Anglos don’t know Lutheranism

I was talking with an Anglican priest and, after we had compared notes about our churches, he expressed surprise that there are Missouri Synod Lutherans who worship with the liturgy. This, even though the typical Lutheran congregation is far more liturgical than he is, what with our chanted divine services and more elaborate practices! The day before I was reading Graham Greene’s excellent, profound, and highly-Christian novel The Power and the Glory . It includes some German-American Lutherans, whom Greene depicts as kindly and not put off by the whisky priest’s sinfulness, but who have no crosses, just Gideon Bibles, and reject all of its “non-essentials” that characterizes Catholicism. But German-American Lutherans have crosses–yea, crucifixes–and are replete with what other Protestants consider non-essentials! Earlier, I had been enjoyed the first-rate mystery series by C. J. Sansom, whose detective Matthew Shardlake in the reign of Henry VIII solves murders in the age of the Reformation. (Start with Dissolution.) Despite Sansom’s thorough research and his main character’s personal investment in the Reformation cause, Lutherans are portrayed as the most radical of the dissenting sects, known mainly for their doctrine of predestination!

I suppose the English are just unfamiliar with Lutheranism. They seem to assume it is the opposite end of Catholicism, the Protestant pole of the via media that they are always trying to achieve. I’m sure this is part of the reason Americans too are often oblivious to the Lutherans in their midst. Then again, part of the fault may lie with the Lutherans for keeping their beliefs to themselves.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Dan Kempin

    Okay, I know about the “drive by media,” and I have recently learned of the “clymer media,” but what is the “via media?”

    (Just kidding. I love latin quotes.)

  • Dan Kempin

    Okay, I know about the “drive by media,” and I have recently learned of the “clymer media,” but what is the “via media?”

    (Just kidding. I love latin quotes.)

  • http://beholdingthebeauty.blogspot.com Steven Carr

    Hey, we know all about Lutherans here in Minnesota. :) I’m not Lutheran myself, but I like to read Lutherans. Funny thing about the Lutherans I read is that they don’t know the Refomred very well. Maybe we need to have another colloquy or something.

  • http://beholdingthebeauty.blogspot.com Steven Carr

    Hey, we know all about Lutherans here in Minnesota. :) I’m not Lutheran myself, but I like to read Lutherans. Funny thing about the Lutherans I read is that they don’t know the Refomred very well. Maybe we need to have another colloquy or something.

  • kerner

    I think one rteason might be that most of what the English (and Anglo-Americans) know about Martin Luther they hear about from Baptists. A lot of Baptists speak highly of Martin Luther, because he stood up against the Roman Catholic Church. I don’t know if Baptists are aware of what Luther had to say about them.

    Also, in Reformation times the RC church, in an attempt to isolate and eliminate the doctrines of the thrologians who then called themselves “evangelical catholics”, denounced them as advocates of the “Lutheran heresies”. But they also applied this name to any protestant movement in England, as if it were a pejorative term.

    As we know, despite occasional efferts to reclaim the names of “evangelical” or “catholic”, the name that has stuck with us is the somewhat misleading one the RC’s gave us; and the even more misleading application of the term “Lutheran” to any protestant sect has carried on as well. Little wonder then that misunderstandings about Lutheran doctrine and practice continue.

  • kerner

    I think one rteason might be that most of what the English (and Anglo-Americans) know about Martin Luther they hear about from Baptists. A lot of Baptists speak highly of Martin Luther, because he stood up against the Roman Catholic Church. I don’t know if Baptists are aware of what Luther had to say about them.

    Also, in Reformation times the RC church, in an attempt to isolate and eliminate the doctrines of the thrologians who then called themselves “evangelical catholics”, denounced them as advocates of the “Lutheran heresies”. But they also applied this name to any protestant movement in England, as if it were a pejorative term.

    As we know, despite occasional efferts to reclaim the names of “evangelical” or “catholic”, the name that has stuck with us is the somewhat misleading one the RC’s gave us; and the even more misleading application of the term “Lutheran” to any protestant sect has carried on as well. Little wonder then that misunderstandings about Lutheran doctrine and practice continue.

  • Kirk

    And, let’s be honest here: Lutherans and Anglicans both tend to be somewhat reclusive when it comes to inter-denominational relations. I’m sure most Anglicans are aware than Lutherans are high-church, but most don’t know the specifics of Lutheran doctrine.

  • Kirk

    And, let’s be honest here: Lutherans and Anglicans both tend to be somewhat reclusive when it comes to inter-denominational relations. I’m sure most Anglicans are aware than Lutherans are high-church, but most don’t know the specifics of Lutheran doctrine.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Yes it is frustrating that Anglicans and reformed (and for Steven Carr’s sake, by reformed here I mean all you all who aren’t Lutheran, Roman Catholic, or Eastern Orthodox. You can make a distinction if you like, but deny the sacrament and you are reformed, Arminian or otherwise.) don’t know what Lutheranism is, if they did they might actually be Lutherans. Catch 22 there start studying Lutheranism and you often become a Lutheran, no longer Anglican.
    But what is more frustrating to me is how often, due to piss poor pietist pastoring (which is often perhaps a little better than the liberal pastors turned out by our seminaries between 1950-73) so many “Lutherans” don’t know Lutheranism. And it takes a long long time to swing a congregation around to orthodox lutheranism, but by the time you do that, you get a call to another congregation and the District President sends in an “Interim Pastor” with marching orders to jack hammer out the Baptismal font, so the congregation can get its rock band in through the door! And we wonder why people don’t know that we are a liturgical church?
    So perhaps it hasn’t been Lutherans being quiet about their faith, but misrepresenting it.
    The other day I went and visited a couple that had come to church, the man who said he grew up Lutheran in Iowa, but went baptist when his family moved south, told me, “but the Lutheran Church I grew up in didn’t have graven images.” Now, my church looks like a reformed ghetto built in the seventies, we have a tiny crucifix on a processional cross rarely used, and this horrified the man, who grew up in a Lutheran Church, but had his faith quashed by baptists. So there you have Lutheranism.
    Lutheran congregations are like a box of chocolates…

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Yes it is frustrating that Anglicans and reformed (and for Steven Carr’s sake, by reformed here I mean all you all who aren’t Lutheran, Roman Catholic, or Eastern Orthodox. You can make a distinction if you like, but deny the sacrament and you are reformed, Arminian or otherwise.) don’t know what Lutheranism is, if they did they might actually be Lutherans. Catch 22 there start studying Lutheranism and you often become a Lutheran, no longer Anglican.
    But what is more frustrating to me is how often, due to piss poor pietist pastoring (which is often perhaps a little better than the liberal pastors turned out by our seminaries between 1950-73) so many “Lutherans” don’t know Lutheranism. And it takes a long long time to swing a congregation around to orthodox lutheranism, but by the time you do that, you get a call to another congregation and the District President sends in an “Interim Pastor” with marching orders to jack hammer out the Baptismal font, so the congregation can get its rock band in through the door! And we wonder why people don’t know that we are a liturgical church?
    So perhaps it hasn’t been Lutherans being quiet about their faith, but misrepresenting it.
    The other day I went and visited a couple that had come to church, the man who said he grew up Lutheran in Iowa, but went baptist when his family moved south, told me, “but the Lutheran Church I grew up in didn’t have graven images.” Now, my church looks like a reformed ghetto built in the seventies, we have a tiny crucifix on a processional cross rarely used, and this horrified the man, who grew up in a Lutheran Church, but had his faith quashed by baptists. So there you have Lutheranism.
    Lutheran congregations are like a box of chocolates…

  • Booklover

    I was born and raised 100% German Lutheran (Missouri Synod). My ancestors came from Germany via Russia when Catherine the Great needed good workers to develop the Volga River region. (Work was almost like a “religion” to them, but “works salvation” NEVER was!)

    While attending baptistic churches following marriage, any mention of Lutheranism was followed by an “eewwww” reaction. They were reacting to what they knew of Lutheranism–the liberal kind which doesn’t treat all of the Bible as true. They also were reacting to any form of liturgy and to infant baptism. I educated them that the first point does not speak to all Lutherans, and the second point is invalid–the liturgy is beautiful and speaks the word of God, Old Testament, Gospel, Epistle. I discussed the third point as faith being a gift of God, etc., but they were totally against that idea.

    Anyway, *The Power and the Glory* is in my shopping cart.

