, such as: the free-standing Altar, greater involvement of the people of God in the Liturgy, and the re-introduction of the Easter Vigil, probably only naming a few.

I know of only one time which C. S. Lewis wrote about the Liturgy and he did so pointedly, and also pointedly about his frustration. I am guessing that he  is reflecting a  result of this movement:

“It looks as if (Anglican clergymen) believed people can be lured to go to church by incessant brightenings, lightenings, lengthenings, abridgements, simplifications, and complications of the service.” (Letters to Malcolm:  Chiefly on Prayer, published posthumously in 1964).

This goes in our day for both CoWo and LiWo, but I still have not answered my question:  why has this happened in the first place?

Answer: For instance,  I think there was an unintended consequence to this “movement of scholarship”, called Liturgical Movement and that was the Liturgy was studied and so examined by the academy as a thing to be studied.  At the risk of being merely provocative, the Liturgy was vivisected.  I do not think there was malicious intent on the part of these  liturgical scholars.  The result has been  that the Liturgy has become a tool, for whatever flavor of various ecclesial partisans’ efforts to do good by it. It’s become our tool rather than the Means of Grace, the Lord’s Word to, with and for us and our salvation.

I think this was stated well in the 9.5 Theses, written by a group of ELCA/ New Jersey Synod pastors, dated The Annunciation of Our Lord,March 25, 1995, as a protest regarding the “confession of faith” in the ELCA.  I am a signatory of this protest.    The 9.5  Theses  goes beyond the scope of that one denomination to the whole Christians and Apostolic and Catholic Church and  for our consideration:

5. The Holy Spirit and the Means of Grace

“So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)

The Church confesses and believes in “the Holy Spirit, Advocate and Guide,” who “calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church” through, and only through, God’s means of Grace, which is the preaching of the Word—i.e. through Scripture, sermon, Baptism, Absolution, and Communion (Te Deum; Small Catechism—Creed—Article III; Augsburg Confession—Articles V, IX-XIII).

We reject the false teaching that the Holy Spirit is given apart from the preached Word and sacraments, that the Holy Spirit is evidenced by human enthusiasm or activism, that the Holy Spirit is to be equated with the dynamic of social, political and spiritual movements. We reject the false teaching that the Church grows through human ingenuity and energy. We reject the false teaching that God’s liturgy is a tool for the advancement of political, cultural or therapeutic programs. We reject the elevation of organizational success, growth in numbers, and political and therapeutic activity to the status of marks of the Church.

The Word of God is silenced among  us and driven out of the Church when the true means of grace “the preaching of the Word and the sacraments” no longer defines, structures and centers the ministry and mission of the Christian congregation. (emphasis my own)

Now to  clarify:  I do not think the Liturgical Movement was the lone cause of this, but this pro-choice mentality, that the liturgy is a tool to be used by us to build the Church is simply in the air and it is the mark of the zeitgeist.  This zeitgeist has been around for a long time:  if I try to build up the Church by using the Liturgy, tooling and styling it according to my tastes, studies, surveys, etc. that can be an indication of only one thing:  rank unbelief.  We have created our Scylla and Charbydis of CoWo and LiWo.  We think we can build up the church by our using Liturgy as a “tool” for various programs,  and Scripture is simply ignored:

The Gospel for year B, 3rd Sunday in Lent, our Lord said, “”Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2: 19).  He will raise up His Temple, Himself,  for us, in us, through us and even in spite of us and our best intentions.  More pointedly, He tells Peter after his good confession:  “Upon this rock, I will build my church.”  (Matthew 16: 18) And again:  “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3: 6-9).  We have a part but it is subservient, that is to serve the Lord for He will give the growth through His Word alone.

This use of worship as our tool, “our thing”, this pro-choice mentality fits into the unregenerated flesh which in this discussion about worship degenerates into “what I like”. Just as on any computer we can click, “My Music” “My Pictures”, we should have “My Worship”.  Then flesh is against flesh and that is the spirit of the world. “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. (last verse of Judges). We act as if the Church, His reign, has no king but each one of us.

