Norway disestablishes the state Lutheran church

The Norwegian parliament has voted to do away with the state church.  The measure, which was passed unanimously and which also seems to have the approval of church officials, will still provide some church funding, though extending that to other groups, including “humanists.”  Though all Norwegians have been enrolled in the church upon their baptism, only 2% of the population attend regularly and 72% do not believe in a personal God.  Religion remains important, according to polls, for 20% of the population.  From the atheist site at Patheos:

The separation of church and state, such as it is, will involve the following:

  • The Lutheran Church of Norway will be renamed The People’s Church
  • Norway will no longer have an official national religion
  • The government will no longer participate in the appointment of bishops and deans
  • There will no longer be a requirement for parliamentary officials to be members of the Lutheran Church

The following things will not be changed:

  • The church tax will remain in place (although a small portion will be going to humanist organizations)
  • A church office will remain in the government, headed up by a minister

After reading through kirken.no (the former Church of Norway’s official site) it sounds like it was an amiable split. The fact that the state is still funding the church is justified as follows:

“… The Committee notes that the constitutional changes resulting from the settlement the church intends to clarify the Norwegian churches free position as religious communities. This means that the religious activities of the church will no longer be the state’s task. However, it is government’s task to support the church as a religious community, and to support other religious and philosophical alike. The Committee endorses the understanding that the changes represent a new basis for the development of the Norwegian Church as an independent religious communities. The Committee would also emphasize the importance of establishing security for the changes contribute to the preservation of the Norwegian Church’s mission to be an open, inclusive and democratic national church.”

via Norway Abolishes National Church.

“The People’s Church”!  Could it be that the liberal theology of the established church is a major reason that the population consists largely of non-believers?

Is the concept of a Lutheran state church an intrinsic violation of Luther’s Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms, a historical accident that has actually undermined Lutheranism?

Could disestablishment help the cause of Christianity in Norway?

Or should we embrace antidisestablishmentarianism?  (Not often do I get a chance to use that word!)

HT:  Mary J. Moerbe

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

    In order to be consistent, shouldn’t we wonder whether the slide to liberal theology and disengagement of so many of the people was a result of the liturgical forms and music of the Lutheran Church of Norway?

  • Dan Kempin

    In order to be consistent, shouldn’t we wonder whether the slide to liberal theology and disengagement of so many of the people was a result of the liturgical forms and music of the Lutheran Church of Norway?

  • Daniel Gorman

    Gene Veith: “The People’s Church”! Could it be that the liberal theology of the established church is a major reason that the population consists largely of non-believers?”

    The liberal theology of the established church is merely a symptom of the disease of sin that infects all men. The Cause of Sin is “the will of the wicked, that is, of the devil and ungodly men; which will, unaided of God, turns itself from God” Augsburg Confession XIX.

    Gene Veith:”Is the concept of a Lutheran state church an intrinsic violation of Luther’s Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms, a historical accident that has actually undermined Lutheranism?”

    A Lutheran state church is not an intrinsic violation of Christ’s Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms. As Christ preached and our Lutheran Confessions affirm, the two Kingdoms deal with very different things and they never interfere with each other.

    Historically, we know that many “so-called” Lutheran state churches deviated from Christ’s Doctrine of the Church. And many “so-called” Lutheran state governments deviated from Christ’s Doctrine of the State. These departures from Christ’s doctrine of Church and State were caused by the devil and sinful men not by the presence or absence of a Lutheran state church. Lutheranism (i.e., the true doctrine of scripture) is neither advanced nor impeded by the concept of a Lutheran state church.

    Gene Veith:”Could disestablishment help the cause of Christianity in Norway?
    Or should we embrace antidisestablishmentarianism? (Not often do I get a chance to use that word!)”

    No, No. Governments, whether established or disestablished, never help the cause of Christianity. The cause of Christianity is advanced only by the Holy Spirit through the outward means of grace: “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; even as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith” Luther’s Small Catechism.

  • Daniel Gorman

    Gene Veith: “The People’s Church”! Could it be that the liberal theology of the established church is a major reason that the population consists largely of non-believers?”

    The liberal theology of the established church is merely a symptom of the disease of sin that infects all men. The Cause of Sin is “the will of the wicked, that is, of the devil and ungodly men; which will, unaided of God, turns itself from God” Augsburg Confession XIX.

    Gene Veith:”Is the concept of a Lutheran state church an intrinsic violation of Luther’s Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms, a historical accident that has actually undermined Lutheranism?”

    A Lutheran state church is not an intrinsic violation of Christ’s Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms. As Christ preached and our Lutheran Confessions affirm, the two Kingdoms deal with very different things and they never interfere with each other.

    Historically, we know that many “so-called” Lutheran state churches deviated from Christ’s Doctrine of the Church. And many “so-called” Lutheran state governments deviated from Christ’s Doctrine of the State. These departures from Christ’s doctrine of Church and State were caused by the devil and sinful men not by the presence or absence of a Lutheran state church. Lutheranism (i.e., the true doctrine of scripture) is neither advanced nor impeded by the concept of a Lutheran state church.

    Gene Veith:”Could disestablishment help the cause of Christianity in Norway?
    Or should we embrace antidisestablishmentarianism? (Not often do I get a chance to use that word!)”

    No, No. Governments, whether established or disestablished, never help the cause of Christianity. The cause of Christianity is advanced only by the Holy Spirit through the outward means of grace: “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; even as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith” Luther’s Small Catechism.

  • Pete

    Interesting post in light of the post the other day about Stalin. In terms of helping the church, Stalin’s atheist oppression of the organized church in Russia seems to have resulted in more self-identified believers than has state-sponsored religion in Norway.

  • Pete

    Interesting post in light of the post the other day about Stalin. In terms of helping the church, Stalin’s atheist oppression of the organized church in Russia seems to have resulted in more self-identified believers than has state-sponsored religion in Norway.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    “The People’s Church?” Wasn’t Karlstadt’s slogan “the people’s work?”

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    “The People’s Church?” Wasn’t Karlstadt’s slogan “the people’s work?”

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    In the Norwegian historical context, disestablishment is definitely a symptom of the secularization of the culture as a whole (Norway, by the way, is the most religious Scandinavian country. Church participation is even lower in Denmark, Sweden, and Finland).

    But separation of church and state is a good thing in itself. I pray that Norwegian Christians will learn to ride without training wheels now.

    But I’m not very hopeful.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    In the Norwegian historical context, disestablishment is definitely a symptom of the secularization of the culture as a whole (Norway, by the way, is the most religious Scandinavian country. Church participation is even lower in Denmark, Sweden, and Finland).

    But separation of church and state is a good thing in itself. I pray that Norwegian Christians will learn to ride without training wheels now.

    But I’m not very hopeful.

  • Joe

    I think this is probably a good thing for confessional Lutheranism. I think (and this is just my opinion) that state churches necessarily move away from orthodoxy because the state has to keep the church palatable to the largest segment of the population. The idea that a state would remain submissive to an official church is not workable. Since the state funds the church and appoints the bishops, it is just a matter of time before the church reflects the views of the state instead of the state reflecting the views of the church.

    Moreover, once the church is heterodox and no longer offers anything different from the culture around it, why would anyone go?

    In response to this we should all be praying that this action will create opportunities for the confessional movements in Norway to grow. The believe some of the fledgling confessionals in Norway have started working with the Mission Provence (Sweden’s Confessional movement — that has been working with the LCMS).

  • Joe

    I think this is probably a good thing for confessional Lutheranism. I think (and this is just my opinion) that state churches necessarily move away from orthodoxy because the state has to keep the church palatable to the largest segment of the population. The idea that a state would remain submissive to an official church is not workable. Since the state funds the church and appoints the bishops, it is just a matter of time before the church reflects the views of the state instead of the state reflecting the views of the church.

    Moreover, once the church is heterodox and no longer offers anything different from the culture around it, why would anyone go?

    In response to this we should all be praying that this action will create opportunities for the confessional movements in Norway to grow. The believe some of the fledgling confessionals in Norway have started working with the Mission Provence (Sweden’s Confessional movement — that has been working with the LCMS).

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  • fws

    eeek!

    the Lutheran Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms has NOTHING AT ALL to do with the separation of church and state!

    The Lutheran Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms is exactly and only another casuistic form of the Proper Distinction of Law and Gospel.

    There is the kingdom of the Old Adam extorted into doing the Eternal Will of God that is that Goodness and Mercy happens among men. This Kingdom includes ALL we can think, say, do, and emote. It includes EVERY thing that is sensible . It includes EVERYthing that can be known by reason. Therefore it includes, FULLY so, the three “ordos” or earthly law governments of marriage, society and church. These 3 ordos, including marriage and the church are ALL and ONLY about coercion and bearing the sword and beating our Old Adam into submission with the Law. The Law ALWAYS accuses.

    Then there is the Heavenly Kingdom.

