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Sola Scriptura

Started by RogerMartim, May 10, 2012, 06:18:30 PM

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Team Hesse

Quote from: DCharlton on May 18, 2012, 03:00:46 PM
Quote from: Team Hesse on May 18, 2012, 01:41:00 PM
Quote from: DCharlton on May 18, 2012, 01:03:47 PM
Quote from: Team Hesse on May 18, 2012, 11:07:06 AM
Quote from: DCharlton on May 18, 2012, 10:06:30 AM

A professor at Luther, Dr. Walter Sundberg, has put out a book entitled "Worship as Repentance" that deals in part with the neglect of repentance in modern American Lutheranism.  It will be controversial and will face criticism from evangelical catholics as well as some on the confessional side who resist placing any conditions on the Gospel.  Sundberg criticizes the shift from "penitential piety" to "eucharistic piety" that began with SBH and came to full flower with the LBW.  He also criticizes the unconditional absolution found in many Lutheran liturgies in the second half of th 20th Century.  He calls for the restoration of a penitential piety and the use of both the binding and the loosing keys in worship.

Conditions on the Gospel? Hmmmmm...... ??? ?

Lou

Well, that is the critique leveled against his thesis.    I'm not sure Dr. Sundberg sees it that way.  The broader question is whether it is appropriate to pronounce forgiveness upon those who are unrepentant and unbelieving.  He argues that including both the binding and losing key in order of confession and forgiveness is consistent with Lutheran practice, particularly in reference to the Common Service. 

I'm not completely converted to his point of view, but it raises important questions about the way Law and Gospel is distinguished in American Lutheranism.  Similar to the questions raised by Walther's lectures on Law and Gospel.

It would be an interesting conversation to sit in on. Dr Sundberg has been involved in the Reclaim hymnal project. My congregation uses that hymnal but I could not bring myself to threaten my poor parishioners with the conditional absolutions offered therein. I substituted one I had heard used among my friends and I have received good comments for having done so. The Mennonite backup keyboardist at our place asked for a personal written copy of it because it was the "clearest absolution he had ever heard." He told me I would make a Lutheran out of him yet ;) .

Reclaim has a strong Pietist streak to it, as does N American Lutheranism generally.

It is always fine to deal in questions regarding the correct distinction of Law and Gospel--it is the challenge of the Office.

Lou

I wondered if you were familiar with the Reclaim Hymnal.  As you probably know, Dr. Sundberg's book arose from the controversy surrounding the absolution that you mention.  I have used parts of the Reclaim hymnal, but was not able to use either absolution found in the first setting.  Is used one based on the absolution found in many versions of the Common Service, including the SBH. 

What's your position on the exclusion of the Eucharistic Prayer and the inclusion of the Exhortation in Reclaim?

I'm fine with exclusion of Eucharistic prayers. Many of them change the direction in the Lord's Supper from God to us to us to God. When the Verba are clearly proclaimed to the people with a clear demarcation from a prayer, I might use an Eucharistic Prayer. Pastor Weedon has shown examples of such, but many times there is simply too much confusion and overwordiness and the Verba get lost in the mix. I also don't much care for offertory processions and the notions of consecration that often accompany same. Jesus is omnipresent, we just don't know the "for you" nature of His Presence in the bread and the wine until it is proclaimed to us.

The Reclaim Exhortation is right on the edge as far as I am concerned. The turn inward is not something we should linger too long on or we end up like my one staunch Norwegian Haugeaner parishioner who has never considered himself worthy of communing--he is most worthy of all, but I can't convince him of that. I regularly use the second column exhortation in Reclaim. The first is too pious for my confession. The one who is truly worthy for the table is the one who knows he is not worthy.

Lou

Team Hesse

Quote from: George Erdner on May 18, 2012, 03:03:51 PM


Lou, I didn't say "getting off the hook", I said "God will let us off the hook". That might not be typical, flowery "preacher speak" to describe God's loving gift of forgiving grace, but I think it's linguistically accurate. If God forgives us our sins, God has "let us off the hook". My point was to disagree with your assertion that the words of Jesus to forgive those who didn't know what they were doing indicated that repentance was unnecessary. It indicated that God's mercy is such that He won't punish those whose failure to repent is because of ignorance. Those who know that are sinners can't count on God forgiving them because they aren't aware that they are sinners. Those who know that they are sinners need to repent.

