Archive for July 2013

All This I Steadfastly Believe: Baptismal Vows in Rites of The United Methodist Church and Predecessor Denominations, 1901-1992   6 comments

017380pv

Above:  Community Methodist Church, Half Moon Bay, California

Image Created by the Historic American Buildings Survey

Image Source = Library of Congress

(http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/ca0808.photos.017380p/)

Reproduction Number = HABS CAL,41-HAMOB,1–7

The Congregation’s Website:  http://cumc-hmb.org/

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All this I steadfastly believe.

The Methodist Hymnal:  Official Hymnal of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (1905), page 87

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I.  MY PURPOSE

My purpose in this blog post is to write about baptismal vows in rituals of The United Methodist Church (UMC) and its predecessor bodies since circa 1901.  The UMC is the product of the union of two denominations, each of which was the result of other mergers.  UM roots in the United States sink back into the soil of the past as deeply as the 1700s.

This post and the immediately preceding one (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/30/solemn-promises-baptismal-vows-in-rites-of-the-presbyterian-church-u-s-a-and-predecessor-bodies-1906-1993/) are spin-offs from a post (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/and-all-his-works-u-s-lutheran-baptismal-vows-1917-2006/) about U.S. Lutheran baptismal vows from 1917 to 2006.  Yes, I am a liturgy geek.  Where is my Prayer Book pocket protector?

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II.  THE METHODIST PROTESTANT CHURCH HYMNAL (1901)

The Methodist Protestant Church Hymnal (1901) (http://archive.org/details/protest00meth) is an excellent, if arbitrary place to start.  My explorations at http://archive.org/ have yet to reveal a ritual for that denomination in a book prior to 1901.

In the ritual for the baptism of a child, the minister reminds the parents/guardians to

guide its feet in the paths of righteousness, and raise it up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

The parents/guardians promise to

by precept and example, to bring up this child [or these children] in the nurture and admonition of the Lord

and to pray earnestly

to God for the assistance of the Holy Spirit

in accomplishing this goal.

Those baptismal candidates able to speak for themselves affirm that they

believe in the existence of God, and that he is a rewarder of all those who diligently seek him,

that

the Lord Jesus Christ is the redeemer and Saviour of the world,

affirm that they are

now determined to forsake every evil way, to look to Christ as your only and and all-sufficient Saviour, and to walk in all the commandments of God

and vow to

endeavor to be faithful in the discharge

of certain duties:

to search the Holy Scriptures, and to attend on all the ordinances of the house of God.

Probationary members received into the church ratify the baptismal covenants others made for them, affirm the the resurrection of Jesus, repent of their sins, and affirm that they

rely only upon the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ

for salvation and that they intend

to obey him

as their

Prince and to conform

their lives

to his teaching and example.

They also promise to attend church services,

co-operate with the pastor and members, and contribute

as able

to the religious enterprises of the church.

Full members received into the church agree to

all its rules of government; to contribute

as able

for the support of the gospel ministry of and the benevolent enterprises of the church; to seek earnestly its peace and purity; to walk with all its members in meekness and sobriety.

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III.  THE METHODIST HYMNAL (1905)

The Methodist Episcopal Church (1784-1939) and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (1845-1939), separated because of a controversy over chattel slavery–a fact which does not place the Southern Church in a favorable historical or moral light.  The two denominations were, however, on sufficiently friendly terms as to produce a shared hymn book, The Methodist Hymnal (1905) (http://archive.org/details/methodisthymnalo00meth).

I have provided a hyperlink to an electronic file, although I worked from a physical copy in delicate condition.

The minister reminds the parents/guardians of their duties:

Dearly Beloved, forasmuch as this child is now presented by you for Christian Baptism, you must remember that it is your part and duty to see that he be taught, as soon as he shall be able to learn, the nature and end of this Holy Sacrament.  And that he may know these things the better, you shall call upon the appointed means of grace, such as the ministry of the word, and the public and private worship of God; and further, you shall provide that he shall read the Holy Scriptures, and learn the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles’ Creed, the Catechism, and all other things which a Christian ought to know and believe to his soul’s health, in order that he may be brought up to lead a virtuous and holy life, remembering always that Baptism doth represent unto us that inward purity which disposeth us to follow the example of our Saviour Christ; that as he died and rose again for us, so should we, who are baptized, die unto sin and rise again unto righteousness, continually mortifying all corrupt affections, and daily proceeding in all virtue and godliness.

They

therefore solemnly engage to fulfill these duties, so far as is in

them

lies, the Lord being

their helper.

Those who can speak for themselves

renounce the devil and all this works, the vain pomp and glory of the glory of the world, with all covetous desires of the same, and the carnal desires of the flesh, so that thou wilt not follow nor be led by them.

