Robin Phillips has written an article in which he wants to set an “agenda for fresh dialogue” on the subject of covenant renewal worship. Okay. I’m in. But I don’t want to answer Robin point by point — rather I would like to make a series of background observations that might help us to determine which of Robin’s questions should be pursued further, and which don’t need to be.
Robin seeks to address those who are increasingly disenchanted with the “liturgical framework” of covenant renewal worship. He believes that the covenant renewal model has an inherent dialectic instability — rejecting strict regulativism in one way, while doubling down on strict regulativism in another way.
“On the one hand, we have a more nuanced understanding of the Regulative Principle which gives enormous lip service to the catholic heritage, while on the other hand, we have a more Puritan version which constantly militates against the catholic heritage.”
In short, the rejection of the regulative principle is done for the sake of distance from the TRs, maintaining that the elements of the Lord’s Supper need not be bread, wine, and haggis. On the other hand, there is a tendency in covenant renewal circles to argue that the Scriptures do in fact teach an order of worship for us, and that we should follow that order.
The argument, in summary goes like this. A worship service is convened with a call to worship. The people of God confess their sins as they prepare to enter the sanctuary. They then consecrate themselves as they sing praises and hear the Word preached. Having done so, they commune with God in the Lord’s Supper. At the conclusion of the service, they are commissioned to go out into the world to live as servants of Christ. Now I take it for granted that nobody is against us doing any of this stuff. Our grounding for this pattern in the sacrificial system of the Old Testament is found in the fact that the guilt offerings, the consecration offerings, and the peace offerings were presented to God in that order. The guilt offerings correspond to confession of sin, the ascension (whole burnt) offerings were consecration offerings, and the peace offerings correspond to communion.
Now Robin raises the question of how tightly people can get this kind of thing wound around their axle. He says that this approach considers it an “actual prescribed order of service and not merely principles that can be loosely applied.”
But this confuses the issues. I am named in the article as a practitioner and advocate of this model of worship (which I am), but I firmly believe that these are principles to be generally applied. In other words, Robin seems to be attacking a covenant-renewal gnat-strangling rigorism, which is fine. Attack away. Rigorism in these things is always obnoxious.
But rigorism is not to be defined as deciding to do all the particular things you do in a particular order and in a particular way. Everybody has to do that. As we do so I would urge us to hold to Hughes Oliphant Old’s formulation of the regulative principle. “Worship must be according to Scripture.” When a visitor asks why we do something, we should be able to answer the question with an appeal to Scripture.
Why do you sing psalms? Why do you kneel in confession? Why do have a sermon? Why do you raise your hands together?
There is a place where this breaks down, of necessity. No place in Scripture tells us to raise our hands during the singing of the Gloria Patri. The Westminster Confession allows for such judgment calls, but they must be made within the confines established by Scripture, and in the spirit of the Scriptures.
“But now thanks to the Davidic liturgical revolution of CRW pioneers like James Jordon, Jeff Myers and Peter Leithart (some people will add Douglas Wilson to this list), Christendom has moved out of ignorance into the light.”
Of course, every Bible teacher should teach what he believes to be true, and if it conflicts with or goes beyond what other Bible teachers say, then he is urging us to move from ignorance into the light, or from dim light to greater light. But this phenomenon is not limited to advocates of covenant renewal worship. It includes, to take one example at random, Robin Phillips writing articles.
So the issue of alleged sectarianism comes down to this. Sectarianism is as sectarianism does. If we had a Roman Catholic or EO visitor who loved Christ come to Christ Church, would we prevent them from partaking of the Lord’s Supper with us? No, we would not. It is the Lord’s Supper, not ours. Such a visitor would not be defying us by coming, but they would be defying the extra-biblical requirements of their home communion. Such disobedience is something we believe ought to be encouraged. And if I were to attend their home church and attempted to partake of the Supper there, I would be turned away. I honestly don’t believe that communions that bar genuine Christians from the Table should be on a high horse about the “sectarianism” of others.
When Protestant bodies practice closed communion (which they ought not), at least they know they are doing so. They own it, and they generally do not prize ecumenism. They rather value purity, and are afraid that open communion will lead to compromise of the gospel. But the RCs and EOs exclude half of the Christian world. They do not do it with a high zeal for purity, as though they were Wisconsin Synod Lutherans. No, they bar from their table the vast majority of the heaven-bound on earth today in the name of catholicity! Well, okay. Suit yourself.
So we urge a body of believers to adopt an explicit approach to covenant renewal worship, and someone asks, “Or else what?” What will happen if we don’t? The answer is that they will continue to renew covenant with God the way they have been doing it. Only the blind rigorists would think nobody ever renewed covenant with God in a worship service until Jeff Myers published The Lord’s Service. If we grow in grace, we trust we are learning to do it more effectively, but this is not to say that anybody who is not “with us in the details” is a liturgical orc.
A worship service, together with all its details, is not irreducibly complex. It is not as though one tiny element removed reduces the whole thing to shambles. No. What is necessary for the esse of the church? Word and sacrament. What is necessary for the esse of the church over time? Word, sacrament, and discipline. What is necessary for the bene esse of the church? Ah — may grace and peace be multiplied to you. That multiplied grace and peace does in fact lead people out of ignorance into light. It does bring about reformations. It grows, and when it grows, the rigorists will come to try to mess it up. As Karen Grant once put it, bright lights attract big bugs.
