AN EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN NEWSLETTER
"Just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue
to live in Him." Colossians 2:6
We are a group of confessional pastors and lay delegates from the Michigan District,
Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, who love the Lord Jesus Christ, believe the Scripture to
be the inspired and inerrant Word of God, and faithfully support the Lutheran Confessions.
We also have theological and political concerns about our District and Synod.
This is how we came to meet. During the spring of 1996, a few brothers called one
another because they were uneasy regarding meaningful issues in our District and Synod. A
few phone calls became a small group meeting. The small group developed into a larger
gathering of brother pastors and, later, lay delegates who want to promote an ongoing
evangelical direction for our District.
Our specific desires and concerns are these:
1) We desire that pastors treat each other with love and respect. The atmosphere
at pastoral gatherings is not always marked by brotherly love and the willingness to talk
and listen, even when we disagree. It often seems that the atmosphere of pastoral
gatherings is, unfortunately, fear-based.
2) We desire that the spirit of Matthew 18 be followed as a basic ethic between
pastors. Too often, public denunciations are made and articles are written before
talking to the person privately.
3) The perceived role of pastors has undergone a subtle shift in which authority is
claimed which the Confessions do not allow. We feel this change originates from our
seminaries. This has caused two dysfunctions in the pastoral office:
a) some hide shoddy pastoral practice behind the doctrine of the Call;
b) the authority to proclaim and serve, given by the Confessions is twisted into
the authority to rule the congregation.
4) Legalist tendencies are demonstrated in public statements, published articles,
and regional presentations, particularly in the area of worship form and practice.
There seems to be a theology rising in our Synod which says, "you must do it this way
to be Confessionally Lutheran." While we completely support and are proud of our
confessional and liturgical heritage, while we accept the right of any congregation to do only
the traditional liturgy, the Confessions do not make tradition, or the traditional
liturgy, a form to be pressed on everyone.
These four desires and concerns are the subject of our newsletter.
This is our purpose: to reclaim historic Confessional ground in theology and
practice regarding the issues identified above. Accordingly, we endorse the
articles in this newsletter as coming not from a solo voice, but currently from at least
102 Confessional Lutheran pastors and nineteen lay delegates in the Michigan District,
Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. If you also would like to express your support as a pastor
or lay delegate and become an endorsee of this current newsletter, please fax a note
indicating the same with your signature to Hope Lutheran Church, Linden, MI; fax number
In the Saviors precious Name,
Larry Eckart, Pastor
Hope Lutheran Church, Linden, MI
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Couriers of Joy: A Reality Lost?
Rev. Bryan R. Salminen, Ph.D., L.P.C.
Restore the Spirit of Matthew 18 in our Churches
Rev. John M. Duerr
The Office of the Ministry and the Authority of the Pastor:
Rev. Paul L. Maier, Ph.D., Litt. D.
Worship: "In Spirit and Truth"
Rev. David P. E. Maier
COURIERS OF JOY: A REALITY LOST?
When Jesus was eating His last meal with His disciples, knowing that His
death was only a few hours away, He was in no sense happy. Nor did He offer His friends
happiness any more than He offers happiness to you and me. What He offers is more precious
than happiness because it is beyond the worlds power either to give or take away: joy.
"These things have I spoken to you," He said, "that My joy may be in
Where is this pastoral joy today? Could anyone guess by looking at some of us that joy
is at the heart of all that we do ... as we serve ... as we speak to brother pastors? I
pray so. In all honesty, however, I have to confess that I for one have found little joy
among Lutheran pastors. Unfortunately, I have too often found fear, anger, and unkind
We are, above all things, loved. That is the good news of the Gospel! And not just
loved the way we appear on Sundays. But loved as we alone know ourselves to be, the
weakest and shabbiest. To come together as brother clergy who believe -- that just maybe
-- this Gospel is actually true, should be to come together like people who have just won
the "Finnish Sweepstakes" (forgive the hint of ethnicity). This Gospel, this
resultant joy, can have us throwing our arms around each other like people who have just
discovered that every pastor, familiar or unfamiliar, is our long-lost brother. Despite
the fact that we have all walked in different gardens and knelt at different graves, we
have all, humanly speaking, come from the same place and are heading toward the same
blessed mystery that awaits us all.