  • Booklover

    I was born and raised 100% German Lutheran (Missouri Synod). My ancestors came from Germany via Russia when Catherine the Great needed good workers to develop the Volga River region. (Work was almost like a “religion” to them, but “works salvation” NEVER was!)

    While attending baptistic churches following marriage, any mention of Lutheranism was followed by an “eewwww” reaction. They were reacting to what they knew of Lutheranism–the liberal kind which doesn’t treat all of the Bible as true. They also were reacting to any form of liturgy and to infant baptism. I educated them that the first point does not speak to all Lutherans, and the second point is invalid–the liturgy is beautiful and speaks the word of God, Old Testament, Gospel, Epistle. I discussed the third point as faith being a gift of God, etc., but they were totally against that idea.

    Anyway, *The Power and the Glory* is in my shopping cart.

  • WebMonk

    “So perhaps it hasn’t been Lutherans being quiet about their faith, but misrepresenting it.”

    Careful about going down that road too much further. Pretty soon one can get to the point where you and your close friends are the only “true” Lutherans, and all the others are just people who have co-opted the name.

    I’m NOT saying you are doing that, but it’s just something I’ve seen people do who have kept running down that road without stopping – “those who don’t accept Article MCXVII Section 23 paragraph 3 sentence 2 requires X, isn’t really a ________!”

  • WebMonk

    “So perhaps it hasn’t been Lutherans being quiet about their faith, but misrepresenting it.”

    Careful about going down that road too much further. Pretty soon one can get to the point where you and your close friends are the only “true” Lutherans, and all the others are just people who have co-opted the name.

    I’m NOT saying you are doing that, but it’s just something I’ve seen people do who have kept running down that road without stopping – “those who don’t accept Article MCXVII Section 23 paragraph 3 sentence 2 requires X, isn’t really a ________!”

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    What makes a Lutheran a Lutheran? Do musical instruments and styles make me a Lutheran? Hardly, what makes me a Lutheran is the message that I believe and confess. We have one of those dreaded rock bands but we are also teaching our people the significance of the Liturgy and other elements of traditional Lutheran practice. Due to largely crappy writing of contemporary songs both aesthetically and theologically we are writing our own.

    We Lutherans are much to blame for others misconceptions. Very few of us seem to publish outside of our own circles and for the most part the Lutherans in the public eye are mostly Lutheran in name only. If we want the public at large to know and understand who we are more of us are going to have to venture out into the arena where we can be heard. Rather than meekly giving into the public pressure of keeping our distinctive faith quietly to ourselves we must sin boldly and dare to be Lutheran in a very public fashion.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    What makes a Lutheran a Lutheran? Do musical instruments and styles make me a Lutheran? Hardly, what makes me a Lutheran is the message that I believe and confess. We have one of those dreaded rock bands but we are also teaching our people the significance of the Liturgy and other elements of traditional Lutheran practice. Due to largely crappy writing of contemporary songs both aesthetically and theologically we are writing our own.

    We Lutherans are much to blame for others misconceptions. Very few of us seem to publish outside of our own circles and for the most part the Lutherans in the public eye are mostly Lutheran in name only. If we want the public at large to know and understand who we are more of us are going to have to venture out into the arena where we can be heard. Rather than meekly giving into the public pressure of keeping our distinctive faith quietly to ourselves we must sin boldly and dare to be Lutheran in a very public fashion.

  • CRB

    Booklover #6, RE: “Lutheranism–the liberal kind which doesn’t treat all of the Bible as true.”
    I’m confused about the above statement. Can one honestly
    describe oneself that way and truly expect the person
    they are speaking to to understand what is being described?! To be a confessing Lutheran in the historic
    sense of the term could not include those who have altar
    and pulpit fellowship with the Reformed and have agreed
    with the Roman Catholic church on justification, right?

  • CRB

    Booklover #6, RE: “Lutheranism–the liberal kind which doesn’t treat all of the Bible as true.”
    I’m confused about the above statement. Can one honestly
    describe oneself that way and truly expect the person
    they are speaking to to understand what is being described?! To be a confessing Lutheran in the historic
    sense of the term could not include those who have altar
    and pulpit fellowship with the Reformed and have agreed
    with the Roman Catholic church on justification, right?

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/ Steve Martin

    Twenty or thirty years ago, Billy Graham was asked, “Of all the different denominations and non-denominations you have come in contact with, which one would you say has the best grasp of the Christian faith”(paraphrased), Mr.Graham said, “the Luherans. But they are probably the worst at conveying this understanding to their own people.”

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/ Steve Martin

    Twenty or thirty years ago, Billy Graham was asked, “Of all the different denominations and non-denominations you have come in contact with, which one would you say has the best grasp of the Christian faith”(paraphrased), Mr.Graham said, “the Luherans. But they are probably the worst at conveying this understanding to their own people.”

  • http://www.geneveith.com geneveith

    Steve, could you find the source of this quotation? (Other people on other blogs are trying to track down the quotation that Billy Graham supposedly said about the Lutheran Church Missouri-Synod being a “sleeping giant.”) I’d be much obliged.

  • http://www.geneveith.com geneveith

    Steve, could you find the source of this quotation? (Other people on other blogs are trying to track down the quotation that Billy Graham supposedly said about the Lutheran Church Missouri-Synod being a “sleeping giant.”) I’d be much obliged.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/ Steve Martin

    Gene,

    I’ll try.

    The story was related to me by my pastor.

    I think I tried to find the source awhile back (years ago), but wasn’t able to pin it down.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/ Steve Martin

    Gene,

    I’ll try.

    The story was related to me by my pastor.

    I think I tried to find the source awhile back (years ago), but wasn’t able to pin it down.

  • http://www.lambert-blog.com Dave Lambert

    In answer to Dr. Luther, I can’t say it any better than Pastor Weedon:

    It is NOT about instrumentation for the music, but about whether one may dispense with the Church’s historic ordering of the Divine Service, replacing that ordering with the ordering used by the Pentecostal Church.

    2. It is NOT about rejection of new music; but about whether it is wise and loving to REPLACE the Church’s historical musical heritage in toto with newer music rather than faithfully preserving that heritage and AUGMENTING it with music from our day.

    You can read his post at: http://bit.ly/1zNeBw

  • http://www.lambert-blog.com Dave Lambert

    In answer to Dr. Luther, I can’t say it any better than Pastor Weedon:

    It is NOT about instrumentation for the music, but about whether one may dispense with the Church’s historic ordering of the Divine Service, replacing that ordering with the ordering used by the Pentecostal Church.

    2. It is NOT about rejection of new music; but about whether it is wise and loving to REPLACE the Church’s historical musical heritage in toto with newer music rather than faithfully preserving that heritage and AUGMENTING it with music from our day.

    You can read his post at: http://bit.ly/1zNeBw

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Webmonk,
    The trademark on the name “Lutheran” ran out a long time ago. But there are some basics as to what it means to be Lutheran, Justification by faith alone, Baptismal regeneration, and the real presence of Christ in with and under, with Scripture being the source and norm of doctrine. But every so many years someone does a study asking Lutherans about what they believe, and it becomes painfully obvious that they have never heard of Justification by faith alone, and don’t realize that Christ dying on the cross is their ticket to heaven.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Webmonk,
    The trademark on the name “Lutheran” ran out a long time ago. But there are some basics as to what it means to be Lutheran, Justification by faith alone, Baptismal regeneration, and the real presence of Christ in with and under, with Scripture being the source and norm of doctrine. But every so many years someone does a study asking Lutherans about what they believe, and it becomes painfully obvious that they have never heard of Justification by faith alone, and don’t realize that Christ dying on the cross is their ticket to heaven.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Dr. Luther in the 21st Century, (quite a long and somewhat pompous moniker, that)
    Theology is definitely center stage in defining a Lutheran.
    But can we blame Anglos for not knowing we are a liturgical church, when so many of our churches are trying to act like Calvary Chapel?
    And there tends, tends, to be a should I say, slight correlation between the way a “Lutheran” congregation worships, and the theology that is being presented. I mean if you really believe that Christ is coming to you in the Sacrament and giving his body and blood for the forgiveness of sins, you tend to be a little more reverent regarding the musical trappings you greet him with. Just saying….

