A Tale of Two Synods

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VDMA

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I just want to make myself really clear I’m not advocating a law. What I am advocating is Lutheran Orthodoxy, and Lutheran Worship. There’s a reason why we don’t worship like the Baptist and Fungelicals.

How is Hillsong (heretics) going to catechize you. Hillsong is not known for orthodoxy. You cannot deny and pretend that worship practices don’t affect theology. My wife was a Baptist, I’ve been in a lot of Baptist Church before she converted. Some of those LCMS churches worship just like those Baptist. It shouldn’t surprise you that those churches are not to Lutheran. It absolutely matters how we worship. It also matters what we sing and how we sing those songs. The YouTube video I posted above singing HellSong is the typical man centered worship you would see in American Evangelicalism. If you want remain Lutheran then your worship will reflect Lutheran theology (has nothing to do with high church or low church). On the liturgical scale of 1-10, you can be a 1 or 10, but what’s going on here it’s outside the bounds of Lutheran theology.
 
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Josiah

Member
Our confessions can’t be used in a way that uses our Christian freedom to undermine our own confessions!


I agree. It seems the Confession actually condemn a legalistic mandate that worship MUST be of a certain style or custom or form. :Luther himself wrote different liturgies and obviously didn't think all Lutherans should worship the same (he only thought it would be in the language of the people). IMO, it seems that those calling themselves "Confessional" but that seem to mandate all Lutherans worship "like this" are doing the very thing the Confessions condemn.

I note YOU think this should not be a requirement, each congregation has freedom here. And we agree.



If I go on a trip, I can’t just walk into any Lutheran Church and expect consistency if I just go to any Lutheran Church.


True. Was it ever the case for all Lutheranism? Luther wrote his "Deutche Mass" but it seems few embraced it (although a form of it is "Divine Setting #5 in the 2006 edition of the CPH hymnal). I've been to Lutheran worship in Europe and not seen anything quite like it anywhere in the USA.

Now, in my former career, I traveled a bit around the USA and Europe... and on a Sunday, looked for a Lutheran Church. I never found any two that worshiped the same or like my parish. A little disconcerting since it would be easier if they did. But again, the Confessions allow this.... Luther allowed this (writing several different services himself, requiring none).


Perhaps where we (hopefully respectfully, LOL) disagree... is that I think theology matters not music styles or liturgical customs. While I agree with you that the Eucharist should be a part of EVERY Sunday service (as our Confessions state it does), it was missing from many (most?) Sunday services in LCMS and WELS Sunday services until VERY recently.... THAT perhaps is what we could disagree with. But can there be a service without the Sacrament? I would say YES, absolutely! Just not a practice I'D gladly embrace.


I think bad theology can be found all around - in "traditional" and "contemporary" worship. And questionable practices can be too (as in not having the Eucharist at all Sunday services as most LCMS and WELS churches did - and a lot still do). There are questionable hymns in our traditional hymnals.... and in "contemporary" songs. The STYLE doesn't make one any better or worse than the other.

I don't think it matters if all 72,000,000 Lutherans worship the same..... but the theology should be sound in WHATEVER songs and liturgy is present, and there certainly are practices that IMO are good (but not required, not "wrong" to do otherwise).


Perhaps we just disagree. And I'm good with that, LOL.




.
 
V

VDMA

Guest
I agree. It seems the Confession actually condemn a legalistic mandate that worship MUST be of a certain style or custom or form. :Luther himself wrote different liturgies and obviously didn't think all Lutherans should worship the same (he only thought it would be in the language of the people). IMO, it seems that those calling themselves "Confessional" but that seem to mandate all Lutherans worship "like this" are doing the very thing the Confessions condemn.

I note YOU think this should not be a requirement, each congregation has freedom here. And we agree.






True. Was it ever the case for all Lutheranism? Luther wrote his "Deutche Mass" but it seems few embraced it (although a form of it is "Divine Setting #5 in the 2006 edition of the CPH hymnal). I've been to Lutheran worship in Europe and not seen anything quite like it anywhere in the USA.

Now, in my former career, I traveled a bit around the USA and Europe... and on a Sunday, looked for a Lutheran Church. I never found any two that worshiped the same or like my parish. A little disconcerting since it would be easier if they did. But again, the Confessions allow this.... Luther allowed this (writing several different services himself, requiring none).


