Saturday, March 3, 2012

What will never happen in Lutheranism... but maybe something like it should. . .

After 47 years as a priest, and at least two decades of straying from the Roman Catholic Missal by ad libbing parts of the Mass, the Rev. Bill Rowe of St. Mary Church has resigned under pressure from the bishop.

Why? Because he doesn't agree that a priest should be restricted to the exact words of the Missal (especially the changes in the Mass introduced with Advent 2011).  It is a radical story not of a few ad libs here and there but a whole history of paraphrasing and altering the text of the Mass.  He was warned over and over again but to no avail.  Some will claim that this heavy handed discipline is over reaching.  For us Lutherans it may seem extreme, indeed, but it does point to a significant problem within our own liturgical practices and the text of the Divine Service.

If the priest is free to change what he does not like about the doctrine expressed in the liturgical texts of the Church, why should the people in the pew not be afforded the same opportunity to reshape the liturgical tradition to better reflect their perspective, the cultural moment, and the modern bias for political correctness? 

Read the whole story here.

Now I am not advocating for liturgical police but noting the contrast here with the freedom of Lutherans to do whatever they darn please -- all the while claiming to be Lutheran -- and the rigid uniformity required of Rome.  We do not need to follow them but perhaps we need to find some place in the middle in which we can expect of Lutheran congregations that what happens on Sunday morning will be identifiably Lutheran in content and practice.

Surely it is not too much to expect that the preaching and teaching of pulpit and catechism class by Lutheran Pastors will honor the Confessions (and their claim of evangelical catholicity) and that the liturgy and practices of Lutheran parishes will likewise honor those Confessions.  Apart from this, we hold to a unity of spirit in which the real words of our Confession and the liturgical practice that is shaped by that Confession is so nebulous and vague as to be meaningless.  Undoubtedly someone will comment "but it is all adiaphora" and therefore prove my point that we Lutherans are so attached to our freedom and diversity that we will instinctively resist what common sense tells us is true!

Read more here:


Pastor Peters said...

Ooops... Sorry for the similar posts... My power went out when I did this one and it disappeared from my computer so I did the one below and assumed this one was gone forever. No one was more surprised than me when it showed up here... Go figure... It is had been something really important, it would have been lost for sure as soon as the power went off on the desktop!

Anonymous said...

I do NOT like "creative worship." I want the same liturgy in any LCMS church that I happen to attend. Why is that SO difficult?

Heather said...

I am with you.. I don't like surprises on Sunday morning.. when I visit another LCMS parish due to vacation, I would like to know that they are faithful to the Lutheran doctrine, both in practice and Liturgy (one of the same, I suppose)and don't like having to ask if there will be Communion or not? I would drive the extra distance to receive the Sacrament.

Martin said...

When I was growing up in the 50's and early 60's. My father would take us on business trips. He would always find an LCMS lutheran church on sunday and no matter where we were the service was always the same. I have left two churches because of the pastors and there artful changes. The new hymnal is bad enough.