  •   Now greater lights than me have known this about worship for years.  Again Lewis on the Liturgy with my own emphases:

And it is probably true that a new, keen vicar (not vicar as Lutherans understand it-Pr. Schroeder) will usually be able to form within his parish a minority who are in favour of his innovations. The majority, I believe, never are. Those who remain—many give up churchgoing altogether—merely endure.

Is this simply because the majority are hide-bound? I think not. They have a good reason for their conservatism. Novelty, simply as such, can have only an entertainment value. And they don’t go to church to be entertained. They go to use the service, or, if you prefer, to enact it. Every service is a structure of acts and words through which we receive a sacrament, or repent, or supplicate, or adore. And it enables us to do these things best—if you like, it “works” best—when, through long familiarity, we don’t have to think about it. As long as you notice, and have to count, the steps, you are not yet dancing but only learning to dance. A good shoe is a shoe you don’t notice. Good reading becomes possible when you need not consciously think about eyes, or light, or print, or spelling. The perfect church service would be one we were almost unaware of; our attention would have been on God.

But every novelty prevents this. It fixes our attention on the service itself; and thinking about worship is a different thing from worshipping. The important question about the Grail was “for what does it serve?” “‘Tis mad idolatry that makes the service greater than the god.”

A still worse thing may happen. Novelty may fix our attention not even on the service but on the celebrant. You know what I mean. Try as one may to exclude it, the question “What on earth is he up to now?” will intrude. It lays one’s devotion waste. There is really some excuse for the man who said, “I wish they’d remember that the charge to Peter was Feed my sheep; not Try experiments on my rats,  or even, Teach my performing dogs new tricks.”

  • Roman Catholic theologian Hans Urs Von Bathassar:

It often happens–and the danger seems greater today than in earlier times-that a liturgical community measures the achievement of a celebration against it’s own edification, according tot he measure of how much the participants take part in it and are caught up in it, instead of being captured by God and his gifts and letting him take part.  there are communities which perhaps unconsciously, celebrate themselves more than God; this is true of the liturgies of traditional as of progressively structured, of old well-established as of freely formed parishes such as the young people love…if we have become small people, we should not seek to reduce the mystery we celebrate to our dimensions.” (The von Balthassar Reader, 1982)

  • Luther knew the danger in his own time:

In the first place, I would kindly and for God’s sake request all those who see this order of service or desire to follow it: Do not make it a rigid law to bind or entangle anyone’s conscience, but use it in Christian liberty as long, when, where, and how you find it to be practical and useful. For this is being published not as though we meant to lord it over anyone else, or to legislate for him, but because of the widespread demand for German masses and services and the general dissatisfaction and offense that has been caused by the great variety of new masses, for everyone makes his own order of service. Some have the best intentions, but others have no more than an itch to produce something novel so that they might shine before men as leading lights, rather than being ordinary teachers—as is always the case with Christian liberty: very few use it for the glory of God and the good of the neighbor; most use it for their own advantage and pleasure. But while the exercise of this freedom is up to everyone’s conscience and must not be cramped or forbidden, nevertheless, we must make sure that freedom shall be and remain a servant of love and of our fellow-man.

Where the people are perplexed and offended by these differences in liturgical usage, however, we are certainly bound to forego our freedom and seek, if possible, to better rather than to offend them by what we do or leave undone. Seeing then that this external order, while it cannot affect the conscience before God, may yet serve the neighbor, we should seek to be of one mind in Christian love, as St. Paul teaches [Rom. 15:5-6; 1 Cor. 1:10; Phil. 2:2]. As far as possible we should observe the same rites and ceremonies, just as all Christians have the same baptism and the same sacrament [of the altar] and no one has received a special one of his own from God…For if I should try to make it up out of my own need (an order of service), it might turn into a sect.” (emphasis my own) (LW, Volume 53, Liturgy and Hymns, pages 61 and 64)

The LCMS, congregation by congregation, is becoming a sect, either low CoWo or  high  LiWo.  Three different Christians, an Anglican, a Roman Catholic and the first Lutheran, all counsel and caution us to direct our focus, not to what we want, our flesh, our choice a pro-choice Sunday,  but what the Lord wants,wills and has given us in His Sabbath:  His Word of Law and Promise.  It is His grace, not ours.   We are suppose to feed the sheep, not experiment on His rats!  All three point us to use what has been there for sometime.  The Lord is our worship committee.  In the LCMS, it is the Lutheran Service Book. We should be of one mind and within the wide parameters of the LSB.