Every reformation has at least two attempts on its life. The first is from the persecutors who want to kill it dead by killing it dead. The second wave of attack is from the purists and rigorists within the movement who want to kill it dead by turning the mastiff of the Lord into a show poodle.
Robin thinks this approach is “perilously close to the Puritans.” I don’t mind this, of course, because I am a Puritan. But the Puritans, like every significant religious movement, had both its rigorists and its sunny ones. For various reasons, some historically unfortunate and others slanderous, the name of the Puritans has now become synonymous with censorious prune faces, when the historical reality was quite different.
“[T]here is no understanding the period of the Reformation in England until we have grasped the fact that the quarrel between the Puritans and the Papists was not primarily a quarrel between rigorism and indulgence, and that, in so far as it was, the rigorism was on the Roman side.
On many questions, and specially in their view of the marriage bed, the Puritans were the indulgent party; if we may without disrespect so use the name of a great Roman Catholic, a great writer, and a great man, they were much more Chestertonian than their adversaries” (C.S. Lewis, Selected Literary Essays).
I think that any discussion of the Catholic church’s exclusion of other Christians from receiving Holy Communion ought to address the reason for its position. (By the way, although it is certainly true that only Catholics in a state of grace may take Communion in a Catholic church, I doubt very much that any Protestant would be refused in actual practice. Even if a visitor jumped up and down yelling “I’m a Baptist!”, most priests I know would not refuse him in a public setting) The reason for the exclusion is that most non-Catholic Christians do not accept the real… Read more »
Lutherans have a slightly different view of this, but also practice closed communion. I am not sure why Presbyterians have a problem with it.
Reread the post. We have a problem with it because it turns the Lord’s table into the Lutherans’ table, and that is Not Cool.
Hi Valerie, if the reason were simply a belief on the part of Lutherans that they are more Christian than everyone else, I would agree that it isn’t cool. But some Lutherans, like Catholics, believe in the literal presence of our Lord in the sacrament, although they have a different understanding of how it occurs. It seems to me that what is essential to unity in the sacrament of the Eucharist is a common understanding of what is taking place. This is a huge and radical area of disagreement between Catholics/some Lutherans/some Episcopalians/the Orthodox and the rest of Christendom. To… Read more »
Then has DW ever *actually* taken the Lord’s Supper?
The Catholic position would be that he has participated in the remembrance of our Lord’s sacrifice for our sake. He has joined in spirit with the communion of saints and in unity with his Christian brothers and sisters. He has partaken of the Lord’s Supper as he understands it to be. But, not having partaken of a host consecrated by a priest, he has not received holy communion in the Catholic sense.
But it’s not a matter of “as he understands it to be.” It either IS or ISN’T the Eucharist. There is one faith, one God, one baptism, but a multiplicity of Eucharists?
And you said that he’s partaken in a catholic sense, just not in the Catholic sense?
Don’t take me as being antagonistic, jillybean. I by no means intend to be aggressive towards you in my questioning.
You don’t sound antagonistic. I think your second paragraph is correct. I believe there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one Eucharist which, unhappily, is differently understood by various churches. Let’s use baptism as an example and assume that three denominations administer this sacrament identically. But suppose Denomination A sees this rite as forgiving the recipient’s sins, past and future, and sealing him with the promise of heaven no matter what. Denomination B sees this rite as washing away original sin and opening the soul to supernatural grace and the mere possibility of salvation. Denomination C says this… Read more »
“Therefore, if I saw Pastor Wilson receive communion in a Catholic church, I would believe that he was literally partaking of the flesh and blood of our risen Lord. I would believe this even if Pastor Wilson believed they were merely bread and wine.”
One step further: could Pastor Wilson be literaly partaking of the flesh and blood of our risen Lord outside of a Catholic church even though he does not understand himself to be?
Under the strictest of Catholic teaching, I would have to say no (unless he was in an Orthodox or Eastern rite church). This is because a priest must be ordained in the unbroken apostolic succession in order to say a valid Mass. But when it comes to Lutherans who also believe in the real presence, I would have to duck the question. I think that here I would echo my beloved Pope Francis: “Who am I to say?” Who am I to set limits on the grace and wonder of God?
I wanted to add a bit more now I have thought it over. I am always conscious that I might be boring people who don’t want to hear about Catholic doctrine, and I hope they just skip all this. The Catholic church’s concern about a Protestant Christian receiving communion from a priest is two-fold. If the person is receiving the host under the belief that it is a mere symbol, the church is worried that he has received it without discerning the body, which St. Paul warns about. This is why Catholic children are not eligible to receive communion until… Read more »
I agree that the lack of unity at the Table is the most important area of conflict between Protestants and Romanists. The problem I have is with people on the Roman side who aren’t willing to own it and admit they think Protestants don’t belong to Jesus.
I think that type of Catholic is becoming a rare breed. I have never been told by a priest or a fellow Catholic that Protestants are not Christians. There are some loopy fringe elements, however, and they are always noisier than everyone else!
Yes. Honesty among Roman Catholics is becoming increasingly rare.