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Dr. Luther in the 21st Century, (quite a long and somewhat pompous moniker, that)
    Theology is definitely center stage in defining a Lutheran.
    But can we blame Anglos for not knowing we are a liturgical church, when so many of our churches are trying to act like Calvary Chapel?
    And there tends, tends, to be a should I say, slight correlation between the way a “Lutheran” congregation worships, and the theology that is being presented. I mean if you really believe that Christ is coming to you in the Sacrament and giving his body and blood for the forgiveness of sins, you tend to be a little more reverent regarding the musical trappings you greet him with. Just saying….

  • Rob Cartusciello

    I had very little exposure to Lutherans for most of my life. I am Catholic of Italian ancestry, I grew up in a prodominantly Orthodox Jewish area of New York City, followed by a New Jersey suburb where the Protestant churches were Episcopal, Congregational, Presbyterian & Baptist.

    My first exposure to Lutherans was in graduate school, where I came to respect the fact that Lutherans have maintained a (generally) integrated theology. I learned more about Lutherans by reading Fr. Richard Neuhaus, a Lutheran convert to Catholicism.

    I traveled through Iceland four years ago, and was impressed with the art & rchitecture of the churches, which were delicate polychrome & rather charming.

    I attended an (ECLA) Lutheran service for the first time two years later in Colorado, and was struck by the similarities of worship to the Catholic tradition.

    I regret not learning these things earlier. I also pray for the day, as Christ prayed, that “we may be one”.

  • Rob Cartusciello

    I had very little exposure to Lutherans for most of my life. I am Catholic of Italian ancestry, I grew up in a prodominantly Orthodox Jewish area of New York City, followed by a New Jersey suburb where the Protestant churches were Episcopal, Congregational, Presbyterian & Baptist.

    My first exposure to Lutherans was in graduate school, where I came to respect the fact that Lutherans have maintained a (generally) integrated theology. I learned more about Lutherans by reading Fr. Richard Neuhaus, a Lutheran convert to Catholicism.

    I traveled through Iceland four years ago, and was impressed with the art & rchitecture of the churches, which were delicate polychrome & rather charming.

    I attended an (ECLA) Lutheran service for the first time two years later in Colorado, and was struck by the similarities of worship to the Catholic tradition.

    I regret not learning these things earlier. I also pray for the day, as Christ prayed, that “we may be one”.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    And organ music is some how more reverent? That is what you are implying. I think the only reason organ music is considered more reverent is solely because it has been around the church longer.

    I am not going to reject a musical styling or even an element solely because of its theology of origin. If we were to do such we would have to throw out all of our liturgical tradition because it comes out of the Catholic church which we know to be plagued by many false teachings. Thankfully, the real Luther took a more sensible tact and kept that which is good (proclaimed the Law and Gospel clearly) and threw out that which is bad. We can do the same a service that has bapticostal origins. Not everything about it is all bad. Not everything about contemporary music stylings is all bad. I think we are better served to reform what is coming out of that tradition rather than sounding like an old stick in the mud like so many traditionalist ending up sounding like (I have encountered very few who actually focus on the beauty of the traditional services, instead of focusing on how they can’t stand that rock music).

    One of the phenomenons that I have noticed is that little used traditions when brought back are not rejected by the “contemporary only” crowd in congregations because they think it is something new. Call me sneaky but I don’t mind letting them think that way if it allows me to reintroduce such things as individual confession and absolution.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    And organ music is some how more reverent? That is what you are implying. I think the only reason organ music is considered more reverent is solely because it has been around the church longer.

    I am not going to reject a musical styling or even an element solely because of its theology of origin. If we were to do such we would have to throw out all of our liturgical tradition because it comes out of the Catholic church which we know to be plagued by many false teachings. Thankfully, the real Luther took a more sensible tact and kept that which is good (proclaimed the Law and Gospel clearly) and threw out that which is bad. We can do the same a service that has bapticostal origins. Not everything about it is all bad. Not everything about contemporary music stylings is all bad. I think we are better served to reform what is coming out of that tradition rather than sounding like an old stick in the mud like so many traditionalist ending up sounding like (I have encountered very few who actually focus on the beauty of the traditional services, instead of focusing on how they can’t stand that rock music).

    One of the phenomenons that I have noticed is that little used traditions when brought back are not rejected by the “contemporary only” crowd in congregations because they think it is something new. Call me sneaky but I don’t mind letting them think that way if it allows me to reintroduce such things as individual confession and absolution.

  • George A. Marquart

    The English are not alone: My mother was a Lutheran, born in Russia, a descendant of Saxon farmers who emigrated toward the end of the 17th century. When I was still in high school and firmly of the opinion that the Lutheran faith should overcome all unbelief and heterodoxy, it bothered me that those Saxon farmers had not been successful in converting their Russian Orthodox neighbors. A sneaking suspicion made me ask my mother, “In what language did you hold your services?” “Why, in German, of course,” was the reply, and everything became clear. For too many of my maternal ancestors, their religion was part of their culture. They were not troubled, as Jeremiah was:
    20: 9 “If I say, ‘I will not mention him,
    or speak any more in his name,’
    there is in my heart as it were a burning fire
    shut up in my bones,
    and I am weary with holding it in,
    and I cannot.”
    About forty years later, in the mid nineties, I was at a service in a Lutheran Church in Moscow. It was in German. The preacher was from the German embassy. The service books were all in German, and the people sang with thick Russian accents. Talking to some of them later, I was not sure how much of the sermon they understood. I left infinitely saddened.
    On the plus side, I know that the LCMS and other Lutheran denominations have seen to it that the Gospel is now brought to Russians in a language they can understand. And I have to praise God for people like Rev. John Melin, an ELCA pastor, who, in the early nineties, started a soup kitchen program in Moscow that, to this day, feeds about a 1000 needy Russians 6 days a week.

    Peace and Joy,
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    The English are not alone: My mother was a Lutheran, born in Russia, a descendant of Saxon farmers who emigrated toward the end of the 17th century. When I was still in high school and firmly of the opinion that the Lutheran faith should overcome all unbelief and heterodoxy, it bothered me that those Saxon farmers had not been successful in converting their Russian Orthodox neighbors. A sneaking suspicion made me ask my mother, “In what language did you hold your services?” “Why, in German, of course,” was the reply, and everything became clear. For too many of my maternal ancestors, their religion was part of their culture. They were not troubled, as Jeremiah was:
    20: 9 “If I say, ‘I will not mention him,
    or speak any more in his name,’
    there is in my heart as it were a burning fire
    shut up in my bones,
    and I am weary with holding it in,
    and I cannot.”
    About forty years later, in the mid nineties, I was at a service in a Lutheran Church in Moscow. It was in German. The preacher was from the German embassy. The service books were all in German, and the people sang with thick Russian accents. Talking to some of them later, I was not sure how much of the sermon they understood. I left infinitely saddened.
    On the plus side, I know that the LCMS and other Lutheran denominations have seen to it that the Gospel is now brought to Russians in a language they can understand. And I have to praise God for people like Rev. John Melin, an ELCA pastor, who, in the early nineties, started a soup kitchen program in Moscow that, to this day, feeds about a 1000 needy Russians 6 days a week.

    Peace and Joy,
    George A. Marquart

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Dr, or whatever,
    You could use any instrument you like. But borrowing music styles of the Pentecostals, or from secular airwaves, and dressing up the “worship” service with bad sound alike renditions of Neil Diamond music is not the way I think one greets the coming of the Almighty Lord and Savior.
    Music sets mood, helps convey message, or confuse message. Ask any movie director. What is funny is who gets this and who doesn’t.
    The other day I was talking about church with a man covered in tattoos and piercings. So he asked me “Do you have a band in church? I said no. And he said then maybe I will come. There is just something wrong about turning worship into a rock concert. I tend to agree.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Dr, or whatever,
    You could use any instrument you like. But borrowing music styles of the Pentecostals, or from secular airwaves, and dressing up the “worship” service with bad sound alike renditions of Neil Diamond music is not the way I think one greets the coming of the Almighty Lord and Savior.
    Music sets mood, helps convey message, or confuse message. Ask any movie director. What is funny is who gets this and who doesn’t.
    The other day I was talking about church with a man covered in tattoos and piercings. So he asked me “Do you have a band in church? I said no. And he said then maybe I will come. There is just something wrong about turning worship into a rock concert. I tend to agree.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    “and dressing up the “worship” service with bad sound alike renditions of Neil Diamond music is not the way I think one greets the coming of the Almighty Lord and Savior.”
    Now we get to the root of the matter. It seems that your personal taste is informing your position rather than an actual theological position. It can be argued whether or not it is a bad sound. I have heard some horrid pieces both classic and contemporary. I have also heard some tremendously beautiful pieces both classic and contemporary.

