unLutheran Worship

Healing serviceIf you were to visit 5 different LCMS congregations, there’s a good chance you’d witness 5 very different approaches to worship. Hopefully you would come across at least one Divine Service, but you would almost certainly come across blended services, contemporary services, postmodern multi-media driven worship services, and even breakthrough healing services.

Despite the endless variety of options in the Missouri Synod today, there is such a thing as genuinely Lutheran worship. Not everything that claims to be Lutheran is actually Lutheran. Well-intentioned Lutheran laypersons often assume that if an LCMS congregation is doing something, it must be orthodox. They assume our congregations are accountable for what they teach and do. This has not always been the case. Some congregations that worship in a distinctly unLutheran way have had the integrity to remove the word “Lutheran” from their name. But it begs the question: if you don’t want to be called Lutheran or worship like a Lutheran, why remain in the Synod?

In order to be genuinely Lutheran we must be willing to give up a degree of our creative freedom “in order that it might be understood that in doctrine and ceremonies nothing has been received on our part against Scripture or the Church Catholic,” (Conclusion to the Augsburg Confession, 5).

Many congregations fail to recognize that Judges 21:25 is a critical statement about the faith of Israel during the time of the Judges, not a liturgical rubric. We are not free to institute whatever liturgical practices are right in our own eyes, according to the Apology:

This topic about traditions contains many and difficult controversial questions. … The repeal of ceremonies has its own evils and its own questions. … Still, we teach that freedom should be so controlled that the inexperienced may not be offended and, because of freedom’s abuse [Romans 14: 13–23], may not become more opposed to the true doctrine of the Gospel. Nothing in customary rites should be changed without a reasonable cause. So to nurture unity, old customs that can be kept without sin or great inconvenience should be kept. In this very assembly we have shown well enough that for love’s sake we do not refuse to keep adiaphora with others, even though they may be burdensome. We have judged that such public unity, which could indeed be produced without offending consciences, should be preferred (Apology XV, 49-52).

Adoring Christ at Pastor Andersen's installation at Zion Evangelical Lutheran  Church in Summit, IL. Photo courtesy of Matt Struve.

Adoring Christ at Pastor Andersen’s installation at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Summit, IL. Photo courtesy of Matt Struve.

One WELS pastor defended contemporary worship by comparing the liturgy to Apple’s iOS and contemporary worship to Google’s Android, suggesting that it doesn’t matter what option we choose so long as we’re all using some sort of mobile operating system (i.e., worshiping the Triune God). The idea is to “be together, not the same.”

So much for controlling freedom, preserving the customary rites, or keeping adiaphora with others. The moment the liturgy becomes burdensome or boring, it’s time to ditch it. We have our freedom in the Gospel, after all.

But the differences between the liturgy and contemporary worship are not merely a matter of taste or personal preference. They are two different operating systems based on different coding. They do not speak the same language; they are programmed using different doctrine.

Genuflecting, for example, isn’t required (as if the Sacrament were somehow incomplete without it). However, such a practice would be very out of place in many Lutheran congregations, which may call into question their belief in the Real Presence. Anyone who has a problem with showing such reverence for the Body of Christ almost certainly doesn’t believe in the Real Presence.

If you want to know what sort of doctrine you’ll find at a given service, the language used to describe it will usually tell you. When you hear “Divine Service” or “liturgy”, you’re usually on safe ground. You’re less likely to find Lutheran doctrine at services that go by the unmodified label “worship”, as that particular term fails to communicate that the primary reason we go to church is to be served by God, not primarily to give thanks and praise. However, when additional modifiers are added to the term “worship” (e.g., “contemporary”, “joyful”, “praise”, “Spirit-filled”, “postmodern”, “worship experiences”, etc.), those services will almost certainly be filled with unLutheran worship and doctrine. Novel worship demands novel language.

At what point are we, as a Synod, going to quit talking about our differences and expect Lutheran congregations to act like they are Lutheran? We ought to be patient with pastors who are committed to moving their congregations along in the right direction. But those who have no desire to be Lutheran should be shown the door if they don’t have enough integrity to walk through it themselves.


unLutheran Worship — 101 Comments

  1. Dear BJS,
    A good article in the Reporter May 2015 edition (not sure if online, reading the “old way”) about worship from two experts, Rev. Dr(s). Grime and Burreson. The seminaries are hard at work strengthening worship practice, both seminaries (been to both as many have).