That language comes verbatim from The Book of Common Prayer (1662).

Then the baptismal candidates affirm the Apostles’ Creed and vow to

obediently keep God’s holy will and commandments, and walk in the same all the days of thy life.

Those who join the church affirm that they desire to be saved from their sins, that they endeavor to guard themselves

against all things contrary to the teaching of God’s word

and

to lead a holy life, following the commandments of God,

and are determined to

give reverent attendance upon the appointed means of grace in the ministry of the word, and the private and public worship of God.

That is one form of Reception of Members.  In the other rite the new member renews his or her baptismal covenant, states that he or she trusts he or she has

saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,

affirms the doctrinal statements of the Methodist Episcopal Church,

cheerfully to be governed by the Rules of the Methodist Episcopal Church, hold sacred ordinances of God, and endeavor,

as able,

to promote the welfare

of the brethren

and the advancement of the Redeemer’s kingdom.

Then the new member promises to contribute, as able, of his or her

earthly sustenance

for the purpose of supporting

the Gospel and the various benevolent enterprises of the Church.

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IV.  THE METHODIST HYMNAL (1935) AND THE BOOK OF WORSHIP FOR CHURCH AND HOME (1945)

The Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Protestant Church, and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South reunited in 1939 to create The Methodist Church.  First, however, they produced a common hymn book, The Methodist Hymnal (1935).  Ten years later the merged denomination published its Book of Worship for Church and Home (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/the-book-of-worship-for-church-and-home-1945/), the first volume of its kind in U.S. Methodism since John Wesley’s failed Sunday Service.

Much of the 1935-1945 baptismal ritual content looks familiar, for its primary foundation seems to be the Ritual from the 1905 Hymnal.  So I focus on elements which differ from that.

Children and youth answering for themselves vow to put away from themselves

every known sin, of thought, word, or deed, and accept and confess Jesus Christ

as Savior and Lord, to

diligently study the Bible as God’s Holy Word, and in all things to make it the rule

of life, and to

faithfully endeavor to live so as to be pleasing unto Him.

Adults baptized repent of their sins, confess Jesus as Saviour and Lord, and

earnestly endeavor to keep God’s Holy Will and commandments.

New members renew their baptismal covenants, confess Jesus as Saviour and Lord,

pledge allegiance to His kingdom,

receive

and profess the Christian faith as contained in the New Testament of our Lord Jesus Christ,

and swear loyalty to the denomination, vowing to

uphold it

by their prayers, presence, gifts, and service.

Children and youth who join the the church affirm belief in God as their Heavenly Father, accept Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour, state their belief

in the Bible as God’s Holy Word,

and swear loyalty to the denomination, vowing to

uphold it

with their prayers, presence, gifts, and service.

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V.  THE BOOK OF WORSHIP FOR CHURCH AND HOME (1965) AND THE METHODIST HYMNAL (1966)

The Methodist Church (1939-1968) published its hymnal and book of worship (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/the-book-of-worship-for-church-and-home-1965/), complete with revised rites of Christian initiation with echoes of and quotes from older forms.

The minister asks the parents/guardians if they accept their

bounden duty and privilege to live before this child a life that becomes the Gospel; to exercise all godly care that he be brought up in the Christian faith, that he be taught the Holy Scriptures, and that he learn to give reverent attendance upon the private and public worship of God

and to

endeavor to keep this child under the ministry and guidance of the Church until he by the power of God shall accept for himself the gift of salvation, and be confirmed as a full and responsible member of Christ’s holy Church.

Youth and adults repent of their sins, accept Jesus as Savior, and affirm belief in

God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son our Lord; and in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life

before vowing to

obediently keep God’s holy will and commandments and walk in the same

all the days of their lives.

Those who join the church renew their baptismal covenant, confess Jesus Christ as Savior and pledge

allegiance to his kingdom

affirm that they

receive and profess the Christian faith as contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments,

and promise

according to the grace given

them to

live a Christian life and always remain a faithful member of Christ’s holy Church.

They also promise, as in the 1935 rites, swear to be loyal to the denomination, and to uphold it with prayers, presence, gifts, and service.

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VI.  THE UNITED EVANGELICAL CHURCH, 1894-1922

The Evangelical United Brethren Church (1946-1968) (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/05/31/rituals-of-the-evangelical-united-brethren-church-1946-1968/) united with The Methodist Church (1939-1968) to form The United Methodist Church.  The Evangelical United Brethren Church was the union of the Evangelical Church and the Church of the United Brethren in Christ.  The Evangelical Church was the reunion of the Evangelical Association and its offshoot, the United Evangelical Church.