Honesty or fidelity to doctrine? Do you mean the laity or the hierarchy? Is this based on your dealings with Catholics you know personally?
I mean that barring someone from the Lord’s Supper is a declaration that they’re Hell-bound unless they repent and be restored to fellowship. And Romanists, both publicly and privately, talk out of both sides of their mouth on this.
Ashv, that’s really not true for anyone I know who practices closed communion, including myself and my non-Catholic church.
The primary obstacle to any kind of real dialogue is the Council of Trent, which says that Lutherans and reformed are anathema (accursed). This presents an absolute obstacle to any meaningful progress.
True, but there are Catholic theologians in good standing who say that Trent did not have the force of ex cathedra. Myself, I would rather say that whatever we all might have said or done during the European wars of religion, the better angels of our nature have prevailed in our current understandings of one another.
At this point in history, I think not being willing to fight over religion is more vicious than being willing to fight over it.
I’m not so sure. Think of Luther and Zwingli duking it out (metaphorically, although they each lost their tempers) at the Colloquy at Marburg. How did that advance the reformers’ cause?
Compared to what? Conflict is an important and effective means of pursuing the truth. The inability of the 15th century Church leadership to accommodate conflict is what caused the chaos of the Reformation in the first place.
“There are Catholic theologians in good standing who say that Trent did not have the force of ex cathedra.” They can say all they want, but it is wishful thinking, because the tenants of the Catholic faith are irrevocable. At the closing of Trent. “So great has been the calamitousness of these times, and such the inveterate malice of the heretics, that there has been nothing ever so clear in our statement of faith, nothing so surely settled, which they, at the instigation of the enemy of the human race, have not defiled by some sort of error. For which… Read more »
On that reasoning, the last six popes–at least–have been in disagreement with the Catholic faith. Clearly there have been changes in church tenets. In 2007 the doctrine of Limbo was abolished. There was a very long time in which the Catholic church taught that Jews are damned and subject to God’s especial wrath. Even in my youth Catholics were told to offer special prayers for their conversion. Now the official church teaching is that Jews have their own unique covenant with God and that we are not to attempt to proselytize them. By the way, Catholics are required to believe… Read more »
Jill, The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification agreed to by Catholics and Lutherans did not invalidate the Council of Trent. It states up front: Doctrinal condemnations were put forward both in the Lutheran Confessions and by the Roman Catholic Church’s Council of Trent. These condemnations are still valid today and thus have a church-dividing effect. Rather, the declaration concluded that Lutheran teaching does not violate the anathemas laid out by the Council: 40.The understanding of the doctrine of justification set forth in this Declaration shows that a consensus in basic truths of the doctrine of justification exists between… Read more »
Jillybean, Whore of Babylon? The Lord in His judgment, will forgive me for believing you are a sister, if you are not. But I am not a brethren, according to the council and anathema’s of Trent. Forgive me.
Before you accept that you are “not a brethren, according to the council and anathema’s of Trent”, I’d suggest that you read the decrees of the Council, particularly those related to Justification.
You may find that the anathemas do not describe your beliefs and thus do not apply to you.
Thank you for your very gracious reply! In the words of Sir Thomas More, “Pray for me as I will for thee, that we may merrily meet in heaven.”
I have often had good conversations with both RCC and EOC. One of my good friends from my younger days serves at St James Catholic Church in Falls Church,
I should have added that the Vatican and the leadership of one of the Lutheran communions released a statement a couple of years ago on having reached a joint understanding on grace and justification. It is on the Vatican website. This was a huge step forward.
Back when I was a pro-lifer, I had long conversations with some very devout Catholic pro-life activists. I was surprised that many of them distinguished between Catholics (themselves), and “Christians”, which is how they referred to Protestants. I thought it was very strange that they were devout, but didn’t think of themselves as Christians.
Why have you ceased being pro-life?
Lutherans do believe they are more Cristian than everyone else.
“Theses on Communion Fellowship with Those Who Believe Differently
by C.F.W. Walther”
Walther’s works, although of great value,are not the confessional standards of the Lutheran church.
I read it. “Not Cool” does not mean a thing to me. If you don’t like us, please stay out of our churches and seminaries. We leave you alone.
Michael, what I said was actually a backhanded compliment to those who fence the table that way for the sake of purity. I don’t agree with it, but I admire the consistency. What I was critiquing here was the pretense of openness on the part of communions that are as closed as the WELS is.
Pretense of openness? I don’t know what you mean at all. Please explain.
Being closed is not bad. Theological laxity and apostasy have always come from close relations with Calvinists and Pietists.
Calvinists try to bully or use the State (Prussian Union), while Pietists try to manipulate “feelings” to get us to leave the Truth.
