Wednesday, October 31, 2012

FW: Formal Lutheran Path to Rome???




Feed: Pastoral Meanderings
Posted on: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 5:00 AM
Author: (Pastor Peters)
Subject: Formal Lutheran Path to Rome???


This just in on the eve of the Reformation:

The president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity said in an interview that the Vatican would entertain a hypothetical proposal by Lutherans to establish ecclesial structures modeled on the ordinariates developed for Anglican communities that wish to enter into full communion with the Holy See.


"Anglicanorum coetibus was not an initiative of Rome, but came from the Anglican church," said Cardinal Kurt Koch, referring to the 2009 papal document that established the ordinariates. "The Holy Father then sought a solution and, in my opinion, found a very broad solution, in which the Anglicans' ecclesial and liturgical traditions were taken into ample consideration. If similar desires are expressed by the Lutherans, then we will have to reflect on them. However, the initiative is up to the Lutherans."

Full interview here.

The problem is that Lutherans do not have a long standing formalized hierarchical structure.  Nor do Lutherans have a united liturgical tradition in the same way as the BDP among Anglicans.  Finally, Lutherans are much more Protestant in identity than the Anglo-Catholics attracted to Rome.  What Lutherans find attractive in Rome requires nothing less than the formal abandonment of the very Reformation principle of obedient rebels in a tragically necessary renewal movement.  Anglo-Catholics can see Rome as the formal end to what they believed was the Anglican identity all along but Lutherans do not have the same dynamics.

Still in all it will be interesting to see how this plays out. . .

View article...

View article...

FW: That’s Not Very Pastoral . . . or Is It?




Feed: Gnesio
Posted on: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 8:55 AM
Author: Gnesio
Subject: That's Not Very Pastoral . . . or Is It?


images (3)

In an essay entitled Union and Confession written just prior to WWII in 1938, Hermann Sasse penned these words: "Where man can no longer bear the truth, he cannot live without the lie" (Union and Confession, 1). In this wonderfully lucid little booklet, Sasse goes on to contrast the truth with the lie. He notes that from the beginning the lie and the truth have done battle within the church. So it was in the days of the apostles as Paul said to the congregation at Corinth: "For there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized" (I Cor 11:17). The lie, Sasse said, takes on various forms. There is the pious lie, that hypocrisy with which man lies to himself, to others, and even to God. The pious lie easily becomes the edifying lie. This is the lie that takes comfort in untruth. Sasse sees an example of the edifying lie embraced by medieval Christians when they trusted in the power of the saints, relying on the excess of their merit to further them in the struggle toward righteousness. The edifying lie was the lie unmasked and expelled by the Reformation. Then there is the dogmatic lie, the assertion that we have come to greater doctrinal maturity and old teachings are to be changed for a more contemporary, relevant theology. Finally there is, Sasse warned, the institutional lie when the churches embody the lie in their own life, instituting false teaching as normative.

Excerpted from a sermon preached by Prof. John T. Pless on 24 October 2012, in Kramer Chapel, Fort Wayne, Indiana.

See also:

  1. The Pious Lie
  2. Luther's Pastoral Theology
  3. A New Pastoral Care
  4. Faithfulness and Pastoral Care

View article...

View article...

FW: Johannes Schrader's Formular-Buch (Vol. 1)




Feed: Lutheran Orthodoxy
Posted on: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 12:39 PM
Author: (Matt Carver (Matthaeus Glyptes))
Subject: Johannes Schrader's Formular-Buch (Vol. 1)


Friedrich Lochner, discussing the chanting of the lessons in the divine service (Der Hauptgottesdienst, 1895)  says:

The manner of liturgical recitation of the pericopes was followed throughout in Saxony, as also in Pomerania, the Mark, and part of Lower Saxony; in another part of Lower Saxony, and in Austria, it was left free whether the pericopes were to be spoken or sung, while in other areas, speaking was only permitted if the pastor did not have a sufficient gift for singing. And so it remained for some time. Thus Johann Schrader, in his Formular-Buch (1621) bears witness that it was still "in use in larger cities" and that in Magdeburg some years before, a book had been printed in folio "in which all the Epistles and Gospels were set to notation."

Thus Johannes Schrader is an interesting witness to the continuation of liturgical practice in the era of Lutheran Orthodoxy. With this in mind, I offer here a brief survey of his aforementioned Formular-Buch, using the 1670 edition (5th edition).


The title indicates the purpose and function of the Formulary: "All Manner of Christian Expressions and Ceremonies Which a Minister May Employ in the Execution of His Office; with particular care that hardly the most insignificant requirement of the minstry should slip through and not be included . . . by Johannes Schraderus Aegelensis, Pastor of Alvensleben in the Archbishopric of Magdeburg, and Poet Laureate.