    This kingdom does NOT include anything we can think, say , do or emote. It cannot include anything at all , not anything, that is sensible or that can be known by our reason. Why not? ALL those things are ALREADY , FULLY and COMPLETELY included in that other, earthly kingdom that is about God Making the Fatherly Goodness and Mercy that is his Eternal Will happen by extorting it out of Old Adam of all of us with the Law. The law ALWAYs accuses.

    So what is it that is left for the Heavenly Kingdom to include?

    This!, Alone!….

    ALL that we can call by the name Christian. It is alone those things that can, Alone be known NOT by our reason or strength. It is , alone, new emotions of true fear, love and trust in God that alone, can be infused into the heart of new man in the regenerative waters of Holy Baptism. It is to be grafted into Christ. This can happen, alone, by the Holy Spirit and Christ, apart from all and anything we can see, think, do, say, or emote, in that other Earthly Kingdom.

    Who Christ is, what he has done, and why he did it. This is all Law. It is the most terribly and terrifying Law that is Christ taking the Law into his own hands and showing us who we are in Old Adam and driving us to terror. (Formula of Concord “Law and Gospel”)

    Those things are still Law. They are still ALL in the earthly Kingdom until…..

    The Holy Spirit plants new emotions in the hearts of sinful men and infuses them, completely, instantaneously and for eternity, that holiness that is the very Image of God and Adamic Original righteousness.

    This righeousness is , ALONE, invisible faith alone in the Works of Another. This is the same fear, Love and Trust God had placed in Adam. It is the same Justification by Faith that made Adam also able to walk in the presence of God. And once these new heart movements and good emotions are restored by the regenerative waters of Holy Baptism, then… as a fruit… the promise and prophecy of jeremiah 31 can then happen! The Law of God is again written in the hearts of man. And then the Heart of man Agrees with the Divine Law of God that was written in the Reason of ALL men (rom 2:15).

    Adam was Justified by faith in Christ ALONE,… 1) before the fall, 2) after the fall… and Adam will be justified, alone, by that same faith in Christ his dear Lord 3) in the resurrection. Justification by Faith alone, in the Works of Another , alone…. is not dispensational. (The Lutheran Confessions, Apology II “Original Sin”)

    So where is it we find this Heavenly Kingdom? It is to be found alone in that Earthly Government ruled by ordinances, and rites and ceremonies and the laws called doctrines that includes true believers and also false believers. The Apostles creed calls this the Holy Catholic Church. This visible government is scattered over the earth unbound by sects, political boundaries , ethnicities or languages. And alone, in this government, that is , again, ALL about the Law and Old Adam, is the Communion of Saints. This communion, is found only there….., in with and under all we can see or think or do or emote that is Old Adam who is dead and the enemy of God, are those new men. Those new men are the wheat among the chaff, the sheep among the goats, and the good soil . they are found whevever the creative Word of God creates those new emotions that are terrified at ALL they can see and do, and so know to hide ALL they can see and think and do and believe in the Works of Another.

    This is the Lutheran Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms in a Nutshell.

  • fws

    eeek!

    the Lutheran Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms has NOTHING AT ALL to do with the separation of church and state!

    The Lutheran Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms is exactly and only another casuistic form of the Proper Distinction of Law and Gospel.

    There is the kingdom of the Old Adam extorted into doing the Eternal Will of God that is that Goodness and Mercy happens among men. This Kingdom includes ALL we can think, say, do, and emote. It includes EVERY thing that is sensible . It includes EVERYthing that can be known by reason. Therefore it includes, FULLY so, the three “ordos” or earthly law governments of marriage, society and church. These 3 ordos, including marriage and the church are ALL and ONLY about coercion and bearing the sword and beating our Old Adam into submission with the Law. The Law ALWAYS accuses.

    Then there is the Heavenly Kingdom.

    This kingdom does NOT include anything we can think, say , do or emote. It cannot include anything at all , not anything, that is sensible or that can be known by our reason. Why not? ALL those things are ALREADY , FULLY and COMPLETELY included in that other, earthly kingdom that is about God Making the Fatherly Goodness and Mercy that is his Eternal Will happen by extorting it out of Old Adam of all of us with the Law. The law ALWAYs accuses.

    So what is it that is left for the Heavenly Kingdom to include?

    This!, Alone!….

    ALL that we can call by the name Christian. It is alone those things that can, Alone be known NOT by our reason or strength. It is , alone, new emotions of true fear, love and trust in God that alone, can be infused into the heart of new man in the regenerative waters of Holy Baptism. It is to be grafted into Christ. This can happen, alone, by the Holy Spirit and Christ, apart from all and anything we can see, think, do, say, or emote, in that other Earthly Kingdom.

    Who Christ is, what he has done, and why he did it. This is all Law. It is the most terribly and terrifying Law that is Christ taking the Law into his own hands and showing us who we are in Old Adam and driving us to terror. (Formula of Concord “Law and Gospel”)

    Those things are still Law. They are still ALL in the earthly Kingdom until…..

    The Holy Spirit plants new emotions in the hearts of sinful men and infuses them, completely, instantaneously and for eternity, that holiness that is the very Image of God and Adamic Original righteousness.

    This righeousness is , ALONE, invisible faith alone in the Works of Another. This is the same fear, Love and Trust God had placed in Adam. It is the same Justification by Faith that made Adam also able to walk in the presence of God. And once these new heart movements and good emotions are restored by the regenerative waters of Holy Baptism, then… as a fruit… the promise and prophecy of jeremiah 31 can then happen! The Law of God is again written in the hearts of man. And then the Heart of man Agrees with the Divine Law of God that was written in the Reason of ALL men (rom 2:15).

    Adam was Justified by faith in Christ ALONE,… 1) before the fall, 2) after the fall… and Adam will be justified, alone, by that same faith in Christ his dear Lord 3) in the resurrection. Justification by Faith alone, in the Works of Another , alone…. is not dispensational. (The Lutheran Confessions, Apology II “Original Sin”)

    So where is it we find this Heavenly Kingdom? It is to be found alone in that Earthly Government ruled by ordinances, and rites and ceremonies and the laws called doctrines that includes true believers and also false believers. The Apostles creed calls this the Holy Catholic Church. This visible government is scattered over the earth unbound by sects, political boundaries , ethnicities or languages. And alone, in this government, that is , again, ALL about the Law and Old Adam, is the Communion of Saints. This communion, is found only there….., in with and under all we can see or think or do or emote that is Old Adam who is dead and the enemy of God, are those new men. Those new men are the wheat among the chaff, the sheep among the goats, and the good soil . they are found whevever the creative Word of God creates those new emotions that are terrified at ALL they can see and do, and so know to hide ALL they can see and think and do and believe in the Works of Another.

    This is the Lutheran Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms in a Nutshell.

  • fws

    note that these two kingdoms or powers also exist within each and every believer in the form of Old Adam and the believer insofar as he has been regenerated.

    The Old Adam still clings to the Believer as a parasite. ALL the believer can say or do or believe or think or emote has to be done, in with and under that Old Adam.

    The New Man accomplishes this by taking up the sword of the Spirit which here is the Law he uses to mortify and kill the Old Adam by daily contrition and repentence. At the same time the New Man takes up the Word of God that tells him he is very elect of God and has absolute certainty that he is the elect. How? He was baptized! Old Adam is 100% liar. In all we can see or think or believe or emote or do, all evidence points to our death. But in baptism God cannot lie. So we hold God to his Promise there, in spite of ALL we can see or do or think or emote or believer and all of which terrifies us. And we hide ourselves, safely away from the accusing Law, hidden inside the side of dear Jesus and the blood and water that flow from that side.

    So now we can fear God and at the same time love and trust , alone, in his Work. Just as our father Adam did before the fall!

  • fws

    note that these two kingdoms or powers also exist within each and every believer in the form of Old Adam and the believer insofar as he has been regenerated.

    The Old Adam still clings to the Believer as a parasite. ALL the believer can say or do or believe or think or emote has to be done, in with and under that Old Adam.

    The New Man accomplishes this by taking up the sword of the Spirit which here is the Law he uses to mortify and kill the Old Adam by daily contrition and repentence. At the same time the New Man takes up the Word of God that tells him he is very elect of God and has absolute certainty that he is the elect. How? He was baptized! Old Adam is 100% liar. In all we can see or think or believe or emote or do, all evidence points to our death. But in baptism God cannot lie. So we hold God to his Promise there, in spite of ALL we can see or do or think or emote or believer and all of which terrifies us. And we hide ourselves, safely away from the accusing Law, hidden inside the side of dear Jesus and the blood and water that flow from that side.

    So now we can fear God and at the same time love and trust , alone, in his Work. Just as our father Adam did before the fall!

  • fws

    The Evangelical Lutheran Church takes no doctrinal position as to the separation of Church and State.

    Earthly wisdom has led to the blessing of such a separation in modern europe and north america. this is truly an adiaphoron.

    The Lutheran Doctrine of the Proper Distinction of Law and Gospel in the form of Two Kingdoms is only very tangentally involved here as I outlined above referring to the 3 ordos or governments in that law earthly kingdom.