    “Music sets mood, helps convey message, or confuse message. Ask any movie director. ”
    In allowing your personal taste to influence your view point you ignore the fact that this can be done in a variety of styles not just the classic styles. It can be done just as well via a band made up of guitars and drums, or an organ, or orchestra.

    By the way, you will never hear me advocate turning the divine service into a rock concert.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    “and dressing up the “worship” service with bad sound alike renditions of Neil Diamond music is not the way I think one greets the coming of the Almighty Lord and Savior.”
    Now we get to the root of the matter. It seems that your personal taste is informing your position rather than an actual theological position. It can be argued whether or not it is a bad sound. I have heard some horrid pieces both classic and contemporary. I have also heard some tremendously beautiful pieces both classic and contemporary.

    “Music sets mood, helps convey message, or confuse message. Ask any movie director. ”
    In allowing your personal taste to influence your view point you ignore the fact that this can be done in a variety of styles not just the classic styles. It can be done just as well via a band made up of guitars and drums, or an organ, or orchestra.

    By the way, you will never hear me advocate turning the divine service into a rock concert.

  • Bethany Kilcrease

    Lutheranism is a strange bird in Britain to most people, including many of the clergy. I’m actually giving a paper on this subject entitled “Luther as Mirror and Hammer: The Lutheran “Other” among Victorian Britons” at the biennial Boston College Conference on the History of Religion in March. The common way for many Victorians and Edwardians to approach Luther and Lutheranism was to look for aspects that agreed with their own theology and then use Lutheranism as a rhetorical club to attack their co-religionist theological opponents.
    Bethany Kilcrease

  • Bethany Kilcrease

    Lutheranism is a strange bird in Britain to most people, including many of the clergy. I’m actually giving a paper on this subject entitled “Luther as Mirror and Hammer: The Lutheran “Other” among Victorian Britons” at the biennial Boston College Conference on the History of Religion in March. The common way for many Victorians and Edwardians to approach Luther and Lutheranism was to look for aspects that agreed with their own theology and then use Lutheranism as a rhetorical club to attack their co-religionist theological opponents.
    Bethany Kilcrease

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    “The other day I was talking about church with a man covered in tattoos and piercings.”

    Judging by appearance nobody would ever guess that my favorite modern bands fall into the heavy and symphonic metal genres. I generally sport a rather conservative haircut and I do not have any piercings or tattoos. In addition, I have never worn all black, unless you count my black clerical shirt with a black suit jacket and pants.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    “The other day I was talking about church with a man covered in tattoos and piercings.”

    Judging by appearance nobody would ever guess that my favorite modern bands fall into the heavy and symphonic metal genres. I generally sport a rather conservative haircut and I do not have any piercings or tattoos. In addition, I have never worn all black, unless you count my black clerical shirt with a black suit jacket and pants.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    No, your right, Dr. Whatever,
    We should just throw it all out, and start using the cliquish music of our day to further divide the church, now not only among denominations, but age and subculture too.
    See I like, I actually like Rock and Roll, I like Country too, sometimes I can stand Jazz, and classical music rarely plays on my car radio. But I don’t consider these styles that I like to be at all reverent of fit for worship.
    I used to not like the idea of worshiping with rock music because it divided the congregation between older and young. Where as the hymns I grew up with had a way of unifying a congregation across generations, and done well you learned to like it. But now days modern music styles are even worse suited. I can see kids listening to different styles of music coming together in the divine service and enjoying the music, I even see that. But these days the music the listen to at home serves to divide them. You have Goth, Emo, hicks etc.
    But rather than listening to the church through the ages, we should just cater to your tastes because if you like it, everyone else must like it too.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    No, your right, Dr. Whatever,
    We should just throw it all out, and start using the cliquish music of our day to further divide the church, now not only among denominations, but age and subculture too.
    See I like, I actually like Rock and Roll, I like Country too, sometimes I can stand Jazz, and classical music rarely plays on my car radio. But I don’t consider these styles that I like to be at all reverent of fit for worship.
    I used to not like the idea of worshiping with rock music because it divided the congregation between older and young. Where as the hymns I grew up with had a way of unifying a congregation across generations, and done well you learned to like it. But now days modern music styles are even worse suited. I can see kids listening to different styles of music coming together in the divine service and enjoying the music, I even see that. But these days the music the listen to at home serves to divide them. You have Goth, Emo, hicks etc.
    But rather than listening to the church through the ages, we should just cater to your tastes because if you like it, everyone else must like it too.

  • Mark Schroeder

    To Bror Erikson @ #19: in season 8 of King of the Hill, the episode “Reborn to be Wild”, Bobby becomes part of a youth group who’s youth group minster is into Christian rock, tatoos and pierce ears. Hank can’t stand this and his son in this youth group. And in one of the many great lines in this episode says to the youth minster regarding ‘Christian’ rock (from memory): “You haven’t made Christianity any better, you just made rock and roll worse.”

  • Mark Schroeder

    To Bror Erikson @ #19: in season 8 of King of the Hill, the episode “Reborn to be Wild”, Bobby becomes part of a youth group who’s youth group minster is into Christian rock, tatoos and pierce ears. Hank can’t stand this and his son in this youth group. And in one of the many great lines in this episode says to the youth minster regarding ‘Christian’ rock (from memory): “You haven’t made Christianity any better, you just made rock and roll worse.”

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Mark,
    I always liked that episode. King of the Hill has some of the best theological commentary out there.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Mark,
    I always liked that episode. King of the Hill has some of the best theological commentary out there.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    Bror,

    You miss understand me if you believe I think we should throw it all out.

    The question it seems must be “What makes something reverent?” All genres of music can elicit the full range of emotions and moods. What ultimate determines the appropriateness of music is a combination of the mood it elicits and the message that it conveys. There are appropriate times in the divine service to have a more upbeat or rocking, if you will, tune such as a song of praise in response to the Gospel (i.e. after absolution). While on the other hand, there are places it would be more appropriate to have a more sedate and contemplative song (i.e. song of the day or during communion).

    “But rather than listening to the church through the ages, we should just cater to your tastes because if you like it, everyone else must like it too.”

    Again, I am not even remotely suggesting ignoring the church through the ages. Besides, if we were to cater to my tastes we would have a full up orchestra, an acapella group, solo organist, jazz band, classic rock, Gregorian chant, blue grass, an oompa band, and heavy metal all in the same service and we would be there all day.

    I am listening to the church of the ages. I do not ignore our past or our present.

    “But now days modern music styles are even worse suited.”

    No offense now you’re just showing your age. (I count myself in that too, I can’t stand modern pop and urban.)

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    Bror,

    You miss understand me if you believe I think we should throw it all out.

    The question it seems must be “What makes something reverent?” All genres of music can elicit the full range of emotions and moods. What ultimate determines the appropriateness of music is a combination of the mood it elicits and the message that it conveys. There are appropriate times in the divine service to have a more upbeat or rocking, if you will, tune such as a song of praise in response to the Gospel (i.e. after absolution). While on the other hand, there are places it would be more appropriate to have a more sedate and contemplative song (i.e. song of the day or during communion).

    “But rather than listening to the church through the ages, we should just cater to your tastes because if you like it, everyone else must like it too.”

    Again, I am not even remotely suggesting ignoring the church through the ages. Besides, if we were to cater to my tastes we would have a full up orchestra, an acapella group, solo organist, jazz band, classic rock, Gregorian chant, blue grass, an oompa band, and heavy metal all in the same service and we would be there all day.

    I am listening to the church of the ages. I do not ignore our past or our present.

    “But now days modern music styles are even worse suited.”

    No offense now you’re just showing your age. (I count myself in that too, I can’t stand modern pop and urban.)

  • Peter Leavitt

    DR….I see, the older folks lack the cool to pronounce discrimination on the subject of church music; yet much of contemporary pop music in its rhythm and beat is rather a pagan, salcious brew that hardly belong in orthodox Christian churches with their rich tradition of chant,hymns, all the way to such an oratorio as The Messiah.

    We may hope that during the 21st Century young people will wake up to the shallow horror of this pagan music and return to develop the richness of classical Christian music.

    I agree that this is a matter of taste; some have it; some don’t.

  • Peter Leavitt

    DR….I see, the older folks lack the cool to pronounce discrimination on the subject of church music; yet much of contemporary pop music in its rhythm and beat is rather a pagan, salcious brew that hardly belong in orthodox Christian churches with their rich tradition of chant,hymns, all the way to such an oratorio as The Messiah.