In the preface to those preachers committed to the unaltered Augsburg Confession, the author appeals to scripture (Rom. 12, Jer. 48) to exhort ministers to careful diligence in their office, warning that they will be called to account (Ezek. 33). Many, he notes, are very lazy and neglect their sheep out of greed, seeking only temporal sustenance. Many others do not know how to come to their aid with salutary teaching, consolation, and reminders, or assist the ill quid pro quo like an inexperienced physician, or put the same kind of bandage on every kind of wound. Though he is weak and cannot himself boast of any greater ability in this regard, the author hopes by God's help to fulfill his office faithfully and not to eat his bread with sin. As St. Paul admonishes in 2 Tim. 1, formam tene sanorum verborum, Keep the form of sound words. He has not simply babbled whatever came to mind, but having meditated on scripture and church agendas as well as Luther's hymnal, Catechism, and other authors, the author compiled this book for cases of need from various formulas of absolution, consolation, prayer, and similar required acts of the ministry, intending its use only for private circles. After being encouraged by friends, he decided to share it for the good of his neighbors in the ministry as well, and have it published. In the process it increased greatly, and the little Absolution book became much longer than he had originally meant. The power of the keys is an important part of the holy ministry, and is very encouraging in private absolution (as held in the Lutheran churches) when a father confessor can relate to his sheep and call them by name according to his opportunity (John 10), and bring old and new treasures out of his treasury and not always wander with the same thread. For this reason he has gathered together a great variety of formulas and examples of Absolution, not only for his own parishioners, but also for those doesn't know, and not only for chief festivals, but for every Sunday of the year. IF a faithful minister would simply look through this book for fifteen minutes before hearing penitents confess in church, or making visitations to the sick, he will usually find something of service, and perhaps that he had not thought of before. So pastors, both young and seasoned veterans, should read this book with the author's best intentions in mind, and without a feeling of duress or compulsion; and older, learned pastors should not think that the author hereby prescribes anything for them, but he counts them rather as his teachers, and commends all to the Lord's grace and protection. The signature is dated 1619.


I. Protestation. Admonish penitents to three things:
  A. True repentance and sorrow for sin.
  B. Faith in Christ the Mediator.
  C. New obedience and Christian life. * The author notes: "And though Master Sophisticus and Brother Envious, whose tricks have long been known, wrinkle their nose at this and try to accuse me of teaching three parts in penitence, I protest and explain that I call for the third, namely, newness of life, as a fruit of true repentance and conversion, not as a part in itself, as can be seen from the First Formula and others.
II. Quotes and prayers on hearing confession.
III. First Formula of Absolution for General Cases.
  A. Longer examples.
  B. Shorter examples (from Luther's SC and various Church Agendas and Orders).
IV. Second Formula: for appropriate persons on certain feasts.
  A. Formulas for festivals: Christmas, Circumcision, Epiphany, etc., also useable for other days.
  B. Formulae "imperfectae": formulas for non-festival Sundays (Advent I to Trinity XXVI)
V. Third Formula: special cases.
  A. For various sacred and profane callings, the sick, widows, mothers, etc.
    1. Many are given in Latin first, followed by a German version.
 B. Formulae "imperfectae": merchants, laborers, soldiers, sailors, heralds, condemned to death, etc.
VI. Fourth Formula: public absolution.
  A. Formulas for groups from church orders.
  B. Formulas for those doing public repentance.
  C. Formulas for excommunication from church orders, etc., long and brief.
  D. Formulas for receiving the excommunicated.


 Volume Two deals with prayer, the celebration of the Sacrament, churching of new mothers, catechesis, the coupling of spouses, ordination and investiture of new preachers, and burials. Appended are two indices for psalms on various feasts and Sundays. Volume Three contains formulas for use with the sick, dying, afflicted, and all in tribulation, pregnant women in travail, for dealing with a stillbirth or birth of a physically handicapped child, for widows and orphans, for those driven to misery, or having suffered by fire or water, for the melancholy and depressed, for those bodily possessed, and for criminals condemned to death. These will be looked at more closely in a future post.

View article...

View article...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

FW: Meet My Choir Director

For your consideration…


Posted on: Monday, October 29, 2012 10:01 PM
Author: Chaplain Mike
Subject: Meet My Choir Director


Note from CM: When Gail and I started attending Risen Lord Lutheran Church, we were blessed and encouraged by the music. The liturgy was simple and beautiful, and the quality of musicianship high. We were impressed with the choir and soon joined. This was a personal joy for us, for Gail and I met while singing in a choir and hadn't had a chance to do so together for many, many years. Another reason we found joy was that our choir is led by a gifted, devoted, outgoing and fun director named Dan Anderson.

Dan has been teaching for nearly three decades. He is a graduate of Indiana-Purdue University in Fort Wayne where he studied voice with Dr. Joe Meyers and conducting with Mr. John Loessi. Mr. Andersen taught high school choir for 18 years and now teaches middle school choir at Center Grove Middle School Central. At the high school level his choirs were well known throughout the Midwest, consistently receiving first division ratings at Concert, Jazz and Show Choir contests. His Middle School choirs have also received first division ratings at ISSMA competitions as well as being featured at the IMEA State Convention. He has many former students who are actively involved in careers in music, many in education. He is also active as a clinician, festival conductor, judge, and as the music director at Risen Lord Lutheran Church in Greenwood.

I wouldn't think of doing a series on Church Music without including him. I think you all will enjoy his unique perspective on making music in schools and churches, and I hope his enthusiasm will be as encouraging to you as it has been to us.

* * *

1. Dan, I wanted to include you in our Church Music Month on Internet Monk because you have some special perspectives I think our readers would enjoy hearing about. First of all, give us a brief sketch of your life, training, and work, and how you came to understand that music was God's choice of vocation for you.

I was raised Catholic. I grew up listening to my dad sing in the church choir, which he did for 70-some years! I also grew up listening to all kinds of music on my home. My dad would play jazz or classical music, and my oldest brother was listening to Cream, Blind Faith, Led Zeppelin, the original Eagles and many others while my sister listened to the Beatles and Sonny and Cher. As a seventh-grader I got my first drum-set and decided I was going to be the next Buddy Rich (I did see him live three times, and I even have his autograph). While in high school I sang in the concert choir, swing choir, the singing group that lead mass in school and also the church choir when I could. Music was as much a part of me as anything could be. I listened to music as much as I could, and LOVED live music.