I am not suggesting for a moment that we ignore theological differences or
"white-wash" heresy. I am suggesting that how we approach one another, in joy or
cynicism, greatly impacts our witness and our ability to work together as a church and
Brothers! "The fruit of the Spirit is ... joy." A resident joy, an
ever-present joy, springing from Christs atoning work on Calvary.
No one knows better than the Church itself all the ways it too is broken. No one knows
better than you and I the brokenness of or own lives. Consequently, it is easy enough to
see other partners in the glorious ministry of the Gospel, couriers of joy. When
brother clergy are seen as competition, it becomes relatively easy to attach labels
to them. "He is liberal ... a church growth fanatic ... doesnt do the liturgy
... a black shirt," or some other label. With such litanies we are guilty of treating
the fellow redeemed as nothing more than an object for our discussion and personal biases.
It is our business, as we journey, to keep our hearts open to the bright-winged
presence of the Holy Spirit within each pastor. It is our business to speak softly,
kindly, gently, lovingly, compassionately, and joyfully to fellow clergy. It is our
business in a joyous, spontaneous, Spirit-motivated, self-forgetting response to see each
other as holy, because God in Christ has made it so. It is our business to be couriers
Couriers of joy ... what a wonderful view of the ministry. What a wonderful view of
Rev. Bryan R. Salminen, Ph.D., L.P.C.
Director, Concordia Family Life Institute
RESTORE THE SPIRIT OF MATTHEW 18 IN OUR
How many of us have not been hurt or offended by the way brother treats
brother in the Church? Instead of hearing your brothers concerns in honest,
face-to-face meetings, we read about them in articles or hear about them through the
grapevine. Such secondhand practices often leave members in the Church cold, defensive and
feeling isolated. It is sad when members of the Body of Christ fail to speak openly,
honestly and with love with their brothers and sisters. Such was not the case with St.
In Galatians 2, Paul was presented with a tough situation. Peter had withdrawn from
associating with the Gentile faithful due to Jewish peer pressure. For Paul, "The
Apostle to the Gentiles," this must have induced some righteous indignation. Yet, the
Apostles actions serve to instruct the whole Church on Gods way of dealing
with public error in the Body of Christ. An examination of the text of Galatians 2 makes
it clear that St. Paul nowhere speaks behind the back of his brother Peter. "I said
to Peter in front of them all" makes it clear that Paul would only speak of this
wrong to Peter in person. "When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face,
because he was clearly in the wrong," (Galatians 2:11) indicates that Paul was living
within the Saviors counsel of Matthew 18. It was a public offense, so Paul
confronted Peter in public.
Paul was no stranger to such confrontation. He had the ultimate face-to-face meeting on
the road to Damascus. Jesus met Paul in a way few of us will ever know, and He left no
doubt as to His concern. It must have made an impression, for it became Pauls way of
dealing with the truth -- honestly and personally. That is the way God has always dealt
with man. God descended from His throne and became man so He could meet with us in the
flesh. He confronted our sin and buried it in Josephs tomb. As the Apostles
Creed says, "He descended into hell" to face the hosts of wickedness and
proclaim victory. He rose and met face-to-face with His disciples. Honest, courageous,
face-to-face communication is the way of God. Paul had experienced it himself, and he did
the same with his brother in the faith, Peter.
The ultimate desire of Jesus in circumstances of public or private offense with a
brother, apart from any compromise of the truth, is for forgiveness, reconciliation and
restoration of relationship. This restoration of relationship occurs on two levels, with
our Lord and with each other. This restoration of relationship is achieved in the spirit
and love that is characterized in Matthew 18. Honest sharing of differing viewpoints with
opportunity for confession and absolution is the way of the Lamb of God. Anything less
further separates and isolates Gods people both from the truth and each other. One
point of view rarely sees all sides of an issue nor the honest intentions of the accused,
greatly multiplying the chance for slander and untruth. Since I Corinthians 5:11, Matthew
15:19, and Mark 7:22 encourage us to flee from slander, let us do all we can to live in
the spirit of Matthew 18.