Sorry…Christmas busyness kept me away from commenting for a couple of weeks. Leaving one another alone is not an option for the body of Christ. The ear and the eye and the foot and the spleen do not have an option of going their separate ways. Jesus is neither deaf nor blind nor an amputee nor asplenic. (Yes, that’s actually a word. I had an asplenic roommate. Never appreciated my spleen before I watched her spend nine dangerously ill days in the hospital.) If your church tries to be, it is not being like Him. Not that any individual congregation… Read more »
Jill, all things, including what Doug refers to as the disobedience of extrabiblical traditions taught erroneously as regulatively biblical for communion, are to be done in faith/trust with a good (vs. weak) conscience, trusting that God would have him do/think as he ought to be done (vs. unto a “wounding” “defilement” / “stumbling” in doing the contrary of what his conscience attests ought to be done). Thinking & doing all thoughts & behavior in such faith/trust is a necessary (albeit not sufficient — as is the case with any necessary but not sufficient intention/motive/disposition/attitude/heart condition) requirement for righteousness in thought… Read more »
“By the way, although it is certainly true that only Catholics in a state of grace may take Communion in a Catholic church, I doubt very much that any Protestant would be refused in actual practice.”
This is most likely true, the one time I had occasion to take Communion at a Catholic church it was offered to everyone there as part of the service. Even the ones neither catholic or protestant. (I declined)
Loved the bit about the show poodle. If I may be so bold, may I contend that the purists and rigorists might
be even more pleased with a narcoleptic show poodle? Carry on.
Excellent. And nourishing for the brain.
What is it with Presbyterians and the WELS? If you don’t like closed communion, don’t go to a WELS or ELS or many LCMS churches.
What is it about Lutherans? They think the solution to the problem of Christ’s body being shamefully divided is, “If you don’t like it, go somewhere else.”
Obviously, the priorities are different. Your concerns are not invalid, but from our perspective, you have them out of balance. But my perception of Lutherans is that their response to everything non-Lutherans do is, “Your concerns are invalid.”
If it is not your church, it is none of your concern. I don’t go to other denominations services and then complain about their beliefs.
Christ’s body is NOT divided. I don’t understand how you could reach this conclusion, unless it is because we don’t accept the faulty Reformed doctrines which deny the Real Presence. We believe differently.
After 500 years I would think Calvinists would have realised that we won’t compromise on Truth.
If Christ’s body is not divided, then does that mean anyone not invited to the table with you isn’t part of Christ’s body?
Help me understand what “Christ’s body is not divided” means to you, then.
By what authority are members of Christ’s body barred from the table?
If you deny the real Presence,then you do not discern Christ’s Body and Blood and cannot commune. The pastor would be sinning if he communed you.
A person can be a part of the invisible church but hold to errors in belief.
It really should not matter. If you oppose Lutheran doctrine, why would you want to commune in a Lutheran church?
I can’t understand a mindset that doesn’t view disunity in the church as important. I also don’t understand what it means to be part of the church but barred from the table.
The ELCA would commune you.
I’m sure the church in Thessalonica would have communed the late comers to the table in Corinth as well, but this would not have been an excuse for the failure of table fellowship that was present in Corinth, and which Paul reproved them for.
Colossians 3 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. “It really should not matter. If you oppose Lutheran doctrine,… Read more »
I am sure you could commune in the ELCA.
Blankenship wrote: If you deny the real Presence,then you do not discern Christ’s Body and Blood and cannot commune. Actually, the passage that makes reference to “discerning Christ’s body” is not referring to Christ’s human body (which hung on the cross), or to some deep metaphysical meaning in the eucharistic body (the bread), but rather is clearly a reference to Christ’s ecclesiastical body (the Church). In other words, we are to discern Christ in others. We are to be able to recognize Christ in others, and treat them accordingly when we come to the table. The problem in Corinth was… Read more »
I dislike the rude familiarity evidenced by you in addressing me by my surname alone. I am neither your subordinate, nor someone familiar to you. Perhaps you were raised differently, or it is a cultural difference. In any event, I object to it.
Rude familiarity?? Apparently you object to the most common and efficient way of referencing another in accademia.
Is this accademia (sic)? What is your name?
Damn that spell check!
My name is Gary Williams, and I think you are expressing outrage over a common method of referencing others (which is often done in academia). It is not intended to express subordination, familiarity or anything else except to answer the question “Who are you talking about”. It is a method used to reference those who are being agreed with, or who are being referenced to support an argument, as well as those who are being disagreed with or whose argument is being confronted. it is not considered impolite.
Mr. Williams, I was raised differently. As I said, it may be a cultural or generational difference. My parents raised me to say Mr. or Mrs. We also did not throw “damn” around lightly. So I suppose it is a cultural/generational difference.
In any event the pseudonymous “katecho” has not seen fit to address it. Are you his/her proxy?
No, I have never met, nor do I know of “katecho” other than this discussion. I inserted my opinion because I think you wrongly interpreted his reference of you as negative, when in fact, it is very common in discussions like this (if there is any question of who is being referenced, or, just to make it easy to follow). The “damn” was my pathetic attempt at humor. I have never been good at spelling (unless you accept being able to spell the same word three or more ways as “Good”) and I rely on spell check a lot. However,… Read more »
First of all, MKB, if you had spent any time at all on this blog, you would know that katecho uses the third person with everyone, which is his way of avoiding confusion when the posts start flying and of showing some professional deference to his debaters. This he has explained several times in just the past few months. Second, he was necessarily truncating your full moniker since typing out Michael Keith Blankenship every time he referenced you would be tiring. Third, in precognition of your patent offense at his “familiarity,” he elected to use your surname rather than the… Read more »
As used in the military, the surname only implies subordination. Do you have a surname?
