Those who resist the historical and liturgical expression of the faith as a human invention would do well to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest the Book of Revelation. This afternoon at 3 PM Central I will be interviewed on Issues, Etc. concerning a little pamphlet I wrote on the liturgy and the book of Revelation.
A few years ago I ran across a gem of a book called the “The Lamb’s Supper – The Mass as Heaven on Earth.” In this book, the author Scott Hahn, who converted to Romanism from Evangelicalism, joyfully tells of his discovery of ritual and liturgy and how the Book of Revelation is filled with the liturgy, and is even outlined according to it.
I was so moved by the book that I wrote a shorter version of it for my parish that excised the false teachings of penance sprinkled throughout and excised the false teachings of the mass. Overall, Hahn’s general point is edifying and even shocking for those who piously and falsely label the liturgy as a human invention and as unbiblical.
You can listen to the interview for more detail but here are a few highlights. First, the Book of Revelation is outlined according to the liturgy, or should we say, vice versa. It begins with an entrance of the Pastor into a chancel filled with candles. (Rev. 1) It continues with confession with people bowing and crying before God, continuing with the Hymn of Praise, (excerpts showing up in our “This is the Feast”) that follows upon the Absolution of Christ opening the Book of Life. (Rev. 3) The book then ends with the great banquet feast of eternity closing with the eternal benediction. The book is filled with liturgical rituals and accoutrements such as bowing, waving palm branches, white robes with stoles, candles and even a clear emphasis on exclusivity supporting the closing of the communion rail. (REv. 19-22)
Despite this this helpful little book on the liturgy in Revelation, Scott Hahn is a frustrating mystery to Lutherans for a couple of reasons. First, it is too bad that his conversion out of Evangelicalism led him to Rome instead of to Wittenberg. He could have found all the liturgical richness he wanted with none of the damning teaching of pennance and indelible character if he had happened into a Lutheran Mass instead of a Catholic one on that fateful day that led to his conversion. Truth be told though, in today’s LCMS it is sad that in over half the churches, Scott Hahn would not have found the liturgy.
Beyond that, another frustration about Professor Hann is his latest forray in Romanism – post-modern, liberal, neo-Thomism. Because I admire his journey, I was delighted to see that he was one of the speakers at last year’s Symposium, but low and behold, I was disappointed to hear that he had crossed beyond his original liturgical devotion into the subtle, neo-Platonic and mystical side of Aquinas. Upon reflection that did not surprise me because there is a subtle undercurrent of post-modern Romanism at the home of The Symposium. That concern will have to wait for another post. For now, we rejoice that the liturgy is not some man-made thing, but is rooted in and based on the very inspiration of the Holy Spirit in his Holy Scriptures.
For the booklet, click here.