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.