  2. @John Rixe #32
    John, I would caution you about referencing AFLC statements. The AFLC is simply not a confessional Lutheran Church. While their “Rules for Work” state that “The AFLC consists of congregations which, in their constitutions, unreservedly subscribe to the ancient ecumenical symbols, Luther’s Small Catechism, the Unaltered Augsburg Confession, Fundamental Principles and Rules for Work of the AFLC, and report the same to the secretary of the Coordinating Committee”, in fact the AFLC allows congregations to be served by non-Lutheran pastors and to practice infant dedication. And this is only the tip of the iceberg.

  3. @John Rixe #53


    I’ve known and worked with a number of AFLC congregations over the years, and every one of them has had a strong affirmation of the Real Presence. They may not pass scrutiny by LCMS standards of being Confessional, because they don’t require all members and congregations to affirm the entire 1580 Book of Concord. However, the AFLC isn’t German in it’s history– it’s Norwegian (Norwegian Pietist, to be precise.) For them, the key Lutheran Confessions are the Creeds, the Augustana, and the Small Catechism– the rest of the BOC is only advisory to them.

    They are also more congregational in polity than the LCMS, with very little bureaucratic structure… which means, they can be a little all over the map, but they do prefer simpler forms of worship/liturgy, and are firmly committed to the innerrency of Holy Scripture.


  4. @Chuck Sampson #52

    To be fair, Chuck, the LCMS “allows congregations to be served by non-Lutheran pastors”– we just colloquize them first.

    And while I am not defending all that the AFLC does or teaches, I will tell you that they don’t have birds of Dr. Becker’s feather on their clergy roster to my recollection, nor a bunch of semi-closeted Seminex Higher Critics trying to usher in biblical liberalism.

    Throwing stones at the AFLC from our glass house is not terribly appropriate. They are descended from Norwegian Lutheran Pietists, and are pretty up front about that. I think the LCMS could take a page or two from them about being honest to our history and Confession, as well.

  5. @Pastor Prentice #51

    Hi Pastor Prentice,
    I had to hunt for that article but finally found it online under Pastoral Education newsletter supplement. I know chapel at the Fort Wayne seminary is fairly well attended, but not sure about St. Louis. When I attended the Good Shepherd Institute two years ago they had the topic, ‘The Elephant in the Room’ – worship in the LCMS. I recall the question and answer period with Drs. Grime and Burreson the final day. I think the stats for incoming students having grown up with the historic liturgy (meaning hymnal use in their home parish) are very low especially for the St. Louis seminary. Then do these students attend chapel? To be quite frank, I came away from that question/answer forum very disappointed.

    Another big question: Are there more liturgy/worship class requirements now than in the past? If the seminarians aren’t required to take classes such as these, how are they to function in a parish setting? Does it totally depend on their vicarage year and how their supervising pastor did the liturgy?

    In Christ,

  6. @Brad #55

    No attempt to throw stones, Brad. I simply point out that the AFLC’s stated positions are not enforced. I spent 15 years in the AFLC and was Illinois District President for nine of those years. The pastors in the District were stunned to learn that non-Lutheran pastors are allowed to serve AFLC congregations–many without colloquy. One congregation is currently served by a non-Lutheran with zero seminary training. In the Illinois District only two congregations used wine and several congregations did not even use the Words of Institution. In one congregation the pastor deleted all references to regeneration during baptisms. One congregation held a “serve yourself Maundy Thursday communion” in which wafers a tray of grape juice cups was left on the altar for members to serve themselves at their convenience. Decision theology runs rampant. When asked in a meeting with 16 pastors and lay persons from the Illinois District whether or not the AFLC actually checks the constitutions and Statements of Faith of its congregations (as its Rules for Work require) the then-President responded, “We’d probably be surprised if we saw what was in some of our constitutions.”

    Again, this is not stone throwing but simply reality orientation. There ARE confessional pastors within the AFLC but the AFLC is NOT a confession Lutheran body.

  7. @Brad #55:

    “To be fair, Chuck, the LCMS “allows congregations to be served by non-Lutheran pastors”– we just colloquize them first.”

    Well, that’s not completely true, according to a series of BJS posts from Post #86 to Post #94.

    Two years later in Koinonialand, nothing has changed and Reverend Mose is still not on the LCMS roster.

