Archive for June 13th, 2017

Thirty-four years ago, my first call as a pastor was to a Lutheran congregation which held dual membership in The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the much smaller breakaway denomination from the LCMS, the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (AELC, which eventually helped found the liberal/progressivist Evangelical Lutheran Church in America).  I was the assistant pastor, AELC and the senior pastor was LCMS.  

Before my arrival, the senior pastor had the congregation use two hymnals and for some time:  The Lutheran Hymnal (LCMS;  published 1941, the “red book”) and the newer Lutheran Book of Worship (more associated with the AELC and other Lutheran church bodies; published 1978, the “green book”). So on some Sundays it was Green first half, Red second half, or the reverse, or all Green or all Red.  It could be quite confusing.

This congregation was bi-ritual which taught me something about the Holy Trinity and the Divine Service.  At that time, I read an article by an Orthodox priest that the Orthodox Churches’ Divine Liturgy is thoroughly Trinitarian and it’s prayer and praise is to the One God in three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Then it hit me using the two Lutheran hymnals Sunday after Sunday:  the old 1941 Liturgy of Holy Communion was thoroughly Trinitarian, as compared to the Lutheran Book of Worship. (I told our little mission congregation about this and the 1941 Service is included in the new Lutheran Service Book and someone noted that it is Setting; Three, and we chuckled.)

In good Lutheran fashion: what does this mean?  

Most likely the LBW’s dumbing down of the Holy Trinity was unintentional and it may have had unintentional consequences, such as, feeding into the anti-Doctrinal bias of progressives and Americans in general.  For instance, years ago a fellow pastor,  at the Bible study for Holy Trinity Sunday miffed, “The day we celebrate a doctrine”.  It was a harumph moment for her and I was astounded at her arrogance and ignorance and she was a strident feminist.

Further, this dumbing down of the Holy Trinity has not made us more doctrinally smart. “Lex orandi, lex credendi” means the rule of praying is the rule of believing…and knowing the Bible’s teaching. If we are not formed by good doctrine we will be seduced more easily by false doctrine.

We have also seen the dumbing down of the Divine Service until it is a slappy, clappy and pretty crappy reflection of our own feelings, not the Truth who sets us free, the Word of God.

Latent denial of the Holy Trinity is also a denial of our Baptism, our Baptism which is the doctrine of the Name of God, the Holy Trinity who forms us as His sons and daughters in His Name according to Christ’s command and promise.  Whether we are sprinkled or dunked in Holy Baptism, we are  immersed into the Name of God.  This is the first time we were taught the blessed and Holy Trinity.  Let Him teach us everyday making the sign of the Cross and invoking His Name, with liturgies that ever reflect His Holy Name, not as a cover up evil but to drive away the devil and the empty promises of the world and ever hold fast to the Lord Who loves and gave Himself up for us.  

O Spirit, who didst once restore

Thy church that it might be again the bringer of good news to men,

Breathe on Thy cloven Church once more,

That in these gray and latter days

There may be those whose life is praise, each life a high doxology

To Father, Son and unto Thee.

-Pr. and Prof. Martin Franzmann, “O God Our Lord of Heaven and Earth”

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(PROVERBS 13: 3) | image tagged in the bible | made w/ Imgflip meme maker

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