Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Good Old Days

Per Philip Schaff:
The Lutheran order of worship underwent some radical changes in the eighteenth century under the influence of Rationalism; the spirit of worship cooled down; the weekly communion was abolished; the sermon degenerated into a barren moral discourse; new liturgies and hymnbooks with all sorts of misimprovements were introduced.
Misimprovements, eh? Nicely said.

In defense of the modern age, we consider the spirit of worship to be warm enough, at least most of the time and in most places, and of course weekly communion has spent a century (and more) fighting its way back. So we're two-for-four over some of our ancestors.

Still: how many sermons have you heard or read, over the years, on subjects like self -care (disguised as "keeping the Sabbath"), or welcoming strangers (disguised as evangelism, but in which sharing the Gospel is reduced to recruiting members)? Don't get us wrong here. We warmly approve of self-care and churches that make people feel welcome; discourse about them is rarely "barren." But it is, at best, moral counsel, and never the Word of Life.

As for the misimprovements, well, just look for the word "alt." at the bottom of a hymn, and make your own decision.

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