Perhaps where we (hopefully respectfully, LOL) disagree... is that I think theology matters not music styles or liturgical customs. While I agree with you that the Eucharist should be a part of EVERY Sunday service (as our Confessions state it does), it was missing from many (most?) Sunday services in LCMS and WELS Sunday services until VERY recently.... THAT perhaps is what we could disagree with. But can there be a service without the Sacrament? I would say YES, absolutely! Just not a practice I'D gladly embrace.


I think bad theology can be found all around - in "traditional" and "contemporary" worship. And questionable practices can be too (as in not having the Eucharist at all Sunday services as most LCMS and WELS churches did - and a lot still do). There are questionable hymns in our traditional hymnals.... and in "contemporary" songs. The STYLE doesn't make one any better or worse than the other.

I don't think it matters if all 72,000,000 Lutherans worship the same..... but the theology should be sound in WHATEVER songs and liturgy is present, and there certainly are practices that IMO are good (but not required, not "wrong" to do otherwise).


Perhaps we just disagree. And I'm good with that, LOL.




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I don’t have time at the moment to address your post. Like I said, the YouTube video I posted above singing HellSong is the typical man centered worship you would see in American Evangelicalism (sadly, I can come up with a lot more examples). If you want remain Lutheran then your worship will reflect Lutheran theology (has nothing to do with high church or low church). On the liturgical scale of 1-10, you can be a 1 or 10, but what’s going on here it’s outside the bounds of Lutheran theology. This type of nonsense is literally working against our confessions. Perhaps you think we have Christian freedom to work against our confessions.

Thankfully there is a list of faithful Confessional Lutheran churches (LCMS, WELS, etc.) compiled by lutheranliturgy.org

What needs to happen with some of these LCMS churches is they need to leave the LCMS, perhaps they can join the Southern Baptist convention.
 
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Nic

Well-known member
Food for thought… The LCMS frustrates me, it’s time for the LCMS to jettison the Neo Evangelical “Lutheran” (LINO’s Lutheran in name only) churches, with “paise bands”, etc., who are shells of what Lutherans should be (same thing with WELS, ELS).

Confessional Lutherans need to do a better job cultivating confessional Lutheran theology, liturgy, hymnody, and identity. If other districts continue down the Texas District path many of those churches will cease to be Lutheran. Sure they will remain conservative but not conservative Lutherans.

Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi. As we Worship, So we Believe, So we Live

The Gottesdienst Crowd: [Gottesblog] A Tale of Two Synods — Larry Beane


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The Gottesdienst Crowd: TGC 117 — Luther’s Liturgical Legacy

I've attended a few blended services. They were awkward. The pastor also had to be a quick change artist.
The congregation was older and as the familiar narrative goes, some thought their services were *not* relevant to prospective members. So with only one service for the day, they reached a compromise of a blended service.
 
V

VDMA

Guest
I've attended a few blended services. They were awkward. The pastor also had to be a quick change artist.
The congregation was older and as the familiar narrative goes, some thought their services were *not* relevant to prospective members. So with only one service for the day, they reached a compromise of a blended service.
It’s awkward because you can’t blend them. You cannot blend American Evangelicalism worship with Lutheran worship. The reason why kids and young people are not going to church has nothing to do with worship style…that a lie for the father of lies. This blended nonsense always lead one way…a little compromise here, compromise there…and the end results are always the same, pietism and something that is vaguely Lutheran that gives lip service to the confessions.

The biggest issue is education and teaching why liturgical preservation is important. If good liturgical practices are not taught and the why behind it they’re going to astray and not see the importance. Making the sign of the cross reminds us of our baptism and that the triune God is present…externals visually catechize, our music choices matter, etc. Everything teachers and everything is intentional.

If only the boomers/millennials read Luther’s Works (and most importantly our confessions). Martin Luther on the liturgical scale of 1 to 10 was a 11. I don’t think Martin Luther envisioned some of the things that are happening with worship… there’re doing the unthinkable….he most certainly wouldn’t be, writing words of affirmation. Some of the stuff is just off the charts not Lutheran.

NEXT UP On a slippery slope of becoming non Lutheran.

World Wide Metal Mass - 05

 
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Josiah

Member
VDMA


It seems we disagree.....

IMO, some insist that all Lutherans must worship exactly the same way. I actually think that's contrary to our Confessions (and history and example). It's not a "traditional" vs "Contemporary" issue, it's not a "high church" vs. "low church" issue. It's not a 1941 hymnal vs. 2006 hymnal issue. IMO, not only is diversity allowed but a good thing.

