Things in the Reporter that need Commentary

The latest Rep(Dist)orter is out. And as always, there are a few things that beg commentary.

1. Committee starts work to redefine worship.

In this article, we are informed of a new committee of 8 members whose task it is to carry out the convention resolution entitled: “To Affirm Responsible Use of Freedom in Worship” which called for the LCMS COW (Commission on Worship for those of you in Rio Linda) to “initiate a process of leading toward the development of diverse worship resources” in the synod, etc.

This is so disturbing it is not even funny. According to one of the members, the new committee “will not talk much about traditional worship, but a diversity of worship approaches and styles.” In other words, they have been given free reign to completely rid services of Lutheran identity. The same person also said, “We want to help the church define what worship is in general, to help people discover what is Lutheran about worship.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but hasn’t this already been done? When asked whether or not the committee would be addressing ethnic or cultural diversity, Otte responded: “That’s a whole different ballgame.”

So, the Divine Service has been relegated to a “ballgame.” Truly, truly I say unto you, these people are of a completely different spirit. I am not joking here or speaking in jest. I guarantee you that there will be no one on this committee saying, “Whoa there, guys, this is pushing the envelope a little too far, don’t you think?” This is nothing but trouble.

2. New CTCR Document on Public Rebuke of Public Sins offers 9-step program to white-wash public sins through Synodical beaurocracy.

Synopsis: Since times have changed so much since the 16th century and society has redefined “public” vs. “private” life, the following suggestions are offered for LCMS folks who identify public sins:

Actually, I’ll just summarize the 9 steps into one: Don’t bother trying to publicly address false doctrine.

3. Letters to the Editor Reveal Ignorance of LC-MS Clergy

Concerning Consecration of Elements. I’ll summarize the first letter under this category by saying that the Words of Christ’s Institution of the Supper do not do anything to make the Sacrament what it is. This is the belief, at least, of the letter’s author. In his own words: “Unless I’m mistaken (uh…yeah), the consecration of elements adds nothing to the Sacrament. From confirmation class back in the 40s (first problem) through seminary classes in the ’60s (second problem), I have always understood the purpose of the consecration is the setting aside of the elements for the special use in the Lord’s Supper for God’s people.”

“The idea that the pastor must be in close proximity–or for that matter is present at all–to make the elements fit for usage is an interesting concept” (yes, indeed, and one that seems to be shared by our Lord, who, as I recall, was present in the Upper Room for the first celebration of the Supper. See Matthew 26.).

And we wonder why we have problems in the MO Synod.

“Close” or “Closed” Communion

The letters here offer nothing helpful, except the one by Matthew Johnson, former classmate of mine. Thanks Matt for the words of wisdom.

The Rev. Tom Olson gave a great little paper on this when he taught our Pastoral Practice class in seminary. Essentially he says that “close” and “closed” mean the same thing, namely, that only those who are members of congregations that are in doctrinal agreement may receive Holy Communion. I recently heard from pastor Mark Eddy that Pieper used the English word “closed” even in the midst of his German writing.

The idea that “close” communion means that we are close to those who commune with us is just absurd. Where does this stuff come from?

So far, the rant.

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About Rev. Paul L. Beisel

Graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN in 2001 (M Div.) and 2004 (S.T.M.); LC-MS Pastor and Adjunct Instructor for John Wood Community College; Husband of Amy and father of Susan, Elizabeth, Martin, and Theodore.
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9 Responses to Things in the Reporter that need Commentary

  1. dart says:

    Yeah. Saw that. Writing my letter to the editor right this minute…

  2. FatherDMJ says:

    Auch die apostoliche kirche praktizierte nicht “open”, sondern “closed communion”.

    Christliche Dogmatik, 3:444
    (auf Deutsch)

    Look it up auf Englisch and you will find no trace of the word “closed”. Pieper even puts “open” and “closed” INTO ENGLISH and still they refused to translate it!

    See here:
    http://user.txcyber.com/~wd5iqr/tcl/closed.htm

  3. Pastor Beisel says:

    Thanks for putting that in Fr. DMJ. I couldn’t remember what the reference was myself.

  4. Michael Schuermann says:

    I’ve read the CTCR article online regarding the “public rebuke”. While there are some aspects that give me pause, I also see some encouraging statements regarding permission to rebuke regardless of the “ecclesiastical supervisor’s” decision. I guess when it all comes down to it, what exactly in the 9 guidelines do you see as especially problematic?

  5. Father Hollywood says:

    Paul:

    I had the same objections when I read “The Distorter.” I really shouldn’t read this stuff anymore. It only depresses me.

    Especially hard to swallow wasa this sophistry that “public sins” in the 16th century are different than “public sins” of today. We should read “public” as a different word (was it something like “notorious” – I don’t have the paper in front of me). This is the way Pharisees have always sought to weasel out of things they don’t like – play with the definition of the word until the text says what you want. It is the very opposite of the word “submission” – something that is in short order in our synod today.

    This “decision” was an example of theological reverse-engineering. They had a pre-determined conclusion (exonerate you-know-who), and worked backward, redefining words and engaging in leap-frog logic. The conclusion was a big surprise, wasn’t it? The only problem: God will not be mocked.

    I was also distressed at the letter to the editor regarding consecration. The author argues that consecration has nothing to do with the validity of the sacrament (!) and he appeals to his 1940s confirmation classes aand 1960s seminary classes. Oy vey! The Large Catechism (V:10) says the exact opposite, citing St. Augustine’s formulation. Did they even *read* the Large Catechism at the seminary in the decade that gave us LSD, the Mod Squad, and no fault divorce?