  8. @Chuck Sampson #57

    Thanks for your reply.  My only intention in Comment 32 was to point out that many Christians (including myself) do have a problem with complicated ceremonies (e.g. genuflections) and elaborate vestments as a possible distraction.  This has nothing whatsoever to do with our belief in the Real Presence.  Of course, nobody should try to impose ideas about liturgy on anyone else. Persuasion is fine but it’s up to the voters.  

    BTW I have fond memories of the LFC Bible Camp of my youth.  I hope that the AFLC will ever retain the word of truth as Luther taught in “simple style to tender youth.”

  9. @Chuck Sampson #57

    Yikes… that’s a very different experience than I had with the few parishes / pastors of the AFLC I know. I knew there were some fringe outliers, but wow.

    I would agree that they have some very good pastors among them, and that they aren’t confessional by our standards. But the one’s I knew really did try to fulfill their subscription to the most fundamental of our Confessions, and had very reverent liturgical worship. While I remember them fondly from over a decade ago, it was their definitional embrace of pietism that always precluded me from working with them more directly. I know why their version of pietism emerged in the context of the state Norwegian church becoming ever more apostate, and I sympathized with their ferocious defense of the inspiration and innerrency of the Holy Scriptures… and their resistance against the union movements of Lutheranism in America, which left them small and mostly forgotten in the larger conversations of the day.

    I suppose I simply want to believe the best about their small fellowship. But alas, we have drifted far from the original post. Thanks for the dialogue.

  10. @Diane #56

    Dear Diane,
    Good question on how many classes, I truly cannot elaborate, but I do think much of it comes from the vicarage.

    If a Church is mostly praise, then that sets the tone; if a Church is mostly worship, then there it is.

    Perhaps we need to spend more time in classes about what constitutes Biblical Worship, as opposed to style of music, etc.

  11. @Carl Vehse #58

    Is leadership practicing “oversight” as in the act of overseeing something or “oversight” as in an unintentional failure to notice or do something or are they intentionally looking the other way?

  12. Pastor Prentice, I could not agree more with you, Our duty is to make a call for a Pastor on behalf of the congregation. After he has been accepted as our Pastor it is his duty to teach, preach and lead our worship. Our ,the elders, duty then becomes to help and aide him to the best of our abilities to carry out his calling. Grace and Peace Jack

  13. @Jack Darnell #63
    Dear Jack,
    I will give you a “high five” on that. In our polity, the pastor is the central focus. OK, he certainly as I do call upon all able body members of the congregation to assist me in the work that I perform on behalf of the people that called me.
    In my understanding of what an Elder is to the pastor, you embody it…your Pastor is blessed by good supporting men like you.

  14. @LW #62

    Your question is about the motivations behind the reported or referenced actions. There is no information I have in this case about the motivations of LCMS leadership at either the district or synod level.

    If your have some evidence on such motivations, I’d be interested in seeing it.

  15. @Carl Vehse #65

    I don’t know anyone’s motivations from the boards and pastor of that congregation to its Circuit Visitor and the COP. All I know is that this public knowledge has been out there for thirteen years and the guy is still being called a pastor of that church on its website. Perhaps I shouldn’t question why the members of that congregation or of synod allow this man to be listed as a pastor on that LCMS congregation’s website even though the synod does not recognize him as a pastor in its official publications. The state is apparently far more capable of dealing with pastoral imposters, at least when it comes to signing marriage certificates on its behalf.

  16. Dear BJS,
    Hmmm, I think this is really it.
    As Lutherans, we always tout “Law and Gospel”, in all we do.
    In reality, the liturgy we follow does (and should) mirror the “Law and Gospel” principles.
    And you know what, done right and well, it does.

    01) Confession and Absolution – miserable condemned sinners come to Christ and receive forgiveness.

    02) Readings that tout both (in varying strengths of course).

    03) Hymns that tout both (in varying strengths of course).

    04) The Holy Meal – confessed (still sinners but know it) flock to the healing and strengthening that occurs with His Body and Blood.

    05) A good sermon – that touts Law and Gospel in varying degrees. And I say this because the sermon is for the faithful flock that gathers to hear it and learn from it.

    So if you really want worship that is Law and Gospel, the liturgy does the job. If you want praise (and I like praise), at best, that is a joyous cry of thanks.