At the end of my junior year of high school I was discussing college with my high school choir director, Fr. Fred, and told him I wanted to do something with music. He told me I should teach, because I would never be a soloist. This is interesting for two reasons. One, he wasn't trying to motivate me to work harder, he was stating fact — I did not have a solo voice at all…yet! Two, I started getting paid to sing while in college, and continued for over twenty years to make money singing.

I don't think I really realized what God's purpose for my life was until I was teaching school. I have spent the last 30 years ministering to young people, and trying daily to change lives.

2. You grew up in the Roman Catholic Church. What was the church music like in your younger years? As you've gained experience in different settings over the years, what principles have you learned that influence how you view the role of music in worship and fulfill your duties as a church musician?

I think the church music I grew up with was as diverse as the music I listened to in my home. Our church had a beautiful pipe organ, which the organist played fairly well. The choir sang traditional choral music. We sang traditional Catholic hymns. We were also in on the ground floor of the guitar masses of the late 60′s and early 70′s. The Catholic Church was really struggling to find a musical identity. I enjoyed singing all styles, and was able to connect and worship with all the music I was exposed to in the church. I think it may have been sometime in the late 70′s that contemporary Christian music was developing. I'm pretty sure (if I'm not mistaken) the band Petra was getting its start right in Fort Wayne where I grew up. However, I've never felt much of any connection to "Contemporary Christian Music."

I have been lucky to be a music director/choral director at 4 churches, three of them United Methodist and one ELCA. I have also been the tenor soloist at a few churches, most notably at Tabernacle Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis. Through all of these experiences I learned how important music is to the worship service, and to the worship experience of those attending. Little by little I began to realize that the anthem wasn't something that should stand alone. I started to realize how important it is to do everything I can to make sure the hymns, and the anthem, and the prelude and postlude, etc… all pull together around the theme of the day, whatever that may be. One of our jobs is to almost overwhelm the congregation with the theme, by making sure we tie into the readings and message, so each person in the church has the opportunity to make a connection every Sunday.

As a teacher, I know that students have many different learning styles, and my responsibility is to try as many different ways to teach the same topic, so every student can learn it. I view the worship service the same way. Some connect with the readings, some the message, and some the hymns, and some the other music. It's been a real challenge, and learning experience for me see past 4-5 years at Risen Lord Lutheran Church, trying to make this happen every Sunday for everyone who comes into our church every Sunday. The great thing is, it never gets dull or boring, and I believe it doesn't for our congregation either!

3. You have a special passion for choral music. In many segments of the church today, choirs no longer have a place in church services. Why do you still believe in them? What is their special contribution to congregational worship?

I think saying I have a passion for choral music is like saying a fish has a passion for the water! I AM a choral musician. It' not just what I do, it's who I am. I have been in or directed a choir constantly since I've been in middle school. I am a Life Member of the American Choral Directors Association, and have been very involved with the Indiana Choral Directors Association.

Choral music has its origins in the early church. Some of the greatest composers in history composed for the choir. Many of the great composers of our time compose for the choir. The choir is one of the most versatile musical organizations there is. There are currently more than 43 million Americans singing in over 270,000 choirs all over the United States. Choral music isn't dying, it's thriving!

I feel like we would be doing an injustice to our congregation on many different levels by not having a choral group or two (or more!) this isn't to say that the choir can't perform different styles of music. Our choir sings traditional choral music from Bach to Hobby. We also sing bluegrass, (we have a choir member who is plays hammer dulcimer extremely well and she accompanies us on occasion) rock, gospel, and pretty much anything that is quality, that will help our congregation connect with the word for that Sunday. I guess I'm lucky that I am serving a church that is so open to such a wide variety of styles in music, because I can bring my own background to my job and serve them even better!

4. Finally, you bring a unique perspective because of your role teaching music in the public schools. How has working in both "sacred" and "secular" settings enriched your experience in both?

Well, since teaching Middle School choir really isn't that different than directing an adult church choir :)— it's a pretty smooth transition. I'm able to teach in both positions, and I love to teach! There are things that I will try out on my students, and then do with my adults or vice versa. I continue to learn about the adolescent voice, and have learned quite a bit about the aging voice, and how they are fairly similar in many respects. I also do a good amount of ministering in each.

Every summer I spend countless hours picking out music for my six choirs at school and my church choir for the year. It's easily over 100 hours. The principles of picking out music, and what I'm looking for are basically the same. Many times I will find some great music for my church choir in the school resources and the same for the school groups. I have also been able to bring students in to sing with the adults which is good for everyone involved!

I've never shied away from performing sacred music with my school choirs. I also spend a lot of time with the texts of the songs that they are performing. Being able to explain the meaning of a piece of sacred music without "preaching" the meaning is a fine line that I have gladly walked for 30 years. I feel like I have a better ability to help a choir understand the text of a song because of this.

View article...

Saturday, October 27, 2012

FW: From the Archives - They Are Not Singing Anymore...


What we're overhearing…


Posted on: Thursday, October 25, 2012 8:01 AM
Subject: From the Archives - They Are Not Singing Anymore...


Two years ago Mike Harland wrote one of the most widely read and commented upon articles on this blog. Below is a re-post of that article.

My role at LifeWay Worship gives me the unique opportunity to see and hear about what many different churches are doing in their worship and music ministries. Granted, most of what I experience happens in Southern Baptist churches, but more and more I see other evangelical churches and I have an observation to share...