I know you didn’t address this to me, but I am jumping in. I think there are reasons of prudence that can justify a person in using a pen name (as Katecho does) or in using only a portion of his or her name. I would not use my actual surname, especially in conjunction with a photo icon. I have on occasion been referred to Mrs. Bean which I think is sweet, and even as Miss Jilly, which makes me sound like a kindergarten teacher. I think many people here use last names without any intention of being discourteous. My… Read more »
Thank you Jillybean.
In the military, it also implies equality.
But like jilly, I avoid addressing people in ways they have expressed dislike for, unless the person is showing himself to be a genuine troll (which is not remotely the case with you, as you have always been respectful and constructive in your comments.)
Thank you Ms. Dunsworth. I wish you a very Happy Christmas, and Christ’s Blessings in the coming year.
“Finally, I am not katecho’s spokesman.” Personally, I like Tim Bayly’s blog requirement that a person be open to their identity. Anyway, katecho, if you ever visit Northern California; you, your wife and children are more than welcome to stay with my family (kids are all gone, so lots of room.) And Jellybean, the welcome goes for you also.
I do prefer names to pseudonyms.
Like Jesus Christ?
Is Jesus Christ a pseudonym? I have never heard anyone state this. His name is Jesus, his title is “Christ”.
So, you wouldn’t mind if He signed in with that moniker?
Jesus Christ speaks to us through his Word. I do not understand what you mean by “moniker”.
To be precise, the Baylys require that you communicate your identity to the blog owners. Use of a less revelatory pseudonym is permitted as long as the Brothers B know who you are.
I have not spent that much time here.
Don’t lecture me re: pity parties/tantrums.
I think that the posts I have made hardly constitute a “tantrum”, Mal.
Blankenship seems to be in an objectionable mood, but my intent isn’t to subordinate him to anything that he and I are not already subordinate to (namely Scripture). The issue is not a personal one, and we should resist the attempts to make it personal. Rather the issue is Scriptural discernment of the body of Christ in one another. The table did not need protecting in Corinth, rather the people of Corinth were the ones in danger. The issue was not in how they comprehended the nuances of Christ’s fleshly presence or His bodily incarnation. Rather the issue was in… Read more »
What is your name?
Blankenship seems to want to continue to make this personal, however, the issue is Scriptural. Jesus did not ask His own disciples for a precise confession about Real Presence™ before He fed them His eucharistic body. He simply fed them because they were His body. This should tell us something about Christ’s priorities in the Supper.
Those who are Christ’s body (the Church) are invited to His table. This is the issue that Blankenship ought to address. This is the substance of the matter.
Katecho appears to continue in his rudeness. katecho addresses others by surname alone, while not sharing her or her own.
Katecho, or in his rude speech cho, thought himself clever. cho appended the trademark symbol to the term real Presence. Thus cho gives lie to the the view of some calvinists regarding the presence of Our Lord in the elements.
Cho, I posted a link above explaining Lutheran views.
Katecho appears to be in a rude and surly mood. Although katecho knows that it is considered bad manners by some to address an individual with whom katecho is not familiar by surname alone, katecho persists. Katecho is being needlessly rude.
FYI a previous comment by katecho on why he uses the third person:
“Use of the third person is certainly more formal, but it’s not unusual or original in any sense. It’s still the dominant form for publicly contesting ideas in a debate, for example.
Debate societies even require it. I believe the direction of address helps to keep the substance of the issues in better focus, even when I’m talking in a public forum with someone I agree with, but I don’t say that others have to do like I do.”
Do you have a surname?
Apparently not all who are bread, get bread.
katecho could commune at many churches.
The late comers who found only scraps at the table in Corinth could probably have communed in Thessalonica instead, but Paul was concerned about how Corinth was discerning the body of Christ in those around them. In other words, the existence of alternate communions was not an excuse for Corinth’s failure to discern the body of Christ in their midst.
Was Paul’s admonishment to “eat at home,” the beginning of a more structured worship service?
Paul was rebuking certain Corinthians for being careless toward late comers by not leaving a share for them. They were not behaving as though they recognized Christ in one another. Paul was not suggesting that they “eat at home” so as to simply avoid the issue. That alone would not have helped them discern Christ in their fellow members. Rather, Paul was telling them that if they didn’t have control of their appetites when they came together, they should eat at home so that they would not be temped to eat more than their share when they came together. Paul… Read more »
So Paul could only be admonishing those who arrived and started early. “If you arrive early or on time you must recognize the body and “wait” for the others until you do. Otherwise eat at home.” “If someone is hungry, let him eat at home,” seems to be addressing the bodily desire for food, not the spiritual. And so, is Paul directing Christians in the “waiting” with respect to “eating” of the blood and body of Christ or a supper type meal? Is this about worship or hunger? And how does this apply in our modern context in the waiting?… Read more »
I don’t go complain about your beliefs, either. I’m just always a little bewildered at how often I encounter Lutherans who seem to think that disunity in the body is no biggie and that the solution is not, “let’s figure out how we can solve this,” but rather, “if you don’t like it, shut up and go away. Sister.”
If we can’t all share Christ’s meal together, we’re divided. That you don’t see this is part of where the friction lies.
Fellowship with Calvinists and Pietists has historically led to theological liberalism in Lutheran churches.