  17. @Diane #6

    Any pastor knows that at the end of a Christian’s life, when they might be blind or hard of hearing, they will remember the liturgy! What have we done to several generations of Christians by having something different every Sunday?

    I have been subjected to three changes of hymnal in the last 30 years and have three or four others, acquired in the course of attending the “only Lutheran church in town”, in the days when all had the Common Service and similar theology.
    I regret the hymnal committees which seemingly cannot leave a good hymn alone, but have to mess with its verses or its assigned music. The most terrifying word in the hymnal is alt..
    We memorized a great deal of the Psalms, other Scripture and the hymnal in my youth, but the last 30 years have robbed me of certainty as to the texts because they have changed too often in niggling ways.
    I probably will not be able to recite/sing with the Pastor as my mother’s generation did in their last years, because he will be reading a different translation or singing a different tune!
    That is what the innovators are accomplishing with their itch for change every Sunday. It does not help the children or anybody else. 🙁

  18. @Mark G. Woodworth #34

    Synod is supposed to be advisory.

    We heard a lot of that under the preceding regime. At the same time, CCM decisions were elevated to “required for all members to believe/support” (“unless rescinded by the next convention?” They never came up at convention, as you know). [They still don’t!]

    So “Synod is advisory” when people want to go their own way.
    But “Synod is ‘walking together’ when they want to pull others away with them.

  19. Pr. Anderson,
    I was as intemperate in my rejoinder as you were in your remarks.
    If you will supply an address (I don’t do face book) or use mine, since you probably have access to it, I will give you an explanation (which would be off topic).

  20. @Pastor Eric Andersen #29 “It’s not that those who don’t genuflect don’t believe in the real presence, it’s that those who have a problem with showing such reverence almost certainly don’t believe in the real presence.”
    The self-righteousness is getting deep here. Do you really believe this? Note that I do subscribe to Gottesdienst Magazine so I’m one of those High Church sympathizers but I’m amazed to see a self-righteous comment like that from a pastor here.

  21. @Pastor Eric Andersen #29 “It’s not that those who don’t genuflect don’t believe in the real presence, it’s that those who have a problem with showing such reverence almost certainly don’t believe in the real presence.”

    That is an extremely self-righteous claim for a pastor and member of Synod to make on a public forum, considering that 99+++% of the Ordained Ministers in the Synod do not genuflect.

  22. @helen #69
    Dear Helen,
    Yes, hymnals change, translations of Scripture alters, but all (hopefully well done) by the people that are in charge. Yes, ESV is better than NIV, and better than KJV; but I understand the love for what you had, me too.
    But try a bit to appreciate the work that is done to refine and make things better, and yes, they don’t always work out.
    I have been at the Good Shepherd Institute and other conferences that discuss the liturgy, hymnals, etc. Hard work is done for the good.
    But that does not mean your pastor can never crack open an old hymnal, or translation for all of you.

  23. @Pastor Eric Andersen #73

    If you’d like, you can email me …

    Thank you, Pastor!

    @Pastor Prentice #74

    Yes, ESV is better than NIV, and better than KJV;…

    I am not sure that ESV is “better” than the New King James Version, which has updated the archaic language from 1611, while [e.g.,] leaving gender as written in the original languages, as far as I have been able to determine by asking a Pastor who reads them regularly.

    [Yes, I am now in the last Lutheran congregation in Austin, that I know of, and it has, (after a flirtation with LW), reverted to TLH. Some NIV Bibles are still in use… copyright about 1984, I think.] 🙂

  24. @Pastor Eric Andersen #73

    Pr. Andersen,
    I apologize for coming on so strong.
    It’s a Lutheran concept that what the Pastor does/is does not affect the Supper, [if he gets the Words of Institution right?]

    If something can be read the “wrong way” it probably will be, by somebody! (I’ll try to remember that, too.) ;\

    God bless!

  25. @helen #75

    “I am not sure that ESV is “better” than the New King James Version, which has updated the archaic language from 1611, while [e.g.,] leaving gender as written in the original languages, as far as I have been able to determine by asking a Pastor who reads them regularly.”

    I agree. I’m not terribly fond of the critical Greek text that the ESV relies upon for the NT, and frankly prefer the Byzantine Greek text form underlying the KJV/NKJV translations. Both ESV and NKJV are solid translations (in most cases) of their respective Greek texts, but I do not find the arguments for the ESV critical text compelling.