  • fws

    The Evangelical Lutheran Church takes no doctrinal position as to the separation of Church and State.

    Earthly wisdom has led to the blessing of such a separation in modern europe and north america. this is truly an adiaphoron.

    The Lutheran Doctrine of the Proper Distinction of Law and Gospel in the form of Two Kingdoms is only very tangentally involved here as I outlined above referring to the 3 ordos or governments in that law earthly kingdom.

  • Fred

    Well, all you Lutheran sectarians on here must be jumping for joy. But now you won’t have the state church whipping boy to rail against, what with their liberal theology, anymore.

  • Fred

    Well, all you Lutheran sectarians on here must be jumping for joy. But now you won’t have the state church whipping boy to rail against, what with their liberal theology, anymore.

  • Dan Kempin

    What, no takers for my comment at #1?

    The Lutheran Church of Norway did not do contemporary worship. They had a liturgical service with organs and everything. See their liturgy here:

    http://www.kirken.no/english/engelsk.cfm?artid=6015

    How is it that their “content” got so far afield if their “form” was so correct? Given the recent conversation here on worship and style, I’d really like to hear.

  • Dan Kempin

    What, no takers for my comment at #1?

    The Lutheran Church of Norway did not do contemporary worship. They had a liturgical service with organs and everything. See their liturgy here:

    http://www.kirken.no/english/engelsk.cfm?artid=6015

    How is it that their “content” got so far afield if their “form” was so correct? Given the recent conversation here on worship and style, I’d really like to hear.

  • Joe

    How is it that their “content” got so far afield if their “form” was so correct?

    See my post at 6. They lost they’re orthodoxy because they’re theology was being set by the state and not by scripture.

  • Joe

    How is it that their “content” got so far afield if their “form” was so correct?

    See my post at 6. They lost they’re orthodoxy because they’re theology was being set by the state and not by scripture.

  • fws

    dan @ 11

    Rome, the anglicans and the orthodox also employ the holy liturgy as well. … therefore…..? so do many highly unorthodox in the ELCA… therefore….?

  • fws

    dan @ 11

    Rome, the anglicans and the orthodox also employ the holy liturgy as well. … therefore…..? so do many highly unorthodox in the ELCA… therefore….?

  • fws

    dan@ 1 and 11

    The holy catholic church is a government in exactly the same way that matrimony (defined as such in the confessions, LC 4th commandment), and the societal governments are.

    It is ordered by outward rites and ceremonies (apology VII) and it’s laws are called doctrines (Luther’s catechism, preface). The rite of citizenship in this outward , law and order, government, is the outward ordinance called Holy Baptism that is an act of sinful men following a law given by Jesus Christ.

    So why does any earthly government stray from doing the Eternal Will of God which is that Fatherly Goodness and Mercy be done in, with, and under, “the unworthy… indeed without our prayer… even for all the wicked” (small catechism , creed and lord’s prayer)?

    Read Apology VII for the answer to your question Dan!

    Dare to be Lutheran. Let the Lutheran Confessions govern how Holy Scripture is to be read. Distinction of Law and Gospel= Two Kingdoms.

  • fws

    dan@ 1 and 11

    The holy catholic church is a government in exactly the same way that matrimony (defined as such in the confessions, LC 4th commandment), and the societal governments are.

    It is ordered by outward rites and ceremonies (apology VII) and it’s laws are called doctrines (Luther’s catechism, preface). The rite of citizenship in this outward , law and order, government, is the outward ordinance called Holy Baptism that is an act of sinful men following a law given by Jesus Christ.

    So why does any earthly government stray from doing the Eternal Will of God which is that Fatherly Goodness and Mercy be done in, with, and under, “the unworthy… indeed without our prayer… even for all the wicked” (small catechism , creed and lord’s prayer)?

    Read Apology VII for the answer to your question Dan!

    Dare to be Lutheran. Let the Lutheran Confessions govern how Holy Scripture is to be read. Distinction of Law and Gospel= Two Kingdoms.

  • DonS

    That was one highly ineffective state church, with only 20% of Norwegians thinking religion is important and 72% having no belief in a personal God.

    Notice how they disestablished the church, but kept the church tax, which they are going to re-direct, in part, to humanist causes. Please note, for future reference — once government gets its hands in your pocket it is very difficult to ever dislodge it. As I recall, we finally stopped funding the Spanish-American War through a 100 year old telephone tax less than a decade ago.

  • DonS

    That was one highly ineffective state church, with only 20% of Norwegians thinking religion is important and 72% having no belief in a personal God.

    Notice how they disestablished the church, but kept the church tax, which they are going to re-direct, in part, to humanist causes. Please note, for future reference — once government gets its hands in your pocket it is very difficult to ever dislodge it. As I recall, we finally stopped funding the Spanish-American War through a 100 year old telephone tax less than a decade ago.

  • fws

    dons @ 15

    It is a great comfort Don to know that the Church will never disappear from the earth even though it might very well appear to be the case (eg: your and my church in the middle ages with all it’s problems).

    Whereever the Gospel is preached, God will put those new heart movements and emotions that are the true fear, love and trust in the Works of Another that cannot be created by anything at all that reason and our senses can kn0w to do or believe.

  • fws

    dons @ 15

    It is a great comfort Don to know that the Church will never disappear from the earth even though it might very well appear to be the case (eg: your and my church in the middle ages with all it’s problems).

    Whereever the Gospel is preached, God will put those new heart movements and emotions that are the true fear, love and trust in the Works of Another that cannot be created by anything at all that reason and our senses can kn0w to do or believe.

  • Joanne

    Hi Dan,
    I’m holding out for more info on what actually happens in services of the Norwegian People Church. Sometimes you see the official version of the ligurgy posted promenently because of widespead divergence from it.

    I’m also waiting for a statement from the Norwegian Confessionals on their take on the change which I’m sure they’ve followed for decades. This is a long proposed action only now coming to fruition. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B%C3%B8rre_Knudsen

    I don’t seem to be able to find a website for them. But they will know what this really means for the Confessing church in Norway.

    Bottom line: until the money and the government contacts get cutoff, all we’ve got here is a lot of very well paid church officials with high government connections. The social justice gospel and environmentalism is all that is preached in the People’s Church. If the historical liturgy still remains, though, some Law and Gospel of the Christian church will still get through, which is why I would doubt the claim that they are actually using a christian liturgy in services. I suspect they are getting universalism and goddess worship just like the EXCA here.

    Now I would expect the other Nordic countries to fall like dominos in the same way. I expect Iceland to be last to go.

  • Joanne

    Hi Dan,
    I’m holding out for more info on what actually happens in services of the Norwegian People Church. Sometimes you see the official version of the ligurgy posted promenently because of widespead divergence from it.

    I’m also waiting for a statement from the Norwegian Confessionals on their take on the change which I’m sure they’ve followed for decades. This is a long proposed action only now coming to fruition. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B%C3%B8rre_Knudsen

    I don’t seem to be able to find a website for them. But they will know what this really means for the Confessing church in Norway.

    Bottom line: until the money and the government contacts get cutoff, all we’ve got here is a lot of very well paid church officials with high government connections. The social justice gospel and environmentalism is all that is preached in the People’s Church. If the historical liturgy still remains, though, some Law and Gospel of the Christian church will still get through, which is why I would doubt the claim that they are actually using a christian liturgy in services. I suspect they are getting universalism and goddess worship just like the EXCA here.

    Now I would expect the other Nordic countries to fall like dominos in the same way. I expect Iceland to be last to go.

  • Dan Kempin

    Oh come on, Joe. Didn’t you say that “form is certainly not neutral to the message, especially in music.” Didn’t you say that lyrics were irrelevant, and music drove the masses? Don’t make me provide links!

  • Dan Kempin

    Oh come on, Joe. Didn’t you say that “form is certainly not neutral to the message, especially in music.” Didn’t you say that lyrics were irrelevant, and music drove the masses? Don’t make me provide links!

  • Dan Kempin

    Joanne, #17,

    “If the historical liturgy still remains, though, some Law and Gospel of the Christian church will still get through, which is why I would doubt the claim that they are actually using a christian liturgy in services.”

    You illustrate my point. If you say that the wrong form of worship must impart bad theology, then you obligate yourself to say that the right form of worship must impart good theology. (Or content, if you prefer.) That, however, is neither scriptural nor lutheran. Nor does it seem to be very practical.

    The Church, you see, was struggling with the culture before there were “contemporary forms” of worship. It can be rather easily argued, in fact, that contemporary forms entered the church as a result of the struggle. Since they were not the cause, removing them or fighting to repristinate the “liturgy” (however you plan to define it) will not fix the problem. That seems obvious to me. It will just lead you to make theologically untenable statements like, “If their theology has gone wrong, then they must not be getting the liturgy right.” Oof.

  • Dan Kempin

    Joanne, #17,

    “If the historical liturgy still remains, though, some Law and Gospel of the Christian church will still get through, which is why I would doubt the claim that they are actually using a christian liturgy in services.”