The people in our churches aren't singing anymore - not really.

To be sure, there are many churches that have congregations singing with enthusiasm, but generally speaking, our people do not sing like their parents and grandparents did. And even worse, the leaders of those churches don't seem to know it. Let me explain.

In many of our churches today our worship has become very produced with visual enhancements and top sound re-enforcement. That's not a bad thing - it fact it can be a great thing! But when the stage lighting effects dominate the experience, the leaders on stage cannot even see the faces of their congregation. It amuses me when a leader has to put his hand over his eyes to try and see his people. Hello? Is something wrong here? Add to that a highly produced sound mix with in-ear monitors and a full stage mix in the floor monitors, and, well, they can't hear them either.

So, if we cannot see or hear the congregation, how would we know that the people have stopped singing? It would do any pastor or worship leader a world of good to spend a service just watching the people. They might be surprised - and disappointed.

I have several theories as to why many churches have stopped singing. This is my very subjective opinion - or as I say sometimes, my humble opinion which, of course, I highly regard. I've even made a suggestion or two after each one.

They are not singing because:

They don't know the song.

I love new songs as much as anyone else. As a matter of fact, I believe it is Biblical to integrate new songs into our worship. As we grow in our faith and mature in our worship expressions, new songs find their way into our worship and bring new clarity to our faith. But, in many churches, there is such a focus on the latest new song that the familiar is overlooked. People like to sing songs they know and songs that resonate with them. I recommend using new songs, but slowly and deliberately. By the time a worship leader brings a new song to the church, he or she will have lived with it for weeks and grown in their familiarity with it. The worshippers in our churches should have the same opportunity before springing it on them on a Sunday morning.

They can't sing the song.

The single most common concern voiced to me these days is that the songs we sing are too high for the congregation. Do people sing lower than they used to? I suspect not. I think the problem rests in the way a song gets to the church these days. Many songs go straight from the Christian artist's recording to the worship service. Often the key sung by the artist translates right into the arrangement sung by the church. And very often it just doesn't work. (Non-musicians bear with me as I talk a little shop here.) The melody is often in the upper register of the tenor voice which makes it too low for sopranos. So they are forced to sing alto (something they don't like to do), or sing in their upper register (watch out if you're sitting in front of them!) or, sadly, drop out. Bass lines are out of style, too, so right off the bat half of our people are out of luck. Worship leaders should guard against putting songs in their own power range and think more about how (and if) the congregation can sing it.

Do people sing lower than they used to? I suspect not. I think the problem rests in the way a song gets to the church these days.

But it goes deeper than key. Often newer songs have rhythms that don't lend themselves to congregational singing and rather than struggle, the worshipper will just quit. They may love the song - they just can't sing it - especially if they barely know it. As they become more and more familiar with a song, they can handle harder rhythms. But we often don't give them a chance before moving on to a new song. If a certain song is vital to the worship because of a unique message you might make an exception and use the song. But the reason many of our people have stopped singing is these type songs have become the rule in many places.

Another reason they can't sing the song is one of the few downsides of the PowerPoint generation of worship practice. They may never see the notes to a song and be forced to pick it up over time by rote. Problem is, by the time they catch on to it, the worship leader again, has moved on to new songs and no longer sings the one they struggled to learn for some time. (By the way, there are many positives PowerPoint has brought to our worship too!)

They can't hear the room singing.

This may one of the most important observations so far. The typical person in the pew is not in love with their own voice. But if they can be part of something larger, where their individual voice is not distinguishable they will sing their hearts out. In today's rhythm driven worship so dependent on sound reinforcement the decibel level often gets pretty high. When that happens the individual worshipper can hear only two things - the sound coming through the system and their own voice. They cannot hear the sound of the congregation singing - the part they can "hide" their voice inside. So, they stop singing.

The typical person in the pew is not in love with their own voice.

There certainly are times when the volume in an exciting energetic service can get on the loud side. The problem comes when it is constantly at that level. If the individual cannot hear the whole room singing, they will feel like they stick out - in fact, they do stick out to themselves. And that is the average worshipper's worst nightmare and happens when the sound is too loud, especially if the band, choir, and vocal team are blaring.

Occasionally I am asked what a church can do to improve their congregational participation. If I could only make one suggestion it would be this - turn your sound down and sing with a variety of accompaniments (including a cappella). Let your congregation "win" when they sing and watch their confidence (and their singing) get better and better.

They think they are not expected to sing or needed in the worship.

I've been to many churches where everything about their worship space - lighting, sound, and stage scream loudly, "We don't expect you to participate - sit back, relax, and enjoy your worship ride."

How does that happen? When your congregation is sitting in the dark, and the performers on stage are in the latest theatrical lighting effects, you are saying to them they have come to watch something. So, that's what they will do. I like the atmosphere lighting can provide - but be careful here. What does your stage arrangement say about what you expect your congregation to do? If they are sitting in the dark in a theatre type room with a blacked out ceiling and tour-like stage lighting affects, singing songs they don't know, accompanied by a loud, artistically styled mix of sound, and a feature "artist" throwing in every vocal lick under the sun, well... you get the point, they are not going to sing - because, in their hearts, they know you don't want them to.

They smell a rat. Okay, here's where I start meddling. The reason I'm so passionate about this point is that in one season of ministry I was guilty of this attitude and here it is: I had an agenda.