After the last sentence in the Luther quote above, Fr. Luther wrote as only he could:  “For we Germans are a rough, rude, and reckless people,with whom it is hard to do anything, except in cases of dire need.” Substitute LCMS for “Germans”.  Beloved in the Lord, the need is dire!



Every Sunday Pro-Choice Sunday? — 118 Comments

  1. @Rev. McCall #100: Would you say it is also fair to say at times that some churches (even non-LCMS ones) treat liturgical practices as the new CoWo?

    The question of motivation is relevant to adding liturgical ceremonies/practices. And there may be cases where the motivation itself, rather than the ceremony, is the problem. But unless someone indicates what their motivation is, not being clairvoyant I can’t tell. It is easier to consider the liturgical practices themselves.

    One particular liturgical practice that seems to be pushed among the “high church” crowd is the use of the word, “Mass,” in referring to the Lord’s Supper. They will be quick to point out that Luther’s denouncing the Mass as “the greatest and most horrible abomination” in his Smalcald Articles (Part II, Art. II) refers to the Roman Mass, and not the “Lutheran Mass”, which had been purged of Roman heresies. In fact, as Rev. Daniel Preus discussed in his “Luther and the Mass“:

    By 1533, however, Luther came to the conclusion that “mass” should no longer be used in reference to the sacrament of the altar. Luther’s Letter Concerning His Book on the Private Mass is very illuminating in regard to his distinction between the two. In this letter Luther provided a definition of the term “mass” that clearly drives a wedge between mass and sacrament. According to Luther, “mass” refers

    to what the priest does alone at the altar, to which no ordinary Christian or layman adds anything. For they indeed know that no layman or ordinary Christian can celebrate mass and they will not allow it. Nor do they allow it to be or to be called a mass when a layman receives the sacrament; but they . . . alone celebrate mass; all other Christians simply receive the sacrament and do not celebrate mass.

    The word “mass,” Luther believed, should be defined as the sacrifice that the priest offers for sin. It should never be used to speak of that sacrament which grants to believers the body and blood of Christ and the forgiveness of sins. He spoke of the time when he himself could not differentiate between the two:

    For me mass and sacrament at the altar were one and the same thing, as they were at that time for all of us. Yet they are not one and the same thing. It is the mass when I sacrifice the sacrament to God for my sins and the sins of others as a work performed by human beings (whether they be evil or godly) . . . it is the sacrament when I receive from the priest the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine.

    Luther was convinced that the use of the terms “mass” and “sacrament” interchangeably has resulted in great confusion, and that the only way to provide a clear understanding of the nature of the Lord’s Supper is to stop calling it the mass. “Indeed, I wish and would very much like to see and hear that the two words ‘mass’ and ‘sacrament’ would be understood as being as different as darkness and light, yes, as different as devil and God.” Again Luther prayed,

    May God grant to all devout Christians such hearts that when they hear the word “mass,” they might be frightened and make the sign of the cross as though it were the devil’s abomination; on the other hand, when they hear the word “sacrament” or “Lord’s Supper” they might dance for pure joy….

    In 1537, when Luther’s Smalcald Articles appeared, he continued to view sacrament and mass as inimical to each other. Mass and sacrament are so opposed to each other that Luther dealt with them under two different headings. Furthermore, when speaking of the Lord’s Supper in the article on the mass, he used the word “sacrament”; the word “mass:’ on the other band, means sacrifice (SA ii ii).