My searches, including those at http://archive.org/, have not turned up any Evangelical Association ritual.  I have sought yet not found.  But I have located a copy of the ritual (ratified in 1894), of the United Evangelical Church in its Discipline (http://archive.org/details/doctrinesdiscipl00unit).

The minister reminds the parents/guardians of their duties to teach him or her

early fear of the Lord; to watch over

his or her education that he or she

be not led astray; to direct

his or her youthful mind to the Holy Scriptures, and his or her

feet to the house of God; to restrain from evil association and habits,

and, as able, to bring him or her

up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

The parents/guardians agree to do this.

Adult baptismal candidates affirm the Apostles’ Creed and, in the words of the 1662 Prayer Book and the Methodist Ritual,

renounce the devil and all his works, the vain pomp and glory of the world….

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VII.  THE CHURCH OF THE UNITED BRETHREN IN CHRIST

I have confirmed the existence of a consistent ritual of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ since at least its 1897 Discipline (http://archive.org/details/origindoctrineco1897unit).

The minister, in language almost identical to that quoted in the previous section, reminds the parents of their duties.

Baptismal candidates able to speak for themselves consecrate themselves

to Christ and his service

and vow to

endeavor henceforth to keep God’s holy commandments and to walk in the same

all the days of their lives, a passage which the 1965 Methodist rite echoes.

New members swear that they

believe the Bible to be the Word of God, and that therein only is revealed the way of salvation,

take

this Word

as the

rule of faith and conduct,

affirm belief

that Jesus Christ is the Son of God,

and as their

personal Savior,

state their determination

by the grace of God to follow Christ, renouncing the world and all ungodliness, seeking to lead a life of holiness and devotion to God and his cause,

affirm their willingness

to be governed by our church rules as laid down in the Discipline,

and to

attend the various means of grace and the services of the church whenever practicable,

vow to

prayerfully study to know

their duty

as a Christian steward,

and to contribute

to the support of the local church and the benevolent interests of the church

as God enables them to do so.

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VIII.  THE EVANGELICAL UNITED BRETHREN CHURCH, 1946-1968

The Evangelical United Brethren Church published the Book of Ritual, a separately bound portion of its Discipline, in 1952, 1955, and 1959, each time with slight revisions, but not in the baptismal rites.

The minister instructs the parents (chiefly via the Apostles’ Creed) of their duties, which are to

set before this child the example of a godly life, instruct him in the elements of the Christian faith, seek to lead him to acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior, nurture him in the Christian life, and endeavor to bring him into the membership of the church.

The parents vow to do these things.

The minister, addressing baptismal candidates able to speak for themselves, recites the Apostles’ Creed then asks them to

acknowledge and profess the Christian faith as taught in the Holy Scriptures,

to

repent from sin,

and acknowledge Jesus as Savior and Lord, and to be

determined by the grace of God to live the Christian life.

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IX.  THE UNITED METHODIST HYMNAL (1989) AND THE UNITED METHODIST BOOK OF WORSHIP (1992)

The United Methodist Church has four Services of the Baptismal Covenant in its hymnal and book of worship (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2012/06/28/the-united-methodist-book-of-worship-1992/):

  • I is for Holy Baptism, Confirmation, Reaffirmation of Faith, and Reception of Members.
  • II is Baptism of Children, based on the Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren rites.  The Book of Worship, unlike the Hymnal, divides this into II, II-A (the Brief Order), and II-B.
  • III is Baptism of Adults, based on the Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren rites.
  • IV is for Congregational Reaffirmation.

There is little left to write which is different except that, having read the preceding rites in the last few hours, these look very familiar relative to the older rites.  I note that the first three questions and answers are very good and indicate a social conscience and a sound theology of the Image of God:

Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of your sin?

I do.

Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?

I do.

Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior, put your whole trust in his grace, and promise to serve him as your Lord, in union with the Church which Christ has opened to people of all ages, nations, and races?

I do.

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X.  CONCLUSION

As I wrote in the corresponding Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) baptismal vows post,

There is no single correct way to cover the serious theological work of baptismal vows.

The denominations of which I have written in this post have done that job well and in a variety of ways.  Such variety is the spice of liturgical life.

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KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 30, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT WILLIAM PINCHON, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF HORATIUS BONAR, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF RUDOLF BULTMANN, BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM WILBERFORCE, ABOLITIONIST

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

First I acknowledge my brain, given the years I grew up in United Methodist parsonages and have spent studying U.S. Methodist history.  Citing my brain is quicker and easier than seeking print sources for certain details.

I consider any document to which I have provided a hyperlink cited properly already.

I also used certain books while drafting this post.  Those credits follow:

Book of Common Prayer, The.  The Church of England, 1662.