I had to be broken before I learned that you cannot plan and lead worship with an agenda. And my agenda was that I had come to rescue the church from their traditional worship. I was "transitioning" them to more current styles of music and more contemporary responses of worship. Every Sunday, every song, I was training them to worship the way I thought they were supposed to worship - with the music I liked and the energy I thought we had to have. I thought if I could "do my thing" that God would show up and vindicate my leadership. Then they would crown me savior of the church and declare a feast in my honor.

I had to get to the place where I realized God had not called me to lead worship - I was called to lead people.

When people didn't like something, I wrote it off as their problem and declared that they just didn't "get it." I justified that attitude by explaining I couldn't be bothered with the "nay sayers." I was focused and so I continued my quest of changing the music style of the church. I was in a battle and I was going to win! And let me tell you from experience, people will not follow a leader with an agenda like that one. And trust me on this, they will smell that rat every time.

I had to get to the end of myself before I realized that I couldn't simply lead a church through a musical change and accomplish worship. I had to become a spiritual leader, one that had spiritual credibility, and not a spoiled musician that would write off any person that didn't get the groove. I had to serve people and take extra care with those who were struggling with new songs and new worship experiences. I had to get to the place where I realized God had not called me to lead worship - I was called to lead people. I had to die to my "bag of tricks" and start praying and leading with a spiritual focus. I had to start building bridges and climbing walls - I even had to blow up a few walls that I'd built myself.

They will never say it this way - but people in a church can tell when their leaders are taking them somewhere they are not sure they want to go. They can smell a rat. And if you have that agenda, no matter how noble what you are doing may seem, you will not be leading God's people. You'll only be leading a cause.

So just what does this cost us?

I heard someone say recently, "What difference does it make? Do people really have to sing in order to worship? Why can't the singers sing, and everyone else just listen and worship?" From this line of thinking we could easily get to the place of saying that non-participation in corporate worship is not a hindrance to the worship experiences of a church. But is that true?

And passive worshippers, I'm afraid, leave our buildings Sunday after Sunday to live as passive Christians in a world that desperately needs them to be anything but passive.

I would suggest that losing this time honored part of church practice has cost us far more than we realize. The Bible clearly describes two types of worship experiences for the believer - private and corporate. No matter what is happening on the stage, the individual can worship in a corporate setting even if the body as a whole is not participating, that's for sure. But I fear when we create a passive environment in corporate worship where the only expected response from the whole is to listen, then we lull our people into being passive about all the aspects of the corporate experience including how they listen, and most alarming of all, how they respond to the call of God on their lives. And passive worshippers, I'm afraid, leave our buildings Sunday after Sunday to live as passive Christians in a world that desperately needs them to be anything but passive.

But in those places where the entire congregation is active in every regard in the corporate experience, they hear more, express more, and understand more about what God is saying and expecting in response. And I'm convinced they respond more to Him and His call on their lives. And when it's over they are more encouraged and ready to engage a world that desperately needs to know the unique nature of our Lord, the One we worship, Jesus Christ. Isn't that the goal of the corporate worship event?


So, if you ask me, turn up the lights, and turn down the sound - pick songs and hymns that proclaim God's truth and reveal the character of Jesus Christ. Use resources that let the people excel in their corporate expression of praise and not just fit the style and strengths of your artistry. And don't waste energy trying to embrace a demographic of people when all you really need to do is embrace Jesus. The styles and trends of the culture where you live will take care of themselves if you will do that one thing.

And serve your people - love them, let them lead you, and you will slowly earn the right to lead them. Pray about everything and ask God to change hearts, starting with yours. Jesus modeled it perfectly - he started where people were and showed great patience as He served them and put their needs above His own.

God help us - and may His church start singing again.

Mike Harland
Director, LifeWay Worship

View article...

View article...

FW: Online Warehouse Sale for Professional and Academic Books


Notable titles available include:


Pastoral care resources


Worship in the Name of Jesus


Just Words


Order today…


Feed: Cyberbrethren Lutheran Blog Feed
Posted on: Thursday, October 25, 2012 7:52 AM
Author: Paul T. McCain
Subject: Online Warehouse Sale for Professional and Academic Books


Just an FYI…you can pick up some great buys in our "Online Warehouse Sale" … so come on in. It's kind of like this, sort of, well, not really, but it is a great image.

View article...

View article...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Received for Review


Sproul, R. C. Paintings by T. Lively Fluharty.  The Barber Who Wanted to Pray. Wheaton: Crossway, 2011. 33 Pages. Cloth with jacket. $17.99. (LHP)

ESV Daily Reading Bible (Through the Bible in 365 Days based on the popular M'Cheyne Bible Reading Plan). Wheaton: Crossway, 2012. 1405 Pages. Cloth with jacket and ribbon. $29.99. (LHP)

View article...

Monday, October 22, 2012

FW: Sasse: “But the church has a special understanding of time. She can wait.”




Feed: Steadfast Lutherans
Posted on: Saturday, October 20, 2012 12:19 PM
Author: Norm Fisher
Subject: Sasse: "But the church has a special understanding of time. She can wait."


Found on MercyJourney by President Harrison:


It is certainly not an accident that in the modern world the church year and the secular year, which at the time of Luther still coincided, have moved further away from each other. When we today celebrate the beginning of a new church year there is a hint of the fact that the church has a different division of time than the world has. The church lives in the world and there the law of the creator is in force expressed in the Old Testament in the great words: "There is a time for everything." The church lives in the world in which the stars orbit, the years and seasons change, generations are born and die.