In a day of plurality, problems will certainly creep into the church. When defending
the faith we hold so dear, let us resolve to follow in the footsteps of the Master as we
talk and listen to each other in honest, face-to-face dialog, remembering we all live
within Gods forgiveness. Then we will both encourage each other and strengthen the
Church for greater service to a dying world.
Pastor John M. Duerr
Hope Lutheran Church, Warren, MI
THE OFFICE OF THE MINISTRY AND THE AUTHORITY
OF THE PASTOR:
Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions have provided a clear doctrine of
the public ministry which has avoided the extremes of a "low-church" devaluation
of the ministry or a "high-church" exaltation of the same. Unfortunately, some
in the LCMS have preferred to flirt with the extremes -- especially at the
"high" end -- and a long-awaited document from the Commission of Theology and
Church Relations may address itself to such problems. In this limited space, however,
several acute dangers that have recently surfaced in our Synod must be identified.
1) A few of our brothers seem to have forgotten that, according to Scripture and the
Confessions, final authority in ministry is mediated from God through the congregation
to the pastor. It is distressing to note that some pastors have tried to reverse this
order of authority by attempting to rule over their parishioners. This becomes
especially improper in the case of some new, unseasoned seminary graduates who arrive at
their charges with a self-imposed mandate to change everything from local worship forms to
woman suffrage. Such should have I Peter 5:3 worked into a neon sign over their desks:
"Do not lord it over those in your charge, but be examples to the flock."
The Call gives the pastor the privilege to proclaim, to shepherd, to serve, and to love --
but not to rule, engage in duels with members on adiaphora (things neither
commanded nor forbidden), or use the Call as a screen behind which to hide a shoddy
2) In terms of authority, some have confused the messenger with the message, or, even
worse, with the Sender of the message. God and His message have the divine authority, the
messenger has only the personal authority delegated to him by the congregation.
Accordingly, one shivers to hear such occasional claims as, "When the pastor gives
the wafer in the Eucharist, that is the hand of God." If this were to be understood
literally, it would be flat-out blasphemy, as would another recent slogan: "The
pastor is Christ to his people."
3) Such an overblown view of the ministerial Amt (office, responsibility) has
also led to recent claims that ordination is a sacrament, and that "only an ordained
pastor can communicate the Gospel as a means of grace." If Martin Luther had heard
such a statement from anyone claiming to be a Lutheran, one can only imagine the colorful
theological invective that would have erupted from his lips! Such diminishing of the
laity, reduction of the priesthood of all believers, and rejection of the Great Commission
is a direct violation of both Scripture and the Confessions. If, as is incredibly argued,
Matthew 28 applied only to the apostles (hence clergy), then the same would have to be
said of the Lords supper, which is manifest nonsense.
4) Similarly, at one of our seminaries, some are questioning the Reformation principle
of the perspicuity of Scripture, that is, its clarity for the reader. They claim that,
along with Scripture, a lay person should have a qualified interpreter to understand it
properly; that it is best to read Scripture not privately, but within the context
of the church where proper interpreters are available. Again, Luther would object in
stentorian tones to this further diminishing of the laity.
5) Just as indefensible is the novel insistence by several clergy of mandatory
private confession. While private confession is always a free option for any sinner --
particularly in the case of deeply-burdened consciences -- for any pastor to insist that
the common confession at the start of our worship is inadequate for the general needs of
his members is obvious error. The minister of a large congregation would, in fact, find
mandatory private confession impossible.