We should explore the divergence in our understanding of repentance before we go any further here, George. Whenever a person realizes they are a sinner in need of a Redeemer, the Holy Spirit has repented them. Repentance is something done to us, not anything we do.

Lou

George Erdner

Quote from: Team Hesse on May 18, 2012, 05:16:25 PM
Quote from: George Erdner on May 18, 2012, 03:03:51 PM


Lou, I didn't say "getting off the hook", I said "God will let us off the hook". That might not be typical, flowery "preacher speak" to describe God's loving gift of forgiving grace, but I think it's linguistically accurate. If God forgives us our sins, God has "let us off the hook". My point was to disagree with your assertion that the words of Jesus to forgive those who didn't know what they were doing indicated that repentance was unnecessary. It indicated that God's mercy is such that He won't punish those whose failure to repent is because of ignorance. Those who know that are sinners can't count on God forgiving them because they aren't aware that they are sinners. Those who know that they are sinners need to repent.

We should explore the divergence in our understanding of repentance before we go any further here, George. Whenever a person realizes they are a sinner in need of a Redeemer, the Holy Spirit has repented them. Repentance is something done to us, not anything we do.

Lou

In any case, those who "know not what they are doing" don't know that they have any reason to repent, and therefore a merciful God won't hold their ignorance against them. And, even though our repentence is a gift of the Holy Spirit, it doesn't just happen to us without our knowledge. Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit that we receive when we ask for it. It isn't just handed out whether we know about it or not.


Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: George Erdner on May 18, 2012, 05:44:08 PM
Quote from: Team Hesse on May 18, 2012, 05:16:25 PM
Quote from: George Erdner on May 18, 2012, 03:03:51 PM


Lou, I didn't say "getting off the hook", I said "God will let us off the hook". That might not be typical, flowery "preacher speak" to describe God's loving gift of forgiving grace, but I think it's linguistically accurate. If God forgives us our sins, God has "let us off the hook". My point was to disagree with your assertion that the words of Jesus to forgive those who didn't know what they were doing indicated that repentance was unnecessary. It indicated that God's mercy is such that He won't punish those whose failure to repent is because of ignorance. Those who know that are sinners can't count on God forgiving them because they aren't aware that they are sinners. Those who know that they are sinners need to repent.

We should explore the divergence in our understanding of repentance before we go any further here, George. Whenever a person realizes they are a sinner in need of a Redeemer, the Holy Spirit has repented them. Repentance is something done to us, not anything we do.

Lou

In any case, those who "know not what they are doing" don't know that they have any reason to repent, and therefore a merciful God won't hold their ignorance against them. And, even though our repentence is a gift of the Holy Spirit, it doesn't just happen to us without our knowledge. Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit that we receive when we ask for it. It isn't just handed out whether we know about it or not.


Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit that is given in baptism, even to infants who are not yet able to ask for it; and neither are they able to verbalize any knowledge about it.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

Lutheranistic

QuoteFaith is a gift of the Holy Spirit that we receive when we ask for it. It isn't just handed out whether we know about it or not.

I dunno...a gift we have to request doesn't seem much like a gift.

Team Hesse

Quote from: George Erdner on May 18, 2012, 05:44:08 PM
Quote from: Team Hesse on May 18, 2012, 05:16:25 PM
Quote from: George Erdner on May 18, 2012, 03:03:51 PM


Lou, I didn't say "getting off the hook", I said "God will let us off the hook". That might not be typical, flowery "preacher speak" to describe God's loving gift of forgiving grace, but I think it's linguistically accurate. If God forgives us our sins, God has "let us off the hook". My point was to disagree with your assertion that the words of Jesus to forgive those who didn't know what they were doing indicated that repentance was unnecessary. It indicated that God's mercy is such that He won't punish those whose failure to repent is because of ignorance. Those who know that are sinners can't count on God forgiving them because they aren't aware that they are sinners. Those who know that they are sinners need to repent.

