Full Text for Confessions 1- Volume 53 - What principles guided the confessers in determining which matters of church order and tradition they eliminated and which ones they kept? (Video)

ROUGHLY EDITED COPY CUE NET CONFESSIONS CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY EDUCATION NETWORK CONFESSION 1 QUESTION 53 Captioning Provided By: Caption First, Inc. 3238 Rose Street Franklin Park, IL 60131 800-825-5234 *** This text is being provided in a rough draft format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings. *** >>What principles guided the confessers in determining which matters of church order and tradition they eliminated and which ones they kept? Did Luther and Melanchthon always agree? Are today's Lutheran theologians uniformly supportive of the 16th Century decisions? >>DR. CHARLES P. ARAND: Now we come to the issue or the matter of what you might call church traditions, practices, ceremonies or in contemporary parlance we might even say worship styles, architect you'll styles and the like. This is incredibly important issue -- it's an incredibly important issue. Indeed, it's over the issue of practices that the diet of Augsburg was arguably convened. In other words, it's because the Reformers had instituted certain changes in how the congregations operated and how they practiced and did so without the authority or the approval of the local bitch op that precipitated something of a crisis. And so when the Reformers came to Augsburg, the first thing they produced with an article was dealing with the last five articles of the Augsburg Confession, all which dealt with practices. You know, can we eat -- can we receive the Lord's Supper in both kinds what about the marriage of priests, what about Confession, the sacrifice of the mass and the like? I think one could perhaps also argue that it's issues over practice that often create the largest controversies within a congregation or church. Sometimes I wonder if you -- you could probably change doctrine and get away with it. But change a practice, something that's been done a certain way for many years and that creates a little bit of an uproar. So the issue of practices, ceremonies, and worship styles is both important in the Augsburg Confession and the Apology it is taken up most directly in Article 15. And there I think we find some very helpful guidance and approach that can help us in our day, as well. Now, these practices are often referred to as *Audafra within the church. "Aphram Concord introduces that term and devotes an entire article, Article 10, to that subject. It's always defined as -- they are defined as church rights which are neither commanded nor forbidden by the word of God. We might include either demand nor forbidden by the Lutheran confessions. In other words, they were humanly devised practices devolved and approved by the charge as an empirical Christian community in order to help govern and guide its life as a Christian community. In our own day, we are very often -- we very often struggle over debates about staying with more traditional practices, sort of historic practices versus going with more contemporary styles, if you will and very often what I find in the debates going on today is that various sides will run back to the confessions and they'll pick out one item or another and make it sort of the foundation, the exclusive foundation, for what they do. For example, we might go to Article 7 of the Augsburg Confession where it says it is not necessary for the two units of the church to agree on all ceremonies and the like and say therefore I can do whatever I want the danger is is that as Americans we tend to be incredibly individualistic. In other words, we are accountable to ourselves. We like to do things our own way regardless of what others think or what others do. Others may run to another text and say the confessions maintained this practice and didn't change it one bit and so neither are we going to change it. Well, I think a fundamental thesis that I would have that is entirely consistent with the Lutheran confessions particularly Article 15 of the Apology is while many of these practice are indeed Audafra I would also argue not all Audafra are created equal. In other words, some are better than others. We are dealing with the realm of what human beings devise or create or invent in order to express their faith. And some do it better than others. Well, I think we can probably identify four principles that guide Melanchthon in his thinking about these matters. And which also can guide us in our daily needs, as well. The first one is that practices and ceremonies and traditions are to be geared towards the teaching of the Gospel. In other words, Gospel centered. But there's a strong pedagogical dimension in the way in which the Reformers treat this. Whether it has to do with chanting of the psalms. Whether it has to do with examining youth publicly for the purpose of admitting them to Holy Communion. There's a strong pedagogical element about teaching them of Christ or about Christ. Now, key elements of this, or the key aspects of the Gospel will include the historical narrative in particular the incarnation, death and resurrection of our Savior. A distinctively Lutheran documents like the Augsburg Confession or Apology also draw out the benefits of this narrative. These benefits are delivered at a particular place at a particular time. Lutherans participate in the sacrament as the word and the word is sacrament not by observing them but by receiving them through faith. Well, with that implies that whatever we do ought to confess the Gospel in all of its phonus. One example might suffice. While every contemporary psalm that we use today might not lay out the full Gospel as I just summarized it, I would argue a whole lot of them ought to. In other words, the focus of -- on Christ is not simply on Christ as a power in my life. The focus of our singing, our hymns, our songs, is upon the historical narrative of what Christ did within history in time for our sake. A second principle is what I would call the principle of catholicity Lutheran confessions are not terribly innovative or let me put it another way. If there's a dirty way in the Confession it's probably the word new and improved. In other words, there tends to be a conservative dimension to them of we're possible abiding by the practices of the whole church -- where possible. There's a recognition that church is bigger than me as an individual or larger than a few of us as a congregation. The church extends across both time and space. And so there's a concern to demonstrate that Lutherans are not sectarian. They are not isolationists. They are not withdrawing from the church. Instead what they are practicing, what they are doing, is what the church has always done. What's kind of interesting about this is that in the latter articles of the Apology, Melanchthon will often turn the tables on his opponents and he'll say you know what that practice about priests not being married that's an