Tuesday, June 18, 2019

News to me. . .

On a pan-Lutheran online forum, one of the actual Lutherans said Baptism saves only to have another so-called Lutheran respond says who?  Now you might be thinking this is a joke or at least hyperbole -- and I wish it were -- but it is not.  One respondent quoted the Catechism:  "It works forgiveness of sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare."  Hmmmm.  That could have sealed the deal but apparently even the Catechism does trump private opinion.  Well, St. Peter wrote "Baptism now saves you" but I am not sure even the Word of God would make all that much difference to many.  But that is the sad state of Lutheranism today.  We have forgotten our Catechism and we do not trust the Word of the Lord.  So we are left with opinions, some pious and some not so pious.  And that is the state of it. 

Lutheranism is dying, as many have noted, but its death is hardly due to Lutheranism being Lutheran.  In fact, it is dying precisely because Lutheranism has forgotten what it means to be Lutheran.  It has so little to offer anyone anymore.  Some Lutherans have decided that they are Baptists with a little chancel flourish, willingly surrendering the Sacraments in pursuit of a Word that is inerrant but not efficacious.  It is true enough but not a dynamic force that is actually able to do what its words declare.  Others have spent too much time looking at the grass next door and have decided that the pace setters for modern Christianity are the purveyors of an entertainment style Christianity with plenty of relevance but not all that much transcendence.  Still others have watched the growing gulf between Scripture and culture and have let their angst at being left behind push them to try and harness the horse of change and ride ahead into the no man's land of doctrineless orthodoxy.  Then there are some Lutherans left who fight over vestments and liturgy and whether things good are essential or things essential are good -- an impossible debate to win when the winning card is adiaphora.

That is why I am so passionate about trying to simply be Lutheran.  We can do no worse by taking our Confessions seriously than we have by ignoring them, by taking the Word of God at face value rather than reasoning it away, by expecting God to be where He has promised to be and to do what He has promised to do.  Lutherans have worked so very hard not to be Lutheran, why not trying working at least as hard trying to BE the Lutherans we say we are. 

If you are with me, then we need to stop trying to save institutions and act like Lutherans.  We need to be the Lutheran Church and not a community service organization or a group of self-help entrepreneurs or a witty troop of entertainers.  If we plan on taking God seriously and His Word seriously, then we must also take worship seriously and the means of grace seriously.  They go together.  Worship is not about the preference of pastor or people but about the Most High God who has deigned to dwell among us, rich with grace to forgive, save, and enliven a sinful, lost, and dead people.  Mystery is not a cultural force or the byword of the moment but the aura of God's presence, glory hidden where He has placed it, that beckons and woos us into knowing Him as He has known us -- a Shepherd and His sheep.

When we do this and fail, we will have no shame and no regrets.  But until we do this we will have only shame and regret.  We will continue to mask our identity and sell our souls to the people who make the best promises we can afford.  I don't want to do that.  I don't think most of our church body wants to do that.  I live in hope and pray that our seminaries are turning out pastors who won't want to do this either.  This is our future -- our only future.  Anything else will hold no future for us at all, except the prospect of being mightily successful in growing a church either nobody on earth wants or God cannot recognize as His own.


Anonymous said...

First of all, Brian Stoffregen should not be held up as representing a typical Lutheran voice.

Luther's quote about the seven-year-old child knowing that the church is the sheep listening to the voice of the shepherd is apropos here. We shouldn't overlook the "popular" elements of the Reformation that endeared it (and later Pietism) to the people: worship in the vernacular, discarding ceremony that undermines the Word, robust congregational singing, reading the Bible, Sunday School, discipleship, emphasis on missions and evangelism, etc. This is Lutheranism every bit as much as word and sacrament ministry, and should not be equated with being "Baptist with chancel flourishes."

It strikes me that high and low church Lutherans are responding to the people in two different ways. There has been now for several decades a growing gulf between "Merica" and a financially elite America. This used to be a source of envy the LCMS had for the ELCA: they were older, East Coast, had more money, members, seminaries, intellectuals, and nice wealthy church buildings and congregations. We followed them in liturgical and hymnal innovation. But now the LCMS has split between those who name churches after SUVs and country clubs, with non-denominational style worship, and those who identify with the six figure salary elite America, which emphasizes institutional power and finery. Which appeals to most Americans? Probably both, depending on who you are. Mike Pence typifies this current split personality: a Roman Catholic who attends an Evangelical megachurch as well.