But the church has a special understanding of time. She can wait. For nineteen centuries she has sung in her liturgy the "Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" For nineteen centuries she has lifted hearts high to him who will come to judge the living and the dead. For nineteen centuries she has prayed "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!" and heard the Answer, "Yes, I am coming soon." For nineteen centuries she has heard the sneering question "Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers died everything remains as it always has been since the beginning of creation." (2 Peter 3:4). Through all these centuries right up to the present time she has received no other answer than the comforting and warning words of the New Testament to the Christendom of that time, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to persist but everyone to come to repentance." (v9). Cod has been patient with us. So the church waits with patience. This patience is foreign to the world. It can't wait. It must always have everything straight away. That has been true for the entire modem world of humankind in the last century. For it a hope that still hasn't been fulfilled after nineteen centuries is simply makes no sense. Dear Advent congregation, we all need to be quite clear about what fools we make ourselves in the eyes of the world when we gather here in this house of God today in 1936 in order to have our hope strengthened in the coming of the Lord, and to pray with the Christendom of every century "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!"

Sasse, Sermon for Advent I, Nov. 29, 1936 in Zeugnisse, Trans. Strelan

View article...

View article...

FW: Well, mate...





Feed: Weedon's Blog
Posted on: Saturday, October 20, 2012 3:55 PM
Author: (William Weedon)
Subject: Well, mate... are two sites from Down Under that are sure to bless your socks off. Enjoy!

The work of our beloved Dr. Kleinig.

Liturgical goodies from the Lutheran Church of Australia.

View article...

View article...

FW: My library is filled with teachers, counselors, and friends...


On books…


Feed: Pastoral Meanderings
Posted on: Monday, October 22, 2012 5:00 AM
Author: (Pastor Peters)
Subject: My library is filled with teachers, counselors, and friends...


I think it was Pope Benedict XVI who said the books in his personal library were his trusted advisors.  I might need to be corrected on this and he could very well have been quoting someone else.  The point is not who said it but the truth of those words.  As a young man (boy) in college, I found myself constantly questioned and I questioned nearly everything.  I suppose it is unavoidable.  Fortunately, I had a good circle of friends who kept me grounded.  More than these, I also had the beginnings of a library of teachers, counselors, trusted friends, and advisors.  They spoke to me the truth that I often found easy to question and gave me answers to the manifold questions that surrounded my college years.  You want the names of some of those library resources?  Try Regin Prenter's Spiritus Creator or Sasse's Here We Stand or Bainton's Here I Stand or Krauth's The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology or Pelikan's Obedient Rebels or Franzmann's The Word of the Lord Grows or Bo Giertz The Hammer of God...  These are just a few of my early library acquisitions and they have proven to be wise, faithful, and trustworthy advisors.

Near the end of the college years and entering into Seminary, I added hundreds of books.  I bought whole libraries from retired or deceased Pastors and books from the campus bookstore with every spare dollar I had.  Remember that a good book back then hardly ever cost more than $10!!  I encountered Gustaf Wingren and Gustaf Aulen.  I read Iranaeus and Athanasius.  I found Luther Reed and Paul H. D. Lang and Paul Z. Strodach.  I learned Schmid and Chemnitz and Luther.  I rediscovered Walther firsthand after reading some less than interesting and less than accurate attributions to him.  Each new addition was one more voice to the chorus of voices instructing, counseling, challenging, guiding, and encouraging a young man (boy) on a journey to the red stole.

By the time I was in my first parish, I had two full walls of books that had to be carefully packed into book cartons and loaded on the van with other, I must confess, less important earthly possessions and then opened and organized and walled around me again as classroom, chatroom, and fortress of wisdom and truth.  By the time I left my first parish (13 years), I had so many books that 12 foot wide bookcase reaching to the 8 foot ceiling could not contain them all.  Now I look around at more than double this number -- including some books no longer in print -- whose voices have become eerily silent outside the confines of the few who have them.  Others have been reprinted in nice new duds to speak freely to a new generation waiting to acquaint themselves with these old friends.  But not all my books have antique pedigrees and some of them, many of them, have recent birthdays.  It is always the marvel to find a friend so much younger than yourself and it comforts me to believe that voices of the present will become for others the same kind of friends, counselors, teachers, and advisors that some of my older works have been for me.

You can tell a great deal by a Pastor's library -- these books represent more than paper and ink and cardboard and binding.  They represent the voices that he listens to, the counselors who guide him, and the kind of friends that surround him.  Parishes would do well to heed the advice given so long ago to mine and provide a modest book allowance to help their shepherd find friends and family to support his pastoral vocation.  Mine has been more than generous -- now $1,000 per year.  Some of my folks have said it is the best investment they have made to keep this 20 year tenure fresh and new, solid and stable over these two decades of change.  I willingly defer to my teachers on the shelves of my office as the source of any wisdom and profundity they have learned from me.  I am still their student and will be for as long as I can read and even then as long as I hear them in my mind.  Most of my reading is not for pleasure or for personal interest.  I read to hear the Gospel spoken to me, to be instructed in my deficiencies, to be guided in my uncertainty, and to be counseled in my distress.  The Word of the Lord is the supreme counselor to be sure but I am ever and always encouraged by the manifold voices who have and still speak that Word to me through the books on my shelves.  The Word of the Lord grows.  Indeed.  And with it, my circle of friends, teachers, counselors, and advisors.

Let him that is taught in the Word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.  Gal. 6:6

View article...

View article...

FW: iMonk Classic: How “Traditional” is the Traditional Service?


An interesting read for Lutheran eyes…


Posted on: Sunday, October 21, 2012 10:01 PM
Author: Chaplain Mike
Subject: iMonk Classic: How "Traditional" is the Traditional Service?