We should explore the divergence in our understanding of repentance before we go any further here, George. Whenever a person realizes they are a sinner in need of a Redeemer, the Holy Spirit has repented them. Repentance is something done to us, not anything we do.

Lou

In any case, those who "know not what they are doing" don't know that they have any reason to repent, and therefore a merciful God won't hold their ignorance against them. And, even though our repentence is a gift of the Holy Spirit, it doesn't just happen to us without our knowledge. Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit that we receive when we ask for it. It isn't just handed out whether we know about it or not.

No, George, big time no. Faith is a gift worked "by the Holy Spirit when and where He wills". Please review Luther's explanation to the third Article of the Creed. Also consider what you say about infant Baptism and ministry among the mentally challenged by what you have written. We are in Arminian territory here, a long way from Luther, the Church Fathers, and scripture itself.

Lou

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: Team Hesse on May 18, 2012, 05:16:25 PM
We should explore the divergence in our understanding of repentance before we go any further here, George. Whenever a person realizes they are a sinner in need of a Redeemer, the Holy Spirit has repented them. Repentance is something done to us, not anything we do.


Would you go as far to say that anyone who has come to worship where they will hear the Word and be offered the Supper has already repented? That the Spirit is already working in their lives to bring them to their seat in the pew?


If that is true, then an absolution (like those in the Reclaim introductory edition I have) that address the impenitent are probably misdirected and can even send the wrong message.

I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

DCharlton

Quote from: Team Hesse on May 18, 2012, 05:09:15 PM
Quote from: DCharlton on May 18, 2012, 03:00:46 PM
Quote from: Team Hesse on May 18, 2012, 01:41:00 PM
Quote from: DCharlton on May 18, 2012, 01:03:47 PM
Quote from: Team Hesse on May 18, 2012, 11:07:06 AM
Quote from: DCharlton on May 18, 2012, 10:06:30 AM

A professor at Luther, Dr. Walter Sundberg, has put out a book entitled "Worship as Repentance" that deals in part with the neglect of repentance in modern American Lutheranism.  It will be controversial and will face criticism from evangelical catholics as well as some on the confessional side who resist placing any conditions on the Gospel.  Sundberg criticizes the shift from "penitential piety" to "eucharistic piety" that began with SBH and came to full flower with the LBW.  He also criticizes the unconditional absolution found in many Lutheran liturgies in the second half of th 20th Century.  He calls for the restoration of a penitential piety and the use of both the binding and the loosing keys in worship.

Conditions on the Gospel? Hmmmmm...... ??? ?

Lou

Well, that is the critique leveled against his thesis.    I'm not sure Dr. Sundberg sees it that way.  The broader question is whether it is appropriate to pronounce forgiveness upon those who are unrepentant and unbelieving.  He argues that including both the binding and losing key in order of confession and forgiveness is consistent with Lutheran practice, particularly in reference to the Common Service. 

I'm not completely converted to his point of view, but it raises important questions about the way Law and Gospel is distinguished in American Lutheranism.  Similar to the questions raised by Walther's lectures on Law and Gospel.

It would be an interesting conversation to sit in on. Dr Sundberg has been involved in the Reclaim hymnal project. My congregation uses that hymnal but I could not bring myself to threaten my poor parishioners with the conditional absolutions offered therein. I substituted one I had heard used among my friends and I have received good comments for having done so. The Mennonite backup keyboardist at our place asked for a personal written copy of it because it was the "clearest absolution he had ever heard." He told me I would make a Lutheran out of him yet ;) .

Reclaim has a strong Pietist streak to it, as does N American Lutheranism generally.

It is always fine to deal in questions regarding the correct distinction of Law and Gospel--it is the challenge of the Office.

Lou

I wondered if you were familiar with the Reclaim Hymnal.  As you probably know, Dr. Sundberg's book arose from the controversy surrounding the absolution that you mention.  I have used parts of the Reclaim hymnal, but was not able to use either absolution found in the first setting.  Is used one based on the absolution found in many versions of the Common Service, including the SBH. 

