Pastor Weedon on “Feelings” in the Divine Service

Tim Schenks posted this as a comment on another article here. We thought more of our readers might want to read this, and not be buried as a comment on another post.

If anyone can find the source (podcast) for this quote, it would be nice to include the podcast here as well; please contact us or reply below.


The Venerable Weedon talked about feelings in the Divine Service a few years ago on Issues, Etc. Here is a transcript:

Pr. Weedon:

There used to be a pastor in this city named Timothy Quill.

He once told a story: he was a Circuit Counselor, a pastor who helped other pastors in the area, and a person had come to him complaining, saying “You know, I just don’t get anything out of my pastor’s worship service. Nothing. Nothing.”

And Quill puckered his brow and said. “I’m confused. Does your pastor speak to you the Word of the Absolution and does he forgive you sins in Jesus’ name?”

And the lady says “Oh yeah, he does that.”

And he said “Well, does he read from the Word of God to you?”

And she goes “Well, Yeah, yeah … he does that that every week.”

“Does he preach to you about the forgiveness of sins that’s yours because of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection?”

And she says “Oh, every week … without fail … he does that.”

“And does he put into your mouth the Body and Blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins?”

And she goes “Well, yes … without fail.”

“Then I don’t understand. What is it you’re not GETTING out of worship? You get the forgiveness of your sins, you get the gift of eternal life, you get the Lord’s Body and Blood. What were you’re looking for?”

And the answer is: “I was looking for a feeling.” But then, as she listened to Pastor Quill talk, she walked away thinking ‘Well maybe there’s a little more going on here than my feelings alone.’

The gift of God in worship — the gifts of God — are objective and real whether you feel great about them or whether you feel nothing. And that’s one of the most beautiful things about Christian worship. It doesn’t DEPEND upon your feelings.

Pr. Wilken: Should we be anti-feeling?

Pr. Weedon: No. When the feelings are there enjoy them, as they are in every other part of your life. You know? And when they are not there, don’t sweat it. They’ll come back.

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord,, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

Norm has been involved behind the scenes in many of the "go-to" websites for Lutherans going back many years.


Pastor Weedon on “Feelings” in the Divine Service — 17 Comments

  1. In the Church Militant, the parish pastor serves on
    the front lines with a Word and Sacrament ministry.
    Sometimes, a parish pastor will be called by God
    to a non-parish type of service to Him.

    The bottom line: Pastors and Laity have been called
    by God to serve Him while they are on this earth.
    We need Christian pastors, Christian plumbers,
    Christian professors, Christian nurses, Christian
    engineers, Christian electricians, Christian attorneys,
    we are to serve with the talents God has given us,
    in the place where He has called us.

  2. Haven’t you heard the need for more parish pastors administering the sacraments, doing the work of an evangelist in the mission field not just at conventions, conferences or from mission control (STL)?

  3. I typed that after listening to the recording when they were on KFUO several years ago so it must be in the old archive somewhere. I also recall that it was an excerpt that they played somewhat like a commercial during another episode so I have no idea which date it was broadcasted or which original episode it came from. You might have to ask Pr. Weedon, Pr. Wilken, or Jeff.

  4. @Michael Hart #4
    Haven’t you heard the need for more parish pastors …

    I’ve heard of it. I’ve also seen Pastors who disagree with the CG/PLI agenda discarded in the field or left without calls at the seminary. We would have enough Pastors if the ones we graduated were well served/supported by their districts (as the policy is, but the practice isn’t).

  5. Michael Hart :Fine and dandy that neither Weedon nor Quill no longer serve as parish pastors.

    What’s your point? Both these pastors are serving in an excellent way to teach other pastors and lay people throughout the synod. And I am thankful for their faithful service.

  6. helen :
    @Michael Hart #4
    Haven’t you heard the need for more parish pastors …
    I’ve heard of it. I’ve also seen Pastors who disagree with the CG/PLI agenda discarded in the field or left without calls at the seminary. We would have enough Pastors if the ones we graduated were well served/supported by their districts (as the policy is, but the practice isn’t).

    Who is ultimately responsible for teaching the anonymous woman that approached Pastor Quill? The LCMS districts have been encouraging LCMS church members such as the woman to equate theology with feelings. It is sad that the LCMS districts are keeping the LCMS in a dysfunctional state.

    I don’t want to belong to a church that embraces a Frankenstein version of Lutheran and evangelical body parts stitched together. How can opposing ideas coexist logically and peacefully in the same unit? Who has the courage to admit that the Church Growth Movement within the LCMS has been a dismal failure?

  7. @Rev. Gerald Heinecke #7

    No point taken, and I am thankful you are thankful so we can all be thankful!

    As for content of the article, our eighties bible study use to refer to the feeling factor connected with spirit-filled worship as “looking for love in all the wrong places” after you guessed it the Johnny Travolta and Debra Winger movie theme song.

  8. @Michael Hart #10
    Your comments regarding faithful proclaimers of the Word who have served the parish and served the mission field for decades and still pastorally attend to numerous, numerous people is unfortunate.

    You must admit, enthusiam, entertainment motifs, individual emotionalism, and consumerism models have been infecting the laity, pastors, and worship with unScriptural viewpoints in the Lutheran Church for decades, as the example illustrates. Most confessional pastors have numerous examples like it from comments of non-members and even members.

    Are you closer to God when you feel it?
    Is the Word more powerful, efficacious when you feel it more and are moved emotionally?
    Are there any moments of historical Lutheran liturgical worship that is not “spirit-filled”?
    Is worship more impactful, effective the more people are ‘moved’ by it and feel it?

