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Gottesblog

A blog of the Evangelical Lutheran Liturgy

History

When it comes to worship and order in the church, some folks in the Missouri Synod just don't care what the Confessions say. But there are others who do care, and yet also want to jettison the received tradition of Lutheran forms of worship. They hang their hats on SD FC X - but even more so on a particular understanding of that article. They understand it to be saying that each and every Christian congregation has the authority to make up whatever rites and ceremonies it likes and that each and every congregation is encouraged to do so to fit its "context."

At this point in the debate, a defender of the traditional Lutheran heritage of worship will have many places to turn in the Confessions to combat this notion - to show that acceptable "diversity" in Lutheran worship never included tossing out the Western Mass, doing away with reverence, dividing congregations by age group or preferred musical taste, etc. And that is an important argument to make.

But there is also this: history. The fact is, the men who wrote and signed the Formula of Concord all lived in churches where such decisions were most certainly not made at the parish level. The bishops, called in some places superintendents, sometimes working with consistories and even Christian princes put forth ecclesiastical law regarding worship that was binding on the local parish. Read all about it.

I am not myself a scholar of the Kirchenordnungen, so I'll leave it to others to supply good bibliography and commentary. I only make the plea that we give attention to this important fact that stares us right in the face: the men who wrote and signed the Confessions had binding church law regarding worship. Maybe that's not such a bad thing after all. . .

+HRC

Pr. H. R.10 Comments