What's your position on the exclusion of the Eucharistic Prayer and the inclusion of the Exhortation in Reclaim?

I'm fine with exclusion of Eucharistic prayers. Many of them change the direction in the Lord's Supper from God to us to us to God. When the Verba are clearly proclaimed to the people with a clear demarcation from a prayer, I might use an Eucharistic Prayer. Pastor Weedon has shown examples of such, but many times there is simply too much confusion and overwordiness and the Verba get lost in the mix. I also don't much care for offertory processions and the notions of consecration that often accompany same. Jesus is omnipresent, we just don't know the "for you" nature of His Presence in the bread and the wine until it is proclaimed to us.

The Reclaim Exhortation is right on the edge as far as I am concerned. The turn inward is not something we should linger too long on or we end up like my one staunch Norwegian Haugeaner parishioner who has never considered himself worthy of communing--he is most worthy of all, but I can't convince him of that. I regularly use the second column exhortation in Reclaim. The first is too pious for my confession. The one who is truly worthy for the table is the one who knows he is not worthy.

Lou

What I am curious about is why the Exhortation and the Absolution we have been discussing were made part of the Service.  In the hymnals printed between 1917 and 1958 that I have in my library, they were part of the Public Order of Confession and Forgiveness that was traditionally done on Friday or Saturday. 

On the other hand, I do not see either included in the order of worship for the Lord's Supper.  In The Lutheran Hymnal, the SBH, The Common Service Book and Hymnal, and the American Lutheran Hymnal, the brief order of confession and forgiveness that is part of the service of Holy Communion is the same.  It says:

Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, hath had mercy upon us, and hath given His Only Son the die for us, and for His sake forgiveth us all our sins.  The them that believe on His name, he giveth power to become the sons of God, and bestoweth upon them His Holy Spirit.  He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved.  Grant this, O Lord, unto us all.

I wonder why in attempting to reclaim the Common Service, the Reclaim Hymnal alters that by inserting portions of the Public Order of Confession and Forgiveness in the Sunday worship service, rather than including a separate order for use as the earlier hymnals did. 

David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

Team Hesse

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on May 18, 2012, 08:46:10 PM
Quote from: Team Hesse on May 18, 2012, 05:16:25 PM
We should explore the divergence in our understanding of repentance before we go any further here, George. Whenever a person realizes they are a sinner in need of a Redeemer, the Holy Spirit has repented them. Repentance is something done to us, not anything we do.


Would you go as far to say that anyone who has come to worship where they will hear the Word and be offered the Supper has already repented? That the Spirit is already working in their lives to bring them to their seat in the pew?


If that is true, then an absolution (like those in the Reclaim introductory edition I have) that address the impenitent are probably misdirected and can even send the wrong message.

First question: best construction, yes. But they may be there for other reasons. I cannot discern their hearts. If they are there for other reasons they are already condemned (but possibly being drawn to hear the Good News).

Second question: Possible, but true motives are unknown to me. Perhaps they were nagged to come by spouse or others.

As to your last statement, what you stated is a primary reason I changed the absolution in that liturgy. I do know that those kinds of absolutions left me in terror when I heard them, wondering if I was repentant enough. And my calling on older folks in hospital or care situations has convinced me I was not alone in that terror.

Lou

Team Hesse

Quote from: DCharlton on May 18, 2012, 09:15:07 PM


What I am curious about is why the Exhortation and the Absolution we have been discussing were made part of the Service.  In the hymnals printed between 1917 and 1958 that I have in my library, they were part of the Public Order of Confession and Forgiveness that was traditionally done on Friday or Saturday. 

On the other hand, I do not see either included in the order of worship for the Lord's Supper.  In The Lutheran Hymnal, the SBH, The Common Service Book and Hymnal, and the American Lutheran Hymnal, the brief order of confession and forgiveness that is part of the service of Holy Communion is the same.  It says:

Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, hath had mercy upon us, and hath given His Only Son the die for us, and for His sake forgiveth us all our sins.  The them that believe on His name, he giveth power to become the sons of God, and bestoweth upon them His Holy Spirit.  He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved.  Grant this, O Lord, unto us all.