    If you answered “yes or maybe” to any of these questions, sadly you’ve embraced Methodist/Pentecostal theology.

  9. @Rev. Weinkauf #11
    Lighten up most venerable bro and breathe in deeply the aroma of your exegesis for this Sunday’s sermon! In the eighties the charismatic movement, or third reformation as carter lindberg has referenced, was in full RIM swing making distinction between p 5 and 15 and the more spirit filled services honey-bee nesting in some Lutheran churches. Been there, done that.

  10. As somebody who spent time in the (non-Lutheran) charismatic/penecostal movement, I can fully agree with the post. Far too often we equate “emotional” with spiritual, when the truth is that the Scriptures teach no such equation.

    When we begin basing Christianity on how we feel during the service, we intrude on the objectivity of Christianity, and of the person and work of Christ Himself, and turn it into a subjective matter that is man-centered (i.e-I didn’t “feel” anything, therefore the Spirit did not “move” in the service. Sound familiar?).

    Too often the “spirituality” of a service is measured by the emotional reaction of the congregation (read: audience?) rather than the doctrinal content of the service. It is a dangerous step to take, and one that needs to be avoided by pastors.

  11. @Rev. Weinkauf #11
    We need the best men serving as parish pastors that our seminaries can graduate. When they leave the parish for administrative positions, what can one say? Not the same as Word and Sacrament ministry in the parish setting where everything flows from the altar. What would it be like if the best men serving in those administrative positions would serve for a period of time and then re-enter the parish setting as a parish pastor? Rarely do you see a pastor leave his call, serve in the left-hand kingdom of administration and then go back to serving as a parish pastor. Most commonly lateral moves are made. As we know base membership is shrinking, administrative positions are not.

  12. When we use the suburban liturgy at Come As You Are Lutheran church, it’s the same old grind Sunday after Sunday. A pastor/preacher, an organist and minimal music, Methodist hymns, and liturgy Blue Book or Green Book all now in a maroon book. Communion every Sunday. But, something is just not right. I dread going. My last LC-MS church used to keep me alert all the time for truly horrid music, happy clapping for anything they liked. Sermons preached from the middle aisle, marching up and down pounding his fist into his hand in between jokes and puns. Lovely, nice, kind people. Wide open communion and we don’t sweat the doctrine stuff. But they sang the Blue book liturgy (partial in bulletin) with great gusto. And the talent in the choir and others, the mic’ed quitars, would be desent if they would pick and sing good music, or at least Lutheran music. We sang Baptist altar call hymns for communion. I miss the people, but someting was wrong there.

    This past Sunday was the worst Reformation Day service I think I ever went to. They used the Green hymnal liturgy and I don’t know it. It’s very oh-hum, dull music. Then there was A Mighty Fortress. I knew the tune, but the words were all changed, I couldn’t sing it. Then there was a hymn that I knew the words to, but the tune had been changed. I couldn’t sing it. There were 2 of these. I was so miserable. The organist played the hymn Built on the Rock the Church Doth Stand, one of my favorites, as we left. She played perfectly well but it was just the hymn as if we were meant to be singing it. I was surprised we did Reformation Day on Sunday. I’m used to going on Reformation Day (Wednesday), so I wasn’t expecting it and wondered what pericopes we were missing. We’re doing All Saints next Sunday after it’s all over and the graves will have been visited and cleaned. It’s all you can expect from a suburban church. Nobody would come to church on Wednesday night and certainly not again on Thursday for All Saints, so we canibalize the Sundays. It’s not bad, it’s only nice. Something is missing. It’s like I’m going to an abbreviation, a shadow, a dress rehersal. The church building feels like a Methodist church, but although half the hymns we sing are Methodist (even for Reformation Day), about half are Lutheran, and the congregation knows them. It’s not all bad, but I get the feeling this is as good as it gets and should be thnakful I even got that. I dread going.

  13. “It’s not all bad, but I get the feeling this is as good as it gets and should be thankful I even got that. I dread going.”

    Score yet another triumph for the contemporary “Lutheran” Church, and its prime objectives. Look at it this way. You’ve gotten something out of your pastor’s worship service on “Reformation Sunday.” Not nothing, nothing, most certainly; quite unlike Quill’s consulting lady.

    You’ve got dread.

    And speaking of the Festival of the Church’s (Conservative) Reformation (cf. C.P. Krauth), when is the “defending” and “promoting” Brotherhood going to edit this hair-pulling screamer from their introductory page? “The imperial laws adopted at the Second Diet of Speyer in 1529, if enacted, would have resulted in the eradication of the Lutheran religion in the Holy Roman Empire. Along with his allies, John the Steadfast protested these laws. Emperor Charles the Fifth then challenged the Protestants to defend their new religion and its practices, which they did at the Diet of Augsburg in 1530.”

    What the …? “Their new religion?” Perhaps a short review is in order: “This [i.e., the Augsburg Confession] is nearly a complete summary of the teaching among us [a term presumably including the Brothers of John the Steadfast, especially when singing the Sanctus, say]. As can be seen, there is nothing here that departs from the Scriptures or the catholic church, or from the Roman church, insofar as we can tell from its writers…” AC, Conclusion of Part One, Latin Text, Kolb-Wengert p. 59 (2000)

    But as a crafty Jesuit of the 16th century might well exclaim, were he to have had the opportunity to examine the BJS’ face-page: “Quod erat demonstrandum!”

    Your (unworthy) servant,
    Herr Doktor

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