    When in the history of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church has anyone, anywhere, (aside from some apparent 1940s and 1960s LCMS classes) taught that the consecration was an optional add-on to the Lord’s Supper? Just how would the sacrament be administered without a consecration? Has anyone ever seen this done?

    We are one messed up synod. May the Lord have mercy on us.

  6. Pr. E. R. Fickel says:

    When in the history of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church has anyone, anywhere, (aside from some apparent 1940s and 1960s LCMS classes) taught that the consecration was an optional add-on to the Lord’s Supper? Just how would the sacrament be administered without a consecration? Has anyone ever seen this done?

    Read Luther Reed. _The Lutheran Liturgy_ is pretty clear on this matter. The Words of Institution, the Verba, are a “solemn, corporate act of prayer.” The consecration “is to be found in the original institution of our Lord.” The actual reception of elements “completes the transaction.” In case you missed the implication there, he later comments on bringing additional elements to the altar for the Holy Communion in the case of a shortage:

    “If the Verba are said as declaration there is no sense in repeating them. If they be taken as a prayer, the repetition would be superfluous, just as no housefather would think of repeating the grace every time a new dish was brought to the table.”

    So, has there ever been a time. Well, yes there has. Who — many of the movers and shakers of the liturgical renewel in the Lutheran Church.

    -Erich

  7. Pastor Beisel says:

    Permit me to quote the Formula of Concord on the consecration:

    9] 4. But at the same time we also believe, teach, and confess unanimously that in the use of the Holy Supper the words of the institution of Christ should in no way be omitted, but should be publicly recited, as it is written 1 Cor. 10, 16: The cup of blessing which we bless, etc. This blessing occurs through the recitation of the words of Christ.

    In the Negative theses (things that are condemned):
    35] 14. That not the omnipotent words of Christ’s testament, but faith, produces and makes [is the cause of] the presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Holy Supper.

    Solid Declaration:
    For where His institution is observed and His words are spoken over the bread and cup [wine], and the consecrated bread and cup [wine] are distributed, Christ Himself, through the spoken words, is still efficacious by virtue of the first institution, through His word, which He wishes to be there repeated. 76] As Chrysostom says (in Serm. de Pass.) in his Sermon concerning the Passion: Christ Himself prepared this table and blesses it; for no man makes the bread and wine set before us the body and blood of Christ, but Christ Himself who was crucified for us. The words are spoken by the mouth of the priest, but by God’s power and grace, by the word, where He speaks: “This is My body,” the elements presented are consecrated in the Supper.

    79] Now, in the administration of the Holy Supper the words of institution are to be publicly spoken or sung before the congregation distinctly and clearly, and should in no way be omitted [and this for very many and the most important reasons. 80] First,] in order that obedience may be rendered to the command of Christ: This do [that therefore should not be omitted which Christ Himself did in the Holy Supper], 81] and [secondly] that the faith of the hearers concerning the nature and fruit of this Sacrament (concerning the presence of the body and blood of Christ, concerning the forgiveness of sins, and all benefits which have been purchased by the death and shedding of the blood of Christ, and are bestowed upon us in Christ’s testament) may be excited, strengthened, and confirmed by Christ’s Word, 82] and [besides] that the elements of bread and wine may be consecrated or blessed for this holy use, in order that the body and blood of Christ may therewith be administered to us to be eaten and to be drunk, as Paul declares [1 Cor. 10, 16]: The cup of blessing which we bless, which indeed occurs in no other way than through the repetition and recitation of the words of institution.

  8. Father Hollywood says:

    Erich:

    Thanks for pointing this out – I had never heard of this! Maybe this is where some of this nonsense is coming from.

    So, the first time in the history of the Church Catholic that the consecration has been treated as an optional add-on was 19 centuries after our Lord gave us his body and blood, and the first historical Christian communion to argue such a thing were us Lutherans. Ouch!

    I guess we can chalk that up with women priests and higher criticism – both of which are “gifts” from Lutheran theologians to the Church.

    😦

    If it weren’t for the Lutheran confessions, I wouldn’t be a Lutheran.

    Larry

  9. Father Hollywood says:

    Paul, do you remember the survey when we were in seminary that was given to faculty and students of both seminaries? One of the questions concerned the validity of the Sacrament if the pastor inadvertantly omitted the verba. None of the FW faculty said it was valid, and few of the students did. However, half of the SL faculty did.

    The argument for validity is based on the idea that the belief (faith) of the celebrant and the congregation trumps the words of institution(or lack thereof). But this directly contradicts the LC (cited above).

    Accedat verbum ad elementum et fit sacramentum. The physical presence of Jesus is based on the Word joining the elements – and has nothing whatsoever to do with the faith of the celebrant or communicant. This is why we practice closed communion – since even a non-believer who communes receives Christ (and will do so to his detriment). This is why we aren’t Donatists, since even a celebrant who doubts the words coming out of his mouth doesn’t detract from the Lord’s presence. If faith confected the Sacrament, we would be open-communion Donatists and might even revert to the pre-Reformation practice of inaudibly uttering the verba.

    I’ve heard quite a few pastors argue that faith, not the consecration, makes the Sacrament. This is really scary. We need to collectively blow the dust off of those Books of Concord and really study them as a church body.

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