    These are very good confessional Lutheran reasons to oppose the high church practice of using the word “Mass” to refer to the Lord’s Supper. Perhpas Luther’s prayer should be employed in catechism classes.

  2. “The Symbolical Books use ‘Mass’ in two ways. In the Augsburg Confession and the Apology it merely means what we call the Order of Holy Communion. ‘Falsely are our churches accused of abolishing the Mass'(AC XXIV 1). ‘We religiously maintain and defend the (Mass)”(Ap XXIV(XII)1). But in the Smalcald Articles, ‘Mass’ means private Masses offered as expiatory sacrifices according to the Roman rite (so in II II)”(Arthur Carl Piepkorn, What the Symbolical Books of the Lutheran Church Have to Say About Worship and the Sacraments [St Louis: CPH, 1952],p.26. Surely one must pay attention to the context in which any word is used – so also here. Luther sometimes used the word “Mass” to mean the alleged propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of the living and the dead (so in the Smalcald Articles); at other times he used it in the sense of the celebration of the Sacrament of the Altar (so in his Formula Missae of 1523 and the Deutsche Messe of 1526). The Lutheran Kirchenordungen continued to use the word Mass and it has continued in uninterrupted use in Scandinavian Lutheranism to the present day. It is simply a part of our heritage as Western Christians and no more distinctively Roman Catholic than the Order of the Divine Service itself, the lectionary, the sign of the cross, the so-called “Altargesang” of the pastor, the use of crucifix and candles on our altars, the practice of private confession, etc. In his indispensable work, Here We Stand: Nature and Character of the Lutheran Faith, Dr. Sasse himself refers approvingly to the worship of 16th/17th century Lutheranism: “the solemn Masses in the great city churches with their Nicene Creed intoned in Latin and with Latin prefaces…the hymns and sequences for the saints’ days…the vestments, incense (in the Magdeburg Cathedral, for example)…It was no mere ecclesiastico-political diplomacy which dictated the emphatic assertion in the Augsburg Confession that the teachings of the Evangelicals were identifical with those of the orthodox Catholic Church of all ages, and no more was it romanticism or false conservatism which made our church anxious to retain as much of the old canonical law as possible, and to cling tenaciously to the old forms of worship”(pp.98, 102f). “For the orthodox evangelical church is really identical with the orthodox Catholic Church of all times. And just as the very nature of the Reformed Church emphasizes its strong opposition to the medeval church, so the very nature of the Lutheran Church requires it to go to the farthest possible limit in its insistence on its solidarity and identity with the Catholic Church” (p. 103). This same understanding is surely reflected in Charles Porterfield Krauth’s choice of title for his magnum opus, The Conservative Reformation and its Theology. This same understanding also comes to expression in the early years of Der Lutheraner, e.g. the front page of the December 1844 issue of that publication is simply a series of citations from the Fathers of the Eastern and Western Church on the miracle of the incarnation. Nevertheless one is most certainly justified in questioning the wisdom of using words or customs which people mistakenly identify as uniquely Roman Catholic. There are of course limits, and here it is worth noting that Dr. Piepkorn himself noted that “[pastors] cannot set forth or abrogate ceremonies with the intention of suggesting that there is no essential difference between the Church of the Augsburg Confession and a heretical communion”(op.cit.,p.9). But here there is certainly room for difference of opinion, cheerful disagreement, and charitable judgment. In his splendid essay on Adiaphora Dr. Walther wisely observes that “we are not insisting that there be uniformity of perception or feeling or taste among all believing Christians – neither dare anyone demand that all should be minded even as he is”(Adiaphora in Essays for the Church: CFW Walther, Vol.I, p.194). It is also noteworthy that Dr. Walther himself repeatedly had to defend the so-called “Altargesang” of the pastor against the accusation of “Romanizing tendencies.” He in fact quotes Saint Augustine as saying “‘Qui cantat, bis orat’-he who sings prays twice,” and says of the fully sung liturgy, “it creates a solemn impression on the Christian mind when one is reminded by the solemnity of the divine service that one is in the house of God where the children of God, in childlike love to their heavenly Father, also give expression to their spiritual joy in such a lovely manner”(p. 194). It seems to me that the danger of Romanizing tendencies pales by comparison with the rapidly growing baptistification of our churches.

