When I became a pastor in the Lutheran Church, I said that I would perform the duties of my office in accordance with the Lutheran Confessions. I promised, with the help of God, to preach and teach and administer the Sacraments in conformity with the Holy Scriptures and these Confessions. (To the best of my knowledge, such statements are standard at the ordinations and installations of Lutheran pastors, at least in the Missouri Synod.)
So, when push comes to shove and the rubber hits the road, what is the result of these statements and promises? What does it mean – that your actions in worship would conform with the Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions?
For some, the following passages define their confessional view of worship:
And, most famously:
Those who love to quote these passages often act as though these were the final words that the Confessions speak about worship. It is not too much of a stretch to say that any practice could be permissible for them, as long as it could be defined as "useful" or "edifying".
Yet, after making these statements, the Confessions continue:
As I study the Lutheran Confessions, I continue to find much that can be applied today towards this topic of remaining 'steadfast in worship'.
Associate Editor Scheer's Note: With this post, Pastor Nathan Higgins joins the regulars here at BJS writing for a segment entitled "Steadfast in Worship". Pastor Higgins was a member of the Bemidji Circuit (one of the best in MNN) of the Minnesota North District when I served as a pastor up there in the northland. He is also one of the assistant editors that produced Treasury of Daily Prayer for CPH. The Rev'd Nathan W. Higgins is a 2002 graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana. He has served as Pastor at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Long Prairie, Minnesota (emmlp.org) since December 2008 and has participated for many years in the Lutheran Mission Association (lmamnn.org) which provides relief in Haiti.