Lutheran: Conservative in Doctrine, progressive in practice

So to all Lutherans…:slight_smile:

Anyway, last Thursday, I went to this Lutheran church for my daughter’s oral language competition. The church is quite large.

Anyway…as I went it, I was looking for signs what the affiliation was…LCMS, ELCA…when I saw in one poster…that they are LCMS.

I looked inside what they call the “Worship Center”…(which is where the awarding ceremonies were held)…which is very protestant mega church like (please take no offense here…:D). The worship center had 5 big screens behind the pulpit/pastor’s area, no crucifix. It had a giant empty cross on the left side and a head picture of Jesus crowned with thorns on the right. In the back part was the audio/video control center, seating was stadium like, no kneelers.

And on a corner near the main entrance, there was a coffee and cookie serving station, and a sign that said, water only in the worship center.

In the raised part dais/stage was a modern table (I am not sure what Lutherans call theirs, which is where the altar in a catholic church would be)…I looked for signs of the tabernacle, of the Real Presence, but could not find it. Behind the alter was a drum set, so I figured this is where the band plays.

I was kind of, surprised…as I was expecting something similar to the pictures of Lutheran churches that Evangel Catholic has shared or posted here. Anyway, no saint statues or pictures, no crucifix…just what one would find in a protestant church.

While waiting for the awarding ceremony, and walking around, I found this in a bulletin of some sort:

Conservative in Doctrine. Progressive in Practice.

Then I wondered, does these not contradict each other.

Any thoughts from Lutheran brothers here?

This Lutheran sister is sad. Our synod has been engaged in “worship wars” for a while. Our traditional liturgy is beautiful and Power Point homilies (or song leading) turn me off. I see enough “bullet points” at work.

I’m sorry you had to put up with the power-point worship, it’s a particular problem in the LCMS.

It springs from a desire to proclaim the gospel and for growing the church - but it’s unfortunately quite misguided as God grows the church.

We don’t tend to reserve the Eucharist given the instructions to “take and eat.” However, it is done at times, and Catholic practice doesn’t upset us too much.

When you say "We don’t tend to reserve the Eucharist " are you saying that what is left over is discarded? just trying to understand your statement :slight_smile:

The reliquae are never just discarded; normally they are consumed, except at times some is reserved for shut-ins. We try to distribute these as soon as practical. Any elements that must be discarded are handled reverently and in a particular way, never just poured down the drain.

Ben or Stilldream or Jon…Do you mean you do not maintain at least one host (as is the catholic practice, and I think also OC) to maintain the RP in the church, together with a forever burning candle?

I feel sad, and quite disappointed, as I stated, after seeing pictures of Lutheran churches that Evangel Catholic has posted…that were like Catholic churches. I was almost expecting the same.

What I lament too, is the giant screens tend to be the focal point, they are 5 and wall to wall and floor to ceiling…as one enters the worship center.

I was raised Lutheran and spent 23 years in the LC-MS, attended Lutheran high school and college, and graduated from the pre-seminary program before converting to Orthodoxy, so I’d like to offer my thoughts on this subject, and hope that nothing I say causes offense.

Lutherans make a distinction between doctrine and practices which are commanded in Holy Scripture, and traditions, called “adiaphora”. Adiaphora are things that we are free to do or not to do, which can change with place and time. The liturgy is considered adiaphora by most Lutherans, with exception to the bare essentials in the celebration of the Eucharist. This means that you will find wide divergance among churches in their worship. Some services are very traditonal and resemble anglo-catholic Episcopal worship, and others very contemporary and resemble Evangelical worship, with most somewhere in between. I have personally witnessed pastors dressing up in costumes and role playing Biblical characers during sermons, young women in leotards performing interpretive dance, and the congregation reciting the words of institution up to “This is My Body.” Since there is no authority above the parish pastor (the Synod holding an administrative and advisory role only), there is no one to appeal to in these cases aside from the board of elders. There is a widespread belief that parishes that they can’t grow without making worship more modern and “relevant”, with mega-churches used as the example.

Interesting, :“Since there is no authority above the parish pastor”

Is that progressive authority which can continue to progress? “Since there is no authority above the parish pastor (the Synod holding an administrative and advisory role only), there is no one to appeal to in these cases aside from the board of elders.”

Sounds like more authority than the Pope. Multiple Popes. :eek:

“parishes …can’t grow without making worship more modern and “relevant”,”

Total depravity…

“the giant screens tend to be the focal point, they are 5 and wall to wall and floor to ceiling”

:confused:

The LCMS parish here in my town is very Conservative especially on Sundays. On Saturday nights they have a praise band with guitars but it’s pretty mild and I have seen a power point presentation or two but they discontinued those.

Mary.

LC-MS Lutherans believe that there is only one holy order given in Holy Scripture, the “Office of the Holy Ministry”, which combines the office of bishop and presbyter. The parish pastor truly is ‘pope in his own parish’, for good or bad.

I need to chime in here. We had a serious problem finding a pastor at both local churches.