  3. It seems to me that, given all the circumstances of the present day, English-speaking Lutherans can best use “Divine Service” to refer to celebration of the Sacrament of the Altar. This is certainly the usage of our Synod in both the Lutheran Service Book and in Lutheran Worship. It certainly has excellent Lutheran precedent and beautifully expresses the truth that it is God who serves us with His Gospel and Sacrament. It also provides a way of distinguishing the worship of the Church of the Augsburg Confession from the Roman Church on the one hand and from Reformed Protestantism on the other. Still the word “Mass” is not only part of the Lutheran liturgical heritage but also an inescapable part of our cultural heritage, e.g. “Christmas” (and “Michaelmas”)! How easy it is to explain that “Christmas” means the “Mass,” that is, the Divine Service, of Christ! People familiar with our musical heritage will know that Johann Sebastian Bach used the word “Mass” not only of his great B Minor Mass but also of the other settings of the liturgy he prepared for use in the Lutheran Church of his day. Archiv Produktion has put us all in their debt with two wonderful recordings of the “Lutheran Mass for Christmas Morning as it might have been celebrated around 1620 [in Braunschweig/Wolfenbuettel] (1994)” and the “Epiphany Mass as it might have been celebrated in St. Thomas Leipzig c.1740 (1998).” The former is replete with marvellous musical works of Michael Praetorius and the latter with the works of J.S.Bach. Surely the Lutheran Reformation as the conservative Reformation adhered to the principle “abusus non tollit usum/the abuse [of something] does not destroy its [legitimate] use.” It was not the Lutherans but the Reformed who mercilessly destroyed the precious heritage of the Church both in doctrine and practice. “A dyed-in-the-wool Reformed churchmen, who really holds to the faith of his church, enters an ecclesiastical world which is alien to him when he steps into the cathedrals in Luebeck and Rosekilde, in Drontheim [Trondheim] and Upsala. He is disturbed by the altars which remind him of the ‘idolatry’ of the Mass, and by the crucifixes and pictures which, in his eyes, violate the [Protestant] Second Commandment. These things offend him, just as they offended his ancestors who once ‘purged’ the cathedrals in Switzerland and, smashing the great crucifix of the Berlin Cathedral, hurled it into the river Spree”(Sasse, Here We Stand, p.98).

  4. In comments just prior to the excerpt I provided in #101 Rev. Preus addressed the allegation that Luther was only referring to the “private Mass”:

    But Luther’s condemnation of the mass was not limited to the private mass. He viewed the mass itself as a “papistic idol.” When he wrote, “This is the true and chief abomination and the basis of all blasphemy in the papacy,” he spoke not of the private mass alone. It is the mass itself that is the greatest of all abominations, whether it take place privately or publicly.

    In comments immediately following the excerpt I provided earlier, Rev. Preus continues to address the allegation that Luther was only referring to the “private Mass”:

    Nor was Luther referring alone to the private masses in his condemnation of the mass, although it is clear that because of their proliferation, they come in for a great deal of criticism. His remarks introducing the article on the mass indicate that his major concern was with the mass as sacrifice. The mass is considered the “greatest and most horrible abomination” not because it is done in private, but because it runs “into direct and violent conflict with this fundamental article [of justification].” The mass is a papal idolatry because it is considered a sacrifice that delivers from sin, whereas only the Lamb of God can do this. Therefore it is an abomination whenever a mass takes place, be it public or private. It is little wonder then that Luther concluded, “The Mass is unnecessary and so it can be omitted without danger” (SA ii ii, 3). In fact, he wrote, “Let the people be told openly that the Mass, as trumpery can be omitted without sin, that no one will be damned for not observing it, and that one can be saved in a better way without the Mass” (SA ii ii, 5; Tappert, 293). The better way to which Luther refers is that sacrament which has been instituted by Christ; the Lord’s Supper.

