Quotes on Facebook

I wanted to call attention to our postings on Facebook; we have a “Sayings from Luther” and other historical Lutherans that we post on Facebook each morning.

Be sure to “like” our facebook page to receive these each morning.

The one from today was:

Luther on the Order of Service: The service now in common use everywhere goes back to genuine Christian beginnings, as does the office of preaching. But as the latter has been perverted by the spiritual tyrants, so the former has been corrupted by the hypocrites. As we do not on that account abolish the office of preaching, but aim to restore it again to its right and proper place, so it is not our intention to do away with the service, but to restore it again to its rightful use.
LW 53:11 Concerning the Order of Public Worship

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, LCMSsermons.com, 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.

More of his work can be found at KNFA.net.


Quotes on Facebook — 13 Comments

  1. I suppose one could quote Luther until one is blue in the face to people who want to make Lutheran worship into American Evangelical worship. It wouldn’t make a bit of difference to them. However, I like the quote anyway! I’ll try and remember to pull it out of my bag of tricks when I’m engaged in discussion with COWO types.

    In Christ,

  2. Ok, I’m just gonna come right out and ask it: Should we even be surprised when autonomous congregations actually behave like nobody has the right to tell them how to worship? When our Synod lacks the ecclesial jurisdiction to draw lines for doxological practices, why do we complain when Lutherans worship however they like? It seems like the only thing that can be done that would merit censure is an open confession of Arianism.

    The Anglicans are bound by the Book of Common Prayer. Catholics are bound to the Mass. Lutherans are bound to nothing. Perhaps we ought to consider drawing some lines, but I don’t think our organizational structure is capable of this. I’m just not a fan of congregational polity, I think it is a problem that lies at the root of the Evangelical circus.

  3. @Miguel #3

    LCMS Lutherans have bound themselves to Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions. While there is no prescribed order of worship there, we have bound ourselves to act, think, believe, and dare I say worship like Lutherans. There is much freedom here, and this is good. Wherever there is freedom, there are bound to be misuses and abuses, such is the manner of sin.

    We are called to hold our brothers and sisters accountable for their actions (and they, us) and we have voluntarily joined a synod that is supposed to provide ecclesiastical supervision. I would humbly submit that the problem is not our freedom nor our polity, but our lack of love in holding people accountable to Scripture and Confessions.

    In Christ, Clint

  4. I used to be surprised at the audacity of those who maintain heterodox beliefs & practices within our synod. Now I’m just bummed. Attempts to point out error are generally met with resistance that’s seldom based on scripture, but instead mimics society’s POV of, “How dare you question my actions? I have the right to do it my way…..” even when “My way” violates scripture and is contrary to our confessions. The willingness and discipline to address error has all but vanished within the LCMS (with a few exceptions). Sin is one thing, but unchecked sin is a whole beast unto itself.

  5. Dear BJS Bloggers,

    The equality of pastors, and the equality of congregations, is a good thing in LCMS polity. It has good confessional support in the Treatise, which was used by Walther in his 1851 Theses and his “Church and Ministry” book. It has served us well, in many different ways, for 170 years. There is no good reason to go to a more authoritarian polity at this point in our history.

    The problem is not worship diversity per se, because that is allowed in our confessions, as long as certain criteria are met (see Formula of Concord, Article Ten). The problems is that the “change agents” in our synod ignore the criteria for worship spelled out in the confessions (e.g., FC SD X, 1-9), which are also found in Chemnitz (Examination of the Council of Trent 2nd Topic, section vii (pp. 267-271 in CPH ed.. vol. 1).

    A book that has been very helpful to me in understanding how Lutherans have adapted their worship in some ways, yet remained consistent in others, is: Joseph Herl, Worship Wars in Early Lutheranism: Choir, Congregation, and Three Centuries of Conflict (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004). It reviews all the related literature and looks at all aspects of Lutheran worship from Luther to the mid-18th century. The appendix includes translations of relevant writings from the period, and also a multi-page chart—more extensive than Lochner—that charts out the varieties and change in the “ordo,” i.e., the primary components in the Lutheran liturgy.