Perhaps a way forward is to focus on the core teachings of Lutheranism: grace, faith, and scripture alone, while not getting lost in the weeds of "hyper Lutheranism" or fuzzy non-denominationalism. Luther certainly believed practices could and would change with the times. When reading through his sermons, the subject is always that of faith. It is passive in its creation and reception of justification through the preached Word and the work of the Holy Spirit. It is active in sanctification, discipleship, witness, prayer, and praise: a mighty, busy faith as we live out our lives as God's royal priesthood.

Anonymous said...

Since when was Sunday School a fruit of the Reformation??? I believe it began more than 200 years after.

Lutheran Lurker said...

So you believe that Lutherans followed mainline liturgical Protestants in their ceremony, liturgy, and rites? That might possibly be plausible if these were not Lutheran practices and piety long before the mainline liberal liturgical Protestants ever came into existence.

Anonymous said...

Fruits by definition follow the sowing of the seed...

No, Lurker, read your Reformation history. The liturgy in Württemberg was changed to a preaching service. The pastor starts out the service in the pulpit. There are hymns and prayers. They celebrated communion once a month. In Strasbourg, Estonia, Latvia, Meissen, Freiberg, Montbeliard, Alsace, and other parts of upper Germany the only vestments worn were black "Luther robes." Hesse and the Palatinate whitewashed their Lutheran churches. Gnesio Lutherans pulled down altarpieces and side altars from their churches. This was all before Calvinists even existed. Visit Germany today. You will find white walls and pastors in black robes. Hopefully they don a surplice for the communion rite. That's what LCMS pastors used to do, too. Has nothing to do with imitating mainstream liturgical Protestants.

Anonymous said...


"Gnesio Lutherans pulled down altarpieces and side altars..."

What monumental stupidity you are putting on display here! The bastion of Gnesio-Lutheranism, Magdeburg, evidences no such thing. If you have ever visited the great Magdeburg Cathedral you would see in fact that nothing of the sort happened.

Your fantasy world of white-washed walls and Geneva gowns is just that...a bizarro-world.

You have no idea what you are talking about.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but every sentence above is pulled from current research by a reputable academic specialist. Read Koerner, Heal, Spicer, and many other genuine academics whose research paints a broader picture of the development of Lutheran culture than the simplistic monomania found on the Gottesdienst blog.

The information about Gnesio Lutherans and altarpieces is in Heal, "A Magnificent Faith," pp. 51-7, where the examples given are from Ernestine Saxony, which does not include Magdeburg.

By the way, if you never bought Heal's "A Magnificent Faith," there is a paper online that was simply expanded into the later book that you can read for free here.

One interesting question for the Lutherans was what to do with leftover Catholic art in their churches:

"Wolgemut’s altar had been installed in 1479 during the early years of Zwickau’s heyday as a city catering to the silver-mining industry in the Saxon Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains). It was clearly an object of civic pride, and survived the Reformation cleansing of the Marienkirche intact and in situ.20 It is a splendid image: its carved shrine shows the Virgin Mary and eight other female saints, and its painted wings show the Annunciation and scenes from the life of Christ. When the Marienkirche needed renovating in the mid-sixteenth century, Zwickau’s city council considered replacing this old altar, adorned as they said with ‘idols’, with one more suited to the Lutheran liturgy. The Marienkirche’s new pastor, Johann Petrejus, campaigned to have the altar replaced: he warned that putting it back in the newly-restored church could give the impression to foreigners and to religious opponents that the inhabitants of Zwickau had ‘voluntarily submitted once again to the papacy’ and would again ‘honour the saints’ and place their trust in them.

"The exact nature of Lutheran visual culture was, however, still a matter of dispute. While the congregation, and ultimately the city council and elector, were willing to accommodate a reminder of the papist past, Petrejus was concerned to ensure that the church did not look as if it had once more submitted to Rome or returned to the practice of venerating saints."

