Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Article XXIV: Of the Mass.
"Falsely are our churches accused of abolishing the Mass; for the Mass is retained among us, and celebrated with the highest reverence. Nearly all the usual ceremonies are also preserved, save that the parts sung in Latin are interspersed here and there with German hymns, which have been added to teach the people. For ceremonies are needed to this end alone that the unlearned be taught [what they need to know of Christ]." (Augsburg Confession, Article XXIV: Of the Mass)

"Optional Orandi begets Proscribed Credendi"
excerpted from - 17 June 2006

"Lutheranism has a lex credendi (rule of faith) but no lex orandi (rule of prayer). Anglicanism has a lex orandi (Book of Common Prayer), but no lex credendi (anything goes, doctrinally speaking). Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism have both a lex credendi (Tradition) and a lex orandi (the Liturgy). Lutheranism has a great lex credendi (Book of Concord) but no actual lex orandi (all in the name of "liberty," of course)." (Anonymous)

"The liturgical and practical instability of Lutheranism flows out its reticence to define dogmatically its rule of worship in the way of a received "holy tradition." This is why Lutheran practice frequently comes unbuckled from Lutheran doctrine. It relies on paper subscription to a book without practical adherence [sic] to any liturgical or practical norms." (Anonymous)

"[We] will not talk much about traditional worship, but a diversity of worship approaches and styles. We want to help the church define what worship is in general, to help people discover what is Lutheran about worship. And, to that end, we want to identify material that will lead us to that." (Anonymous member of the Commission on Worship, LCMS)

"Which is all a lengthy way of amending yet another lex coined by a former vicar of Zion: 'Where historic liturgy is optional, historic faith will sooner or later be proscribed.'"

* * * * *

"Legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi." A pope in the fifth century, in the course of a famous controversy, pronounced these words which have been regarded, ever since, as an axiom of theology: "Let the law of prayer fix the law of faith". In other words, the liturgy of the Church is a sure guide to her teaching.

As the author of, a liturgical web site, first published in June of 2000, I chose the name based upon this quote. It has always been understood in the Church that you preserve the rite which you have received from those who preceded you. This is the standard that has been accepted in the Church since the days of the apostles. If you are truly a Confessional Lutheran, you are obliged to acknowledge that the Mass is the act of public worship that defines the Church.

As is obvious from the quotation from a member of the Commission on Worship, Lutherans are content and determined to be counted among the hordes of Protestants. What other option do you have when you "will not talk much about traditional worship, but a diversity of worship approaches and styles?" This "diversity of worship approaches" most certainly includes everything but the celebration of the Mass as it has been delivered to us.

The Church Growth movement, if not the opening volley against the preservation of the historic liturgy, ushered in the idea that you needed to entertain the congregation with a different "dog and pony show" every Sunday if you wanted to keep the seats filled. Now we are using, if not encouraging, praise bands and a casual, flexible order of service in place of the Divine Service that is expected of us in the Confession.

The purpose of this blog is to present, and to encourage discussion about, the historic liturgy of the Augustana Rite of the Western Church, its ceremonies and rubrics. This is the rite that we have received from the fathers of the Reformation. This is the rite to which we are bound by the Confessions. This is the Lex Orandi of the Lutheran church, a lack of which the author of the second paragraph above laments.

(It should be noted here that the author of this blog, especially in the light of Article XXIV of the Confession, does not fully agree with paragraphs 2 & 3 of this posting. The Confession itself establishes our Lex Orandi.)


Scot K. said...

Welcome David, to the Lutheran blogosphere. I look forward to reading your blog.

Anonymous said...

A classmate of mine refused to come to the Ordination Service I was officiating because he feared it would be "too liturgical". Sad, yes, and also inconsistent for a minister of WELS. For clearly he believes that this did not fall into the catagory of adiaphora, even though he belongs to a Synod that confesses all worship forms to be so.

HG1&2 said...

Compliments on your effort to defend the liturgy!
It is wholly in line with what J. Gerhard presents as the 6th of 7 duties of one in the holy office, "The sixth duty of ministers is the conservation of the rituals of the church." Commonplace XXIII, Chap. VI, sec. 2