    Rev. Preus continued on to warn Lutherans about the temptation to refer to the Lord’s Supper as the “mass”:

    Lutherans tempted to use “mass” as a synonym for the Lord’s Supper should take seriously Luther’s observations on the difference between “mass” and “sacrament.” The same confusion may very well result today when a term frequently used in reference to a sacrificial act performed by a priest is used carelessly by Lutherans in reference to the Lord’s Supper. It is not without justification that a charge of “Roman Catholic” is brought against those who refer to the Lord’s Supper as “the mass.” Luther’s own example after 1533 and that of the orthodox theologians such as Chemnitz who followed him ought to be instructive in this regard. They do not use the term “mass” to speak of the Lord’s Supper. It is ill advised for Lutherans to do so today. Confusion will almost necessarily result unless Rome reforms its doctrine on the mass, which is hardly likely. Luther conceded that if the papists adhere to the ordinance of Christ in their celebration of the sacrament; the body and blood of Christ are truly present and received. On the other hand, the mass, which is celebrated by the priest at the same time that the sacrament is administered, is a misuse of the sacrament and an abomination. Luther declared,

    I am not contending against the sacrament, but against the mass, and would like to separate the sacrament from the mass so that the mass might perish and the sacrament alone, without the mass, might be preserved in its honor and according to the ordinance of our dear Lord Jesus Christ.

    “It seems to me that the danger of Romanizing tendencies pales by comparison with the rapidly growing baptistification of our churches.”

    No one here has claimed the methobapticostal cancer in our churches is not a danger; moreover that does not mean that the discussions in this BJS thread about valid dangers of Romanizing tendencies can be dismissed.

  5. But one does have to establish what is and is not a “Romanizing tendency.” I respect but cannot agree with Daniel Preus’s opinion concerning the use of the word “Mass.” Other perfectly faithful Lutherans hold a different opinion. If the use of term “Mass” is a “Romanizing” tendency, then countless Lutherans past and present were and are indulging in “Romanizing” tendencies! If the term Mass were in fact such an abomination it could scarcely have been left in the Augsburg Confession and its Apology, in the Lutheran Kirchenordungen of the 16th/17th/18th centuries, and without interruption in the Scandinavian Lutheran churches. I suspect that the real difficulty here is that there are certain things that we all at some deep emotional level identify with the Roman Church. This varies from person to person! Just think of the stubborn prejudice against the use of the crucifix which was once universal in our Synod’s churches before (through the process of Americanization) we were so sadly and massively influenced by the Reformed Protestant environment in which we live. Or think of the widespread prejudice against private confession, despite the fact that our Synod’s founders not only regularly practiced private confession but also wrote into Synod’s first Constitution that the local pastor was in fact obligated to introduce it where it was not in use. Or think of the prejudice (which Dr. Walther himself had to contend with in his day) against the pastor’s chanting of the liturgy. Can anyone doubt that it was the influence of the American religious environment which exacerbated the prejudice against anything that was perceived to be “Roman Catholic”?Nothing can effectively be said against such emotional reactions: they are what they are and reasoning concerning them is almost always futile. But facts are stubborn things, and it is a fact that countless Lutherans since the 16th century have used the word Mass as meaning nothing more than the celebration of the Sacrament of the Altar. It seems to me that it is simply unfair, even uncharitable, to ascribe nefarious motives to perfectly orthodox Lutheran clergy whose sense of what is or is not “Romanizing” differs from one’s own: one would need to demonstrate (not simply allege) that with the use of the word “Mass” pastors are also advocating the Romish doctrine of the sacrifice of the Mass. No one should be compelled to use the word “Mass” nor should anyone be forbidden to do this. I wonder how different attitudes to all this would be had the Augsburg Confession continued to be printed in our hymnals as it is in our Synod’s wonderful German Gesangbuch.