Classic iMonk Post
by Michael Spencer
from July, 2007

Note from CM: This piece from Michael Spencer is five years old. During that time, I have been worshiping mostly in a Lutheran church where these observations don't apply. I've been a bit out of the loop on what has been happening on Sunday mornings in the non-liturgical evangelical world. So, I'll need you, our readers, to help us all get up to speed. How do iMonk's observations still apply, and what's been happening since he wrote these words?

* * *

Here in Kentucky, where the worship wars/generational church division is everywhere and spreading, many churches are attempting to navigate the rocks of a potential church split by using multiple services.

I've been associated with multiple services since 1984, when I joined the staff of a large church that had both an 8:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. service. Most of my ministry friends are involved in multiple service options and an increasing number of them are doing a "traditional" service early, and a "contemporary" or "blended" service mid-morning. I'm aware of churches doing contemporary first, or even on another day (or evening,) but the contemporary service is increasingly the "lead" service in the Baptist churches I am aware of that are trying to navigate the various divisions that are tearing many churches apart.

This Sunday I found myself at one of the larger churches in our state, a leading traditional SBC church in a downtown setting. This is a church that did well in the heyday of the SBC up into the 1980′s, but has found the waters more challenging since. A large group of younger members split from the congregation several years ago to start a Purpose Driven church plant. This only delayed the inevitable generational and stylistic stress that a church with large numbers of senior adults and an interest in reaching younger families will feel.

The most recent approach- and one that appears to be working- has been to put the "traditional" service early and to make the 11:00 a.m. service a contemporary service later.

So what do we have here? I attended the "traditional" service (an excellent time of worship where I was warmly welcomed) and here's the scorecard, with "T" for traditional and "C" for contemporary.

Worship Space- T
(The church sanctuary is typical for a downtown SBC church built in the mid-twentieth century. It has been renovated, but it's very traditional.)

Instruments-T Piano and Piper Organ, both played very well.

Liturgy- C (Very informal. No call to worship, no scripture readings, no Doxology, lots of walking around, ministers chatting informally. A reading of the Prayer of St. Francis was the benediction.)

Music- Interestingly, the tunes were traditional, but the lyrics were all new, so this comes off as T/C, I suppose. A solo was in the "T" category, though just barely, while a robed choir did a very contemporary chorus.

Video-C (A dramatic video clip preceded the sermon, but the screen was retracted during the sermon. No projection used at all during the sermon, which appeared to me to be a concession to the concern of some people not to replace the Bible with projection.)

Printed Material- C (A Bible between two tennis shoes was shown on the cover art of the order of service. A "Fill in the blank" sermon guide was given to everyone. Both appeared to be pre-packaged.)

Sermon- C (A prepackaged series. Verse by verse teaching, but anything requiring exposition or theological explanation beyond the basics wasn't there. Good, practical, well-illustrated, but extremely conversational, considerably more than Rick Warren, who probably was the author of the outline.)

Invitation- C (Speaking in terms of traditional SBC invitations, it was almost a non-existent event. Good for them.)

* * *

What's my point? First, it appears to me that the "traditional" service was pretty contemporary. In fact, if the traditionalism I was seeing is typical, then aside from the instruments and the actual music, there was little that could be called traditional other than the fact that the music and instruments weren't offensive to those in the older generations. I believe the contrast with the contemporary service would have been more the absence of certain elements rather than the presence of anything.

Second, "traditional" apparently doesn't mean much in the way of modest liturgical order, scripture lessons, sung responses, less conversational tone, traditional choral music or other components of traditional worship as this type of SBC church would have done it in the past. This was a service that would have seemed very informal 30 years ago.

Third, it appears to me that "contemporary" and "traditional" are not real choices, but options on a line where we've already capitulated to much that is contemporary, and now we're deciding how much the band can encourage dancing in the contemporary service.

As a post-evangelical hoping for real reformation in the SBC, I lament the loss of real choices I can see in these developments. My hosts told me that the traditional service is growing, and I can see why. But I have to wonder if it occurs to anyone that we might not just be wanting something "less contemporary." Perhaps someone is longing for real tradition, more tradition and the actual reverence for God and reality of God that comes with the best fruits of tradition.

The "traditional" service is still waiting to reappear in most churches. It's been obscured by the church growth focus, revivalism and wrong ideas about worship and evangelism as much as by the Purpose Driven movement, the Seeker Sensitive movement and the emerging church. I believe there are many people who are seeing a side to the "contemporary" direction of their worship that reveals its inherent tenuous, shallow, trendy nature. They will show up at the "traditional" option.

Perhaps the real innovation for most churches would be to re-embrace the best of their own tradition and the Christian tradition together.

View article...

View article...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

FW: For the heavy lifting...




Feed: Pastoral Meanderings
Posted on: Saturday, October 20, 2012 5:00 AM
Author: (Pastor Peters)
Subject: For the heavy lifting...


Hymn or ditty?  Personal taste?  Subjective appeal?  We are constantly told that this concern for the music of the faith (hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs) is a relative thing, a matter of personal appeal and musical taste, in which all of them are fairly equal options for our choosing.  Maybe not. 

Chaplain of the International Center Pastor William Weedon has put it concisely and clearly.  The difference between the sturdy hymns of old and those blessed new added to the heritage AND those eminently forgettable little ditties we sing only for a moment is their ability to do the heavy lifting -- to carry us in time of greatest darkness and even death itself.  We sing the ditties when we are in the mood.  Big whoop!  When we face the moments of greatest struggle and sorrow, these discardable ditties will not due.  We need something stronger.  And that is why the great hymns of faith endure.  They carry forth the noble victory song of the faithful by speaking clearly and powerfully the Gospel of the cross.  They sing in no uncertain terms the hope that is within us, passed down to us by the faithful who came before, and passed on by us to our children and our children's children.