"Jakob Andreae, chief theological advisor to the Duke of Württemberg and principal author of the Formula of Concord, criticized Calvinist iconoclasm. In Saxony, he said, many churches still contained painted and carved images and maintained ceremonies that were neither prescribed nor proscribed in Scripture. Despite this, the region’s inhabitants no longer clung to ‘the Papist Mass, and other papist horrors, superstitions and idolatry’. Iconoclasm in Württemberg had, he claimed, achieved less in men’s hearts than the measured method of proceeding of the Saxon church."

Anonymous said...

Wow...you have a definitive book on the art and ornamentation either retained by Gnesio-Lutherans or installed by Gnesio-Lutherans you are still going to run with your claims that Gnesio-Lutherans whitewashed walls and tore out Roman Altars and other decoration and ornamentation?

You are reading everything through this bizarre notion in your head that black academic robes and bare churches is somehow normative across Lutheran Germany the Reformation and Age of Orthodoxy.

You are some completely dead wrong and have to horribly misread the book you mentioned!

And you entirely ignored the fact that Magdeburg was the bastion of Gnesio-Lutheranism and they did not tear out/down the artwork in that Cathedral. You know this blows out of the water your idiotic reading of the history.

Anonymous said...

No, I'm not saying everything was white walls and no vestments. But in some Lutheran areas, that was indeed the case. Read Andreae's quote again. Württemberg was Lutheran and very iconoclastic. Andreae reports that the overall result was popular resentment and offense. Saxony, on the other hand, followed a more moderate, case by case approach to aesthetic reform. Nikolaus Gallus called this the "Lutheran middle way."

Read also again:

"In Ernestine Saxony, the political heartland of the Gnesio-Lutheran cause, altar panels were removed, so that communion could be dispensed from behind the altar, as Luther had wished. E. Koch, ‘Die Beseitigung der “abgöttischen Bilder” und ihre Folgen im ernestinischen Thüringen’, in H.-J. Nieden and M. Nieden (eds), Praxis Pietatis: Beiträge zu Theologie und Frömmigkeit in der frühen Neuzeit (Stuttgart, 1999), pp. 225–41."

Gnesio Lutherans were not iconoclasts by any means, but they did remove retables to clear the altar for its evangelical purpose, the distribution of communion. Again, READ, don't just scan articles for the words "Lutherans loved crucifixes and hated Calvinists" to spout your own nonsense about a uniform Lutheran approach to aesthetics during the Reformation.

Anonymous said...

Here are some imagesof your Confessional Lutheran brethren in Mulhouse, France, of the Eglise Evangélique Luthérienne - Synode de France. Walls look pretty white. Vestments look kinda black. Is this difficult to see?

Anonymous said...

We are discussing congregations in Germany. I can not speak to what a 21st century French "Lutheran" congregations looks like in the inside.

I can however show you paintings of how Lutheran worship interiors looked in Denmark during the 16th century.

Many congregations that today look like "whitewashed tombs" were not, in fact until the Era of Pietism and Rationalism ruined them... even the Torgau Castle Chapel...it was richly decorated and paintings were all over it from Cranach.

By the time it had been turned into a stable by the French during who knows which war, it had been reduced to what is seen today. White walls.

The claim that the "standard" in Lutheranism during the Reformation and Post-Reformation age of Orthodoxy is white walls and little by way of interior decoration is simply absurd and betrays a daunting, perhaps invincible, ignorance on the part of the person making the claims.

There was a rich variety of vestments, the "black robe" was not somehow a uniform of orthodox Lutheranism.

Your ignorance on these issues is really doing you a huge disservice.

And we have reached a point in The LCMS today where still there are LCMS Lutherans who think that the Crucifix is "too Catholic."

Square that up with the book you mentioned previously, if you care to try (assuming you actually read the book, which I doubt).

Anonymous said...

Two things: you don't win an argument by a) calling someone ignorant (are we in first grade?), b) ignoring scholarly evidence to the contrary, and c) intentionally deflecting and shifting the points made to suit your own either a) deficiency in reading comprehension, or b) preconceived mental narrative.

Would you like to reply to the research about Gnesio Lutherans and altarpieces?

Would you like to cite any source other than your own hand waving about "Pietism"?
Heal points out that Pietism actually increased the appeal of devotional images in Lutheranism.