    You illustrate my point. If you say that the wrong form of worship must impart bad theology, then you obligate yourself to say that the right form of worship must impart good theology. (Or content, if you prefer.) That, however, is neither scriptural nor lutheran. Nor does it seem to be very practical.

    The Church, you see, was struggling with the culture before there were “contemporary forms” of worship. It can be rather easily argued, in fact, that contemporary forms entered the church as a result of the struggle. Since they were not the cause, removing them or fighting to repristinate the “liturgy” (however you plan to define it) will not fix the problem. That seems obvious to me. It will just lead you to make theologically untenable statements like, “If their theology has gone wrong, then they must not be getting the liturgy right.” Oof.

  • Dan Kempin

    Fws, #13,

    So what exactly is “the holy liturgy” that Rome, the Anglicans and the Orthodox all employ? a basic form of worship? A specific form of worship? A musical style? A unified text? What is it?

  • Dan Kempin

    Fws, #13,

    So what exactly is “the holy liturgy” that Rome, the Anglicans and the Orthodox all employ? a basic form of worship? A specific form of worship? A musical style? A unified text? What is it?

  • Fws

    Dan @20

    it is , exactly what the Lutheran Confessions, in the Apology VII call outward rites and ceremonies the essence of that outward fellowship that is called the Holy Catholic Church. These outward rites and ceremonies are exactly the same, in form and purpose, as the laws, outward rites and ceremonies of any other earthly government, be it a nation or a marriage.

    APOLOGY VII AND VIII 5] But the [Holy Catholic Church, ie the visible church...]… is…the fellowship of outward objects and rites, as other governments….

    And what those “outward rites ” consist of, what their purpose is, and why we almost are never to change them looks like the following:

    Apology XV(VIII) 22]…But they observed human rites for the sake of bodily advantage, … that the common people might receive a sort of training. For the distinctions of times and the variety of rites are of service in admonishing the common people…22] Paul writes to the Colossians 2:23, that traditions have a show of wisdom. And they indeed have. For this good order is very becoming in the Church, and for this reason is necessary… 24] Thus human reason judges also of bodily exercises, of fasts; …the end of these is to restrain the flesh, reason falsely adds that they are services which justify…

    .[these works are equal and identical in nature to...] works of one’s own calling, the administration of the state, the management of a family, married life, the bringing up of children. ….Then, even though any one should observe them, let him observe them without superstition as civil customs, just as without superstition soldiers are clothed in one way 36] and scholars in another [as I regard my wearing of a German costume among the Germans and a French costume among the French as an observance of the usage of the land, and not for the purpose of being saved thereby]….

    But we cheerfully maintain the old traditions [as, the three high festivals, the observance of Sunday, and the like] made in the Church for the sake of usefulness and tranquillity; …..With us many use the Lord’s Supper [willingly and without constraint] every Lord’s Day, but after having been first instructed, examined [whether they know and understand anything of the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments], and absolved. The children sing psalms in order that they may learn [become familiar with passages of Scripture]; the people also sing [Latin and German psalms], in order that they may either learn or pray……With us the pastors and ministers of the churches are compelled publicly [and privately] to instruct and hear the youth; and this ceremony produces the best fruits. [And the Catechism is not a mere childish thing, as is the bearing of banners and tapers, but a very profitable instruction.] …For of all acts of worship that is the greatest, most holy, most necessary, and highest, which God has required as the highest in the First and the Second Commandment, namely, to preach the Word of God. For the ministry is the highest office in the Church. Now, if this worship is omitted, how can there be knowledge of God, the doctrine of Christ, or the Gospel?] But the chief service of God is to teach the Gospel….

    51] And nevertheless we teach that in these matters the use of liberty is to be so controlled that the inexperienced may not be offended, and, on account of the abuse of liberty, may not become more hostile to the true doctrine of the Gospel, or that without a reasonable cause nothing in customary rites be changed, but that, in order to cherish harmony, such old customs be observed as can be observed without sin or without great inconvenience.

    52] And in this very assembly we have shown sufficiently that for love’s sake we do not refuse to observe adiaphora with others, even though they should have some disadvantage; but we have judged that such public harmony as could indeed be produced without offense to consciences ought to be preferred to all other advantages [all other less important matters].

  • Fws

    Dan @20

    it is , exactly what the Lutheran Confessions, in the Apology VII call outward rites and ceremonies the essence of that outward fellowship that is called the Holy Catholic Church. These outward rites and ceremonies are exactly the same, in form and purpose, as the laws, outward rites and ceremonies of any other earthly government, be it a nation or a marriage.

    APOLOGY VII AND VIII 5] But the [Holy Catholic Church, ie the visible church...]… is…the fellowship of outward objects and rites, as other governments….

    And what those “outward rites ” consist of, what their purpose is, and why we almost are never to change them looks like the following:

    Apology XV(VIII) 22]…But they observed human rites for the sake of bodily advantage, … that the common people might receive a sort of training. For the distinctions of times and the variety of rites are of service in admonishing the common people…22] Paul writes to the Colossians 2:23, that traditions have a show of wisdom. And they indeed have. For this good order is very becoming in the Church, and for this reason is necessary… 24] Thus human reason judges also of bodily exercises, of fasts; …the end of these is to restrain the flesh, reason falsely adds that they are services which justify…

    .[these works are equal and identical in nature to...] works of one’s own calling, the administration of the state, the management of a family, married life, the bringing up of children. ….Then, even though any one should observe them, let him observe them without superstition as civil customs, just as without superstition soldiers are clothed in one way 36] and scholars in another [as I regard my wearing of a German costume among the Germans and a French costume among the French as an observance of the usage of the land, and not for the purpose of being saved thereby]….

    But we cheerfully maintain the old traditions [as, the three high festivals, the observance of Sunday, and the like] made in the Church for the sake of usefulness and tranquillity; …..With us many use the Lord’s Supper [willingly and without constraint] every Lord’s Day, but after having been first instructed, examined [whether they know and understand anything of the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments], and absolved. The children sing psalms in order that they may learn [become familiar with passages of Scripture]; the people also sing [Latin and German psalms], in order that they may either learn or pray……With us the pastors and ministers of the churches are compelled publicly [and privately] to instruct and hear the youth; and this ceremony produces the best fruits. [And the Catechism is not a mere childish thing, as is the bearing of banners and tapers, but a very profitable instruction.] …For of all acts of worship that is the greatest, most holy, most necessary, and highest, which God has required as the highest in the First and the Second Commandment, namely, to preach the Word of God. For the ministry is the highest office in the Church. Now, if this worship is omitted, how can there be knowledge of God, the doctrine of Christ, or the Gospel?] But the chief service of God is to teach the Gospel….

    51] And nevertheless we teach that in these matters the use of liberty is to be so controlled that the inexperienced may not be offended, and, on account of the abuse of liberty, may not become more hostile to the true doctrine of the Gospel, or that without a reasonable cause nothing in customary rites be changed, but that, in order to cherish harmony, such old customs be observed as can be observed without sin or without great inconvenience.

    52] And in this very assembly we have shown sufficiently that for love’s sake we do not refuse to observe adiaphora with others, even though they should have some disadvantage; but we have judged that such public harmony as could indeed be produced without offense to consciences ought to be preferred to all other advantages [all other less important matters].

  • Fws

    Dan @ 20

    I would conclude from our Apology that the Holy Liturgy is whatever was handed down to us . And whatever that is, we , as Confessional Lutherans would strive to achieve and maintain the highest degree of uniformity in this Holy Liturgy and change it very infrequently.

    I suggest that from what the Confessions say, reason would have it that this ordering would best be a bureaucratic function of the synod. And what the synod does should be followed by pastors , exactly as a form of mortification and restraint of the flesh for pastors. Clip their creative old adam wings so to speak. Pastors need to learn to bow to authority as well. It’s really good for them to have a bishop over them.

  • Fws

    Dan @ 20

    I would conclude from our Apology that the Holy Liturgy is whatever was handed down to us . And whatever that is, we , as Confessional Lutherans would strive to achieve and maintain the highest degree of uniformity in this Holy Liturgy and change it very infrequently.

    I suggest that from what the Confessions say, reason would have it that this ordering would best be a bureaucratic function of the synod. And what the synod does should be followed by pastors , exactly as a form of mortification and restraint of the flesh for pastors. Clip their creative old adam wings so to speak. Pastors need to learn to bow to authority as well. It’s really good for them to have a bishop over them.

  • Fws

    dan @20

    “unified” is the key word! We seek to bind together the outward fellowship with common rites and ceremonies. And we do this for EXACTLY the same reason customs, rites, ceremonies and laws etc exist to cohere any other earthly government. Two Kingdoms clearly teaches that the Holy Catholic Church is a government in EXACTLY the same way that matrimony and society are governments with only one difference:

    Only within that earthly Law government called the Holy Catholic Church that is identified by the common outward rites and ceremonies called Holyt Baptism, the Sacrament of the Altar , Holy Absolution and the Gospel Preached will be also found, invisibly hidden, in, with and under it, the Communion of Saints, aka the Heavenly Kingdom.