What has happened, clearly, is this: several faculty members at our seminaries have
ventured such strange opinions as the above in their classes -- perhaps only on a
theoretical basis (to be charitable). A few of their students, however, with the
enthusiastic extremism of neophytes, are trying to put such theories into practice. The
result is gratuitous discord and even schism in the congregations to which they have been
called as their loyal Lutheran parishioners respond in astonishment and then pain to such
misuse of the office of the ministry. Circuits become polarized and district presidents
It is high time that the seminaries admit their share of responsibility for the
misguided extremism of some of their student graduates. The seminaries should at least
provide a corrective program in pastoral theology and practice for such offenders. A
return to servanthood as the overriding theme for pastoral ministry would best emulate the
greatest Pastor of all in this year marking the 2000th anniversary of his birth.
Paul L. Maier, Ph.D., Litt.D.
Campus Pastor and Professor
Western Michigan University
WORSHIP: "IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH"Whats Happened To Worship?
Corporate Sunday Worship - an experience which should be one of the grandest
opportunities for hearing and reflecting upon the Word, for heartfelt joy to be in
Gods special presence (Ps. 42:1, 2) as His forgiven children, and for celebration of
the Lords goodness - has become for some in the church today a quandary and a topic
of contention. There is a growing divergence of opinion as to what "worship" is
and how it is to be defined. There are those who feel that all of our public worship
should follow the orders of service found in The Lutheran Hymnal (TLH) or Lutheran
Worship (LW) because of familiarity with this liturgical material or for the sake of
uniformity. Indeed, these considerations are important. But others have moved beyond the
"feeling" that such worship is best to mandating these worship orders as the only
for worshipping "properly and in an orderly manner." (I Cor. 14:40) Closely
connected with these prescriptions are condemnations of those churches and pastors who
have music and orders of worship that are not found in the hymnals and that may be
considered more "contemporary".
Interestingly, when we turn to the Holy Scriptures, our Confessions, and also our
Synods Constitution, what we find in terms of instruction regarding worship are by
far more descriptive than they are prescriptive, that is, providing precise
worship directives. The Scriptures, for instance, give only general, albeit foundational,
indications and examples of God-pleasing worship. "Worship is seeking and
apprehending the Presence of God," says Paul Z. Strodach. It is, as this author
points out, "the bond of meeting" with God.2 It is a meeting with God Himself.
Corporate worship is the result of a saving relationship between God and the believer on
the basis of the universal, sin-atoning work of Christ. Regenerate persons who have
received Gods grace through the Word and Sacraments and also received all the other
present blessings of salvation through Holy Spirit engendered faith, now respond in love.
(Cf. Mk. 12:30) They honor God as God, offering Him thanksgiving and praise (Cf. Rom.
1:21), "in spirit and truth." (Jn. 4:24)
Matthew 15: "They Glorified The God Of Israel"
In Matthew 15:29-39 there is detailed a remarkable three-day event that culminated with
the feeding of the 4,000. In verses 30 and 31 we are told in brief, partial summary what
transpired: "30 And great multitudes came to Him, bringing with them those who were
lame, crippled, blind, dumb, and many others, and they laid them down at His feet; and He
healed them, 31 so that the multitude marveled as they saw the dumb speaking, the crippled
restored, and the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of
Considering the fact that most of these people were Gentiles, how can it be said that
"they glorified the God of Israel?" They didnt have a building in which to
do this. They didnt have a published hymn book to pass out and use. They didnt
have any set, inherited liturgical forms to follow. Without using the word
"worship", that is what occurred. For these healed people to glorify "the
God of Israel" was to offer praise for, to be thankful for, to acknowledge the
attributes of the God that they now knew, and to recognize the healings and other
blessings they had received as prompted by and stemming from His attributes: His love,
mercy, care, kindness, compassion, omniscience, omnipotence, and the like.