    We may hope that during the 21st Century young people will wake up to the shallow horror of this pagan music and return to develop the richness of classical Christian music.

    I agree that this is a matter of taste; some have it; some don’t.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    Peter, pray tell what makes a rhythm and beat pagan? Is there something intrinsically pagan about notes on a page? There is no question that much of today’s pop music and a great deal of music throughout history is unchristian, but that is not because of a particular beat or rhythm rather it is because of the message it conveys.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    Peter, pray tell what makes a rhythm and beat pagan? Is there something intrinsically pagan about notes on a page? There is no question that much of today’s pop music and a great deal of music throughout history is unchristian, but that is not because of a particular beat or rhythm rather it is because of the message it conveys.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Dr…., the rhythm and beat of any music are part of its essence. The rockin’ and rollin’ and bump’n’ of contemporary pop music hardly belongs in a serious orthodox Christian church, even if prettied up with a supposedly Christian message. Christ, or for that matter Luther, in their messages to people hardly appealed to their lower emotions. Gospel and Law, while they ultimately bring great joy, don’t stoop to crude emotion.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Dr…., the rhythm and beat of any music are part of its essence. The rockin’ and rollin’ and bump’n’ of contemporary pop music hardly belongs in a serious orthodox Christian church, even if prettied up with a supposedly Christian message. Christ, or for that matter Luther, in their messages to people hardly appealed to their lower emotions. Gospel and Law, while they ultimately bring great joy, don’t stoop to crude emotion.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Dr…
    I rarely find myself aligned with Peter on a topic. But I dare say there is some truth to what he says. And you have turned on yourself.
    For instance if you were to consult an etymological dictionary concerning the term Jazz, you would see why it was so used by the porn industry. The music is not neutral in regards to the music it conveys. You have said as much above, agreeing with me that music is used to set mood and convey the message one wants to send. If it is an upbeat message you want to send you use up beat music. Some styles do in fact lend themselves to some messages, and are incompatible with others.
    Some music is so associated with secular, satanic, or indeed pagan messages, rituals, etc that it finds itself unsuitable for the Divine Service.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Dr…
    I rarely find myself aligned with Peter on a topic. But I dare say there is some truth to what he says. And you have turned on yourself.
    For instance if you were to consult an etymological dictionary concerning the term Jazz, you would see why it was so used by the porn industry. The music is not neutral in regards to the music it conveys. You have said as much above, agreeing with me that music is used to set mood and convey the message one wants to send. If it is an upbeat message you want to send you use up beat music. Some styles do in fact lend themselves to some messages, and are incompatible with others.
    Some music is so associated with secular, satanic, or indeed pagan messages, rituals, etc that it finds itself unsuitable for the Divine Service.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Peter,
    I never said that rhythm and beat aren’t an essential part of music. I asked what makes a particular rhythm and beat intrinsically pagan.
    I have never and will never reduce music to a purely emotional response. Music can and should engage us emotionally and intellectually. Good music stirs the soul and explores the essence of truth.

    Bror,

    Condemnation by association is a poor argument, please see our esteemed hosts arguments on the topic of Fantasy. If we are to follow your line of logic we would be forced to remove all music from our divine service because all styles of music have been subverted by Satan. Let’s face it classical music is replete with pagan themes.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Peter,
    I never said that rhythm and beat aren’t an essential part of music. I asked what makes a particular rhythm and beat intrinsically pagan.
    I have never and will never reduce music to a purely emotional response. Music can and should engage us emotionally and intellectually. Good music stirs the soul and explores the essence of truth.

    Bror,

    Condemnation by association is a poor argument, please see our esteemed hosts arguments on the topic of Fantasy. If we are to follow your line of logic we would be forced to remove all music from our divine service because all styles of music have been subverted by Satan. Let’s face it classical music is replete with pagan themes.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Oh good. A debate on contemporary music in the church.

    Questionable etymologies aside (Bror, @30, I did look it up and it said “origin unknown”, though that doesn’t stop any number of prurient speculations, of course), I wonder if there’s a false dichotomy being debated here.

    I submit that not all modern music — yes, even that using guitars, keyboards, and the like — is “rockin’ and rollin’ and bump’n’ … contemporary pop.” There is much music that is recently written and uses contemporary instruments that still manages to have a respectful tone to it.

    Since I’m almost certain to be asked for an example, I guess I’d suggest some of the slower works by Sufjan Stevens. I’ve always wanted to perform his “The Transfiguration”, though I don’t think the lyrics are quite what I’d want them to be. That could be easily fixed, though. If I was paying more attention to music these days, I might be able to name some more examples.

    Still, some people are acting as if this is a debate between using the music of Bach or of Britney Spears. Those people need to get out more.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Oh good. A debate on contemporary music in the church.

    Questionable etymologies aside (Bror, @30, I did look it up and it said “origin unknown”, though that doesn’t stop any number of prurient speculations, of course), I wonder if there’s a false dichotomy being debated here.

    I submit that not all modern music — yes, even that using guitars, keyboards, and the like — is “rockin’ and rollin’ and bump’n’ … contemporary pop.” There is much music that is recently written and uses contemporary instruments that still manages to have a respectful tone to it.

    Since I’m almost certain to be asked for an example, I guess I’d suggest some of the slower works by Sufjan Stevens. I’ve always wanted to perform his “The Transfiguration”, though I don’t think the lyrics are quite what I’d want them to be. That could be easily fixed, though. If I was paying more attention to music these days, I might be able to name some more examples.

    Still, some people are acting as if this is a debate between using the music of Bach or of Britney Spears. Those people need to get out more.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Dr…
    The hymns and chant’s used in the divine service are not exactly synonymous with “classical” music either. There has been some borrowing from the classical genre to be sure. But it is not synonymous. That said we have probably beat this tired horse enough for the day. If you don’t want to see the point then you won’t see it. Go ahead with your “contemporary” service, just don’t expect me to show up. I’m happy seeing people of all ages come together for a divine service that has survived the ages. but if you want to cater to the crowd somewhere between twenty and your age alone, go ahead. just don’t be surprised if your version of worship ends up on the same ash heap as “the Chicago Fold Mass.”

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Dr…
    The hymns and chant’s used in the divine service are not exactly synonymous with “classical” music either. There has been some borrowing from the classical genre to be sure. But it is not synonymous. That said we have probably beat this tired horse enough for the day. If you don’t want to see the point then you won’t see it. Go ahead with your “contemporary” service, just don’t expect me to show up. I’m happy seeing people of all ages come together for a divine service that has survived the ages. but if you want to cater to the crowd somewhere between twenty and your age alone, go ahead. just don’t be surprised if your version of worship ends up on the same ash heap as “the Chicago Fold Mass.”

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Bror,
    The thing is you haven’t proven your point. You have not illustrated how certain musical stylings/genres are intrinsically not reverent.

    I see a great deal of grey hairs in contemporary services so I find it rather hard to say I am catering to certain age demographic granted it has been erroneously billed as away to reach my age demographic.

    BTW, you still seem to be operating under the assumption I advocate the removal of the traditional liturgical forms. I don’t advocate that all, I am against limiting song selections to a specific style.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Bror,
    The thing is you haven’t proven your point. You have not illustrated how certain musical stylings/genres are intrinsically not reverent.

    I see a great deal of grey hairs in contemporary services so I find it rather hard to say I am catering to certain age demographic granted it has been erroneously billed as away to reach my age demographic.

    BTW, you still seem to be operating under the assumption I advocate the removal of the traditional liturgical forms. I don’t advocate that all, I am against limiting song selections to a specific style.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    You are right that hymns are not synonymous with classical, but Handel’s “Messiah” is and loosely defined so is much of Bach’s work.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    You are right that hymns are not synonymous with classical, but Handel’s “Messiah” is and loosely defined so is much of Bach’s work.

  • Paul

    Excuse me, Bror (@14), but I believe that if you check out AC IV you will find that we are justified by GRACE rather than by faith, as you say. We are not saved by faith, but by the grace of God in Jesus Christ. Grace alone saves us (efficient cause) while Faith alone appropriates that salvation to itself (ca. Luther’s explanation to the Apostles’ Creed, Third Article). Now who’s the piss-poor theologian (@5)?