Listen here to Pr. Weedon speak (from his Issues, Etc. liturgy series) so simply and profoundly about this difference.  When I hear things like this said so plainly yet eloquently, I am edified greatly.  I hope you will be as well.  Here Weedon's words parallel the great words of Dr. Norman Nagel who introduced Lutheran Worship with this timeless truth.

Our Lord speaks and we listen. His Word bestows what it says. Faith that is born from what is heard acknowledges the gifts received with eager thankfulness and praise. Music is drawn into this thankfulness and praise, enlarging and elevating the adoration of our gracious giver God. 

Saying back to him what he as said to us, we repeat what is most true and sure. Most true and sure is his name, which he put upon us with the water of our Baptism. We are his. This we acknowledge at the beginning of the Divine Service. Where his name is, there is he. Before him we acknowledge that we are sinners, and we plead for forgiveness. His forgiveness is given us, and we, freed and forgiven, acclaim him as our great and gracious God as we apply to ourselves the words he has used to make himself known to us. 

The rhythm of our worship is from him to us, and then from us back to him. He gives his gifts, and together we receive and extol them. We build one another up as we speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Our Lord gives us his body to eat and his blood to drink. Finally his blessing moves us out into our calling, where his gifts have their fruition. How best to do this we may learn from his Word and from the way his Word has prompted his worship through the centuries. We are heirs of an astonishingly rich tradition. Each generation receives from those who went before and, in making that tradition of the Divine Service its own, adds what best may serve in its own day--the living heritage and something new. 

View article...

View article...

FW: Walther's Hymnal Excerpt #1: "Come Hither Saith the Son of God"




Posted on: Friday, October 19, 2012 7:54 AM
Author: Matt Carver (Matthaeus Glyptes)
Subject: Walther's Hymnal Excerpt #1: "Come Hither Saith the Son of God"


This is the first post in a small series I am doing of excerpts from the upcoming Walther's Hymnal (Concordia Publishing House, 2012). Here it is on CPH's website. This is an excerpt of a Composite translation prepared especially for this hymnal from the hymn "Kommt her zu mir," by G. Grünwald, which is found as #276, in the section entitled "Christian Life." In the upcoming Walther's Hymnal, all 16 stanzas are provided in full.

The earliest publication of the German was a two-hymn broadside dated 1530, where it is entitled "A fine new Christian hymn." The attribution of the hymn to the Anabaptist Georg Grünwald is made by Wackernagel based on second-hand accounts. At times in its history, being in accord with the Lutheran teaching on sanctification, appearing at such an early date, and so widely sung by Lutherans, the hymn was even erroneously attributed to Dr. Luther himself (e.g., in Eler's Cantica, Hamburg, 1588). Other contenders for authorship were Hans Witzstadt von Wertheim and Jörg Berkenmeyer von Ulm.  

Remarkable for its length as for the earnestness of its admonition to repentance, it is perhaps most notable for its familiar tune, "Kommt her zu mir," which was first paired with it. Those familiar with The Lutheran Hymnal and Lutheran Service Book will recognize the tune as that appointed for "O Little Flock, Fear Not the Foe" [TLH 263, LSB 666].

Note: The following text, as with all in this Walther's Hymnal series, is an excerpt of a CPH publication and does not fall under the Creative Commons License.

"COME HITHER," saith the Son of God,

"All ye who loathe sin's heavy load
And would no longer bear it;
Come hither, young and old, to Me,
For well I know your injury
And gladly would repair it."

2. "My yoke is mild, My burden light,

And all who bear its easy weight,
Release from hell are given.
I'll give them strength when theirs would fail,
And by My strength they shall prevail
And so inherit heaven.

3. "All I have done and suffered here

From womb to cross, do ye revere,
And emulate in measure.
What you may think or say or do
Is neither safe nor good nor true,
But as it seeks My pleasure."

4. The world may wish the bliss to gain

Without the cross, reproach, and pain,
Of which they hear the warning:
It cannot be! The cross is there,
And they must choose its shame to bear,
Or endless shame and mourning.

 . . .

 9. The worldly are afraid of death,

And only when they gasp for breath
Are mindful of devotion.
One toiled for this and one for that,
But each his own poor soul forgot,
In all of earth's commotion.

10. At last, when he must surely die,

He lifts to God an anxious cry,
And makes a forced surrender:—
I sadly fear, God's slighted grace,
Which long with scorn he did efface,
Will scarce a pardon tender.
11. Dear children, ye your God who own
And piety in heart have shown,
Let not your souls be troubled!
Confide in Jesus' holy Word,
The greatest Refuge ever heard,
So shall your joys be doubled.

  . . .

14. But seems your cross too much to bear?

Then think of hell—its dark despair—
To which the world is hasting:
Its flame eternally supplies
Each man with torment, groans, and sighs—
Its fuèl never wasting.

15. But ye, beyond this world's annoy,

In Christ shall find your endless joy—
Which ye do well to ponder;
No mortal tongue can realize
What pleasures and eternal prize
Shall swell you with their wonder.

16. For, what the God of changeless truth

Confirms by Spirit and by oath,
Must come, and ye shall see it.
Whoso will trust His proffered grace
Shall in His kingdom find a place
Through Jesus Christ. So be it!

View article...

View article...