If one looks closely at this passage, the two sides of Biblically enjoined worship can
be clearly seen: (1) the "sacramental" - that is what God gives during
worship to His people in His grace and love, because of the saving merits of Jesus,
through His Word, both Law and Gospel, and the Sacraments; and (2) the
"sacrificial" - that is our Holy Spirit induced (Cf. Phil. 2:13, 14) response
to the received convicting, saving, strengthening, and equipping gifts of God. These
people, having been served by Jesus, having experienced His healing in their lives,
undoubtedly having listened to His words, having received what He gave, could not but
respond in the joyful way in which they did: "and they glorified the God of
John 4: "Worship In Spirit And Truth"
We can learn more about right worship from Jesus encounter with another Gentile,
the Samaritan woman in John 4. We read one of Jesus comments to the woman in verses
23 and 24: "23 But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall
worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His
worshipers. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and
Jesus here explains to the adulterous woman what true worship will be, and what the
parameters for all true worship will be, once Jewish ritualism disappears. He describes
how true worship centers in the worshippers own regenerate "spirit" (Rom.
1:9) propelled by Gods Spirit (Rom. 8:14, 16, 26).4 But this is not enough. Many put all their
heart and soul into a worship "experience" and yet may be worshipping what is
false. Emotionally "charged" worship cannot automatically be equated with right
worship. To the subjective feature of worship - "in spirit" - Jesus adds the
important objective counter part - "in truth." "Truth" means reality;
and there is no greater reality than Gods own revealed truth, the Word. (John 17:17)
The worshippers own "spirit" and Gods own revealed
"truth" together form the sphere in which all true worship necessarily
takes place.5 These are the essentials. R. C. H. Lenski gives a particularly succinct and
excellent summary regarding Jesus words about worship to this woman:
"Omit the spirit, and though you have the truth, the worship becomes formalism,
mere ritual observance. Omit the truth, and though the whole soul is thrown into the
worship, it becomes an abomination. Thus "spirit and truth" form a unit, two
halves that belong together in every act of worship."6
For the Samaritan woman to worship "in spirit and truth" meant
that she did not have to wait to go to the Temple in Jerusalem. She didnt have to
offer a sacrifice. She didnt have to follow a prescribed order to worship rightly.
She could right then and there perform the very highest act of worship, that is, to
receive and accept the Fathers pardon: the forgiveness of her sins and then return
to Him her spirits thankful praise.7
It Is Neither Biblical Nor Confessional To Insist On One Form For
Jesus does not condemn ceremonies and ordered forms of worship here. Rather He
demonstrates that it is not in ritualism or merely in things done by rote (Cf. Is. 29:13)
but "in spirit and truth" that the true worship, which the Father desires, is
rendered. In fact, prescribed words and actions may be done in proper order without
worship actually taking place. All true worship then is that which engages the regenerate
spirit within the worshiper and is inspired and guided by the truth (the truth
which, when heard or when applied, has the power to create faith and the new man within).
To insist, then, that there is only one way, or just a few ways, in which such worship
"in spirit and truth" can be planned and rendered, is presumptuous, especially
when one considers the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-custom diversity within our
congregations (the "youth culture" in and of itself) and the diverse locations
where many find their churches.
This is also the teaching of the Formula of Concord: "...we believe, teach and
confess unanimously that the ceremonies or church usages which are neither commanded nor
forbidden in the Word of God, but which have been introduced solely for the sake of good
order and the general welfare, are in and of themselves no divine worship or even a part
of it. In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men
(Matt. 15:19)."8 Even Lutheran urged that "a preacher must watch and diligently instruct the
people lest they take such uniform practices as divinely appointed and absolutely binding
What is necessary for those who plan worship is time spent in the
"truth", the Word, and in prayer. In the atmosphere of Word and prayer, those
who plan worship will receive wisdom on how best to minister in the contemporary setting
where God has placed them. We live and minister in a society where change is the order of
the day. With the God-given directive of reaching the lost and discipling the saved
(Matthew 28:18-20) in every generations contemporary situation, worship orders and
ceremonies, hymns and spiritual songs (Col. 3:6) will undoubtedly change. The task is to
preserve the indispensable "sacramental" (the gifts God gives) and
"sacrificial" (our faith-inspired response) aspects of worship, ever along side
the "in spirit and truth" principle. Our task is not to forget or bury the
rich heritage that we have in liturgy and hymnody, it is to continue to build on it and
with it. (Cf. Eccl. 1:9)
The Solid Declaration gives elucidating council when it states: "We further
believe, teach, and confess that the community of God in every place and at every time has
the right, authority and power to change, to reduce, or to increase ceremonies according
to its circumstances, as long as it does so without frivolity and offense but in an
orderly and appropriate way, as at any time may seem to be most profitable, beneficial,
and salutary for good order, Christian discipline, evangelical decorum, and the
edification of the church."10
As Gods people we are to reach out to a dying world in love, even
in the worship setting. In 1 Corinthians 14 where we are given a snapshot of part of an
early Christian worship service, the Apostle Paul, in correcting the worship practices of
the Corinthians, states the principle that their worship should be done so that when
"an unbeliever or someone who does not understand" (a visitor; cf. 1 Cor. 14:16)
comes in, "he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, God is really among
you!" (1 Cor. 14:24, 25) Here, then, is displayed the concepts of cultural
sensitivity, relevancy, and love, especially for unbelievers and new Christians.
The Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR) in its document entitled "Racism
and the Church - Overcoming the Idolatry," shares some insightful thoughts
regarding cultural sensitivity, love, and change in these words:
"When a Christian congregation includes new members of differing backgrounds, it
will do all in its power to create a healthy climate for them in order to make them feel
that they are truly welcome as members of that family. ... When a congregation under the
guidance of the Holy Spirit genuinely welcomes new members, changes will take place. These
changes will reflect the full range of cultures represented in the Christian family.
Openness to change in such things as the order of worship, the hymnody, the expressions of
love and friendship, as well as the recreational life of the congregation, will reveal the
congregations eagerness to embrace all people in the love of Christ. Changes
grounded in the truth of Gods Word and motivated by love for His people will enhance
every aspect of the life and work of the congregation."11
The LC-MS Constitution and Worship Forms
A brief comment should be made on one additional matter. Quite often the objection is
raised that those who are not exclusively using and following The Lutheran Hymnal (TLH)
and/or Lutheran Worship (LW) are violating prescribed conditions for membership in
The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Our Synods Constitution does ask regarding
"Conditions for acquiring and holding membership in the Synod," the following:
"4. Exclusive use of doctrinally pure agenda, hymnbooks, and catechisms in church and
school."12 "Doctrinally pure" - Yes! Always! Thats what it means to worship
"in (spirit and) truth."
Content is all important! But with technological advances in desktop publishing and
copying, and with the variety of resources that even Concordia Publishing House (i.e.
Creative Worship) and others provide for worship planning support, a good part of both
traditional and non-traditional services are printed out completely in weekly worship
folders. Even at the last Synodical conventions Opening Worship service, July of
1995 in St. Louis, at least one previously unpublished hymn was used. Obviously, no one
objected to its use merely because it was not in our hymnals. Why? Because it was
"doctrinally pure." Many churches commission special hymns to be written in
recognition of their particular anniversary celebrations on a regular basis. Whats
important, again, is that they are "doctrinally pure", that they are "in
The Constitution of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod itself gives further
illumination on the above stated concern as well as on the question of unity versus
uniformity13 when it states that:
"The Synod, under Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, shall -
6. Aid congregations by providing a variety of resources and opportunities for
recognizing, promoting, expressing, conserving, and defending their confessional unity in
the true faith;
7. Encourage congregations to strive for uniformity in church practice, but also to
develop an appreciation of a variety of responsible practices and customs which are in
harmony with our common profession of faith."
The Constitution further clarifies that:
"In its relation to its members the Synod is not an ecclesiastical government
exercising legislative or coercive power, and with respect to the individual
congregations right of self-government it is but an advisory body. Accordingly, no
resolution of the Synod imposing anything upon the individual congregation is of binding
force if it is not in accordance with the Word of God or if it appears to be inexpedient
as far as the condition of a congregation is concerned."
Thankfulness must be given to God for the rich Lutheran heritage that we have in our
worship forms, our liturgies, our hymnals, and the like, for they have passed on a vibrant
example of what it has meant and means to worship "in spirit and truth". May God
grant His blessing and wisdom through His inspired Word as we continue the endeavor to
worship "in spirit and truth" observing the indispensable considerations of the
"sacramental" and "sacrificial" aspects of worship, building on the
splendid heritage we have received.