Who is the one who isn't reading here? Are you capable of discussion without ad hominems?

Anonymous said...

"In Ernestine Saxony images' role in Lutheran worship was contested during this period. Flacius and his [Gnesio Lutheran] supporters wanted to cleanse the territory's churches of all remnants of the papist past..."

"Flacius, Winter, and Monner trod a typically Lutheran line between idolatry and iconoclasm, distancing themselves not only from papists but also from iconoclasts, who reject all images including crucifixes. They opposed the Jena altarpiece for a variety of reasons: it was 'papist, mangled, broken, deformed, and offensive,' and the Christ Child has been taken from it, which they considered to be a bad omen; the retable had been removed at the request of the court preacher, Johann Stoltz, and to restore it would suggest division among the territory's theologians and cause confusion; and above all the duke must be true to Luther's memory, and ensure that "the abandoned papist ceremonies and adiaphora" were not reintroduced."

"Such concerns found expression in visitation articles too...The instructions for the 1554-5 general visitation, drawn up by Stoltz, stated that 'the pastors should not tolerate any papist or idolatrous images and paintings in their churches.'"

"In 1560 [Duke] Johann Friedrich ordered another visitation. In a provision that captures beautifully the shift that theologians wished to achieve from a visual to a verbal form of piety, the 1560 visitation stated that churches were to sell superfluous furnishings, images, and other objects, "in favor of the acquisition of German Bibles, the Hauspostille and the volumes of the Jena edition of Luther's works that have appeared already."

(Heal, pp. 55-6)

Anonymous said...

You are confusing a lot of facts, simply because you don't know what you are talking about. If you visit a myriad of churches that still retain their historic Lutheran ornamentation you will see enough to make a true-blue LCMS "our pastors wore black" a case of the vapors to beat the band.

But you have this weird obsession with trying to prove that the low-point in LCMS liturgical practices and church decoration is somehow a legacy left it by the Lutheran Reformation. It is not.

You are dodging all around avoiding some questions put to you about crucifixes, and as for altars, the Altar in Eisleben's St. Andrews is papist through and through, ditto St. Paul's, and take a look at the enormous "papist looking" painting at the Weimar Church, etc. etc.

And, you still have avoided the obvious contradiction of your claims: the heart and soul of the Flaciast/Genesio Movement...Magdeburg, with a Cathedral that the Lutheran did not tear apart, but in fact, added a gorgeous albastar pulpit, but kept all the "papist art" you are protesting.

I can cite a dozen more Lutheran churches filled with Lutheran artistry that would cause far too many LCMS Lutherans to recoil with horror at all the "Catholic" art.

So, your point, to try to prove that there is some virtue in white walls and black gowns is simply disproven by the reality of what actually happened.

Anonymous said...

My, oh, my, "confusing...dodging...weird obsession" - surely I'll wilt under such an impressive barrage of slander!

My assertions are supported by copious quotes from primary sources and professional historians.
Your assertions are ad hominems and stories of visiting churches with lots of art.

You have consistently missed the point of every. single. post.

Lutherans responded to Catholics and Calvinists by defining themselves in architecture, art, and ceremony as neither Catholic nor Calvinist.

Broadly speaking, which is anachronistic, in places such as Ernestine Saxony, Württemberg, and, yes, France, this meant minimalism. In other places such as Brandenburg and Albertine Saxony, this meant maximalism.

Your error is to wish to treat Lutheran attitudes toward aesthetics as uniformly maximalist. What I am arguing is that this is demonstrably not the case.

Pastor Peters said...

The problem is hardly one of maximalism. In fact, the danger before Lutheranism is not doing more but, look around you, doing less. So much less that in fact the liturgy and the Sacrament of the Altar are not simply optional for some Lutherans but excess baggage to be ditched. Lutherans are not iconoclasts. That is not a fact in dispute. Lutherans do not have a uniform history of ditching ceremonial, vestments, or even Latin. That is not a fact in dispute. Lutherans do not have an indifferent attitude toward music. That is not a fact in dispute. That Lutherans have a variety of responses to ceremony and ritual and vestments and architecture is NOT a strength but remains to this day a tension, conflict, dispute, and weakness. Furthermore, what Lutherans did was not irreverent nor casual but just the opposite in every case. Finally, Lutherans are not bound to what was done in one place but to their Confessions in which, though law cannot compel uniformity, uniformity is good and salutary and church usages are NOT rejected but also found to be good and salutary.