    With regard to that statement @14 concerning “the liberal pastors turned out by our seminaries between 1950-73″, you are condemning all pastors who were between the ages of 26 and 49 in 1973 who are ages 62 to 85 today — many of whom are the most Orthodox, Lutheran Pastors and nothing near worthy of the “liberal” label you ascribe to them en masse. They were the Pastors of the Synod who shepherded our faithful congregations through those difficult, hurtful years, bore the pains of schism as only Pastors can, and probably include a great number of your very own professors and mine. Shall I begin naming them?

    So be careful, my friend, whom you paint with such sweeping statements that do more damage to the good name of faithful shepherds than perhaps those who painted them as lifeless conservatives and rightly left our beloved Synod. And be sure to take the theological log out of your own eye (cf. #14) before taking the speck from your brother’s eye. (see also Philippians 4:8 and 1 Corinthians 11:19)

  • Paul

    Excuse me, Bror (@14), but I believe that if you check out AC IV you will find that we are justified by GRACE rather than by faith, as you say. We are not saved by faith, but by the grace of God in Jesus Christ. Grace alone saves us (efficient cause) while Faith alone appropriates that salvation to itself (ca. Luther’s explanation to the Apostles’ Creed, Third Article). Now who’s the piss-poor theologian (@5)?

    With regard to that statement @14 concerning “the liberal pastors turned out by our seminaries between 1950-73″, you are condemning all pastors who were between the ages of 26 and 49 in 1973 who are ages 62 to 85 today — many of whom are the most Orthodox, Lutheran Pastors and nothing near worthy of the “liberal” label you ascribe to them en masse. They were the Pastors of the Synod who shepherded our faithful congregations through those difficult, hurtful years, bore the pains of schism as only Pastors can, and probably include a great number of your very own professors and mine. Shall I begin naming them?

    So be careful, my friend, whom you paint with such sweeping statements that do more damage to the good name of faithful shepherds than perhaps those who painted them as lifeless conservatives and rightly left our beloved Synod. And be sure to take the theological log out of your own eye (cf. #14) before taking the speck from your brother’s eye. (see also Philippians 4:8 and 1 Corinthians 11:19)

  • Kelly

    Paul @36, it’s perfectly legit (yes, even for Lutherans) to use the term “justification by faith”, as long as you know that faith does not cause salvation but receives it. Faith saves because it clings to the saving object, and I’m sure that Bror knows that. The Bible speaks of justification by faith (i.e. Rom. 3:28, Gal 2:16, etc) and faith saving, so it’s acceptable language to use.

  • Kelly

    Paul @36, it’s perfectly legit (yes, even for Lutherans) to use the term “justification by faith”, as long as you know that faith does not cause salvation but receives it. Faith saves because it clings to the saving object, and I’m sure that Bror knows that. The Bible speaks of justification by faith (i.e. Rom. 3:28, Gal 2:16, etc) and faith saving, so it’s acceptable language to use.

  • NK

    Question to all: Why do discussions here tend to turn into fruitless, protracted, and redundant debates over sodomy, contemporary worship, or current political issues? Not that any of those are unimportant, but not all discussions are about those things. I can see the connection between contemporary worship and being recogniseably Lutheran, but they are different issues. Also, why do you regular commentors keep rehashing the same arguments, when each of you already knows what the others will say? I suggest returning to the topic of the original post. It certainly would be more helpful to those of us who prefer to listen to the discussion quietly.

  • NK

    Question to all: Why do discussions here tend to turn into fruitless, protracted, and redundant debates over sodomy, contemporary worship, or current political issues? Not that any of those are unimportant, but not all discussions are about those things. I can see the connection between contemporary worship and being recogniseably Lutheran, but they are different issues. Also, why do you regular commentors keep rehashing the same arguments, when each of you already knows what the others will say? I suggest returning to the topic of the original post. It certainly would be more helpful to those of us who prefer to listen to the discussion quietly.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    NK (@38), people who “listen to the discussion quietly” do not get to dictate its direction. Feel free to jump in and steer the conversation the correct way, but in order to do so, you’ll have to do more than merely chastise people for going off course. After all, your comment didn’t do anything to further your stated goals, did it?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    NK (@38), people who “listen to the discussion quietly” do not get to dictate its direction. Feel free to jump in and steer the conversation the correct way, but in order to do so, you’ll have to do more than merely chastise people for going off course. After all, your comment didn’t do anything to further your stated goals, did it?

  • Ryan

    I was really interested in the topic of the thread. Oh well.

    When the Lutherans in the US starting to look for English Language Liturgy/Wording that would support their theology – they grabbed from the Book of Common Prayer.

    We had a small ECUSA church close up in our town (before my time as pastor here). I was surprised to find that when the church closed the congregation almost all went Roman Catholic and did not even query the Lutheran Church. Why? Ironically their last Priest now serves another small town ECUSA parish jointly with an ELCA congregation.

    Bethany Kilcrease @ 21 – Thats sounds like an interesting paper, any chance it will be available?

  • Ryan

    I was really interested in the topic of the thread. Oh well.

    When the Lutherans in the US starting to look for English Language Liturgy/Wording that would support their theology – they grabbed from the Book of Common Prayer.

    We had a small ECUSA church close up in our town (before my time as pastor here). I was surprised to find that when the church closed the congregation almost all went Roman Catholic and did not even query the Lutheran Church. Why? Ironically their last Priest now serves another small town ECUSA parish jointly with an ELCA congregation.

    Bethany Kilcrease @ 21 – Thats sounds like an interesting paper, any chance it will be available?

  • Ryan

    Here is my guess as to why Anglos don’t know Lutheranism:

    1. Language barrier (especially as time went by)
    2. Cultural/nationalistic Barriers (think Colonialism and competition, think also the World Wars – who was against who)
    3. With the above – the fluidity of nationality was slowing solidifying after the Reformation and hindered the freer circulation of theology under the Pope.
    4. A bit of pride on both sides

    Remember Lutherans and Anglicans did mix on Revolutionary soil. The Lutherans decided to join other protestants (Schmucker) or keep to themselves (LCMS). They were also of a different class. (We don’t have class in the USA – ha!)

    There are my speculations, feel free to tear them down!

  • Ryan

    Here is my guess as to why Anglos don’t know Lutheranism:

    1. Language barrier (especially as time went by)
    2. Cultural/nationalistic Barriers (think Colonialism and competition, think also the World Wars – who was against who)
    3. With the above – the fluidity of nationality was slowing solidifying after the Reformation and hindered the freer circulation of theology under the Pope.
    4. A bit of pride on both sides

    Remember Lutherans and Anglicans did mix on Revolutionary soil. The Lutherans decided to join other protestants (Schmucker) or keep to themselves (LCMS). They were also of a different class. (We don’t have class in the USA – ha!)

    There are my speculations, feel free to tear them down!

  • NK

    tODD @39:

    “After all, your comment didn’t do anything to further your stated goals, did it?”

    Touche’, and revoco.

  • NK

    tODD @39:

    “After all, your comment didn’t do anything to further your stated goals, did it?”

    Touche’, and revoco.

  • Brigitte

    “De gustibus non est disputandum.” I just learned that from a talk on disc by a Reformed philosopher. (Smart, eh?) Apparently, the Ancients were right about so many things, including this one: “There is no sense in arguing about matters of taste”. “Taste” does not belong to the sphere of philosophy. Maybe it does not belong to theology, either?

    The liturgy we are all keeping, though, we notice. So, that’s definitely Lutheran, then. Give us liturgy!

    I think a hymn for a service should be like the liturgy: sung or practiced often enough that you know it practically by heart. If you are going to sing it just once a year; I don’t know about you. I’ll just sing through it and have missed a good portion of it and kick myself for it. Sorry, Lord forgive me, and I love to sing them.

    I have to chew on my hymns and be able to sing them when doing the dishes, on the road, etc. Then it is a good song. To a large degree this is a matter of training but nobody expects anyone to memorize anything anymore. To me that’s a large part of the issue, people knowing the hymns/songs well enough to profit from the text.

    Makes me think, we should get more of the hymn book on discs for traveling and such, not just contemporary music. What–the entire hymn book should only be 1 or 2 Gigabyte of memory on the I-POD. We could get them pre-loaded!

  • Brigitte

    “De gustibus non est disputandum.” I just learned that from a talk on disc by a Reformed philosopher. (Smart, eh?) Apparently, the Ancients were right about so many things, including this one: “There is no sense in arguing about matters of taste”. “Taste” does not belong to the sphere of philosophy. Maybe it does not belong to theology, either?

