Martin Luther once commented that a person should know his date of baptism as well as he knows his date of birth, because one was as truly born on the one as on the other, but in different senses.
My DOB, date of baptism, is 7 July 1950. That was at Holy Name Cathedral, in Chicago where I was born. If that sounds Roman Catholic, that's because it is. I professed the Christian faith, as taught in Scripture and correctly set forth in the Book of Concord, especially the Little Catechism, on 15 December 1996. I was not a convert from Catholicism. I had left that, and Christianity in general, in the Fall of 1973, just over 23 years earlier, and had no affiliation.
When I professed that faith, I was not baptised "again". I already was baptised. The profession was a further working out of the grace of the Holy Spirit begun that day. To amplify Walther a bit, one can no more come to faith by his own efforts than he can wake himself from the dead, and that is equally true as a newborn or at age 46.
In the course of time, as I learned more about the details of Lutheran history, I changed from the synod in which I made that profession, WELS, to LCMS, on 27 August 2006, because LCMS, or at least parts of it, seemed to reflect the correct confession of the Book of Concord more faithfully.
Among the many things I was to discover was that the revisionism I thought I had left behind with the RCC had now become the common property of pretty much all your so-called mainline denominations. I had a hint of that in 1984, when I wrote programme notes for a Lutheran choral group directed by one who would become prominent in what would become the ELCA. He gave me a copy of the Lutheran Book of Worship as a point of familiarity, but my reaction was, I can write the notes just fine, but as to something I'd look into for myself, if this is what Lutheran worship is, I'll stick with the 1960s Roman originals rather than this derivative drivel.
Which brings us to what some call "liturgical Pietism". This is not actually Pietism, but a reference to the practice of some to depart from the traditions and forms of Lutheran worship as found in our Synod materials and add additional traditions and forms not common or familiar in our circles generally and sometimes of non-Lutheran origin.
Actually that happens two ways, one in the direction of adopting and adapting things common in the worship of American "evangelicals", a different sort of services to express their non-Lutheran faith, and the other in adopting and adapting things of Roman Catholic, and sometimes Eastern Orthodox or Anglican, origin. The latter, which is a reaction to the former, is what is called "liturgical pietism" by some.
And they have a point. An excess in one direction is not corrected by an excess in another, excess itself being the problem. However, something is being ignored just leaving it there.
And that something is, that our recent synod approved materials already contain this excess, already depart from the traditions and forms previously found in our synod material and already add additional traditions and forms not previously common or familiar in our synod, and that because they did not exist prior to the non-Lutheran, Roman Catholic novus ordo coming out of Vatican II in the 1960s from which they are derived. A novus ordo which in its original Roman context effectively replaced the tradition which our Reformers sought to zealously guard and defend through reform.
Thus do our recent synod worship materials themselves contain revisions in harmony with our traditions and forms on an equal basis with revisions of non-Lutheran content not yet 50 years old. The calendar in evolving use for a millennium and a half, and a revision of Rome's new one, a lectionary in evolving use for a millenium and a hald, and a revision of Rome's new one. "Liturgical Pietism" between two synod-approved covers.
You say DS 3, I say DS 1. You say "historic" lectionary, I say three-year. You say "historic" calendar, I say three-year. You say Trinity 4, I say Pentecost 5. You say potayto, I say potahto. You say tomayto, I say tomahto. With that already in place, why would it not occur to some to say well why not say tater then too, or even (apologies to the Gershwins!) let's call the whole thing off.
The problem is not in the excesses of the two extremes, it is in the excess from which both are running, our recent materials. We need to start acting like Lutherans again, and if that means quit running after Willow Creek etc. and secular marketing style campaigns, it also means quit acting like Vatican II was in St Louis and running after what is now the common worship of all heterodox churches with a liturgical tradition.
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