Monday, February 04, 2008

Tradition Deprived

There has been some studies that show young kids in the Western Anglo-Saxon world are experiencing Liturgical Revival. For example, see this UPI report. I can imagine, as young people get tired of the emotional propping ups that happen in our beloved Evangelia, they will soon find it "cool" to be liturgical.

I won't find it surprising. Back home, a church I knew and visited started as your normal garden variety non-denominational Charismatic Church, it has now turned Episcopal and is even now aligned with the RCC.

This may be cause for rejoicing for those traditionalists that are in liturgical churches (Lutherans included). I have read some elations already.

But wait, just before you pop the champagne and swing to the theology of glory, have you read the report of Christian Smith?

According to this book, young people today are becoming Spiritual. Please get it, try not to read this to mean that they are becoming Christian. Smith's thesis is that young people today are into deistic, moralistic, therapeutic spirituality.

Where do you get a feeling of being 'spiritual'? You can get that kind of feeling by going through a religious ritual - one of which is the motion of going through a formal liturgy.

Young kids in the West no longer have tradition of any sort. What I mean is that they do not even have any "social" traditions at all. For example, try throwing them a birthday party and ask them to make a speech after blowing their cake candle. Have you noticed how they squirm? They like everything informal. They would rather elope than get engaged, getting engaged involves making speeches. They like to live-in than get married, getting married is so so formal, it mucks their style because that calls for some social ritual to be performed.

This traditional deprivation has a side effect. Starved of having nothing to expect in anything specially like in their relationships, they are starving for ritual. Their options generation gave them that - options - meaning they do not have to do anything -- and they often don't.

So just in case they turned up for Divine Service, just be half-happy, try not to let your joy be full. Because, they may not be there because of the Gospel, they could be there just to satisfy their tradition-depraved spirituality.

They could be looking for something "cool". They could be there for the feeling of being spiritual because they have gone through a liturgy. They could be there because of JBWA (Justification By Works Also).

I am not into liturgy as evangelism, I think I am rather for catechism as evangelism (if you ask me).

The missus suggested that we should wear a T-shirt emblazoned by the words "I will catechize you". Sounds like a good idea to me.


Augustinian Successor said...

Dear Bro. Lito,

Sorry for being away ... my campus was undergoing some "up-grading" for the Internet. I dunno whether it has made any difference, but these people take a week to get things done. Anyway ...

CTS has finally published some of the papers from the 2008 Symposium. Here's one by John Maxwell. You know what? He emphatically says that Lutherans must never surrender the term Protestants to you-know-who ... his paper though is on the Atonement and some of the Protestant Reformers ...

Here's the link, Big Bro!


L P Cruz said...

No worries bro. I have been to your uni, last year bro. I got pictures! The missus gave a seminar to the folk at Faculty of Ed.

Thanks for the link, also I was reading Walther, whereas he advocated for the word Lutheran, he also rejected being called catholic or Catholic! He did not like to be called small c or big C because of the confusion the term catholic implies. It seems that if you keep on retreating you just put your back against the wall, which in the end is our dumb fault.

I shall try to find you that article.


L P Cruz said...


Well written article indeed. Jolly good one too. He must be a lone voice in there.

The guy knows JBFA.

I have a theory, each time JBFA is held central, you can not help but retain the word 'Protestant'.

There are crypto-popers in confessional Lutheranism, I am convinced of this but they hide behind the label.


Augustinian Successor said...

Cannot agree with you more, Big Bro ...

The Scylding said...

I've been wondering about that, Lito - same as the apparent 'revivals' in parts of the third world. Are we not so desperate for good news (by out standards) that anything will do? In parts of Africa, old heresies (like adoptionism) has sprang up. And the pentecostalism seen in parts of Latin America looks like a Protestant verison of the syncretistic variety of RC'ism that hled sway there before.

Far be it from me to decry any working of God, but I think we need more circumspection, as your post seems to indicate.

L P Cruz said...


Good to hear from you bro.

I think it is true, we are desperate to 'feel better'. It is legitimate search, the thing is that there are things out there that are also vying for our attention and volunteering to be the 'answer'.

On top of that we are idol makers already, we go to religiosity and forms of spirituality and take a thing or concept and turn it into an idol.

They say that the issue of JBFA is no longer the issue today, it was a 16th century fight that has no longer a place today. In some respects the other parts of the Reformation, the side parts it may be true.

However, JBFA will always be the issue of human history because human beings are still the same, we always want to reach God by our works or spirituality, to rest on Christ's work alone is very much un-nerving because it is not in our nature, yet the HS is always bringing us to this truth and teaching us to be satisfied and rest at what Christ has done.