I wonder why in attempting to reclaim the Common Service, the Reclaim Hymnal alters that by inserting portions of the Public Order of Confession and Forgiveness in the Sunday worship service, rather than including a separate order for use as the earlier hymnals did.

Good questions, David.

I am no specialist in liturgy so I will refrain from offering a view. I once heard Jim Nestingen expound on what was at work here but I don't want to try and repeat everything he was saying. Some of it was a little inflammatory and I don't want to inadvertantly misquote him or add fuel to the fire. But it has to do with Pietism.

Lou

DCharlton

Quote from: Team Hesse on May 18, 2012, 09:23:37 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on May 18, 2012, 08:46:10 PM
Quote from: Team Hesse on May 18, 2012, 05:16:25 PM
We should explore the divergence in our understanding of repentance before we go any further here, George. Whenever a person realizes they are a sinner in need of a Redeemer, the Holy Spirit has repented them. Repentance is something done to us, not anything we do.


Would you go as far to say that anyone who has come to worship where they will hear the Word and be offered the Supper has already repented? That the Spirit is already working in their lives to bring them to their seat in the pew?


If that is true, then an absolution (like those in the Reclaim introductory edition I have) that address the impenitent are probably misdirected and can even send the wrong message.

First question: best construction, yes. But they may be there for other reasons. I cannot discern their hearts. If they are there for other reasons they are already condemned (but possibly being drawn to hear the Good News).

Second question: Possible, but true motives are unknown to me. Perhaps they were nagged to come by spouse or others.

As to your last statement, what you stated is a primary reason I changed the absolution in that liturgy. I do know that those kinds of absolutions left me in terror when I heard them, wondering if I was repentant enough. And my calling on older folks in hospital or care situations has convinced me I was not alone in that terror.

Lou

Things like this often have that effect.  Every time there is a talk on stewardship, it seems that those who are most moved are those who are already the best givers.  They say, "I really feel guilty that I'm not able to do more, but I'll try."  Meanwhile, those who give little to nothing don't feel a twinge of guilt at all.

What I hear you saying is that such an absolution would be more likely to afflict the afflicted rather than the complacent.  Those already weighed down by guilt would be crushed, while the arrogant sinner or the self-righteous would hardly notice.
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

Brian Stoffregen

#116
Quote from: Team Hesse on May 18, 2012, 09:23:37 PM
As to your last statement, what you stated is a primary reason I changed the absolution in that liturgy. I do know that those kinds of absolutions left me in terror when I heard them, wondering if I was repentant enough. And my calling on older folks in hospital or care situations has convinced me I was not alone in that terror.


Yes, that is one negative response, because it leaves forgiveness based on our work of repenting well enough.


The other negative response is the Pharisaical one that considers that such an exhortation is directed to all those other sinners who aren't as truly repentant as me.


In regards to DCharlton's post: traditionally, the liturgy for the Eucharist did not include any rite of confession and forgiveness. The liturgy began with the Introit -- the entrance psalm.


Luther's Latin Mass does not include a rite of confession nor an admonition like he put in his German Mass.


Luther writes about private confession in his instructions for his mass at Wittenberg:


Now concerning private confession before communion, I still think as I have held heretofore, namely, that it neither is necessary nor should be demanded. Nevertheless, it is useful and should not be despised; for the Lord did not even require the Supper itself as necessary or establish it by law, but left it free to everyone when he said, "As often as you do this," etc. [1 Cor. 11:25-26]. So concerning the preparation for the Supper, we think that preparing oneself by fasting and prayer is a matter of liberty. Certainly one ought to come sober and with a serious and attentive mind, even though one might not fast at all and pray ever so little. But the sobriety I speak of is not that superstitious practice of the papist. I demand it lest people should come belching their drink and bloated with overeating. For the best preparation is -- as I have said -- a soul troubled by sins, death, and temptation and hungering and thirsting for healing and strength. Teaching tehse matters to the people isup to the bishop. [LW Vol. 53, p. 34]