  • Fws

    dan @20

    “unified” is the key word! We seek to bind together the outward fellowship with common rites and ceremonies. And we do this for EXACTLY the same reason customs, rites, ceremonies and laws etc exist to cohere any other earthly government. Two Kingdoms clearly teaches that the Holy Catholic Church is a government in EXACTLY the same way that matrimony and society are governments with only one difference:

    Only within that earthly Law government called the Holy Catholic Church that is identified by the common outward rites and ceremonies called Holyt Baptism, the Sacrament of the Altar , Holy Absolution and the Gospel Preached will be also found, invisibly hidden, in, with and under it, the Communion of Saints, aka the Heavenly Kingdom.

  • Fws

    ddan @ 20

    What I am saying and trying to demonstrate, is that the purpose of the Confessions is to teach us how to resolve such issues by the Proper Distinction of Law and Gospel. Every single article of the Confessions is a demonstration of the application of the distinction of Law and Gospel.

    But to see this, one must first recover the Old Lutherans’ idea that Two Kingdoms is the casuistic application of the Doctrine of Law and Gospel Distinction. Two Kingdoms is absolutely nothing at all more than that. It is so very NOT a Lutheran theory supporting a separation of church and state.

  • Fws

    ddan @ 20

    What I am saying and trying to demonstrate, is that the purpose of the Confessions is to teach us how to resolve such issues by the Proper Distinction of Law and Gospel. Every single article of the Confessions is a demonstration of the application of the distinction of Law and Gospel.

    But to see this, one must first recover the Old Lutherans’ idea that Two Kingdoms is the casuistic application of the Doctrine of Law and Gospel Distinction. Two Kingdoms is absolutely nothing at all more than that. It is so very NOT a Lutheran theory supporting a separation of church and state.

  • Fws

    dan @ 20

    and so within the Two Kingdoms doctrine, the church is to be thought of as being, exactly, in it’s very nature, identical to the other two governments of matrimony (cf large catechism 4th commandment here for the definition of matrimony as exactly and ONLY this), and of society.

    So liturgy, and even the commanded use of the outward rites and ceremonies that are baptism, supper, absolution, and doctrine/catechesis are laws that regulate and govern and mortify the Old Adam in that earthly government called the Holy Catholic Church.

    When such governments change those outward rites and traditions and laws and language that form the essential unity of them, they do so with care, caution and to promote unity and cohesiveness and good order. Churches are absolutely not any different at all in any way at all. We could compare the Liturgy to a government constitution or other such outward instrument that is intended to promote unity and order. Can it be changed? Absolutely! But it is to be considered the property of all and to be changed by common consent, and some petty bureaucrat (think pastor here) is not to think he is to change any of this on his own, not even if he can get by with it without getting slapped down because the central government has become weak. That would be unprincipled and unloving!

  • Fws

    dan @ 20

    and so within the Two Kingdoms doctrine, the church is to be thought of as being, exactly, in it’s very nature, identical to the other two governments of matrimony (cf large catechism 4th commandment here for the definition of matrimony as exactly and ONLY this), and of society.

    So liturgy, and even the commanded use of the outward rites and ceremonies that are baptism, supper, absolution, and doctrine/catechesis are laws that regulate and govern and mortify the Old Adam in that earthly government called the Holy Catholic Church.

    When such governments change those outward rites and traditions and laws and language that form the essential unity of them, they do so with care, caution and to promote unity and cohesiveness and good order. Churches are absolutely not any different at all in any way at all. We could compare the Liturgy to a government constitution or other such outward instrument that is intended to promote unity and order. Can it be changed? Absolutely! But it is to be considered the property of all and to be changed by common consent, and some petty bureaucrat (think pastor here) is not to think he is to change any of this on his own, not even if he can get by with it without getting slapped down because the central government has become weak. That would be unprincipled and unloving!

  • Fws

    dan @ 20

    what binds the Anglicans together is their liturgy. what Lutherans think binds them together is the Lutheran Confessions. We should follow their fine example here.

    Has this united liturgy preserved unity among Anglicans? Outwardly yes! Splendid. That is what it is supposed to do!

    Has it preserved their own inner, or even doctrinal unity? No. Only the Holy Spirit can do this! No outward rites and ceremonies aimed , exclusively so! (FC Art VI) could possibly do that! Neither did the “Brief Statement” achieve this, even though that was it’s mistaken intent. Nor can even the Lutheran Confessions achieve this inner unity, nor was that their intent!

    I suggest that Lutherans should think of their own book of common prayer (ie our hymnal) , on the same inviolable level , almost, as the Confessions. This is , I assert, exactly what the Apology defines as the Lutheran attitude as to all of this.

  • Fws

    dan @ 20

    what binds the Anglicans together is their liturgy. what Lutherans think binds them together is the Lutheran Confessions. We should follow their fine example here.

    Has this united liturgy preserved unity among Anglicans? Outwardly yes! Splendid. That is what it is supposed to do!

    Has it preserved their own inner, or even doctrinal unity? No. Only the Holy Spirit can do this! No outward rites and ceremonies aimed , exclusively so! (FC Art VI) could possibly do that! Neither did the “Brief Statement” achieve this, even though that was it’s mistaken intent. Nor can even the Lutheran Confessions achieve this inner unity, nor was that their intent!

    I suggest that Lutherans should think of their own book of common prayer (ie our hymnal) , on the same inviolable level , almost, as the Confessions. This is , I assert, exactly what the Apology defines as the Lutheran attitude as to all of this.

  • Fws

    outward rites and ceremonies are aimed exclusively at Old Adam. They are Law. So they can only achieve outward unity and order. Ditto any confessions. And if they do this that is enough!

    Only the Holy Spirit can preserve us in inner unity and the Truth. no confessions or liturgy can do this.

  • Fws

    outward rites and ceremonies are aimed exclusively at Old Adam. They are Law. So they can only achieve outward unity and order. Ditto any confessions. And if they do this that is enough!

    Only the Holy Spirit can preserve us in inner unity and the Truth. no confessions or liturgy can do this.

  • Joe

    Dan — music and the liturgy are not necessarily the same thing. I do think it is possible to preserve the liturgy and use “up dated” music. The was why I posted Phil Magness’s article. But up dated music is not the same thing as “contemporary worship.”

    Also, I don’t believe I ever asserted that the lack of liturgy necessarily destroys orthodoxy, but even if I had it does not logically follow that the presence of liturgy necessarily preserves orthodoxy. There is a logical flaw in that line of thinking. The historic Lutheran liturgy is an exemplar of orthodoxy maybe even a preserver of it, but not a cause of it.

    And, I don’t think music is neutral. Lyrics often are irrelevant — But if you read the Magness article I posted (which I know you did because you commented on it) you’ll see the point of good church music is to make the music serve the lyrics instead of over powering them. In other words, good church music necessarily combats and hopefully overcomes the irrelevancy of the lyric.

  • Joe

    Dan — music and the liturgy are not necessarily the same thing. I do think it is possible to preserve the liturgy and use “up dated” music. The was why I posted Phil Magness’s article. But up dated music is not the same thing as “contemporary worship.”

    Also, I don’t believe I ever asserted that the lack of liturgy necessarily destroys orthodoxy, but even if I had it does not logically follow that the presence of liturgy necessarily preserves orthodoxy. There is a logical flaw in that line of thinking. The historic Lutheran liturgy is an exemplar of orthodoxy maybe even a preserver of it, but not a cause of it.

    And, I don’t think music is neutral. Lyrics often are irrelevant — But if you read the Magness article I posted (which I know you did because you commented on it) you’ll see the point of good church music is to make the music serve the lyrics instead of over powering them. In other words, good church music necessarily combats and hopefully overcomes the irrelevancy of the lyric.

  • Dan Kempin

    Joe, #28,

    “good church music necessarily combats and hopefully overcomes the irrelevancy of the lyric.”

    (In the voice of Inigo Montoya) I don’t think you said what you mean to say.

  • Dan Kempin

    Joe, #28,

    “good church music necessarily combats and hopefully overcomes the irrelevancy of the lyric.”

    (In the voice of Inigo Montoya) I don’t think you said what you mean to say.

  • Joe

    True — “potential irrelevancy of the lyric”

  • Joe

    True — “potential irrelevancy of the lyric”

  • Dan Kempin

    Fws,

    You have overwhelmed me with the volume of your responses, but you seem also to have involved me in the two kingdoms debate. I was only interested in connecting this discussion with the previous discussions on form and content and changes in the liturgy. It seems to me that we are only running this in one direction. If “form” is of primary importance, then content is not, and the “form” of liturgy in Norway, along with many liturgical liberal denominations, did not preserve them from false doctrine.