Past Elder said...

Well that's funny. The first part of the Divine Service was for centuries known as the Mass of the Catechumens -- the part where the Word is read and preached, open to believers and non-believers alike all of them under catechesis at some level.

If we waited for people to show up out of perfect motivation and understanding, no-one would ever show up.

I would think the greater problem than with those who show up out of the spiritual starvation in their lives and encounter Lutheran liturgy is with those whose identity is defined as Not Roman Catholic Therefore Protestant thinking that is an equivalent expression with JBFA and thus miss what and why Lutheran liturgy is what it is.

Augustinian Successor said...

Lutheran Liturgy is Divine Service, i.e. God's service to His people. In other words, Lutheran Liturgy is Christ with and for us. Justification is Christ with and for us. Justification is the reason why we are Protestants and not Papists. Hence, Lutheran Liturgy is authentic Protestant worship.

Pentecostal, Wesleyan, Baptist, Charismatic, etc. - modern Protestant, modern Evangelical worship have far more in common with Rome notwithstanding outward appearances because of their theology. The line between manward and Godward movement becomes blurred. The errors of Eutychianism and Nestorianism rear their ugly heads. The theology of glory breaches the eschatological line - mystical worship. Nestorian attitude or mentality gives rise to the synergistic mode of worship. Activism is seen as pleasing to God. Modern evangelicals are guilty of these errors all the time.

Transubstantiation is essentially Eutychian and the sacrificing priesthood is essentially based on a Nestorian concept because the two ontological entities of the High Priest of Melchizedek and the sacerdos are autonomous or self-subsistent! Christ is actually the Absent One which is why He has to rely on the priesthood as secondary transubstantiators. There is no inner divine unity between the two. In Lutheran theology, the voice of the minister is the voice of Christ. When the minister baptises, Christ Himself through the action of the minister baptises. When the minister utters the Words of Institution, it is Christ Himself Who was at the Last Supper speaking His own words again now extended in time and space. Grace does stand between Christ and the priesthood. Grace is Christ present in the minister!

So, yes, the concept in persona Christi, alter Christus of Lutheranism is different from Roman understanding. We do not stand as a SUBSTITUTE for Christ. Oh no, the minister stand as the sacramental reality of Christ Who is present here and now for you!

L P Cruz said...

Oh no, the minister stand as the sacramental reality of Christ Who is present here and now for you

And all because of the Atonement, correct? That is the one that backs him up, as I understand it.


L P Cruz said...


Therefore Protestant thinking that is an equivalent expression with JBFA and thus miss what and why Lutheran liturgy is what it is

But Lutheran Divine Service is focused on the finished Atonement ie. JBFA. That is what I understand why we do what we do.

To be otherwise is no better than RCC. Lutheran DS is not a better way of doing Roman Mass, if so, we may have left Rome but Rome has not left us.

I suspect that becomes the case.


Augustinian Successor said...

Yes, Big Bro. all because of the Atonement. No Atonement, no Gospel. No Gospel, No ministers.

Rome says no priests standing in Apostolic Succession, no Mass, which means no salvation. Rome has got it BACKWARDS!

Past Elder said...

Rome does not teach there is no salvation outside the Roman Catholic Church, not now, not ever.

This is not what extra ecclesia nulla salus means. They may deny validity to our masses because of no real priests as they see it.

Rome teaches enough error without ascribing error they do not teach to them. On the matter of nulla salus, it's actually worse than the caricature that this means you can't be saved outside the Roman Church. In their view, elements of the Catholic faith sufficient for salvation can exist outside the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church, and it is by these elements that non-Catholics are saved and not extra ecclesia though not visibly joined with it.

The Lutheran Divine Service does not look to Rome but to the unfolding experience of the catholic church -- which is why I see a far greater danger in the adaptations of Rome's latest council among us than preseving and defending the mass as the AC states and confessional Lutherans observe because that is what our confessions confess.

You might check my last response to Jeff under the RC Apologist post.

L P Cruz said...


Mother Church has the genius of speaking in both sides of its mouth. It is not without reason that the Reformers charged the magisterium with sophistry.

Confusion is not the work of the HS of which now, sorting out what Mother Church teaches on the "separated brethren" is a thorny affair.

If Mother Church does not teach exclusive salvation through her, then bad news for RC Apologists, they have no reason for being for them, no?