Even with a attachment of a brief order like SBH and LBW had made me wonder growing up: Why do we need a rite to forgive our sins before we receive the sacrament that forgives our sins?
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

Team Hesse

Quote from: DCharlton on May 18, 2012, 09:37:48 PM
Quote from: Team Hesse on May 18, 2012, 09:23:37 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on May 18, 2012, 08:46:10 PM
Quote from: Team Hesse on May 18, 2012, 05:16:25 PM
We should explore the divergence in our understanding of repentance before we go any further here, George. Whenever a person realizes they are a sinner in need of a Redeemer, the Holy Spirit has repented them. Repentance is something done to us, not anything we do.


Would you go as far to say that anyone who has come to worship where they will hear the Word and be offered the Supper has already repented? That the Spirit is already working in their lives to bring them to their seat in the pew?


If that is true, then an absolution (like those in the Reclaim introductory edition I have) that address the impenitent are probably misdirected and can even send the wrong message.

First question: best construction, yes. But they may be there for other reasons. I cannot discern their hearts. If they are there for other reasons they are already condemned (but possibly being drawn to hear the Good News).

Second question: Possible, but true motives are unknown to me. Perhaps they were nagged to come by spouse or others.

As to your last statement, what you stated is a primary reason I changed the absolution in that liturgy. I do know that those kinds of absolutions left me in terror when I heard them, wondering if I was repentant enough. And my calling on older folks in hospital or care situations has convinced me I was not alone in that terror.

Lou

Things like this often have that effect.  Every time there is a talk on stewardship, it seems that those who are most moved are those who are already the best givers.  They say, "I really feel guilty that I'm not able to do more, but I'll try."  Meanwhile, those who give little to nothing don't feel a twinge of guilt at all.

What I hear you saying is that such an absolution would be more likely to afflict the afflicted rather than the complacent.  Those already weighed down by guilt would be crushed, while the arrogant sinner or the self-righteous would hardly notice.

It is all a matter of who has "ears to hear". And that is not under my control.

Lou

Weedon

David,

Those exhortations and conditional absolutions are solidly rooted in the earliest Lutheran liturgies.  What is of interest is that in private absolution there was no such retention; I think it was a bit of discomfort over the possibility of strengthening a hardened sinner in impenitence that lead to the regular public use of the retention and of the communion exhortations.

George Erdner

Quote from: DCharlton on May 18, 2012, 09:15:07 PM
What I am curious about is why the Exhortation and the Absolution we have been discussing were made part of the Service.  In the hymnals printed between 1917 and 1958 that I have in my library, they were part of the Public Order of Confession and Forgiveness that was traditionally done on Friday or Saturday. 

On the other hand, I do not see either included in the order of worship for the Lord's Supper.  In The Lutheran Hymnal, the SBH, The Common Service Book and Hymnal, and the American Lutheran Hymnal, the brief order of confession and forgiveness that is part of the service of Holy Communion is the same.  It says:

Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, hath had mercy upon us, and hath given His Only Son the die for us, and for His sake forgiveth us all our sins.  The them that believe on His name, he giveth power to become the sons of God, and bestoweth upon them His Holy Spirit.  He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved.  Grant this, O Lord, unto us all.

I wonder why in attempting to reclaim the Common Service, the Reclaim Hymnal alters that by inserting portions of the Public Order of Confession and Forgiveness in the Sunday worship service, rather than including a separate order for use as the earlier hymnals did.

I grew up on that confession. At my confirmation class, I was taught that it was as important to believe as it was to be baptized, but that the Holy Spirit gives us the gift of faith, as we need it, when we ask for it. I was taught that was why we availed ourselves of the Means of Grace, that our faith might be renewed and replenished.

Apparently, I was taught wrong, because in another thread I was told we're given the gift of faith at Baptism, and we need do nothing more ever again for the rest of our entire lives. We don't have to maintain or nurture our faith. We don't really need to even believe.

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