I am not telling you to “Shut Up”. I am telling you that Lutherans will stand up for what we believe.
“It is none of your concern” is not effectively “shut up”? “Fellowship with Calvinists and Pietists has historically led to theological liberalism in Lutheran churches.” Thus my point about priorities. Your high degree of concern for purity (which is an appropriate concern) combined with your unwillingness to risk having to fight for it in order to promote unity in Christ, signals a low priority for unity. I am not castigating you, or Lutherans in general. I am simply saying that this is bewildering to other Protestants, who don’t see a biblical need to pit purity against unity, and do see… Read more »
Nope, it just means it is not something you should worry about.
Thus my point. I should not worry about genuine, brotherly unity in the body that does not prevent fellow Christians from sharing the most basic element of the faith together. I’m not going to spend my time “worrying about” the fact that you think that, but I’ll stick with my understanding of scripture on that point.
What this “element of the faith’ means to you is something probably quite different from what it means to Lutherans.
Your appeal to brotherly unity sounds a bit pietistic to me. In any event, Calvinists have no authority over Lutherans and Lutherans reject Calvinist attempts to impose their false doctrine.
Oh for crying out loud. No one’s trying to impose anything, I’m trying to explain a thought process. It doesn’t matter what it means to me or you, it matters what it is. It exists outside of our understanding, as the thing that Jesus established for all his people to partake in commonly. Call St. Paul and Jesus pietists, then. I’m only following the biblical idea that those who are in Christ are supposed to be one in function as well as in fact. Don’t impute whatever bad experiences you’ve had with people who appeal to unity to me, unless… Read more »
Lutherans reject the idea that Calvinists or Baptists or evangelicals should have any say in determining Lutheran doctrine.
I don;t know what you mean by “imputing bad experiences”. Sounds like psychobabble to me.
Neither Ms. Dunsworth nor Mr. Wilson have any authority over the doctrine of the Lutheran church, despite the historical attempts by Calvinists and Pietists to exercise same. God is the judge of our consciences, not Mr. Wilson.
If a Calvinists or Baptist or evangelical was only appealing to their tradition, over against the Lutheran tradition, then Blankenship would have a point.
However, if a Calvinist or a Baptist or an evangelical makes their appeal to Scripture, and challenges the Lutheran tradition for its failure to rightly discern the body of Christ (the ecclesiastical body, not the flesh or the bread body) in others, then I would hope Blankenship would not be so dismissive. Unless, of course, Blankenship doesn’t think Scripture has any authority over Lutheran tradition either.
I would hope that Katecho would develop better manners than to refer to someone he does not know by surname alone.
Katecho does not confess the Real Presence, therefore Katecho thinks it is of little importance. Katecho thinks what Reformed believe is synonymous with the Bible, thus Katecho reasons from a flawed premise.
If katecho is a thorough-going Calvinist, he most certainly does confess the Real Presence.
If katecho divides the physical and spiritual natures of the Saviour, he does not confess the Real Presence in the elements.
According to Lutherans, who as you say are responsible only for Lutheran theology. Not according to Calvinists. Don’t start imposing your definitions on us, if you’re expecting the same courtesy.
OK. I have no problem with the proposition that we have different definitions. I don’t desire to impose anything on Calvinists.
The real presence of Christ is with His people:
Notice that it does not say “where the bread and wine are, there I am in their midst”. Christ is present with or without the elements, since He is with us.
Blankenship seems to wish to tell me what I don’t confess about Real Presence™. I don’t think he knows me that well.
However, I notice that he did not address my actual point about the authority of an appeal to Scripture. It’s one thing to dismiss a denominational tradition (whether that be Calvinist or Lutheran), but it is quite another thing to be so dismissive when the issue is an appeal to Scripture. If a denomination can’t be bothered to interact with appeals and admonitions from Scripture itself, then the wall of tradition has become its own cell.
I would never put the trademark symbol beside the term Real Presence.
The Bible defines doctrine.
Please stop referring to me by my surname alone.