  6. In The Private Mass and the Consecration of Priests 1533 Dr. Luther writes: “God be praised, in our churches we can show a Christian a true Christian mass according to the ordinance and institution of Christ, as well as according to the true intention of Christ and the church…This is our mass, and it is the true mass which is not lacking among us” (LW 38, pp. 208f. In A Letter of Dr. Martin Luther Concerning His Book on the Private Mass 1534 Dr. Luther writes: “where mass is celebrated according to Christ’s ordinance, be it among us Lutherans or under the papacy or in Greece or in India, even if it is also only under one kind-which is nonetheless wrong and an abuse…under the form of bread, the true body of Christ, given for us on the cross, under the form of wine, the true blood of Christ, shed for us, are present…”(LW 38, p.224).

  7. Two questions:

    1.  Could you please make a video of the voters meeting during which you propose using the word “mass”?

    2.  As Pr McCall would say:  Is this a hill on which you are prepared to die?

  8. The difference between the [so called] “romanizers” (who use “mass” as Luther and the BOC did/do) and the liberal baptistifiers of our synod is that the “romanizers” [so-called] are not going to make proposals at voters’ to require the word “mass” to be used.
    They are not using synod monies to “transform churches” i.e, force them into their mold, as the baptistifiers have not ceased to do.

    They only use the language among those who will understand that they mean a Lutheran liturgical Lord’s Supper. The rest of Lutheranism is in no danger… unless they start reading the BOC!

    It would be too bad [wonderful!] if the majority of Lutherans actually knew what was in the Lutheran Symbols!

  9. @helen #108

    I think I’m representative of a lot of laypeople so please don’t mind if I speak frankly.  I love the Small Catechism and the creeds.  I read them all the time.  Maybe once a year I read the AC.   The rest of the BOC seems technical and so boring.  I’d much rather spend time in Bible class and Bible reading.   Hope you can deal with this shocking news.   I and a few hundred thousand other laypeople need to be convinced to do something different.  I already know we’re stupid and lazy so try something else. 🙂

  10. @John Rixe #109
    I already know we’re stupid and lazy so try something else.

    Not a shock; I’ve lived too long. 😉 “stupid” is your own appraisal; I’ve been called that too many years (but not the last 20) to lay it on anyone else.
    Some of the BOC is tied to its time, but it’s a record of how and why we got where we are now. We’re studying it two evenings a month; it’s interesting how much of it is relevant today.

    Stretch yourself a little to the Smalcald Articles, sometimes called ‘Luther’s Last Will and Testament”. It’s a summing up of the faith written by Luther himself. [He expected to die any time but he lasted another 10 years.]
    And, yes, try McCain’s special if you like. 🙂

    The Large Catechism (the one for grown ups) is pretty good, too. 🙂

  11. All things being not even…I agree with those above who have indicated that using the worship service as a tool is egregiously done by the proponents of contemporary worship and church growth and can not even equal those who have a fondness for all things Rome. And a fondness for all things Rome should be not construed with those who love the Liturgy. I am sorry if I gave that impression. Many times I have been accused by being “too Roman Catholic” or my favorite: “Why does he do all that bowing and scraping?”

    I would add to what I posted: there should be no choice at all on a Sunday morning and the only choice is the Lutheran Service Book. The canon of the LSB should be what is served in all of our churches every Sunday and this is what should stay the same. I knew coming back into the LCMS that contemporary worship was prevalent but I did not how pervasive. I have found it quite depressing to look at LCMS websites, and as one colleague said when I told him, Don’t look at them! But I have had to do so. As one LCMS couple who moved into our neck of the woods and were choosing between our mission and a more ‘contemporary’ LCMS congregation an hour away kept saying to me, “We’re trying to see the way the S(s)pirit will lead us…” Then I looked at their soon-to-be former congregation’s website which has in addition to ‘contemporary’ and ‘traditional’, “ancient/future”: the ‘spirit’ leading them and their congregation, so ‘spiritual’ and it goes together hand-in-hand. The evil is offering a choice on a Sunday morning because it just feeds the Old Adam and unregenerate flesh as to what I want. As that one late night TV ad for contemporary hymns had it, “I Worship”, or the phrase, “We worship 1000 on a Sunday”.