Pastor David P. E. Maier
Our Savior Lutheran Church, Lansing, MI
Current Endorsees are on a seperate web page.
A note about Endnotes
The endnotes used in this work are linked from the note number in
the text to the endnote at the bottom of the page, and vice versa. In addition,
where a note uses "ibid." or "op. cit.", it is linked to the
appropriate parent endnote information.
If you use this "ibid." or "op. cit." link, you will need to use the BACK
button on your browser to return to the endnote you started with. From there, you
can click on the endnote number to go back to where you were in the text.
Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR) labels such a mandate
"cultural imperialism." "Cultural imperialism is the attempt to suggest
that a particular cultural way of worshipping is the only correct, appropriate, or
acceptable way of worshipping God. Luther proceeded differently. His insistence that the
people have the Gospel and worship in their own cultural idiom (e.g., his translation of
the Bible into German, his introduction of ethnic hymnology, etc.) were important
ingredients of the reformation of the church. The Lutheran Confessional writings speak to
this issue with unmistakable clarity. The Apology of the Augsburg Confession states that
when the Creed speaks of 'the church catholic' it does so to make it clear that the church
is 'made up of men scattered throughout the world who agree on the Gospel and have the
same Christ, the same Holy Spirit, and the same sacraments, whether they have the same
human traditions or not') Ap VII and VIII, 10). The church is properly defined to avoid
the mistaken impression that it is 'only the outward observance of certain devotions and
rituals' (gewisse Ordnung etlicher Cerimonien und Gottesdiensts; 13.)" Racism
and the Church - Overcoming the Idolatry, A Report of the Commission on Theology and
Church Relations of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, (February 1994), p. 44,
Paul Z. Strodach, A Manual on Worship; (Philadelphia, PA: Muhlenberg
Press, 1946), p. xix.
Cf. The Large Catechism, Ten Commandments, 84, in The Book of Concord,
ed. and trans. by T. G. Tappert (Philadelphia, PA: Muhlenberg Press, 1959), p. 376.
4. Ibid., Cf. Ps. 51:16, 17:2, 2 Cor. 5:15; Cf. Apology of the Augsburg
Confession, Art. XXIV, The Mass, 27, 28, p. 254.
"...in spirit and truth" ( ), John 4:24, is one concept as the one
preposition "in" ( ) governs both nouns.
R.C.H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. John's Gospel, (Minneapolis,
MN: Augsburg Publishing House," 1943), p. 323.
7. Op. cit., Cf. Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Art. IV, Justification,
49, p. 114; 154, p. 128.
8. Ibid., Formula of Concord, Epitome, Art. X, Church Usages, 3, p. 493; Cf.
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Art. XXIV, The Mass, 33, pp. 255-256; The Augsburg
Confession, Art. XXVII, 40-44, pp. 69-70.
"A Christian Exhortation to the Livonians concerning Public Worship and
Concord, 1525," Luther's Works, Vol. LIII: Liturgy and Hymns, ed. by Ulrich S.
Leupold (Philadelphia, PA, Fortress Press, 1965), p. 48.
Op. cit., Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Art. X,
Church Usages, 9, p. 612.
Racism and the Church - Overcoming the Idolatry, A Report of the
Commission on Theology and Church Relations of The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod
(February 1994), pp. 53-54.
1995 Handbook, The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, Constitution of
the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, "Article VI Conditions of Membership", The
Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (St. Louis, Missouri, 1995), p. 11.
Op. cit., Cf. Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Art.
X, Church Usages, 30, 31, pp. 615, 616.
Op. cit., "Article III Objectives", pp. 9, 10.
"Article VII Relation of the Synod to Its Members", p. 11.
In May 1997, a group of Pastors and laymen
issued this newsletter to the various Missouri Synod churches within the Michigan District
and elsewhere. See the reaction to this newsletter by
Rev. Jack Cascione.