Mr. Blankenship, just a few observations, if you don’t mind. First, after going back and reading this thread, you got off on criticizing Katecho’s use of your surname and never addressed his original argument. Second, and this is just my experience, but you accuse Calvinists and pietists of causing Lutheran churches to go liberal, but unless you are simply speaking of the doctrine of Consubstantitation, I have always found Lutherans to be more liberal than true Calvinist denominations, unless you are referring to PCUSA, RCA or possibly even EPC churches. I love much of what Bonhoeffer taught and admire his… Read more »
Mr. Cottrill, let me begin by thanking you for addressing me appropriately. I would never have thought to have addressed you as “Cottrill”, and I did not appreciate it from the pseudonymous poster. The history of the interaction between Lutherans and Calvinists/Pietists is fairly involved. As regards Pietists, one can draw a direct line between Spener and apostasy. As regards Calvinists, one can easily see that in the wake of the forced Prussian Union and the ensuing domination of the Lutherans by Calvinists in state church congregations, the door was opened for Liberalism. Subsequently Liberalism proved the servile lackey to… Read more »
Mr. Blankenship, thanks for addressing each one of my points individually. I appreciate the care which you took in doing so. While Bonoeffer might not represent the Old Lutheran church in Germany, I think he was more than a “celebrity”. He was a pretty well-regarded theologian, pastor and teacher of his day. You accuse the liberalization of some Lutherans as being a result of the Lutherans getting too close to Calvinists and Pietists. However, if history has anything to do with it, you would see that throughout Christendom, as religious movements were birthed there is a natural devolution after a… Read more »
If you would care to name the theologians classified as Lutheran who brought liberalism in to the Lutheran church, I could probably show you their contacts with Calvinist and Pietist theology, and the offspring of same. By contrast, Lutheran theology has been kept purest and thus more “conservative”, when Lutherans have abstained from fellowship with other denominations. JEDP: by Wellhausen’s time the Calvinists had already imposed their views in the state church, including on the liturgy (kirchenagende). Wellhausen was very much a part of the “ecumenical” milieu of mixing Calvinist and Lutheran. If you have any interest, the following are… Read more »
The reason for the trademark symbol is because Blankenship seems to be using the term with his own parochial meaning, as a badge for the purpose of exclusion. However, within Christianity, there are multiple views about the elements in the Eucharist, and real presence describes an entire category of them. As such, Lutherans usually refer to their view as “Sacramental Union”, to distinguish it from other real presence views (such as transubstantiation, consubstantiation, impanation, and spiritual presence). Lutherans will use the expression that Christ is truly and substantially present “in, with and under the forms of bread and wine”, but… Read more »
I did not read the rest of your post as you persist in using an insulting form of address despite my having communicated my objection.
Our modern culture has found it useful to employ trigger offenses in order to manipulate a guilt reaction. This strategy is effective because we live in a culture of guilt, and the only authority that one needs in order to demand an apology is to have taken offense first. The guilt of the offense, whether intended or not, is said to be in the eye of the offended, and everyone else is held hostage by it. Unfortunately, Blankenship seems to have lifted a page from this play book. In this case, simply referring to him by his last name, without… Read more »
I urge rudecho to learn a little bit of the respect which now seems to be so lacking in out culture, Or perhaps rudecho does not know that far from being a modern convention, Mr. has an ancient and respectable history. But alas we shall never know, because rudecho is rude.
I invite rudecho to repent of his arrogance and adopt better manners.
Another thing I hate about this century is that people don’t apologise anymore. It is against the spirit of the age.
I would invite folks to visit a secular college campus, or watch The Free Speech Apocalypse documentary for a collection of many examples of forced cultural apologies, captured by mainstream media. There’s also the recent Mizzou incident if one is still not convinced. The pendulum has swung deep toward the soothing and coddling of manufactured offenses with manufactured apologies.
Softening and coddling? Form a poster who won’t even give his or her name?
Ma’am, you are not that clever, you are just rude.
My comment seems to have not posted. Look, ma’am, you don’t know me, and to associate me with any leftist ideology is garbage.
Ma’am, you are not clever, you are just rude.
Perhaps for that reason only you might enjoy my home and native land. A study was performed in which Canadians were required to (1) refrain from unnecessary apologies, and (2) keep a log of any apologies they offered. Most people gave up after a couple of days because the apologies kept pouring out of their mouths. But they said they were sorry for wrecking the experiment! I routinely apologize to chairs I bump into and cats I dislodge from counter tops. After 30 years in Los Angeles, I still say sorry all day, every day. People think it is insincere… Read more »
i have always wanted to visit Canada. My son and I are planning to visit Quebec. Nova Scotia looks beautiful. have you seen the move Small Town Murder Songs?
I haven’t; is it set in Nova Scotia? I grew up on the west coast, but I have seen Quebec and Nova Scotia. Everyone loves Halifax, but I loved Glace Bay which is still a heavily Gaelic community. In Quebec everyone will press you to try poutine, but to me it sounds revolting! Now is the time for you to go; your U.S. dollar is worth $1.30 Canadian right now!
The movie is set in Ontario, I think around Bruce Peninsula area.
Thank you. This is great insight and very informative. Coming from a ‘memorialist’ background, it has been hard for me to shed that paradigm. Your short explanations are very helpful to me.
I have to give all the credit to some really good teaching I’ve heard over the years in the CREC and other places. God is generous to people who like to dig in rich ground.
By imputing bad experiences, I simply mean….
just because someone you’ve labeled Calvinist or pietist in the past has tried to impose something on you, don’t assume that by explaining the reasoning behind the Calvinist view of the church and sacrament over against your assumptions about it, I’m trying to do the same thing. Frankly your constant recourse to motive and seeing “dictating” and “imposition” here where it does not exist, is not edifying.
All that I am saying is that Lutheran pastors and theologians determine Lutheran doctrine.
I just wonder why you find it necessary to say that. Generally the obvious is not stated unless someone perceives that it is being challenged.
Because Mr. Wilson chose to comment on the theology of the WELS.
It’s necessary to repeatedly tell me something that is obvious which I never challenged, because of something Mr. Wilson said?
I merely answered what I thought was your question.
I should also point out that what drew me to this article was the picture of the dog. Then I read the article, which referenced the WELS and all this open-communion advocacy.
Too bad the Bible doesn’t. …oops, did I say that out loud?
Our doctrine is based 100% on the Bible, not on Calvinist or evanjellyfish misinterpretations.