    I am in no way condemning historic liturgy. (Well, so long as it is doctrinally sound.) I am saying that the reasoning is inconsistent in much of what I hear. We attribute doctrinal problems in contemporary churches to form, but when there are doctrinal problems in liturgical churches, for some reason form no longer is an issue.

  • Dan Kempin

    Fws,

    You have overwhelmed me with the volume of your responses, but you seem also to have involved me in the two kingdoms debate. I was only interested in connecting this discussion with the previous discussions on form and content and changes in the liturgy. It seems to me that we are only running this in one direction. If “form” is of primary importance, then content is not, and the “form” of liturgy in Norway, along with many liturgical liberal denominations, did not preserve them from false doctrine.

    I am in no way condemning historic liturgy. (Well, so long as it is doctrinally sound.) I am saying that the reasoning is inconsistent in much of what I hear. We attribute doctrinal problems in contemporary churches to form, but when there are doctrinal problems in liturgical churches, for some reason form no longer is an issue.

  • Fws

    dan @ 31

    Try this: Your work as a pastor, including preaching and administering the sacraments, and presiding over the church service is about the death of your old adam.

    So then…the Holy Liturgy is whatever best works to kill your Old Adam as a pastor Dan, and also kill the Old Adam of your parishioners as well.

    Better and less overwhelming?

    It is a good guess that this would be the opposite of a lack of structure or your artistic and professional freedom as a pastor.

  • Fws

    dan @ 31

    Try this: Your work as a pastor, including preaching and administering the sacraments, and presiding over the church service is about the death of your old adam.

    So then…the Holy Liturgy is whatever best works to kill your Old Adam as a pastor Dan, and also kill the Old Adam of your parishioners as well.

    Better and less overwhelming?

    It is a good guess that this would be the opposite of a lack of structure or your artistic and professional freedom as a pastor.

  • Fws

    dan @ 31

    We attribute doctrinal problems in contemporary churches to form, but when there are doctrinal problems in liturgical churches, for some reason form no longer is an issue.

    Compare this to:

    We attribute problems in modern single parent families to their form, yet when there are the same problems intact two parent families, for some reason, form is no longer an issue.

    We attribute problems in other countries to their form (eg communism, socialism, sharia), yet when there are the same problems in our government, form is no longer an issue.

    Dan, the purpose of ALL of these forms is to mortify the Old Adam. I am suggesting that our problem is that we here HOLY Liturgy and assume there is something that is supposed to happen there that is somehow more spiritual than .. for example… the IRS tax code, or industrial standards, or what color uniform the military wears. When in fact, we are talking about the same class of things here….

  • Fws

    dan @ 31

    We attribute doctrinal problems in contemporary churches to form, but when there are doctrinal problems in liturgical churches, for some reason form no longer is an issue.

    Compare this to:

    We attribute problems in modern single parent families to their form, yet when there are the same problems intact two parent families, for some reason, form is no longer an issue.

    We attribute problems in other countries to their form (eg communism, socialism, sharia), yet when there are the same problems in our government, form is no longer an issue.

    Dan, the purpose of ALL of these forms is to mortify the Old Adam. I am suggesting that our problem is that we here HOLY Liturgy and assume there is something that is supposed to happen there that is somehow more spiritual than .. for example… the IRS tax code, or industrial standards, or what color uniform the military wears. When in fact, we are talking about the same class of things here….

  • Fws

    Dan @ 31

    ” we consider lawlessness in (fill in the blank ) to form, but when we consider the same lawlessness in conventional or traditional (fill in the blank) then form is not an issue. ”

    The church and her rites are the same as any other earthly government Dan. Identically so. same purpose and desired end result.

  • Fws

    Dan @ 31

    ” we consider lawlessness in (fill in the blank ) to form, but when we consider the same lawlessness in conventional or traditional (fill in the blank) then form is not an issue. ”

    The church and her rites are the same as any other earthly government Dan. Identically so. same purpose and desired end result.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    OK, the “People’s Church” thing gives me the creeps–there was (is?) such a church near Michigan State, and you might as well have replaced the Cross with the hammer and sickle there–but call me glad that the church is at least partially cutting its ties to the government there. Hopefully it will lead to greater appreciation of the fact that the One who instituted human government ought to be accorded at least as much respect as that same human government.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    OK, the “People’s Church” thing gives me the creeps–there was (is?) such a church near Michigan State, and you might as well have replaced the Cross with the hammer and sickle there–but call me glad that the church is at least partially cutting its ties to the government there. Hopefully it will lead to greater appreciation of the fact that the One who instituted human government ought to be accorded at least as much respect as that same human government.

  • Dan Kempin

    Fws,

    I think we may agree . . . about the liturgy . . . I think.

    I’m really trying to make a very small point, but no one seems willing to touch it, even to refute me. Comment flows freely about how churches are led astray through their forms of worship, but when I point out that this church has gone astray while observing liturgical forms, the screen goes dark. I’m not even saying anything about either of the forms–I’m just wondering why they are not being reasoned consistently. Guess I’ll never know.

  • Dan Kempin

    Fws,

    I think we may agree . . . about the liturgy . . . I think.

    I’m really trying to make a very small point, but no one seems willing to touch it, even to refute me. Comment flows freely about how churches are led astray through their forms of worship, but when I point out that this church has gone astray while observing liturgical forms, the screen goes dark. I’m not even saying anything about either of the forms–I’m just wondering why they are not being reasoned consistently. Guess I’ll never know.

  • fws

    dan @ 36

    the fact that the roman church has retained the holy liturgy largely intact I could suggest has preserved and sustained the communion of saints within it in a way that contemporary worship has failed… they recite the nicean creed every sunday etc.

    now what about churches like lutheran ones that keep the basic form but update the music etc? depend… I am sure that the norwegian church or the elca or whoever retaining the liturgy is in a better situation than those who unteather themselves from it. Why would that not be a good assumption?

    given what ….you think… we agree on. In the same way, governments are usually good making conservative changes for all the same reasons. contiuity, conhesion, unity rule of law discipline etc etc.

  • fws

    dan @ 36

    the fact that the roman church has retained the holy liturgy largely intact I could suggest has preserved and sustained the communion of saints within it in a way that contemporary worship has failed… they recite the nicean creed every sunday etc.

    now what about churches like lutheran ones that keep the basic form but update the music etc? depend… I am sure that the norwegian church or the elca or whoever retaining the liturgy is in a better situation than those who unteather themselves from it. Why would that not be a good assumption?

    given what ….you think… we agree on. In the same way, governments are usually good making conservative changes for all the same reasons. contiuity, conhesion, unity rule of law discipline etc etc.

  • helen

    fws # 25 (I think)
    some petty bureaucrat (think pastor here) is not to think he is to change any of this on his own, not even if he can get by with it without getting slapped down because the central government has become weak

    The pastor who thinks he can change things “on his own” often gets the idea from the “petty bureaucrat”
    [who may himself be ordained, or he may be a youth director... a lot of our heresies have been taught in district and national youth gatherings, carried to seminary and acted out beyond that].

  • helen

    fws # 25 (I think)
    some petty bureaucrat (think pastor here) is not to think he is to change any of this on his own, not even if he can get by with it without getting slapped down because the central government has become weak

    The pastor who thinks he can change things “on his own” often gets the idea from the “petty bureaucrat”
    [who may himself be ordained, or he may be a youth director... a lot of our heresies have been taught in district and national youth gatherings, carried to seminary and acted out beyond that].

  • helen

    Dan @ 36
    when I point out that this church has gone astray while observing liturgical forms, the screen goes dark.
    The church may have observed the liturgical forms (or not; some things may be only on paper).
    IMHO, the problem was that no one felt an obligation to go hear any forms on Sunday morning.
    [If it was like Denmark, where I discussed this,] everyone was baptized, everyone was confirmed, almost everyone was married in the church 40 years ago. (Like America, fewer think it necessary to be married.)
    But the Pastor and parish were supported with a few pennies from your tax dollar; there was no need for the individual to be involved in its upkeep, or be concerned about whether it would be there.

    When the Scandinavians came to America, they gathered around the churches which they built as soon as their own homes. Church attendance may have been partly social or nostalgia but in a strange and often hostile world, the Word became more important to them.

    [Now, of course, they've gotten comfortable and think they've grown beyond the Word again!
    But not only Scandinavians!]

  • helen

    Dan @ 36
    when I point out that this church has gone astray while observing liturgical forms, the screen goes dark.
    The church may have observed the liturgical forms (or not; some things may be only on paper).
    IMHO, the problem was that no one felt an obligation to go hear any forms on Sunday morning.
    [If it was like Denmark, where I discussed this,] everyone was baptized, everyone was confirmed, almost everyone was married in the church 40 years ago. (Like America, fewer think it necessary to be married.)
    But the Pastor and parish were supported with a few pennies from your tax dollar; there was no need for the individual to be involved in its upkeep, or be concerned about whether it would be there.

    When the Scandinavians came to America, they gathered around the churches which they built as soon as their own homes. Church attendance may have been partly social or nostalgia but in a strange and often hostile world, the Word became more important to them.