Both times it was because the congregation had a laundry list as to who they expected the pastor to be. Essentially, they had driven away a moderate pastor for being ‘too liberal’ and requested a white conservative male to replace him. This went on for two years. The other Lutheran church we tried did the exact same thing and went ‘pastor-less’ for about a year and a half. Drove away the moderate and demanded a white conservative male to replace him. The first was LCMS and the second was ELCA. The final straw was how often the congregational leaders spoke of “God’s will” when they very clearly weren’t going to let God have any say at all as to who would lead them. We liked the original pastors at both churches and stuck it out as long as we could but gave up because we felt that the congregation would never be in a position to grow in their faith if they had so much control over their pastor. The biggest irony is that the pastor that married us in another state would never have been accepted at either church. Meanwhile, the local Catholic church didn’t seem to give a rip what race or background their priest came from and, from what I understand, they don’t get to pick who it is. Maybe they actually allow a little of God’s will to occur.

=pablope;11479859]So to all Lutherans…:slight_smile:

Anyway, last Thursday, I went to this Lutheran church for my daughter’s oral language competition. The church is quite large.

Anyway…as I went it, I was looking for signs what the affiliation was…LCMS, ELCA…when I saw in one poster…that they are LCMS.

I looked inside what they call the “Worship Center”…(which is where the awarding ceremonies were held)…which is very protestant mega church like (please take no offense here…:D). The worship center had 5 big screens behind the pulpit/pastor’s area, no crucifix. It had a giant empty cross on the left side and a head picture of Jesus crowned with thorns on the right. In the back part was the audio/video control center, seating was stadium like, no kneelers.

Sounds like newer construction. Sorry you were subjected to this. Most disappointing is the lack of a crucifix. Its a shame they didn’t call it a nave.

And on a corner near the main entrance, there was a coffee and cookie serving station, and a sign that said, water only in the worship center.

Not sure what to make of this.

In the raised part dais/stage was a modern table (I am not sure what Lutherans call theirs, which is where the altar in a catholic church would be)…I looked for signs of the tabernacle, of the Real Presence, but could not find it. Behind the alter was a drum set, so I figured this is where the band plays.

I’ve actually seen this kind of set up in a Catholic chapel on a college campus, save the drums. Typically, one won’t find a tabernacle. Any reliquae is reserved in an aumbrey usually in the sacristy. Another poster has stated Lutheran practice.

I was kind of, surprised…as I was expecting something similar to the pictures of Lutheran churches that Evangel Catholic has shared or posted here. Anyway, no saint statues or pictures, no crucifix…just what one would find in a protestant church.

It actually is quite sad, frankly. President Harrison has commented on the lack of iconography in some of the newer Lutheran churches.
youtube.com/watch?v=lizfznY63Yk

While waiting for the awarding ceremony, and walking around, I found this in a bulletin of some sort:

Conservative in Doctrine. Progressive in Practice.

Not necessarily. From Augsburg
***Of Usages in the Church they teach that those ought to be observed which may be observed without sin, and which are profitable unto tranquillity and good order in the Church, as particular holy days, festivals, and the like.

2] Nevertheless, concerning such things men are admonished that consciences are not to be burdened, as though such observance was necessary to salvation. ***

The point being that traditions can vary from place to place. What is necessary, however, is what the Church is obligated to provide - word and sacrament. In our parish, the topic of contemporary worship pops upon occasion, and my comment is always, “so long as those things that make he mass the mass, other things can vary within reason. There must be invocation, confession/Holy Absolution, the liturgy of the word, and the liturgy of the sacrament.”

Then I wondered, does these not contradict each other.

They certainly can be, if for example, the things I’ve mentioned are missing, or the music does not reflect doctrine (a problem with much of the contemporary Christian music - it doesn’t reflect Lutheran doctrine, not in the style, but in the words).

Jon

I don’t know what district you are in, but any district president who would even accept that kind of request doesn’t deserve to be a district president. Race and ethnicity should NEVER be part of the call process. :mad:

Jon

You’re right. It shouldn’t. The rumor is that this is a difficult area to place a pastor.

If we had moved back to my home state (Colorado) I am pretty confident we would have stayed Lutheran. I will assume this situation and us fleeing the Lutheran church is for the best, under the circumstances.

This is patently false, at least in the LCMS, and it used to be false in the ELCA (I don’t know now). Every Lutheran pastor is bound by his ordination to the confessions. No pastor is pope in his parish. Every pastor is subject to disciple by the synod and district if he strays from the doctrine of the Lutheran Church.

Ironically, the LCMS took a public relations pasting in the secular media when a pastor in Connecticut took part in a multi-religious prayer service after the school shooting. Ask him if he is his own pope in his own parish. :rolleyes:

Jon

Glad you posted this. I was about to ask dcointin about this. Yes, I was thinking how the Catholic Church’s rotates priests also.

Ah, but the ELCA is allowing individual churches to decide whether or not they will allow gay pastors/gay marriages (you may surmise from my last post that ours was completely closed to both). In effect, the church is allowing people to hold some pastors in higher regard than others simply due to their sexual orientation. Instead of taking a firm stand one way or another, they take the wishy-washy political route.

What about churches like the ones near me who would reject an African-American pastor or (in the ELCA) a female pastor? Perhaps the split that occurred in the Episcopal church scared them away from deciding one way or another about gay pastors, I don’t know. I think this seriously undermines the authority of all the pastors that don’t meet certain criteria. A feeling of “my pastor is good because they are white/straight/male but yours isn’t worthy because they aren’t white/straight/male” may infect the congregation, as it did here. What does that do to the church and it’s mission?

I wish you well in your journey. It can’t have been an easy decision.

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