We still sing the liturgy from the hymnal in our church. I have been to a couple of LCMS churches that have done a sort of blended modern/traditional service, with shortened liturgy and a mix of more modern songs with the traditional music from the hymnal. Modern music is okay, so long as it is Christ-focused and what He did for us on the cross, and why. What I cannot abide are happy-clappy songs so prevalent these days in evangelical churches.
I’m going to go on a little rant here. Because this stuff really matters, so much so, it could mean the difference between remaining Lutheran or becoming a Confessional Lutheran wasteland. The Divine Service is not an Adiaphora!
I’ve been around a long enough to see how this plays out… it’s never for the better. Modern blended modern/traditional service is a death sentence to confessional Lutheranism. Not only does it divide by style, or divide by generation, it jettisons hundreds of years of liturgical practices that been developed and fine-tune over the centuries and passed down from generation to generation (2Th 2:15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught...). If we mess with the divine service (like some churches have) we’re gonna screw it up. All this modernism is connected to the pietistic church growth moment and we see how well that works out (emphasis on the sarcasm).
If we worships like evangelicals or some cheap knock off of American Evangelicals, that church will ceased to be a Lutheran. How we worship matters. The so-called modern service that sing theologly shallow music written by heterodox authors is not helpful. A praise band in front is nothing more than man centered worship, it certainly not christocentric worship as it is unfolded in the Divine Service (Mass).
What is wrong with that contemporary service? Second, consider the following service schedules:
Sunday morning service schedule in the early 1990s:
Service schedule in 2006:
Service schedule in 2020:
8:00 Heritage Service (traditional)
9:30 Praise & Worship Service (contemporary)
11:00 nXt (adapted from “Next,” i.e., a special ser-vice for Generation “X”)
This is a schedule from the same church. Do you see what’s happening…do you see the problem? 🤷🏻♂️ I see a major problem that’s alarming! The worship does not line up with Lutheran theology. It’s a death sentence to confessional Lutheranism.
There is leeway with liturgical practices (there is absolutely zero room for “praise bands” jamming away in the front singing non-liturgical music, etc.). If a church worships like evangelicals and Baptist, they will cease to be Lutheran.
The liturgical downgrades (over the years) are extremely
tragic. I have no doubt that Martin Luther would have some strong words about what’s happening. The externals visually catechize (e.g. making the sign of the cross, genuflecting, Georgian chants, etc.). If we truly believe it’s the true corporal blood and body of Christ, our liturgical practices and reverence for the sacred sacraments should reflect it.
We just need to do a better job of teaching good liturgical practices and the why behind it (e.g. why we make the sign of the cross, why we genuflect, why even incense🤭, why church architecture matters, why the historic one year lectionary is better, etc.) and how it fit into our confessions. We also need to be teaching why modernism/pietism is bad.
Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi. As we Worship, So we Believe, So we Live.
You can guarantee someone will make a fuss about the importance of standing for the flag, or insist that the American flag be in the nave (when is offers zero liturgical use) etc. But they won’t teach their kids good liturgical practices. It’s no big deal not to genuflect before the receiving the most sacred thing on the planet, the corporal body and body of Christ, etc. 🤷🏻♂️ We most certainly have some Christian freedom but is seem some use that freedom as a excuse not to do something (e.g. genuflect).
Here’s another question. Should we make a fuss over not wearing a uniform of the church? I have no idea why a Pastor wouldn’t want to wear the uniform of the church. Or do we want our Pastors to blend with their suit and ties or business casual just like everyone else in the world. I think it manners not to the point of a law, but to the point that it is important and it visibly sets apart. That’s the man who give absolution, that’s a man who preaches law in gospel and distributes God’s gifts. It just amazes me how we use our Christian freedom sometimes.
Oh, here is something that is like nails to a chalkboard, “that’s too Catholic”. Big Sigh, no…it’s confessional Lutheranism.