Offended by Our Church Customs
This is a fantastic section from Walther on church customs:
We refuse to be guided by those who are offended by our church customs. We adhere to them all the more firmly when someone wants to cause us to have a guilty conscience on account of them. . . . It is truly distressing that many of our fellow Christians find the difference between Lutheranism and Roman Catholicism in outward things. It is a pity and dreadful cowardice when a person sacrifices the good ancient church customs to please the deluded American denominations just so they won’t accuse us of being Roman Catholic! Indeed! Am I to be afraid of a Methodist, who perverts the saving Word, or be ashamed in the matter of my good cause, and not rather rejoice that they can tell by our ceremonies that I do not belong to them? We are not insisting that there be uniformity in perception or feeling or taste among all believing Christians-neither dare anyone demand that all be minded as he. Nevertheless, it remains true that the Lutheran liturgy distinguishes Lutheran worship from the worship of other churches to such an extent that the houses of worship of the latter look like lecture halls in which the hearers are merely addressed or instructed, while our churches are in truth houses of prayer in which Christians serve the great God publicly before the world. . . . Someone may ask, “What would be the use of uniformity of ceremonies? We answer, “What is the use of a flag on the battlefield? Even though a soldier cannot defeat the enemy with it, he nevertheless sees by the flag where he belongs. We ought not to refuse to walk in the footsteps of our fathers.” (Walther, Essays for the Church, I:194)
Rev. Richard Bowley
10/10/2016 12:12:32 pm
From the time I was baptized in 1995 until 2001, I was in a UMC congregation that not only perverted the word, but also looked at both myself and my mother as just "wannabes," even though my mother, the daughter of German Lutherans from Upstate PA, was baptized in a Methodist Episcopal congregation that became part of this congregation in the 1980's. This, and the lack of younger members lead me to the Lutheran Church, which not only I became a member, but was accepted as "family." The Call from our God, and the uber-liberal politics of the ELCA eventually lead me to the Independent Lutheran Diocese where I was able to finally answer God's call by becoming His Servant with my ordination into the Ministry on May 15, 2015 at St. James Lutheran Church in Paoli, PA, where I currently serve as its Associate Pastor.
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