    That, and the ESV is terrible for public reading. While it’s translation is accurate, its flow and rhythm are abysmal, often leading our poor lectors to stumble on familiar readings.

    Of course, both are worlds better than the tripe we were given in the NIV.

  26. @Tim Schenks #74 & 75
    There’s a difference between not genuflecting and having a problem with genuflecting; my comments are directed toward the latter. I admit they’re somewhat hyperbolic, but I do have a point. I can think of three logical options here: anybody who has a problem with bowing down to worship Christ in the Sacrament (not necessarily everyone who doesn’t) either doesn’t believe in the Real Presence, isn’t a Christian, or hasn’t stopped to consider what genuflecting means and why they are reacting against the practice.

  27. Pr. Anderson,

    I had quickly deleted both of those messages at the time of posting and an “awaiting moderation” message appeared. Why is someone putting them back up?


  28. @Pastor Eric Andersen #80
    Dear pastor Anderson,
    I get what you mean, I have done both at the Altar, OK, I have not rung the bells at consecration (don’t have a good set).
    But all this does require teaching and careful consideration of the flock as you probably know. We at my Church are in a good conversation on consubstantiation and transubstantiation.
    We still must be careful and loving of someone, especially older and staunch Lutheran who says, “that bowing is Romanist.” “We don’t put the host in a monstrance and parade it around.” So I guess, I say, please consider a 4th option.

    They know what it means from their perspective, you need to tell them more. Then they may say, “oh”…

  29. How about this as a start toward “Lutheran Worship…that we all can agree upon”?

    “Prepare a resolution on worship that seeks to draw our people toward what is best. The shape of the Western Mass (the traditional order of the Divine Service, which is rooted in the very beginning of Christianity, and affirmed repeatedly in the Lutheran Confessions) should be maintained (i.e., Confession/absolution, Scripture, Creed, Sermon, Lord’s Supper, Dismissal). Music fluctuates and changes, but Lutherans should keep to the basic order. We want to encourage and foster every move toward the full use and appreciation of the historical treasures we have been given and whatever good things the Lord sees fit to add from the gifts and talents of His people in this day. We want to encourage reconsideration on the part of those who would treat the liturgical deposits as a finished work. We want to encourage reconsideration on the part of those who would replace entirely the voices of the past with the voice of the present. In other words, we want to make full use of the worship treasures of the past, present, and future.” – Pr Matt Harrison, Today’s Business, Issue 1, May 2013

    @comment 83

  30. We’ll see how that goes. Faithful people have already been voted off their district’s board of directors in recent years merely for proposing that we use the Synod’s hymnal and that congregation satellites use the word “Lutheran” in their names.

  31. @John Rixe #84

    Actually, John, that sounds very minimalist to me… but obviously a tactic to bring some level of harmony to our fractured uses. I do not see, however, how it would particularly solve, or even begin to solve the worship problem we’re experiencing. The Western Mass is significantly more than “Confession/absolution, Scripture, Creed, Sermon, Lord’s Supper, Dismissal” which is obvious from our Confessions’ declaration. If everyone were free to interpret and apply even just those elements by their own discretion, worship would be a train wreck of conflicting theologies, just as it is today.

    There’s a whole theology of worship that requires proper study and discipline to master… and I seriously doubt most people in the pews, or even most pastors, have invested the time and energy to become such masters of this subject. Until we’re prepared to yield to each other in love, embracing a common voice in the Divine Service / Western Mass which is informed by our best and brightest liturgical minds, the proposal you’ve quoted above will only perpetuate our wild-wild-west cacophony.

  32. @Brad #87
    Dear Brad,
    I agree and disagree (haha), back to the discussion. I believe John Rixe is on to something, that which is mandated by God to be worship, and what is the liturgy that we Lutherans have historically formed to make the Worship of God the best we know.

    But is is complicated and we simply cannot work in love toward one another as we should.

    Yes, a Service can be complicated, but it also can be short and sweet, to the point. Yes, using basically what John outlined, just check out St. John’s Wheaton for their daily Eucharist Service. Nothing more is required.

  33. @Pastor Eric Andersen #80

    anybody who has a problem with bowing down to worship Christ in the Sacrament (not necessarily everyone who doesn’t) either doesn’t believe in the Real Presence, isn’t a Christian, or hasn’t stopped to consider what genuflecting means and why they are reacting against the practice.