Are you speaking say about the LSB and the new calendar? OK I am interested, how is that a danger? I must say, I seem to like the old one -- the black hymanl, as far as the readings are there, it seems to work well for our Reformation sentiments/heritage. Would that be it?


Augustinian Successor said...

"Rome does not teach there is no salvation outside the Roman Catholic Church, not now, not ever."

Of course Rome teaches precisely that. That there are qualifications to that such as invicible ignorance and other such concessions in the interests of ecumenism does not negate the basic fact that outside the Roman Church there is no salvation. Vatican 2 may have tone down that part of outside of Rome there is no salvation somewhat. Remember, that is the thing though that needs remembering ... always keep in mind Trent. Never forget that. Then you cannot go wrong. Once you take Trent out of the picture, you are off track. This is why you get nonsense such as Lutherans are not Protestants and so on.

No, Lutherans have always been, are and will always be Protestants. The Mass for Rome is the central constituting event of the Church. No Mass, no church. No church, no salvation. So, Protestants are "sub-Christians" without pastoral care, which is why they are ecclesial communities not churches. This is official line and will always be the official line, no matter what. This Trent, Vatican 1 and Vatican 2.

It is bad enough popesters gloss over Rome's errors when Luther himself fought tooth and nail against them, but it is not helpful to overlook also what Rome actually teaches.

You see, we have got to understand the fact the time-line if we may speak of one, is that Rome develops over time BUT the key to a proper understanding is not that she develops for the better contra the ecumenists but she develops for the worse! Apostasy and never ever forget that, always boils down to this ... it get worse and worse until the whole rotten structure is destroyed at the coming of Our Lord.

Without such an understand, sometimes our pretended knowledge can lead us astray.

L P Cruz said...


I think A.S. is correct on the Mass of Rome. I mean, where does indulgence and mass for the dead happen but in the Mass?

Abolish the Mass as re-presentation of sacrifice to appease i.e. as a work, then there really is nothing. To them what makes it valid is because of Apostolic Succession.

As far as they are concerned, ours is bogus. At the end of the day if the RC Bishop does not lay hands on you, you are colorum as a minister, that goes for all .


Anonymous said...

LPC, did you forget to mention that the youth attracted to "spirituality" just might also hear the gospel and God will convert them?

I'll tell you what, if just one "tradition starved" youth is saved by the grace of God alone, then the champagne corks should be popping because we know the angels in heaven are certainly rejoicing!

Past Elder said...

Never forget Trent? I was raised and educated for years in the church of Trent. Your descriptions next to the reality sound like something gleaned from travel agency ads next to having been there. The reality is, what "Trent" taught is actually worse than the gross caricature you mistake for it, and Vatican II moved them even further into the abyss, which puts this disinformation close to absurdly ironic.

Also, the RC church does recognise the validity of Holy Orders outside its visible boundaries, it just maintains we don't have it, which is not the same thing. Which, given that there is no such thing as "Holy Orders" really shouldn't make one ready for antacids or anything.

There is absolutely nothing in the maintenance and defence of the mass among us as stated particularly in the AC to suggest retaining the mass as a work.

L P Cruz said...


Yes I it did occur to me when I was writing the post. That is the reason we should only be half-happy cause it all depends on the what is happening or what regularly happens in the service.

I am for public Bible Study classes in church. That is when we can discuss the Gospel and Q and A can happen there too.

It is possible by all means that the young ritual deprived person may walk in a liturgical service which happens to be conducted by a faithful pastor and so may hear the Gospel in clarity.

At that point it may be believed and so is saved, but it may also be rejected and so also rejected.

What I am saying is that of course, no guarantees, I was in an RC liturgical church and God did not use my time there to illumine me the Gospel, I heard the calling of the Gosple through another preaching service, and yes in a poor benighted Pentecostal evangelistic service too. It was in fact in a Jimmy Swaggart evangelistic rally.


L P Cruz said...


I for one though have not forgotten reading the anathema of Trent now in my midlife age. I was catechized as a kid, and it was Vatican I, I was 7 when I got my first communion. But what I was taught complied with Trent. Prots go to hell. Luther was a heretic etc.

Jeff today finds that puzzling.

But I am not also bothered by the Holy Orders bit because we know it is not apostolic succession, but rather it is apostolic doctrine that counts.

But the point is still the same isn't it? Mother Church can comeback and assert Trent dispite Vatican II because legally it has not been revoked etc.

Luther long ago, abandoned the Mass, he reformed it.


Past Elder said...

My experience was, pre or post council, there were Catholics who knew their faith and those who assumed what they knew was Catholic. The spirit versus the actual document dichotomy did not start with Vatican II.