    The liturgy we are all keeping, though, we notice. So, that’s definitely Lutheran, then. Give us liturgy!

    I think a hymn for a service should be like the liturgy: sung or practiced often enough that you know it practically by heart. If you are going to sing it just once a year; I don’t know about you. I’ll just sing through it and have missed a good portion of it and kick myself for it. Sorry, Lord forgive me, and I love to sing them.

    I have to chew on my hymns and be able to sing them when doing the dishes, on the road, etc. Then it is a good song. To a large degree this is a matter of training but nobody expects anyone to memorize anything anymore. To me that’s a large part of the issue, people knowing the hymns/songs well enough to profit from the text.

    Makes me think, we should get more of the hymn book on discs for traveling and such, not just contemporary music. What–the entire hymn book should only be 1 or 2 Gigabyte of memory on the I-POD. We could get them pre-loaded!

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    Or was this the speakers point: “degustibus est disputandum”? I forget. Is there a debate whether taste is debatable or not? Maybe that was the point being made. Better listen again. (Not so smart, after all.)

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    Or was this the speakers point: “degustibus est disputandum”? I forget. Is there a debate whether taste is debatable or not? Maybe that was the point being made. Better listen again. (Not so smart, after all.)

  • http://www.utah-luthern.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Paul,
    You would be putting a false dichotomy between faith and grace? Pitting them against one another? Sorry but Kelly is right here. I don’t deny that it is by Grace, but faith, the gracious gift of God, receives it. If one wanted to you could find a bevy of orthodox Lutheran theologians who have used the language Justification by faith alone.
    Second, No where, and I say again, No where, did I say all pastors between 50 and 73 were liberal. Just that our seminaries at the time had a habit of producing them. But if you throw a stick in a pack of dogs, it seems to be the one hit that yelps. So back at you with the end of your post.

  • http://www.utah-luthern.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Paul,
    You would be putting a false dichotomy between faith and grace? Pitting them against one another? Sorry but Kelly is right here. I don’t deny that it is by Grace, but faith, the gracious gift of God, receives it. If one wanted to you could find a bevy of orthodox Lutheran theologians who have used the language Justification by faith alone.
    Second, No where, and I say again, No where, did I say all pastors between 50 and 73 were liberal. Just that our seminaries at the time had a habit of producing them. But if you throw a stick in a pack of dogs, it seems to be the one hit that yelps. So back at you with the end of your post.

  • Dan Kempin

    Bror, #45,

    “If you throw a stick into a pack of dogs . . .”

    Someone has been reading Giertz.

    Regarding Paul at #36, I call a touch. What is the point of bantering with one another if we do not acknowledge when a hit is scored?

    Faith alone, not faith plus something else, but BY grace THROUGH faith.

  • Dan Kempin

    Bror, #45,

    “If you throw a stick into a pack of dogs . . .”

    Someone has been reading Giertz.

    Regarding Paul at #36, I call a touch. What is the point of bantering with one another if we do not acknowledge when a hit is scored?

    Faith alone, not faith plus something else, but BY grace THROUGH faith.

  • Dan Kempin

    Afterthought: I am not suggesting, Bror, that you do not grasp and confess this, but just that you got caught in sloppy language.

  • Dan Kempin

    Afterthought: I am not suggesting, Bror, that you do not grasp and confess this, but just that you got caught in sloppy language.

  • http://www.utah-luthern.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Dan,
    No, I would not be caught dead reading Giertz, (I’m always caught very much alive.)
    But no Dan, it was not, So I invite you and Paul both to go read the post I just published on my blog concerning this silliness. It is not sloppy language, unless the apostle Paul, the Holy Spirit, and the Lutheran Confessions are going to be accused of sloppy language. But this thread has gone off track far enough.

  • http://www.utah-luthern.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Dan,
    No, I would not be caught dead reading Giertz, (I’m always caught very much alive.)
    But no Dan, it was not, So I invite you and Paul both to go read the post I just published on my blog concerning this silliness. It is not sloppy language, unless the apostle Paul, the Holy Spirit, and the Lutheran Confessions are going to be accused of sloppy language. But this thread has gone off track far enough.

  • Economist Doug

    Among the general public we can’t expect much awareness given that we don’t use modern media effectively.

    However you would think that at least fellow Christians would have some sense of who we are.

    I’m sure part of it is cultural/regional.

    We tend to be culturally German and Midwestern. That makes us relatively invisible in the large swaths of the country.

    We’re also hidden behind the theologically ambiguous ELCA.

  • Economist Doug

    Among the general public we can’t expect much awareness given that we don’t use modern media effectively.

    However you would think that at least fellow Christians would have some sense of who we are.

    I’m sure part of it is cultural/regional.

    We tend to be culturally German and Midwestern. That makes us relatively invisible in the large swaths of the country.

    We’re also hidden behind the theologically ambiguous ELCA.

  • http://www.utah-luthern.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Ryan,
    The language barrier really isn’t the reason Anglos have never understood Lutheranism. Aside from the fact that Lutherans often don’t understand Lutheranism. As evidenced above by the silly quarrel over the use of the phrase “justified by faith.” It has more to do with a reformed prejudice against Lutherans. It is a funny prejudice, because they love to praise Luther, and build statues in his honor. Yet they resent Lutheran’s because we “didn’t go far enough,” and we refused to go along with Calvin, who they believe is essentially Lutheran. They really refuse to understand Luther even when they read him. But he is a hero so they will selectively use his work to bolster their own doctrine, as Luther predicted the devil would, when if looked at on the whole you would find he is actually in disagreement.
    So what Anglos know of Luther and Lutheranism is a distorted picture caused by propoganda. For instance the Shirer Myth, that blames Luther for the Hollocaust and is sublimally planted in the minds of children through superman movies and commics.
    There would have been a “language barrier” for Calvin too, but Calvinism took root in England, so that barrier didn’t mean much. It is an historical problem, not a language problem.

  • http://www.utah-luthern.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Ryan,
    The language barrier really isn’t the reason Anglos have never understood Lutheranism. Aside from the fact that Lutherans often don’t understand Lutheranism. As evidenced above by the silly quarrel over the use of the phrase “justified by faith.” It has more to do with a reformed prejudice against Lutherans. It is a funny prejudice, because they love to praise Luther, and build statues in his honor. Yet they resent Lutheran’s because we “didn’t go far enough,” and we refused to go along with Calvin, who they believe is essentially Lutheran. They really refuse to understand Luther even when they read him. But he is a hero so they will selectively use his work to bolster their own doctrine, as Luther predicted the devil would, when if looked at on the whole you would find he is actually in disagreement.
    So what Anglos know of Luther and Lutheranism is a distorted picture caused by propoganda. For instance the Shirer Myth, that blames Luther for the Hollocaust and is sublimally planted in the minds of children through superman movies and commics.
    There would have been a “language barrier” for Calvin too, but Calvinism took root in England, so that barrier didn’t mean much. It is an historical problem, not a language problem.

  • Dan Kempin

    Bror,

    My point was not theological. I know you grasp very well that grace is the basis of salvation and faith is the means, and I am not suggesting that your use of “faith” was improper. Perhaps I should not have said “sloppy language.” (That was rather sloppy of me.)

    Still, it does not hurt anything to concede a fair point.

    Clarity on grace is always a good thing.

  • Dan Kempin

    Bror,

    My point was not theological. I know you grasp very well that grace is the basis of salvation and faith is the means, and I am not suggesting that your use of “faith” was improper. Perhaps I should not have said “sloppy language.” (That was rather sloppy of me.)

    Still, it does not hurt anything to concede a fair point.

    Clarity on grace is always a good thing.

  • Mark Schroeder

    “To the modern ear Luther’s verses sound awkward, if not uncouth. They lack the rich emotional overtones, the fellow flow of words and the metric regularity that we commonly associate with poetry. Some of them sound more like prose than poetry. In short, the standards that govern the editing of modern hymnbooks are no help in understanding Luther as a hymnist. The hymns of the 19th century that form the bulk of today’s hymnals were written according to the artistic canons of Romanticism. They use beautifully polished phrases and dance or march rhythms to create a certain mood and to give an ornate expression to personal religious feelings. But Luther’s hymns were meant not to create a mood, but to convey a message. They were a confession of faith, not of personal feelings.” Luther’s Works, volume 53, ‘Liturgy and Hymns’, page 197

    To use music to “create a mood”, reverential, upbeat, etc., within a congregation is the role of the propagandist. I think it is manipulative. Music serves the Word, not the Word the music. Nor does the hymnody of the Church serve us, but serves us the Word. When the Evangelical Lutherans are true to the Word, preaching, teaching, praying and singing the Word, not pointing to our personal feelings, then we are ignored by the Anglos, the neo-evangelicals etc. And in one sense that might be a good thing because we are not to preach ourselves, but Christ. Lutheran Hymnody is our glossasalia: singing the Word of God which is the work of the Holy Spirit. Lutheran Hymnody is about the Scriptures, not what we may be feeling about the Almighty and everything. In fact we find out in the Word what the Lord thinks and feels about us!

