A modicum of church order
Part 3. With regard to the doctrine concerning ecclesiastical ceremonies (which we first said would be the third chief part of this examination), it is contained and set forth in the church order. Pastors should also be examined with regard to that very doctrine, so that they might both have the right understanding of it and be able rightly to explain it to their hearers. Likewise, one should inquire whether and how they observe those ceremonies. Superintendents should also confer with pastors regarding marriage orders, incorporated in the church order, that they might have the necessary understanding also of them.
What is this "church order" to which he refers? It is the order of Braunschweig-Wulffenbüttel of 1569. (By the way - I am quoting from a draft translation of this provided to me by Fr. William Weedon - the translation was done by Fr. Matt Harrison in 1999 and revised by A. Smith in 2011. I have no idea if they plan to publish it, but they should!) What sort of things did this church order legislate? Both doctrine and practice. In the matter of worship, the exact order of Divine Service, in both word and deed are given. For example,
the pastors and ministers [kirchendiener] who desire to hold mass when communicants are present shall not merely in their common clothing, but rather in their ecclesiastical vestments [ornatu ecclesiastico] such as alb, cassock and chasuble, very honorably and with great reverence and invocation of the Son of God approach the altar and commence, hold and accomplish the office of the mass [officium missae].
Whereas, the Scriptures say that in Christian worship "all things should be done decently and in order" (I Cor. 14:40); and
Whereas,, the Scriptures say that, "'All things are lawful,' but not all things are helpful. 'All things are lawful,' but not all things build up " (I Cor 10:23); and
Whereas, the Formula of Concord states that the Church "in every time and place has the right, power, and authority to change, reduce, or expand [church] practices according to circumstances in an orderly and appropriate manner, without frivolity or offense, as seems most useful, beneficial, and best for good order, Christian discipline, evangelical decorum, and the building up of the church" (FC SD X.9); and
Whereas, the Augsburg Confession states that "it is lawful for bishops or pastors to establish ordinances so that things are done in the church in an orderly fashion....It is fitting for the churches to comply with such ordinances for the sake of love and tranquility" (AC XXVIII.54-55); and
Whereas, the Constitution of the Synod states that one of the "[c]onditions for acquiring and holding membership in the Synod" is "4. Exclusive use of doctrinally pure agenda, hymnbooks, and catechisms in church and school" (Art. VI); and
Whereas, controversy has continued in the church for some time concerning pastors and congregations who write their own orders for public worship, or draw them from sources other than those mentioned in the Synod's Constitution, therefore be it