    This past week, my father-in-law died. He was LCMS and so the service was in their LCMS congregation. The service included Communion but as my wife correctly said, “I wish there had been Liturgy”. It was an agenda which included Communion: no Preface, no versicle and responses. And it was the pastor’s lack of any kind of formality and carrying forth the dignity of Presiding Minister that was lacking. As many: informal is good, formal is bad (and this needs to be discussed as well, e.g. this Touchstone article: http://touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=19-09-020-v) As if the ‘spirit’ were ‘informal’ to which it is written in Scripture: “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14: 33). And as my wife and I discussed the service afterwards: we both found the military honors for my father-in-law (a Marine) was the most moving part of the service: dignity, honor, respect. Nothing sloppy. It would have been good if even just a few rubrics had been observed.

  12. @Pastor Mark Schroeder #113
    I would add to what I posted: there should be no choice at all on a Sunday morning and the only choice is the Lutheran Service Book.

    There are two other approved choices still in use: TLH (LSB DS III) and LW.

  13. Sometimes I wander the dusty halls and little used rooms of BJS. Since this is no longer on the author’s blog, here is a copy……..

    Feed: Cyberbrethren Lutheran Blog Feed
    Posted on: Tuesday, March 06, 2012 8:40 AM
    Author: Paul T. McCain
    Subject: The High Church Danger to the Lutheran Church – A Fraternal Warning

    Not the solution to the low church danger.

    I have read, in many places, and at various times, that there are those who wish to imply, suggest, or even say outright, that there is in fact a certain form of the Lutheran liturgy to which all should aspire in order for the Lutheran liturgy to be conducted most appropriately and most properly. Such claims, while well intentioned, are wrong. In our age when the Lutheran Church has, in many places, sold its liturgical birthright for a porridge of non-denominational, non-sacramental, sensationalist entertainment style “worship,” it is understandable that a reaction to this will be letting the pendulum swing far in the other direction, but…we must not do this. Here are some prophetic words from Hermann Sasse against the high church danger. And a friend just wisely pointed out that we need to be very careful to distinguish between the liturgy, per se, and the ceremonial, that is, the customs and practices that accompany the liturgy. It is about the “ceremonial” where I’m noticing the most concern and false impressions being given, as per Sasse’s warning.

    Even the Pope has reminded his bishops that the Masses that are secretly celebrated in prison camps, without any pomp, in utter simplicity, come very near to the Mass of the ancient church and are not inferior to a pontifical Mass. In Lutheran Germany, however, one can today hear theologians — even some who come from unliturgical Wuerttemberg — say that there is a form of the divine service that belongs to the essence of the church, even that Gregorian chant belongs essentially to the Christian liturgy. It is high time that the liturgical movement in the Lutheran church wakes up from its romantic dreams and subordinates itself to the norms to which the whole life of the church must be subject: the norma normans of Holy Scripture and the norma normata of the church’s confession. And this applies to all the Lutheran churches in the world, for the Scandinavian, in which the Anglican influence is so great, and for the American, in which the ideas of the European liturgical movement have now gained a footing. If this serious reflection does not take place, then the liturgical movement will become what it has become already for many of its adherents: the end of Lutheranism and the road to Rome.

    from Hermann Sasse, “The Lutheran Understanding of the Consecration”, Letters to Lutheran Pastors No. 26, July 1952, in We Confess the Church (pp117-118), Concordia, 1985.

    Not a healthy replacement for the liturgy.

  14. Hmmm, so what you are bringing up is the content of the Mass, the Worship we do. We can do high church, or low church badly, if we fail to bring Word and Sacrament to our people. So you are fraternally warning us pastors, think about the content of what the service delivers first, as opposed to the trappings of the service…

    Hmmm, I wonder if some blow back will occur?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.