    In my current adult Bible study on Isaiah, I gave to the class all the Bible references from Isaiah in the Lutheran Book of Worship’s hymns: which are many! We had a good discussion. I pointed out that The Lutheran Hymnal had the Scripture references for each hymn at the top of the page(the LBW does not—only the index in the Minister’s Desk Edition; and we found out that the Service Book and Hymnal did not; Lutheran Service Book has Scriptural references!) One woman pointed out that not to have the Scriptural references cited is one way for a congregation not to know if it the hymn is actually Scriptural and sneak in other stuff! Another person, who has worshiped in other congregations using ‘contemporary’ worship, said that he did not think praise hymns had much Scripture in them at all. In the zeitgeist of the self and all of our shameless self promotion, the antidote to the Old Adam is not to feed him, but the new man in Christ the Word of the Lord.

  • Mark Schroeder

    “To the modern ear Luther’s verses sound awkward, if not uncouth. They lack the rich emotional overtones, the fellow flow of words and the metric regularity that we commonly associate with poetry. Some of them sound more like prose than poetry. In short, the standards that govern the editing of modern hymnbooks are no help in understanding Luther as a hymnist. The hymns of the 19th century that form the bulk of today’s hymnals were written according to the artistic canons of Romanticism. They use beautifully polished phrases and dance or march rhythms to create a certain mood and to give an ornate expression to personal religious feelings. But Luther’s hymns were meant not to create a mood, but to convey a message. They were a confession of faith, not of personal feelings.” Luther’s Works, volume 53, ‘Liturgy and Hymns’, page 197

    To use music to “create a mood”, reverential, upbeat, etc., within a congregation is the role of the propagandist. I think it is manipulative. Music serves the Word, not the Word the music. Nor does the hymnody of the Church serve us, but serves us the Word. When the Evangelical Lutherans are true to the Word, preaching, teaching, praying and singing the Word, not pointing to our personal feelings, then we are ignored by the Anglos, the neo-evangelicals etc. And in one sense that might be a good thing because we are not to preach ourselves, but Christ. Lutheran Hymnody is our glossasalia: singing the Word of God which is the work of the Holy Spirit. Lutheran Hymnody is about the Scriptures, not what we may be feeling about the Almighty and everything. In fact we find out in the Word what the Lord thinks and feels about us!

    In my current adult Bible study on Isaiah, I gave to the class all the Bible references from Isaiah in the Lutheran Book of Worship’s hymns: which are many! We had a good discussion. I pointed out that The Lutheran Hymnal had the Scripture references for each hymn at the top of the page(the LBW does not—only the index in the Minister’s Desk Edition; and we found out that the Service Book and Hymnal did not; Lutheran Service Book has Scriptural references!) One woman pointed out that not to have the Scriptural references cited is one way for a congregation not to know if it the hymn is actually Scriptural and sneak in other stuff! Another person, who has worshiped in other congregations using ‘contemporary’ worship, said that he did not think praise hymns had much Scripture in them at all. In the zeitgeist of the self and all of our shameless self promotion, the antidote to the Old Adam is not to feed him, but the new man in Christ the Word of the Lord.

  • http://www.utah-luthern.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Dan,
    No. Any further comments on that line can be taken up at my blog. But no, clarification of Grace, does not pit grace against faith.

  • http://www.utah-luthern.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Dan,
    No. Any further comments on that line can be taken up at my blog. But no, clarification of Grace, does not pit grace against faith.

  • http://www.utah-luthern.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Mark,
    “To use music to “create a mood”, reverential, upbeat, etc., within a congregation is the role of the propagandist. I think it is manipulative. Music serves the Word, not the Word the music.”
    Duly noted, and agreed. Thanks for that. It is absolutely correct. Or I think I stand corrected a bit.
    However, my original point, was merely that you can’t expect anglicans to know we are liturgical, when we throw out the liturgy at every opportunity we have, and sing silly little “praise” ditties instead. I am sorry for the rest of the discussion.

  • http://www.utah-luthern.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Mark,
    “To use music to “create a mood”, reverential, upbeat, etc., within a congregation is the role of the propagandist. I think it is manipulative. Music serves the Word, not the Word the music.”
    Duly noted, and agreed. Thanks for that. It is absolutely correct. Or I think I stand corrected a bit.
    However, my original point, was merely that you can’t expect anglicans to know we are liturgical, when we throw out the liturgy at every opportunity we have, and sing silly little “praise” ditties instead. I am sorry for the rest of the discussion.

  • Mark Schroeder

    Bror, actually I was not trying to correct you but redirect the discussion. And I think your point about “praise ditties” is spot on. Faithful Anglicans love The Book of Common Prayer which I think is admirable. It’s probably what has kept them as orthodox Christians. I think Lex orandi, lex credendi is applicable here. And if we do the slappy, clappy sloppy agape worship, what good Anglican is going to take seriously the centrality of Justification in Christ Jesus confessed by the Lutheran Church and sung in her liturgies and hymnody?

  • Mark Schroeder

    Bror, actually I was not trying to correct you but redirect the discussion. And I think your point about “praise ditties” is spot on. Faithful Anglicans love The Book of Common Prayer which I think is admirable. It’s probably what has kept them as orthodox Christians. I think Lex orandi, lex credendi is applicable here. And if we do the slappy, clappy sloppy agape worship, what good Anglican is going to take seriously the centrality of Justification in Christ Jesus confessed by the Lutheran Church and sung in her liturgies and hymnody?

  • http://uest fws

    #51 dan

    bror is wrong in his wording if also the lutheran confessions, st paul and luther are wrong in an identical way

    i will take my chances with them dear brother.. BY can mean because of , but by can also men through. i see this through faith and by faith both being used by scriptures luther and the bible.

    quible about things that merit a quibble.

    like how lutherans turn reformed and say that sanctification is what paul describes as running the race, or struggling against the flesh or subduing the flesh. now THAT is a debate worth having!

  • http://uest fws

    #51 dan

    bror is wrong in his wording if also the lutheran confessions, st paul and luther are wrong in an identical way

    i will take my chances with them dear brother.. BY can mean because of , but by can also men through. i see this through faith and by faith both being used by scriptures luther and the bible.

    quible about things that merit a quibble.

    like how lutherans turn reformed and say that sanctification is what paul describes as running the race, or struggling against the flesh or subduing the flesh. now THAT is a debate worth having!

  • http://uest fws

    #52 mark schroeder

    excellent.

    I often cringe just a little at some of the english hymns lutherans use that seem to be about triumphalism and combine works with faith in some odd ways… such as “onward christian soldiers”.

    what we do, our works, mortification of the flesh, requires no cross of jesus or faith at all. and it is not what makes us christians. and it is , most of all, NOT sanctification or it’s fruit.

    Lutheran hymns keep faith and works separate and do not do the reformed error of sneaking works in through the back door by calling as sanctification what is really mortification of the flesh which is all law and works and all about the old adam.

  • http://uest fws

    #52 mark schroeder

    excellent.

    I often cringe just a little at some of the english hymns lutherans use that seem to be about triumphalism and combine works with faith in some odd ways… such as “onward christian soldiers”.

    what we do, our works, mortification of the flesh, requires no cross of jesus or faith at all. and it is not what makes us christians. and it is , most of all, NOT sanctification or it’s fruit.

    Lutheran hymns keep faith and works separate and do not do the reformed error of sneaking works in through the back door by calling as sanctification what is really mortification of the flesh which is all law and works and all about the old adam.

  • http://twitter.com/questlove Amir Thompson

    That track is absolutely amazing, and I’m not really into that type of music. I really like it!

  • http://twitter.com/questlove Amir Thompson

    That track is absolutely amazing, and I’m not really into that type of music. I really like it!


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