    [Now, of course, they've gotten comfortable and think they've grown beyond the Word again!
    But not only Scandinavians!]

  • fws

    dan @ 36

    that information that overwhelmed you… I am suggesting that the error of thinking that liturgy can preserve the church is a confusion of Law and Gospel.

    Our Old Adam wants to think that there is something we can do, usually churchly (vs profane) or spiritual (vs carnal stuff) that has some eternal consequence other than …. death.

    ALL we can see and do, including the liturgy , is about stuff that ends with this life and the eternal consequences of all that is then… death.

    We hear the word HOLY matrimony or HOLY liturgy or even HOLY baptism and HOLY sacrament and think that OUR doing any of that is about something other than the eternal death of Old Adam. You , as a Confessional Lutheran Pastor should not be wondering then, as to why conversations end up as you say they do about all this. It is the same old error of our Old Adam at play here.

  • fws

    dan @ 36

    that information that overwhelmed you… I am suggesting that the error of thinking that liturgy can preserve the church is a confusion of Law and Gospel.

    Our Old Adam wants to think that there is something we can do, usually churchly (vs profane) or spiritual (vs carnal stuff) that has some eternal consequence other than …. death.

    ALL we can see and do, including the liturgy , is about stuff that ends with this life and the eternal consequences of all that is then… death.

    We hear the word HOLY matrimony or HOLY liturgy or even HOLY baptism and HOLY sacrament and think that OUR doing any of that is about something other than the eternal death of Old Adam. You , as a Confessional Lutheran Pastor should not be wondering then, as to why conversations end up as you say they do about all this. It is the same old error of our Old Adam at play here.

  • fws

    dan, try telling other LCMS that marriage is only about mortification and death, and that there is no Life there at all. ditto liturgy. ditto what they do as pastors and see where the conversation ends up……

    we claim to seek our Life , alone, in Christ. But in practice our thinking is Christ+ (fill in the blank with something we can think or do aided, of course, by the Holy Spirit).

    ALL we can see or think or do or emote or believe has only one eternal consequence: death.

    And we learn this where? two kingdoms/law and gospel distinctions.

  • fws

    dan, try telling other LCMS that marriage is only about mortification and death, and that there is no Life there at all. ditto liturgy. ditto what they do as pastors and see where the conversation ends up……

    we claim to seek our Life , alone, in Christ. But in practice our thinking is Christ+ (fill in the blank with something we can think or do aided, of course, by the Holy Spirit).

    ALL we can see or think or do or emote or believe has only one eternal consequence: death.

    And we learn this where? two kingdoms/law and gospel distinctions.

  • Joanne

    If the state still pays the salaries of the Peoples’ Church clergy, and if the state will retain a Ministry portfolio for Religion, then the new state church is the People’s Church and other groups that believe in univeralism, environmentalism, and social justice. If the confessing church in Norway is still locked out with no state money and no representation by the Ministry of Religion (the excuse used will be their full-bore opposition to the state right of abortion) then we’ll know that Norway still has a state church and it’s beliefs are whatever passes for piety as the moment.

    But, as I said, we will be hearing from the Confessing Church in Norway, and I’ll likely put most credence in what they have to say about this news artical from the Happy Atheists.

    Dan, the English version of the liturgy that you link-to is content only, no form. But notice how the sermon could be about nothing but environmentalism, the liturgy still provides large doses of the Bible/Word of God. In it’s officially listed form there is the Lord’s Prayer and Gospel and Epistle readings, along with the Credo. In this instance the liturgy is remaining faithful, even if other parts are not. But this link does not tell us what forms might be used with this liturgy, and it is lacking the absolution, not uncommon in pietistic Norway.

    There is enough Word in this liturgy to still save people which is why I strongly believe it is rarly used and that there are forms used that block out whatever content might be there.

    Form/content clash examples:

    – Liturgy content as posted but chanted in African mode 8 by a female priest wearing sari. (content ok, form wrong)

    – Liturgy of the New Environment (new, non-Christian), no Bible readings, no creed, Lady’s prayer instead of Lord’s prayer, all traditional Norwegian hymns but words changed to messages to love whales and chanted by registered and approved state male priest in proper vestments. (content sucks, form ok)

    But as I say, wait for the Norwegian confessionals to reply. There will be horror stories enough to go around. And, this is a very sad thought, but this could be the Norwegian Labor Party’s way of reacting to the massacre of their children. Socialism is uncomfortable with religion, but will tolerate what it can control.

  • Joanne

    If the state still pays the salaries of the Peoples’ Church clergy, and if the state will retain a Ministry portfolio for Religion, then the new state church is the People’s Church and other groups that believe in univeralism, environmentalism, and social justice. If the confessing church in Norway is still locked out with no state money and no representation by the Ministry of Religion (the excuse used will be their full-bore opposition to the state right of abortion) then we’ll know that Norway still has a state church and it’s beliefs are whatever passes for piety as the moment.

    But, as I said, we will be hearing from the Confessing Church in Norway, and I’ll likely put most credence in what they have to say about this news artical from the Happy Atheists.

    Dan, the English version of the liturgy that you link-to is content only, no form. But notice how the sermon could be about nothing but environmentalism, the liturgy still provides large doses of the Bible/Word of God. In it’s officially listed form there is the Lord’s Prayer and Gospel and Epistle readings, along with the Credo. In this instance the liturgy is remaining faithful, even if other parts are not. But this link does not tell us what forms might be used with this liturgy, and it is lacking the absolution, not uncommon in pietistic Norway.

    There is enough Word in this liturgy to still save people which is why I strongly believe it is rarly used and that there are forms used that block out whatever content might be there.

    Form/content clash examples:

    – Liturgy content as posted but chanted in African mode 8 by a female priest wearing sari. (content ok, form wrong)

    – Liturgy of the New Environment (new, non-Christian), no Bible readings, no creed, Lady’s prayer instead of Lord’s prayer, all traditional Norwegian hymns but words changed to messages to love whales and chanted by registered and approved state male priest in proper vestments. (content sucks, form ok)

    But as I say, wait for the Norwegian confessionals to reply. There will be horror stories enough to go around. And, this is a very sad thought, but this could be the Norwegian Labor Party’s way of reacting to the massacre of their children. Socialism is uncomfortable with religion, but will tolerate what it can control.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Does anybody know how the church as a whole has reacted to this?

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Does anybody know how the church as a whole has reacted to this?

  • Dan Kempin

    Fws,

    “I am suggesting that the error of thinking that liturgy can preserve the church is a confusion of Law and Gospel.”

    Yes, I do agree with you. (I thought so.) Or at least I agree it is an error to think that liturgy can preserve the church.

  • Dan Kempin

    Fws,

    “I am suggesting that the error of thinking that liturgy can preserve the church is a confusion of Law and Gospel.”

    Yes, I do agree with you. (I thought so.) Or at least I agree it is an error to think that liturgy can preserve the church.

  • fws

    dan @ 44

    Read my post at 21. Which merely quotes our Confessions.

    It is all right there. All we need to resolve the worship wars.
    It is really just Law/Gospel as Two Kingdoms being demonstrated for us today. It is Romans 8 redux. Rinse and repeat.
    It should be our “how to” manual.

    So the conversations you hear are from neo confessionals. They are neo because they claim to be confessional Lutherans and somehow their manner of speaking is not reflective of one who has read, mark, learned and inwardly digested the Law/Gospel method that are the raison d etre of our Confessions.

  • fws

    dan @ 44

    Read my post at 21. Which merely quotes our Confessions.

    It is all right there. All we need to resolve the worship wars.
    It is really just Law/Gospel as Two Kingdoms being demonstrated for us today. It is Romans 8 redux. Rinse and repeat.
    It should be our “how to” manual.

    So the conversations you hear are from neo confessionals. They are neo because they claim to be confessional Lutherans and somehow their manner of speaking is not reflective of one who has read, mark, learned and inwardly digested the Law/Gospel method that are the raison d etre of our Confessions.

  • fws

    dan @ 44

    This liturgy stuff is just an add-on to the error that unity can be maintained by enforcement of doctrinal purity by the Synod.

    I would argue that the Brief Statement was the fruit of just such thinking. Look where that thinking has gotten the WELS. Ahem.

    It is what God brings us in your preaching Dan, that alone can do this Dan! So get to work! And hide in Christ when you fail in doing this as you ought! Fail you will. Sin boldly dear pastor Dan!

    It is the preaching of that Law that terrifies because we can’t do it, that first commandment Law that demands our emotions. That demands that we really do love. How can one love by following a list of do’s and don’ts? That would be impossible. Only Christ and the Holy Spirit can put that into a heart and so justify us.

    and then… the Holy Gospel that invites us to hide all that we can do that is good and right and also dying, such our doing liturgy and doctrine, in the Works of Fear, Love and Trust Incarnate.

    You call us to our Baptism. Which is to hold to the Promise there. Only there can we be dead certain that we are justified before God and that the Law can no longer accuse us.