IMO, the issue should be not worship styles but whether the TEACHING presented is theologically sound. You have "problems" with a particular song (that evidently some Lutheran church used). Well, in my view, the problem is not the musical style or instrumental accompaniment or denominational affiliation of the writer of the lyrics, the problem is the bad theology of the lyrics. People of all denominational affiliation and all musical traditions are capable of bad teaching. And good.

Yes, I think it sound (and Confessional) to expect the words taught in Lutheran worship to be theologically sound. Honestly, I doubt any Lutheran would disagree with that. But instead of actually addressing WORDS used, Lutherans love to fight over STYLES. And of course, there's that age old problem that everybody should do like I do.... "Lutheran" being whatever self grew up with or does in their own parish; conformity with self is (unfortunately) an element here.

I suspect we'd be on the same page IF your point was the bad lyrics of a popular song... and therefore shouldn't be used among Lutherans. We'll agree. And perhaps we'd note that this is FAR from a rare case and has NOTHING to do with it being contemporary; there are a LOT of awful traditional hymns too (including some in the 2006 LCMS hymnal).


Blessings!


Josiah



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BJ Bear

Well-known member
Once I learned of the Symbols found in the Book of Concord and tested whether the pastors I was meeting echoed what they say that became my primary way of learning what the church believes, teaches, and confesses. (The pastors across multiple synods uniformly affirmed whichever doctrine or topic I brought up from the Book of Concord. That included a young ELCA pastor. Now there are multple synods which are formed by synods that rejected being absorbed by ELCA and also ex ELCA congregations.)

Josiah is correct in stating that a uniform custom of worship is rejected by the Symbols. It was one of many reasons that the church seemed like the right place to be.

Export the gospel not the culture.
 
V

VDMA

Guest
VDMA


It seems we disagree.....

IMO, some insist that all Lutherans must worship exactly the same way. I actually think that's contrary to our Confessions (and history and example). It's not a "traditional" vs "Contemporary" issue, it's not a "high church" vs. "low church" issue. It's not a 1941 hymnal vs. 2006 hymnal issue. IMO, not only is diversity allowed but a good thing.

IMO, the issue should be not worship styles but whether the TEACHING presented is theologically sound. You have "problems" with a particular song (that evidently some Lutheran church used). Well, in my view, the problem is not the musical style or instrumental accompaniment or denominational affiliation of the writer of the lyrics, the problem is the bad theology of the lyrics. People of all denominational affiliation and all musical traditions are capable of bad teaching. And good.

Yes, I think it sound (and Confessional) to expect the words taught in Lutheran worship to be theologically sound. Honestly, I doubt any Lutheran would disagree with that. But instead of actually addressing WORDS used, Lutherans love to fight over STYLES. And of course, there's that age old problem that everybody should do like I do.... "Lutheran" being whatever self grew up with or does in their own parish; conformity with self is (unfortunately) an element here.

I suspect we'd be on the same page IF your point was the bad lyrics of a popular song... and therefore shouldn't be used among Lutherans. We'll agree. And perhaps we'd note that this is FAR from a rare case and has NOTHING to do with it being contemporary; there are a LOT of awful traditional hymns too (including some in the 2006 LCMS hymnal).


Blessings!


Josiah



.

You are correct we are not in agreement. We are divided synod, because we’re not in doctrinal agreement. It’s not all about style, there are some flexibility with worship…to a point. Doctrine shapes practice…which includes worship practice.

You claimed it has nothing to do with being contemporary. It's just coincidental that all our problematic churches that struggle with confessional integrity are contemporary. There are a couple of hymns I would have left out of the LSB... there's the good the bad the ugly.

I’ve been in many of these so-called quasi LCMS churches with the contemporary praise bands in their man centered worship. They claim to be confessional Lutherans but when you hear him speak, at best many vaguely know the Catechism let alone the other Confessional documents. They finish singing in their praise band and they walk back to the seats with a smile making eye contact with glowing approval from family and friends. Job well done for that performance as they received their approval from man. They say it's all for outreach and that they need to be relevant to culture. It's what the young generation wants...As they catechize themselves with the latest music from the so-called "Christian music" station.

What is wrong with that contemporary service? Second, consider the following service schedules:

Sunday morning service schedule in the early 1990s:

8:00 Traditional
9:45 Contemporary
11:00 Traditional

Service schedule in 2006:

8:00 Traditional
9:45 Contemporary
11:00 Contemporary

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.