    The single best resource for most people is: Commission on Worship, Text, Music, Context: A Resource for Reviewing Worship Materials, rev. Paul Grime (LCMS, 2011; LCMS # S05505; $6.00). Every single pastor and church musician should have a copy on his shelves, and become familiar with it, and use it every time some worship changes are contemplated.

    As to those who have given their solemn pledge to follow our Lutheran Confessions by their ordination/commissioning vow, but refuse to do so, our Lord will hold them to account on the Day of Judgment, especially when they “steal sheep” from fellow LCMS congregations.

    In the meantime, we will instruct the young and the faithful as best we can, and encourage our LCMS Circuit Visitors to address the worship issues in congregations that err in the area of worship. The Circuit Visitors are the persons best situated to address these matters, and we should let them work on the issues, and then report back to district and synod how things are going. All of this will take time and patience.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  6. @Martin R. Noland #7
    You’re right. It’s just infuriating to me as an ex-evangelical to come out of the CoWo world and see its results firsthand, only to see some in the Lutheran church following in the same tracks.

  7. @Martin R. Noland #7

    What happens when it is the “Circuit Visitor” who is encouraging or allowing “worship issues in congregations that err in the area of worship” or who it one who is actively “stealing sheep?”

    In Christ, Clint

  8. @Rev. Clint K. Poppe #5
    I’m not entirely sure that it is a completely good thing that we have as much freedom as we currently do.

    I don’t think we have any trouble “holding people accountable.” The problem is, they simply aren’t accountable to us. We can tell them till we’re blue in the face. If they don’t want to, they ain’t gonna.

    I’m not saying we should be like Rome or Canterbury and prescribe out every detail, but there has to be a place somewhere in-between our carte blanche and their cannon law that might provide us with a healthier option. We should be simultaneously unified in practice and diversified in some ways, but I really think we should to try to define better what that ought to look like. The problem is, any conclusions we arrive at can only be treated as optional anyways. The synod does not have the power to effect synod-wide doxological reform. It’s holding us back.

  9. @Martin R. Noland #7
    I’m not very convinced that equality is so important. I think some form of mutual submission is far more Biblical. There always is authority in the church, it just gets located differently. Right now, I’m really having a hard time seeing the benefits of so much autonomy. You say it’s served us well, but do you have such a rosy diagnosis of the synod’s state of doxological disarray?

    The problem is that the “change agents” in our synod ignore the criteria for worship spelled out in the confessions

    My point exactly: The synod seems powerless to stop that. This should not be.

    Our Pastors will not be accountable to God for their non-salutary worship practices on judgement day. They will be forgiven all their sin and told, “well done,” like all believers. But the damage left behind, the faith destroyed, and witness impaired, will leave marks on eternity. And, this is potentially preventable, possibly even through polity modifications. But we’re so dogmatically committed to our congregationalism, it just seems un-Lutheran to me. I thought we were supposed to be for economic polity. I also think the case for congregational autonomy being less than economic is pretty darned strong these days.

    I understand that “believe, teach, and confess” is the ultimate cure. But I insist: What does having our congregations answering to nobody confess? I’ve worked in a situation where the pastor felt that way about himself (prior to becoming Lutheran). “I answer to God. Nobody in the congregation has a right to have a say in what I do.” It sounds so spiritual, but it’s pure bovine defecation. It breeds so much relational dysfunction and imbalance of power that fosters the trampling of the voiceless. The heart that will not answer to his brother will do him harm and sleep like a baby. I’ve seen this in many Evangelical pastors. Why would we want to foster this attitude in entire congregations?

    No, the lack of accountability never does anybody any good.

  10. If the top “leader” (synod President) refuses to defend Scripture and our confessions then we are broken beyond repair and must divide.

  11. I ‘liked’ the page on 21 May and to date not one posting has arrived on my Facebook!

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