James Mitchell said...

"Lutherans responded to Catholics and Calvinists by defining themselves in architecture, art, and ceremony as neither Catholic nor Calvinist."

That is simply far to facile an assertion to stand up to closer scrutiny. Luther and the Reformed "reformed" but did not "revolutionize" the Roman Mass, worship spaces, art and architecture.

Calvinists were the ones who hewed and hacked away at the historic Mass, art, architecture, and the like.

You are attempting to make the case that Lutheranism represents some "middle path" between the "excesses" of Rome and the "excesses" of Calvinism.

It is simply not the case.

And it is this observor's impressions reading your comments that you are trying to bring this back to making the case that somehow the dreadful minimalism that captured the hearts and minds of mainstream LCMS in the thirties through fifties is somehow aligned with the "best practices" of Luther and his colleagues and Lutheran Post-Reformation Orthodoxy.

This is not the case either.

This goes a long way to explaining why you studiously avoid the questions you have been asked about the Crucifix, and I'd add, the widespread practice of chanting, etc. one finds throughout even early Missouri while it retained chanting, and why in the mid-20th century it all came to be regarded as "too Catholic."

Anonymous said...

Correction: "Luther reformed but did not revolutionize the Roman Mass...."

Calvinists tore apart and destroyed (witness how they desecrated the great Cathedral in Zurich) and when/where they had the chance to build churches they were barn-like lecture halls. This was NOT what Lutherans did, not even close.

Anonymous said...

The striking reality in so many LCMS congregations is that when they remodeled their sanctuaries, the beautiful old highly ornate altars, even in the small country churches, were often ripped out. Statues of Jesus removed, or beautiful paintings discarded and crucifixes done away with and replaced with some of the most hideously bland altars, with bare crosses, etc.

Why did these LCMS Lutheran congregations choose to throw out the unique confessional Lutheran altars, pulpit, baptismal fonts, paintings and statues and the crucifix?

Because The LCMS became intoxicated on Romaphobia and a deep desire to be viewed and regarded as "just another protestant church" in America, this happened most rapidly during the 1950s and 1960s.

Anonymous said...

From Pastor Peters old stomping ground:

"I recall a conversation I had with Chaplain Weedon several years ago in Wyoming during breakfast in which he said to me that the nightmare which keeps Missouri up at night is that she isn't really church." Yep. That's a real quote.


"We do not concede to them that they are the Church, and they are not; nor will we listen to those things which, under the name of Church, they enjoin or forbid. For, thank God, a child seven years old knows what the Church is, namely, the holy believers and lambs who hear the voice of their Shepherd. For the children pray thus: I believe in one holy Christian Church. This holiness does not consist in albs, tonsures, long gowns, and other of their ceremonies devised by them beyond Holy Scripture, but in the Word of God and true faith."

Anonymous said...

"You are attempting to make the case that Lutheranism represents some "middle path" between the "excesses" of Rome and the "excesses" of Calvinism."

"Luther’s own response, as we know, was a call to moderation, and a declaration that the power of the Word would overcome the power of the image. Yet his attitude towards images was not enthusiastic: ‘we are free to have them or not’, he preached in 1522, ‘but it would be much better if we did not have them at all. I am not partial to them.’" (see Heal article)

"[This article] will also assess the attempts of Lutheran pastors and their congregations to tread a ‘right middle road’ between Calvinist iconoclasm and Catholic idolatry". (Heal)

"Hans Friedrich von Stutterheim, for example, who died in 1616, commissioned a new altarpiece for the parish church in Drahnsdorf, near Golßen. In the predella (destroyed in 1945) was a bust-length image of the donor with an inscription in Latin and German that read: ‘O God protect the church and the altar from all danger so that the Word and sacrament remain to honour you until the end. Send away from it the Romanists, the Jesuits and Calvinists’." (Heal)

"When the church in Oelsnitz in the Vogtland had a new font installed in 1638, the pastor told his congregation that it was to be consecrated neither with papist, idolatrous ceremonies nor ‘with Calvinist mockery’, for Calvinists ‘hardly have any respect for fonts and holy baptism’."