“Based” 100% on the Bible; Okay, I’ll buy that. Do you also claim your doctrine is a 100% correct interpretation of what the Holy Spirit meant in the writings of the Bible?
Lutheran theology assumes that the Bible is inerrant.
Are you serious? Do you really think the inerrancy of the Bible has anything to do with my question. Okay, let me put it this way: Do you also claim that your doctrine is a 100% correct interpretation of the inerrant writings of the Bible, you know, as the Holy Spirit meant for the writings to be understoood?
The Bible determines Lutheran theology. Lutherans think they are correct, Calvinists think the same about their own views.
Thank you for that clarification, and with it perhaps you can see that I was taking a light hearted jab at your statement that Lutheran Pastors and theologians determine Lutheran theology. Perhaps you’ve heard the term iron sharpens iron? Often it causes the sparks to fly, but if both materials are really iron it should be occasion for both to obtain a more effective edge rather than occasion to shout “leave my iron alone.” Just a thought.
I did not post here to attempt to engage in a discussion of the presence of Our Lord in the elements. This debate has been engaged in by much abler minds in the past, and no agreement was reached.
Yes you do. You’re doing it right now.
As in complaining about what others believe.
My takeaway from all this is, “Michael Keith Blankenship really likes dog photos.”
Mr. Rabe, I sure do. And closed communion.
Closed communion is one way the WELS/ELS and LCMS have protected themselves from theological laxity.
Doug, what seems odd about you writing this post is that Robin wrote that almost 2 years ago. I’d recommend getting a faster internet connection.
AeroBob, ha! Didn’t check the dates — the article just showed up in my Facebook feed.
What did you mean by “pretense of openness”?
He was talking about the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, which claim to be open to the whole body of Christ but then clarify that that does not include Protestants, thus effectively closing their communion as much as the WELS. He complimented the WELS on being open and straightforward about its approach, while disagreeing with it.
Are you his spokesman?
I don’t understand the hostility. It seemed to me that you misunderstood an ambiguity in Doug’s phrasing and I was giving my take on it. You read his comment “What I was critiquing here was the pretense of openness on the part of communions that are as closed as the WELS is” as saying “I’m critiquing the pretense of openness by closed communions, such as that of the WELS”. That is a valid way to interpret the words themselves, but I believe that in the context of his post it’s clear that he’s saying, “I’m critiquing the pretense of openness… Read more »
I am not hostile to you. I only asked if you were speaking for Mr. Wilson.
For being a Lutheran who doesn’t care about what Reformed folks say about Lutheran doctrine and practice you sure do care a lot about what Reformed folks say about Lutheran doctine and practice.
The photo of the dog lured me in. I have posted above a link which explains Lutheran views better than I ever could.
As regard whether I care about Reformed views, I only care in the sense that historically when Calvinists and Pietists have gained a foothold in Lutheran churches the end result has been liberalism and even apostasy.
I don’t post to critique your open communion views within your own churches. That really is none of my business,
Well, just to be clear, I’ve no problem with you, but I like your input. I think most people have zero interest in storming Rome, Constantinople, or whomever or wherever else so we can take of the Lord’s Supper with y’all. I actually appreciate, though I don’t agree with the application to as far an extent, the concept of limiting “inclusiveness” as it can tend to slipping down a terrible slope. You just seemed to be a little bristly when those of us who would argue for an open table (though I’m willing to bet the ELCA or UMC approach… Read more »
Well done. It get’s tiresome to hear people apply categories of narrowness and over scrupulousness to Protestant bodies while bending over backwards to reinterpret RC and EO practices as not being exclusive. Any attempt to explain reasons behind why the RC and EO do certain things begs the question that those protestants who seem so “exclusive” probably have reasons too, ones from Scripture. Not ones that refuse to interact with what the scriptural authors actually meant, since what they meant is irrelevant and subordinate to what their church decides it has to mean, no matter how impossible such conclusions may… Read more »
Why do people have to set an agenda for fresh dialogue? Whatever happened to, “Let’s get together and have a chat.”? Disqus needs emoticons so I dont have to type the word, puke.
Jill, as a Covenant Renewal Calvinist, I am taught and believe in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in Communion, not as a symbol as Zwingli suggested, but as the real Presence of Jesus feeding His people and commissioning them to go out each week to serve Him. But we do not believe in the magical transformation of the elements into literal body and blood, either through Transubstantiation or Consubstantitation. I’m sure you are already aware of this, but I wish to reiterate that Calvin was not Zwingli – he never argued in a purely symbolic gesture, as I… Read more »
Just a note of accuracy — I don’t know the details, but I’ve heard from reputable sources that Zwingli was not as “Zwinglian” as reputation holds; he was tarred with that because of his relative tolerance of the Anabaptists. Apparently his position was not “strict symbol,” but was less full-blooded than Calvin’s.
Mr. Wilson, please explain what you meant by a “pretense to openness’.
Romans 14 1 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. Verse 4… Read more »
Oh man, here you all are squabbling over the table and hardly any of you have been baptized. : )
This is for those who want to understand the Lutheran view. i chose a non-WELS article as I am concerned a WELS source might be dismissed.
Hi Doug! I just came to chime in that that mastiff in the picture may actually be a show poodle, if this 10min report from VICE is true… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLBzjNlp1Ak