There is nothing in Trent to state that Protestants generally or any Protestant in particular is going to hell. The Roman church -- as disctinct from what individual Catholics may think -- has never at any time held itself to have an ability counterpart to canonisation, ie an ability to determine who is or will be in hell, nor to pronounce the decision effecting same.

An anathema does no such thing. It is an excommunication. The highest level, and can only be pronounced by the Pope. In fact, its rationale is no different than Lutheran excommunication. The only difference is in who has the authority to exercise this part of the Office of the Keys. It states that, all efforts to bring about repentance having failed, the Church can do no more, and only hope that the attacks of Satan will now return the person to repentance, or failing that (and here is a theological difference with us) a merciful judgement on the Last Day, which in RC thinking may not be the same judgement pronounced at death. To underscore that, the liturgical colour for the rite is purple, the colour of penitence. Jurisdictionally, the bishops and priests the excommunicant is likely to encounter are informed, so that the person's literal excommunication, prohibition from any participation in the life of the community, may be enforced.

It does not pronounce damnation, either in the sense of recognising or effecting damnation, but, as with us, considered the final measure the Church has to help the impenitent avoid it.

The anathemas of Trent stand. There are no anathemas attached to any of the documents of Vatican II -- which ironically is one of the "traditionalist" bases for opposing them while claiming to still be within the Catholic Church. Which is not meaningful apart from understanding what exactly an anathema is, and is not.

So I say again, Rome teaches enough error without imputing to them error it does not teach.

L P Cruz said...

Rome does not teach there is no salvation outside the Roman Catholic Church, not now, not ever

You seem to be saying that Rome does not believe nor teach that IT is the One True Church.

This is how you are sounding.

Looks like there is reductionism of some sort happening here, we do not seem to about the same Roman Church, where did it go, we talking about some pigment of imagination?
is with those whose identity is defined as Not Roman Catholic Therefore Protestant thinking that is an equivalent expression with JBFA and thus miss what and why Lutheran liturgy is what it is.

What edition of the Formula of Concord are you using, bro?

What is it and why is it not based on JBFA or the Atonement?

This is an interesting version of Lutheranism I am getting probably peculiarly American Lutheran Fundamentalism is what comes to my mind whose main tenet is not JBFA but the proper Liturgy.

Please explain.


Lucian said...

Lex orandi, lex credendi.

L P Cruz said...


I got it reversed as you know, I am no Church Father.

Get your doctrine of the Gospel right, then you will be praying right, that is my philosophy.


Past Elder said...

I am saying no such thing.

Rome absolutely believes it is the one true church, more recently expressed as the church body in which the fulness of the church subsists. Parts of that church can exist outside the formal boundaries of the church, parts which are sufficient for salvation, and parts which, being parts of the one, true church, unite the one who holds them with it, though imperfectly and invisibly.

So you and I are saved by that part of the Catholic Faith we do not deny amid our heresy and in fact are united with the Catholic Church thereby though we do not recognise it. We are not nulla salus because we are not extra ecclesia though we do not know it. That's the Roman line.

What edition do I use? Here's the literal answer. Tappert (1959) and the so-called McCain edition, after the name of the editor of the LCMS translation called "Concordia" (2005/6), a revision of the classic Dau/Bente which is available online and linked to on my blog. I do not own the original text, but as I can read Latin and German, my dissertation languages, have sought out the original for some passages. The one I have used most is Tappert, only because the "McCain" is new and Tappert was the best before it. I do not use the Kolb/Wengert (1993) at all, and if I owned a copy would create a new section on my bookshelf called "Worthless Supposedly Lutheran Books" and place it therein next to my copy of Lutheran Book of Worship, that most miserable exercise in Vatican II For Lutherans.

Hi Lucian! Good hearing from you!

orthodoxy hunter said...

I'm gonna like your blog, me thinks.

I was a believer for 18 years before I really trusted God. Lutheran doctrine enabled me to trust. I guess God used it as a means of something. ;)

L P Cruz said...


Please look around in other discussions.

I hope what I share here provide some food for thoughts, but do take what I say with a grain of salt and pepper (:-)

I am from down under and we may have some variations on a theme compared to where you are (US).

Most of what I write is borne from my experience walking in the faith and being around Christians of all types. I was born and raised RC and then became Pentecostal for many years and then became Calvinist for 4-5 years before coming to Wittenberg in 2005.

"Differences in fasting should not destroy agreement in the faith".

After many false stops/starts, I am settling for one theme and movement, it is Jesus is the Christ.;-)