"Helwig Garth reiterated in his 1610 consecration sermon that ‘there is no person in all the evangelical Lutheran churches who is taken in and stained by superstition, idolatry and horrors of the papists.’ Christian Gerbern confirmed in his eighteenth-century history of church ceremonies in Saxony that ‘no one among us removes their hat before such an image, let alone kneels or prays beside it.’"

"One final example will demonstrate that this recourse to Catholic forms did not, however, constitute a weakening of Lutheran confessional identity: the Dresden Frauenkirche, completed in 1743. In early eighteenth-century Saxony, Catholicism was a much more immediate threat than Calvinism because of conversion of the elector, Friedrich August ‘the Strong’, in 1697.120 The city’s Lutheran council responded by financing and organizing the construction of this magnificent church, designed to accommodate 3,500 worshippers. Despite its visual splendour, and despite the fact that the town council tried to finance its decoration by selling burial sites in the ‘sacred’ ground beneath it, this church can only be understood as an assertion of Protestant self-consciousness in the face of Elector Friedrich August’s Catholic court. In a ceremony that took place before an audience of thousands, the Augsburg Confession was laid into its foundation stone, and an inscription above the altar commemorates the role of ‘the senate and the people of Dresden’ in its creation.121 There can be no doubt about what this church is for. As the preacher Valentin Ernst Löscher emphasized in his consecration sermon (1734), "churches are not theatres, to which one goes to see vain representations and splendid processions [as happens with the Catholics] … but they are auditoria, where we come together to hear God’s Word and to celebrate the sacraments; they are teaching and hearing houses."

"On the concept of a ‘right middle road’, see Nischan, Lutherans and Calvinists, p. 145. The term was used by the Gnesio-Lutheran Nikolaus Gallus in his Disputatio de adiaphoris et mutatione praesentis status pie constitutarum ecclesiarum (Magdeburg, 1550)"

Anonymous said...

Anon...you have managed to avoid every specific challenge presented to you and have yet to explain your motivations, you are cherry picking quotes to support your agenda.

Please respond to this:

"The striking reality in so many LCMS congregations is that when they remodeled their sanctuaries, the beautiful old highly ornate altars, even in the small country churches, were often ripped out. Statues of Jesus removed, or beautiful paintings discarded and crucifixes done away with and replaced with some of the most hideously bland altars, with bare crosses, etc.

Why did these LCMS Lutheran congregations choose to throw out the unique confessional Lutheran altars, pulpit, baptismal fonts, paintings and statues and the crucifix? "

Anonymous said...

That's not cherry picking, that's a summary of the entire article (and book).

LCMS churches remodeled in the 20th Cent. for the same reason the Castle Church at Torgau was built in the Renaissance style, the Frauenkirche in Dresden in the Baroque style, and many 19th Century churches in the Gothic Revival style. Because it was the style of the time. All those tiny Gothic revival altars from the turn of the century that you think represent some unbroken line to a glorious, medieval Catholic Reformation aesthetic are simply leftover relics of the19th Century Gothic Revival style.

Anonymous said...

And you ignore the point, yet again. Why did LCMS cherish the crucifix for many decades, but then threw it out?

You evidently suffer from invincible ignorance and that's just unfortunate.

Anonymous said...

I'm not aware that we ever did do away with the crucifix. My childhood church had a crucifix on the altar. No doubt, the cross on the altar was probably more in style in the mid 20th Century. Usually a Lutheran cross will have "IHS" in the center, which always reminded me of Philippians 2:10. Some Lutheran churches have no cross on the altar, so that the pastor can conduct the communion rite from behind and facing the people, as in Luther's German Mass of 1526.

It's interesting that Berlin Cathedral, which is a Union/Calvinist church, has a giant marble crucifix on the altar.

Anonymous said...

"Usually a Lutheran cross will have IHS in the center..."

Wrong, again.

Anonymous said...

You can find images of Concordia Publishing House's altar crosses here, and here, and here, and here.

All have "IHS" in the center.

Any other topics you wish to discuss?

Anonymous said...

You can find a bare cross with IHS on it from many vendors for many denominations, there is nothing uniquely "Lutheran" about it in any way, shape or form.

