Sunday, September 5, 2010

FW: Kliefoth (1810-1895) on "Sacramental and Sacrificial"

On Kliefoth…


Feed: Mercy Journeys with Pastor Harrison
Posted on: Sunday, September 05, 2010 7:45 AM
Author: Rev. Matt Harrison
Subject: Kliefoth (1810-1895) on "Sacramental and Sacrificial"


More than any other Lutheran liturgical scholar of the nineteenth century Kliefoth expounded and popularized the liturgical distinction between the sacramental and sacrificial moments in the divine service. This distinction that had first been enunciated by Melanchthon in the Apology (xxiv, 69-77) was developed by Kliefoth and used as a key to the divine-human interaction of the liturgy in Lutheran terms. In the sacramental side of the divine service the Triune God acted on the congregation and gave out his gifts to those who assembled in his presence; in the sacrificial side of the divine service the congregation responded to God's giving of himself and his gifts by presenting its offerings to him. It brought its Spirit-produced, God-pleasing sacrifices to God the Father in prayer and praise, confession and thanksgiving, the giving of gifts and self-giving love for the people of God. The two sides belong together. They coexist in the liturgy. Yet the sacrificial reaction depends on the sacramental action and is empowered by it. The proper balance between these two is upset by the Roman Catholic Church with its teaching on the Mass as a propitiatory sacrifice as well as by the Reformed churches with their teaching on the Lord's Supper as an Eucharistic offering. He also warns against two common misunderstandings of this distinction in Lutheran circles. On the one hand, even though the sacramental function of the divine service may be distinguished from its sacrificial function, they cannot ever be separated. They often occur simultaneously, like the preaching of the word and the faithful hearing of it, for, as Melanchthon had already noted (Ap xxiv, 75), the same ritual act can have more than one purpose. On the other hand, the sacramental function of the service is not performed exclusively by the pastor, nor is the sacrificial function performed only by the congregation. Thus the members of the congregation act sacramentally when they proclaim God's word to each other communally in sacred song. Likewise the pastor acts sacrificially when he leads the congregation in prayer. Even though Kliefoth argued passionately for the priority of God's giving in the divine service, much of his work was, in fact, devoted to the promotion of God-pleasing sacrifices in the main service as well as in all the minor services.

John Kleinig, "The Liturgical Heritage of Theodor Kliefoth." In J. Bart Day and others (eds), Lord Jesus Christ, Will You Not Stay. Essays in Honor of Ronald Feuerhahn on the Occasion of his Sixty-Fifth Birthday. The Feuerhahn Festschrift Committee: Houston, 2002, 105-120.


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