innovation of the last 3 or 400 years. Through most of the church's history, that was not the case. Similarity with the issue regarding receiving community only one time, that's a recent innovation. And so the Lutherans would argue that they were, in fact, returning to the ancient practices of the whole Christian church. Now, that's not to say that they didn't recognize some variations. They obviously acknowledge that in some cases within the early church Easter was celebrated on one day and in other places Easter was celebrated on a different day. But as a rule, there is a concern to demonstrate their connection and continuity with the whole church. And I think that's important particularly with an American context and particularly for the Missouri senate so that we also don't portray ourselves as withdrawing or being separatistic or isolationistic or secretarial. In fact, by using the creeds, by using the common electionary, even through the use of investments we are in the sense demonstrating our connectedness to the larger church that exists outside our doors. The third principle is that of cultural sensitivity for mission for lack of a bet are word. The Reformers and Melanchthon, they are very sensitive to the need for contextualizing the faith within the life of their people. Therefore, you have the shift from the Latin to German particularly with hymns and also with the clergy so people might understand the Gospel as it is pro claimed there. Perhaps the document within the Lutheran confessions that best illustrates this is Luther's small catechism. Luther wrote this particularly for the pastoral significant geneses of the parish life particularly in rural areas. And he contextualizes it by casting the very form and language of the catechism into terms that the common people can understand. This ranges from the variety of rhetorical or pneumonic devices that Luther uses such as alliteration and assonants and rhythm and balance in order to not only make the content pleasing to the ear but memorial to the heart. Why? Because over 80% of the people for whom the catechisms was intended could not read. In other words, 80 to 9 o% of the people in Luther's day were basically were illiterate. They can know only what they can remember. You might say their memory is their book. He cast the catechism in a language to make it memorable. He writes it for the ear more so for the eye. Similarly to that end, he uses very concrete imagery rather than abstract language. For example, house and home, wife and child food and drink. He could have said family and nourishment and used more abstract language like that or lively hood instead of field and cattle but that evoked in the mind the imagery of rural economy and the livelihood of the average farmer or average peasant and there would be imprinted both upon the mind and upon the heart. Similarly in a second article that created task redemption not in the language of justification. In fact, justification is never used in the small or large catechism. Instead he portrays the work of Christ along the lines of a battle between Christ and Satan. It's almost as if he draws a picture before the student's eyes of a battlefield. On one side of the battlefield lies Satan and all of his alleys and arm he's line up from horizon to horizon. You and I lay behind enemy lines of prisoners of war. Christ goes out to the battlefield to do battle with Satan As David fighting with go lie I can't. He con inquiries Satan goes behind enemy lines frees us takes us to his kingdom where we live every lasting in everlasting innocence righteousness and blessingness. Even the very question Luther asked, "What does this mean?" Literally the German * Vosstaff, that is what this Timothy *Langwart suggests Luther probably learned this question from his son Hans. Watching Hans go around the house and asking what's that? That's a table. What's that? That's a window. So he uses a child's question regarding his text. What's that? Namely, you have no other gods. What's that? You will fear love and trust in God above all things. So contextualization is very important. Finally the fourth principle is that of collegiality or consensus. There is a concerted desire on the part of Reformers to do things together so that the church isn't splintered into a thousand pieces. So adopt as much as possible commonly agreed upon practices. This is perhaps one that is most foreign to us today. And again, in our American individualistic context. For example, this is how it might play out. Take a circuit of pastors. One pastor is exploring the option of going to Communion at the age -- first Communion at the age of maybe in fifth grade rather than eighth grade Communion. Well, in one sense one can say the congregation is autonomous and can do whatever it wants. On the other hand we have a bond and commitment to one another. This may say he may go to the brother and say this is what I'm thinking about doing and they may say can you hold off implementing it until we have a chance to educate our congregation as to why you're doing and perhaps why we're not and develop policies of how we might receive your members at our altar particularly those who are younger than the age which we confirm and the person might say we can hold off for maybe six months. It may be somewhat of a burden. But that's okay. You know what the last paragraph of Article 15, Melanchthon says we gladly willingly observe *Audafra even though it may be somewhat burdensome to us. But we'll do so for the sake of Concord for the sake of harmony, which is more important than anything else. Well, these are four principles. And I think the key is that those Audafra that are best for the church to go for are those that take into account all four simultaneously. I think we sort of get out of balance when we only choose one or two of the four and run with them. So it becomes so contextualized, we lose all connection with our catholicity. Or we become so autonomous we lose sight of our bond with one another as a church body or even as a congregation. I tend to liken these four principles almost two four tires of a car. Ideally for the car to go forward in the most efficient manner possible and to arrive at its destination is for all four wheels to be touching the pavement simultaneously. And not to be riding on two wheels or one wheel or three wheels. So all four need to be hitting the ground simultaneously. In other words, all four principles need to be evident, if you will, in our church architecture, within our worship services, and the like. I think that's what it means ultimately then to try to do things in a confessional way that is to be guided by the principles so the forth by the confessions themselves in such matters. So I would encourage you then as you look at Article 15 and articles 22 through 28 to see how these principles are played out in the life of Lutheran parishes in the 16th century. *** This text is being provided in a rough draft format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings. ***