Care to try again with your nonsensical assertions? 15 seconds with Google would have saved you a lot of embarrassment.

Again, you are ... wrong.

Anonymous said...

Most LCMS churches that have an altar cross buy them from CPH. All of CPH's altar crosses have "IHS" on them. Thus, this type of cross, due to its presence in the majority of LCMS churches that have altar crosses, can be said to be a typical LCMS "Lutheran" cross, though of course Lutheran churches also use crucifixes and bare altars as well.

If your point is that the cross is not suitable for Lutheranism, which is a truly entertaining thought, I would say that that it's long use by the LCMS makes it part of our tradition. Even down to the ubiquitous "IHS". Bare, freestanding altars conform more to Luther's direction in the German Mass. Gnesio Lutherans in Thuringia went so far as to pull altars away from the walls of the churches where possible during their church visitations. But if, to read you charitably, your point is simply that there is nothing uniquely Lutheran in a universal sense about crosses, crucifixes, or bare altars, then I will happily grant you your nihil dicit.

Anonymous said...

Let's stay on point:

The assertion was posted:
"Usually a Lutheran cross will have "IHS" in the center."

The assertion was refuted:
There is nothing "Lutheran" about a cross with IHS in the middle of it, that's a cross commonly purchased and used by many churches of many different denominations. The assertion is meaningless and foolish.

On the other hand, if you actually read, and understand, Bridgett Heal's book, you would understand that the distinctive orthodox and confessional Lutheran symbol during the Age of Lutheran Orthodoxy was the crucifix.

Now we have far too many ignorant LCMS people who actually think the crucifix is too "Catholic."

That says something right there.

Anonymous said...

I've noticed that you seem to have been raised to throw the word "ignorant" around a lot, yet your comments provide no documentation, quotes, illustrative images, references to relevant primary sources, thoughtfulness, observation of the rules of logic, or creative thinking formed by a good education. In short, you seem to believe that evidence is successfully refuted by boorish ad hominems.

You have refuted nothing. Your goal is I presume to place a crucifix on every LCMS altar and claim Heal as your evidence for this being a universal Lutheran Reformation practice. Sorry, the facts speak otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Each time you are asked to answer a direct question or respond to a refutation of your assertions, you deflect and ignore. You are a good example of how a little knowledge is dangerous.

Anonymous said...

I'm answering you, but you're not comprehending those answers because you're used to an either/or debate. I'm illustrating the Lutheran middle.

Heal's book has a photo of an elaborate Lusatian altar with a large crucifix. The Wends, who built St. Paul's in Serbin, TX, were from this area, which was ruled by the Albertine Saxons. It is no surprise that St. Paul's also has a crucifix on the altar. This is very Lutheran for the Wends, and I suppose speaks to your frustration about American LCMS Lutherans who might find that too Catholic.

On the other hand, Gnesio Lutherans in Ernestine Saxony campaigned against leftover Catholic altarpieces, furnishings, and mass vestments from the 1450s-70s, as visitation records show. Afterwards, they were cast out during the regency of August the Strong. If we look at the main Lutheran churches in the important Thuringian cities, Weimar and Jena, we find an altarpiece and freestanding bare altar in Weimar, and an altar with cross in Jena. In contrast, Erfurt and Gotha have monumental altarpieces which survived to no one's surprise. Civic pride was undoubtedly bound up with their preservation. So we see even today the case by case approach that Lutherans took during the Reformation to art in their churches. It was not iconoclastic, nor idolatrous, nor uniform by any means.

Anonymous said...

"The Lutheran Middle" is a fiction of your own making based on your breathtaking ignorance. The latest remark re Weimar is just laughable. You probably have no idea why, but further explanation is wasted on you.

Anonymous said...

"On the concept of a ‘right middle road’, see Nischan, Lutherans and Calvinists, p. 145. The term was used by the Gnesio-Lutheran Nikolaus Gallus in his Disputatio de adiaphoris et mutatione praesentis status pie constitutarum ecclesiarum (Magdeburg, 1550)"

You do realize that Gallus was a major 16th Century Lutheran reformer?
And that he was actually a part of the events under discussion?
And that he used the term "Lutheran Middle"?
And that the thesis of Heal's book supports this?