Now that we jettison hundreds of years of liturgical practice for modernism and pietism we need to make a change to the name of the church or drop Lutheran from our name. Shocker: that's the trend of American evangelicalism. And we need to water-down our worship so it doesn’t resemble the ancient Church... that's "way to Catholic" (in reality it's Lutheran). This is all done to be relevant to the culture...

A Pew Research Center released poll showed that only One-third of U.S. Catholics believe in Real presents in the eucharist. Those silly modernist Roman Catholics…It got me thinking, I don’t think we would fare any better in these quasi-Lutheran churches in the LCMS. I have my suspicions that many probably don’t really believe the receiving the true blood in the body of Christ. The nave, the alter, the chalice, the crucifix, the Stainglass windows our sacred...Do many of these churches really believe anything is sacred in the church. This stuff really does matter.

Anyway’s you’re correct we are not in agreement. There’re a few LCMS churches I will refuse to step foot in, and if I had to for some reason I would not commune.
 
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V

VDMA

Guest
Lutherans love to fight over STYLES. And of course, there's that age old problem that everybody should do like I do.... "Lutheran" being whatever self grew up with or does in their own parish; conformity with self is (unfortunately) an element here.

Bad liturgical practices were allowed to seep in over the years (especially after Vatican II, many of the boomers didn’t help). This bickering in some of these churches, generally happens to churches who introduced modern Contemporary Worship. And those churches who don’t have contemporary worship, if there is any bickering, it’s usually over things like, they want to either be more high church or stop using those dumb little plastic cups (that catechizes individualism), etc, but we’re all are in agreement praise bands and contemporary worship is bad for confessional Lutheranism.

On a positive note there’s a Parish that had contemporary service in my district that removed contemporary worship all together this year. And it wasn’t the old fuddy-duddies that pushed for the changed. It was the leadership of their new Pastor and the younger families. Praise be to God.
 
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BJ Bear

Well-known member
On a positive note there’s a Parish that had contemporary service in my district that removed contemporary worship all together this year. And it wasn’t the old fuddy-duddies that pushed for the changed. It was the leadership of their new Pastor and the younger families. Praise be to God.
Indeed.
 

Josiah

Member
You are correct we are not in agreement. We are divided synod, because we’re not in doctrinal agreement. It’s not all about style, there are some flexibility with worship…to a point. Doctrine shapes practice…which includes worship practice.


Then why do the confessions state that it is not necessary that we all worship the same?

You say "it's not about style" but then your point is about how one style is to be affirmed and others rejected. IMO, theology matters...but you say we disagree because it seems to me it's the style that concerns you.


You claimed it has nothing to do with being contemporary.

.... it has nothing to do with the style..... A song might be in a contemporary style, accompanied by a praise band, and be theologically sound. Indeed, some "contemporary" songs are just a psalm put to music (a psalmody). And some "traditional" songs might be very heretical (been to a Methodist Traditional Service?) It's not an issue of style - any can be theologically sound, any can be theological horrible.




They claim to be confessional Lutherans but when you hear him speak, at best many vaguely know the Catechism let alone the other Confessional documents.


And this doesn't happen when parishes use Divine Service 3 as uniquely found in the 2006 LCMS Service Book? It doesn't happen in Traditional services of Methodist or Episcopal churches? In the very traditional services of the Catholic Church? How does using some traditional style insure that the laity know their Catechism? I'm not following you. I agree that BAD theology in worship can undermine sound theology among the laity.... but then the problem is the bad theology not the style of the worship.



What is wrong with that contemporary service? Second, consider the following service schedules:

Sunday morning service schedule in the early 1990s:

8:00 Traditional
9:45 Contemporary
11:00 Traditional

Service schedule in 2006:

8:00 Traditional
9:45 Contemporary
11:00 Contemporary

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?


No, I don't. I see nothing in that which indicates that false teachings are being extended.... there's nothing in that quote about theology AT ALL, nothing there that is variant with our Confessions. Okay, this parish has worship in two different styles and publishes the times for them. Luther wrote several different services ... some parishes used some, some others, some severome none of them. I don't see anything in the Confesssons that forbids that.



it doesn’t resemble the ancient Church...