    Earlier I apologized for reacting too sharply. You apologized for [???], since you have repeated your opinion that you can know what a person believes about the Real Presence by their reaction to your kneeling or not kneeling in the chancel!

    If you’ll excuse my repetition, I don’t think you can assume anything about a pew sitter’s belief in the Real Presence, based on that.

    The important thing is the Service of the Sacrament, i.e. Words.
    The Pastor is in the chancel to be useful; whether he’s decorative as well is immaterial. Only a youthful ego thinks otherwise.

    At least one of your comments should be retained as pertinent and relevant to the topic.

    There are two ditches to “church as entertainment”.
    I wonder if the “high” isn’t deeper than the “low”.

    [“High” gets ‘fancy dress’ as well as exaggerated concern about which thumb is on top when the hands are folded!
    Although there was “I’m no theologian” who flaunted a cope… totally out of character (you’d think) for a pseudo Baptist, whose “mission planters” dressed in jeans.]

  34. @Tim Schenks #81

    I don’t know; has that been taken care of, or are they still up there? If so, let me know what numbers they are.

    @helen #89
    I suspect most who are reacting against the practice are doing so because they haven’t stopped to consider what the practice means or why they have a problem with it. As far as ceremonies go, it’s worth noting that our confessions don’t regard the pastor’s decorum as immaterial.

  35. @Martin R. Noland #19
    I apologise for being so late in responding.
    But I wanted to say that most LCMS pastors I know demand to control all aspects of worship and for that mater all activities of the church. You are the rare exception.

  36. @Pastor Eric Andersen #91

    As far as ceremonies go, it’s worth noting that our confessions don’t regard the pastor’s decorum as immaterial.

    I don’t regard the pastor’s decorum as immaterial either. [If he stands in the chancel in green jeans and jacquard suspenders, I do question his “decorum”.] But whether a vested Pastor bows his head or his knee does not affect my faith in the Real Presence of Christ on the altar in the instituted Sacrament.

    (The Real Presence is there, even if “Mr. Greenjeans” [ordained] institutes the Sacrament, but he won’t see me again for other reasons.)

    You persist in “putting the accent on the wrong syl a’ ble”, Pastor Anderson!

  37. @helen #94

    What a pastor wears and how he conducts himself isn’t necessarily a reflection of the faith of his parishoners, though these things will certainly influence how they believe (especially the unlearned). What’s more, his decorum and conduct confess something about what *he* believes is or isn’t going on in the Divine Service. Nobody is questioning the presence of Christ when Mr. Greenjeans consecrates. What I am questioning is whether Mr. Greenjeans actually believes in that presence or not, and what his actions communicate to the congregation. Every ceremony (or lack thereof) is catechetical.

  38. Pr. Andersen, the problem I have with your practice is…at what point is one’s liturgical response the proper amount before you stop casting aspersions on their faith? Is a slight bow enough? A profound reverence? Or is it nothing but genuflecting? Will you be a Pharisee if I don’t beat my chest at the proper time?

  39. @Pastor Eric Andersen #97

    Since we’re repeating ourselves in circles 🙂 …

    There are countless Christians who “have a problem with these ceremonies” as a distraction.  This has nada, nothing, zilch to do with their belief in the Real Presence.   Please stop questioning their theology. Thanks. Just stop it.

  40. @Tim Schenks #90

    #90 from Tim Schenks on June 23, 2015 at 4:13 pm Reply
    Either thumb, as long as they form a cross. 🙂

    Thanks! 🙂

    Some woman, who said she learned it in confirmation, told me I had to put ‘right over left’. (It was never an issue with us; it was just “fold your hands”. And think about the prayer, instead of your fingers.)

    [When Pr. Anderson is old enough for arthritis, he may stop judging others’ faith by their reaction to his knees. Not sooner, apparently.] 🙁

  41. @John Rixe #98

    That’s a great point! Nothing distracts from worshiping Christ like bowing down to worship Christ. Brilliant!

    @helen #99
    Our theology doesn’t change with age or arthritis. I can understand not adopting a given ceremony for one reason or another (for those who wish to kneel but cannot, a profound bow is just as acceptable. To get hung up on the details- sort of like the woman who told you which hand *had* to be over which- is to miss the point of the ceremony). However, there is likely heterodox theology at work in those who despise the ceremonies our confessions extol.

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