    And so here we are Dan. We have received the Promised Mercy. You got it from your pastor. You are handing it on to me and others. God can be an Object of Love , and that is the basis for our unity, complete and utter unity. …and ….we are loving each other here in our discussion.

  • fws

    dan @ 44

    This liturgy stuff is just an add-on to the error that unity can be maintained by enforcement of doctrinal purity by the Synod.

    I would argue that the Brief Statement was the fruit of just such thinking. Look where that thinking has gotten the WELS. Ahem.

    It is what God brings us in your preaching Dan, that alone can do this Dan! So get to work! And hide in Christ when you fail in doing this as you ought! Fail you will. Sin boldly dear pastor Dan!

    It is the preaching of that Law that terrifies because we can’t do it, that first commandment Law that demands our emotions. That demands that we really do love. How can one love by following a list of do’s and don’ts? That would be impossible. Only Christ and the Holy Spirit can put that into a heart and so justify us.

    and then… the Holy Gospel that invites us to hide all that we can do that is good and right and also dying, such our doing liturgy and doctrine, in the Works of Fear, Love and Trust Incarnate.

    You call us to our Baptism. Which is to hold to the Promise there. Only there can we be dead certain that we are justified before God and that the Law can no longer accuse us.

    And so here we are Dan. We have received the Promised Mercy. You got it from your pastor. You are handing it on to me and others. God can be an Object of Love , and that is the basis for our unity, complete and utter unity. …and ….we are loving each other here in our discussion.

  • Joanne

    Liturgy is a discipline we apply to public worship by common (catholic) agreement over a very long period of time. It’s an order of service that requires certain content in certain forms. Lots of people had controling interests in the develop of the Christian liturgies, i.e., councils of overseers, the Roman Emperor, and even unknown sources that attained long usage before the usual sources of authority passed on them.

    Although all the Christian liturgies are not exactly the same, they are so similar that the kinship is remarkable, noting that all have had at least 1000 years of development. (The Lutheran liturgy is the western latin catholic liturgy with the minimum of changes (catholic principle) made only for reasons of doctrinal necessity.) You get the sense when you know and understand the eastern greek orthodox, the western latin catholic, the northern germanic evangelical liturgies that these are all related churches with much in common (catholic/orthodox). That adds up to about 90% of christians for 1000, to 1500, to 2000 years of liturgical development and usage.

    Content and form are attributes of a liturgy. The Christian liturgies are not biblical in origin, but I believe the Hebrew Tempel liturgies were spelled out in the ceremonial laws. Vestments, sculpures, intrumental music, bible passages, prayers, songs were all included in the ceremonial instructions from God. On the other hand, the synagogs’ services had a very simplified service, sort of like a prayer and preaching service meant only for the Jewish diaspora until attendance at the Tempel on Mount Zion could happen and the whole liturgy of God could be observed. The synagogs were like waiting chapels where the special (real) faith could be kept alive until “Zion come.”

    The message we get from God’s prescribed temple liturgy, content and form, is not that we are required to do that too, but that God is not displeased by any of these things that he once had required his chosen people to do. We are free now to use ceremonies and rites, art and music, that the church makes in common (catholic) to establish regular worship everywhere (catholic).

    So what we know is that God cannot dispise sculpture when he commanded his Tempel to contain sculptures. God cannot dispise a uniform organized liturgy when he had once demanded it of his tempel priests through the ceremonial laws. So, we know when the church uses similar worship principles to the former Hebrew Tempel usages, that God has no basic disapproval of these types of things.

    The Jews lived under the ceremonial laws and in many periods of time the temple services followed these laws scrupulously and at many time God complained bitterly and threateningly through his prophets of the non-observance of his ceremonial laws. The Jews did not have our freedom to be different in how we worship, nor our opportunity to voluntarily, through primarily church councils, to set up very similar practices to each other and to Temple worship rites and ceremonies to share in common everywhere (catholic).

    The Evangelical Lutheran church is not a reform or repristination of the house churches of St. Paul’s time, nor of synagoge or Jewish tempel worship. The Ev.-Luth. church is not a reformation of the Calvinist church nor any other protestant church. The Church of the Augsburg Confession is a reformation of the Western Latin Church as it existed circa 1525, under the catholic priciple that we will walk together as much as true doctrine from the Bible will allow us to. We will only change that which the Bible requires us to change. The aim of the Augsburg Confessors was to remove the instances of dross and retain the wealth of gold in 1300 years of Christianity, then to continue it through to Kingdom Come.

    Innovation in liturgy only when necessary and mayby once in a hundred years. These are strong principles to preserve our link to the communion of saints, the church everywhere and at all times (catholic) and Luther enunciated them often and earnestly. Notice how Lutherans across the ages/generations often sign their walking together by commonly memorized portions of the Small Catechism. That could be lost when weakly needed “updates” happen to the catechism.

    We have all attended Ev. Luth. liturgies that by changes in content and form to their practice have vitiated through innovations the purpose of having a liturgy. They have left the common walk and gone to practice sectarian principles of worship. It’s a worship time full of surprises until it becomes boring and a whole new round in innovation must ensue.

  • Joanne

    Liturgy is a discipline we apply to public worship by common (catholic) agreement over a very long period of time. It’s an order of service that requires certain content in certain forms. Lots of people had controling interests in the develop of the Christian liturgies, i.e., councils of overseers, the Roman Emperor, and even unknown sources that attained long usage before the usual sources of authority passed on them.

    Although all the Christian liturgies are not exactly the same, they are so similar that the kinship is remarkable, noting that all have had at least 1000 years of development. (The Lutheran liturgy is the western latin catholic liturgy with the minimum of changes (catholic principle) made only for reasons of doctrinal necessity.) You get the sense when you know and understand the eastern greek orthodox, the western latin catholic, the northern germanic evangelical liturgies that these are all related churches with much in common (catholic/orthodox). That adds up to about 90% of christians for 1000, to 1500, to 2000 years of liturgical development and usage.

    Content and form are attributes of a liturgy. The Christian liturgies are not biblical in origin, but I believe the Hebrew Tempel liturgies were spelled out in the ceremonial laws. Vestments, sculpures, intrumental music, bible passages, prayers, songs were all included in the ceremonial instructions from God. On the other hand, the synagogs’ services had a very simplified service, sort of like a prayer and preaching service meant only for the Jewish diaspora until attendance at the Tempel on Mount Zion could happen and the whole liturgy of God could be observed. The synagogs were like waiting chapels where the special (real) faith could be kept alive until “Zion come.”

    The message we get from God’s prescribed temple liturgy, content and form, is not that we are required to do that too, but that God is not displeased by any of these things that he once had required his chosen people to do. We are free now to use ceremonies and rites, art and music, that the church makes in common (catholic) to establish regular worship everywhere (catholic).

    So what we know is that God cannot dispise sculpture when he commanded his Tempel to contain sculptures. God cannot dispise a uniform organized liturgy when he had once demanded it of his tempel priests through the ceremonial laws. So, we know when the church uses similar worship principles to the former Hebrew Tempel usages, that God has no basic disapproval of these types of things.

    The Jews lived under the ceremonial laws and in many periods of time the temple services followed these laws scrupulously and at many time God complained bitterly and threateningly through his prophets of the non-observance of his ceremonial laws. The Jews did not have our freedom to be different in how we worship, nor our opportunity to voluntarily, through primarily church councils, to set up very similar practices to each other and to Temple worship rites and ceremonies to share in common everywhere (catholic).

    The Evangelical Lutheran church is not a reform or repristination of the house churches of St. Paul’s time, nor of synagoge or Jewish tempel worship. The Ev.-Luth. church is not a reformation of the Calvinist church nor any other protestant church. The Church of the Augsburg Confession is a reformation of the Western Latin Church as it existed circa 1525, under the catholic priciple that we will walk together as much as true doctrine from the Bible will allow us to. We will only change that which the Bible requires us to change. The aim of the Augsburg Confessors was to remove the instances of dross and retain the wealth of gold in 1300 years of Christianity, then to continue it through to Kingdom Come.

    Innovation in liturgy only when necessary and mayby once in a hundred years. These are strong principles to preserve our link to the communion of saints, the church everywhere and at all times (catholic) and Luther enunciated them often and earnestly. Notice how Lutherans across the ages/generations often sign their walking together by commonly memorized portions of the Small Catechism. That could be lost when weakly needed “updates” happen to the catechism.

    We have all attended Ev. Luth. liturgies that by changes in content and form to their practice have vitiated through innovations the purpose of having a liturgy. They have left the common walk and gone to practice sectarian principles of worship. It’s a worship time full of surprises until it becomes boring and a whole new round in innovation must ensue.

  • Dan Kempin

    Fws, #45, 46,

    That. was. awesome.

    It was worth the wait to get the clarification. I’m with you, brother.

  • Dan Kempin

    Fws, #45, 46,

    That. was. awesome.

    It was worth the wait to get the clarification. I’m with you, brother.

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