I'm not sure exactly how Christians in 33-313 AD worshiped.... but I'd be willing to bet it was not using Divine Service 2 in the 2006 LCMS hymnal, LOL. Probably no organs, no bulletins, no hymnals. And was there ONE and only ONE order of service? Maybe.



A Pew Research Center released poll showed that only One-third of U.S. Catholics believe in Real presents in the eucharist.


But Catholics almost always have very traditional worship! So, if worship that looks kinda like at your parish keeps people from theological error, why aren't Catholics affirming Real Presence?

See, IMO, the problem is NOT that Catholics tend to be "high church" and "traditional" and use the organ - with lots of crossing themselves, kneeling, etc. - then why aren't they MORE likely to be theologically correct? At least they've always had the Eucharist every Sunday..... how many LCMS and WELS churches for most of their history had it... well.... perhaps 4 times a year?




Anyway’s you’re correct we are not in agreement.


So it seems. But blessings, my brother.



- Josiah




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BJ Bear

Well-known member
For what it is worth, an LCMS guy, Arthur Just, covered some early liturgical stuff in Heaven On Earth, (c)CPH.
 
V

VDMA

Guest
Dr. John W. Kleinig Concordia Commentary series on Leviticus.

Excerpt from the Preface: “Sharing in God’s Holiness”

"The chief insight, developed in that paper, was that holiness was, of necessity, a liturgical term, for our holiness was derived from God’s gracious presence and our access to him in the Divine Service. In fact, God had instituted the Divine Service to share his holiness with Israel and the church."

Speaking of one of his students returning from a seminary in the United States. "After his return I met with him in New Guinea. When I asked him how things had gone for him in the United States, he remained silent for a long time before he said, “John, for them nothing is sacred any longer!” His remark stunned me, and it has haunted me ever since, for I felt that he could have said the same about my seminary and my church."

I have to agree with that statement nothing is sacred anymore for much of the laity… especially for those who promote and endorse so-called “contemporary” worship.

https://ref.ly/o/concom03le/72775?length=345 via @Logos

Gottesdienst had an excellent short analysis of the so-called “contemporary worship”.

The Gottesdienst Crowd: [Gottesblog] Argumentum ad Repititium — Larry Beane July 7, 2021

https://www.gottesdienst.org/gottesblog/2021/6/22/etizddz6ai9xcjiz8i0ywvtirxah7q

 
V

VDMA

Guest
but then the problem is the bad theology not the style of the worship.

But Catholics almost always have very traditional worship!

Well I would say Vatican to churches have abandon much of their traditional worship in favor of the modern Novus Ordo (which is a mixed bag of good and bad). Many of those churches have praise band and even charismatic Catholics. 🤯 I went to Catholic Schools growing up and I've seen this first hand.

Like I said, you can’t teach good liturgical practices divorced from the confessions. Externals are not mindless rituals. There are liberal churches that are “high church” that are absolute abominations (e.g. females larping as pastors, etc). They divorce doctrine and scriptural truth from the ritual/liturgical practices.You have to teach the why behind it and how it relates to our confessions.

Good liturgical worship practices transcend generations. So-called "contemporary worship" does not transcend generations... 50 years from now that worship will look totally different than it did today. Historic liturgical practices transcend for generations after generations. Contemporary music and practices are novelties... They're here today and gone tomorrow...then they move on to the next new thing. Just think of the Levitical priests change it up every year or from generation to generation or mixed worship styles.

You are correct to say that there are some less than desirable hymns in the LSB.

One of the most egregious entries into LSB Hymn 850 God of Grace and God Of Glory written by a Methodist hectic ~ Harry Emerson Fosdick who denied the bodily resurrection. 🤦🏻‍♂️

Sadly, many of the people on the hymnal committee were not confessional. Hence the reason why we have some bad hymnal selections. Surprisingly some of those non-confessionals (so-called confessional Lutherans) on the committee also don't have a problem "contemporary worship"... shocker.

Many but not all who come out Concordia St. Louis are not all that confessional. If any of my sons go to Seminary it would have to be either Fort Wayne or St. Catherine's. I believe we now have more people going to Fort Wayne than St Louis.

-----

Side note or Concordia University system needs to be cleaned up. There are universities within the Concordia system that are really not Lutheran. I'm glad to see some of these have shut down (e.g. Concordia New York). As a Lutheran I can't send my kid to any Concordia School and expect it to be really Luther. There are a few exceptions (e.g. Concordia Wisconsin).

Thankfully we have new schools opening for Lutheran only.

 
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