Book of Ritual of The Evangelical United Brethren Church, The.  Dayton, OH:  Otterbein Press, 1952.

Book of Ritual of The Evangelical United Brethren Church, The.  Dayton, OH:  Otterbein Press, 1955.

Book of Ritual of The Evangelical United Brethren Church, The.  Dayton, OH:  Otterbein Press, 1959.

Book of Worship for Church and Home, The.  Nashville, TN:  Methodist Publishing House, 1945.

Book of Worship for Church and Home, The.  Nashville, TN:  Methodist Publishing House, 1965.

Church Hymnal:  The Official Hymnal of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, The.  Dayton, OH:  United Brethren Publishing House, 1935.  Reprint, 1943.

Methodist Hymnal:  Official Hymnal of The Methodist Church, The.  Nashville, TN:  Methodist Publishing House, 1935, 1939.

Methodist Hymnal:  Official Hymnal of The Methodist Church, The.  Nashville, TN:  Methodist Publishing House, 1966.

Methodist Hymnal:  Official Hymnal of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, The.  New York, NY:  Eaton & Mains, 1905.

United Methodist Book of Worship, The.  Nashville, TN:  United Methodist Publishing House, 1992.

United Methodist Hymnal:  Book of United Methodist Worship, The.  Nashville, TN:  United Methodist Publishing House, 1989.

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Solemn Promises: Baptismal Vows in Rites of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and Predecessor Bodies, 1906-1993   8 comments

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Above:  Pulpit and Baptismal Font, First Presbyterian Church of Ulysses, Trumansburg, New York

Image Created by the Historic American Buildings Survey

Image Source = Library of Congress

(http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/ny1328.photos.124002p/)

Reproduction Number = HABS NY,55-TRUM,1–10

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I.  MY PURPOSE

My purpose in this post is to write about baptismal vows in Directories for Worship and baptismal rites of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and its predecessor bodies, following chiefly the five editions of the Book of Common Worship (1906-1993) so far.  I am aware of germane material relating to this topic in certain other bodies, such as the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARPC), the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC), and the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).  Yet that material resides beyond the purview of this post and my interests today.

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II.  BACKGROUND

The first of four denominations (two of them concurrent) to bear the name Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.) (PCUSA) met in General Assembly for the first time in 1789.  The commissioners adopted the Directory for the Worship of God (http://archive.org/details/formofgovernment00pres), adapted from the original Directory for the Publick Worship of God (1645).  Although John Knox had provided ritual forms for the Church of Scotland in the 1500s, Presbyterianism came under Puritan influence shortly thereafter, this Directories, with their guidelines and suggestions, replaced service book (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/a-brief-history-of-u-s-presbyterian-worship-to-1905/).  The Church of Scotland, by the way, recovered Knox’s service book in the 1800s (http://archive.org/details/bookofcommonorde01chur).  And High Churchmanship here and there in the PCUSA during the 1800s led to the first, authorized Book of Common Worship (http://archive.org/details/bookcommonworsh00assegoog) in 1906.  But Puritan influences continue to shape Presbyterianism.  And Puritanism clashes with my spiritual type.

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III.  THE DIRECTORY FOR THE WORSHIP OF GOD (1789)

The Directory for the Worship of God (1789) was in effect in the succession of bodies called the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (PCUSA) through 1958 (when the last one merged with The United Presbyterian Church of North America to form The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.)., in The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.  (UPCUSA) through 1961, and in mostly Southern Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) through 1894.  Thus the 1906, 1932, and 1946 versions of The Book of Common Worship had to conform to this document.  That fact makes the 1789 Directory more relevant than it would be otherwise to my inquiry today.

The 1789 Directory contains guidelines for conducting baptism.

The minister, when conducting the baptism of a child, reminds the parents/guardians that children are holy but

that we are by nature, sinful, guilty, and polluted, and have need of sanctifying influences of the Spirit of God.

Next the minister instructs the parents/guardians

That they teach the child to read the Word of God; that they instruct it in the principles of our holy religion, as contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament; an excellent summary of which we have in the Confession of Faith of this Church, and in the Larger and Shorter Catechisms of the Westminster Assembly, which are to be recommended to them, as adapted by this church, for their direction and assistance, in the discharge of this important duty; that they pray with and for it, that they set an example of piety and godliness before it; and endeavour, by all the means of God’s appointment, to bring up their child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Then the minister blesses and baptizes the child.

Later, when the baptized has learned to recite the Catechism, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer, has learned the faith as taught to him or her, and has

come to years of discretion,

while being

free and scandal,

appearing

sober and steady,

and having

sufficient knowledge to discern the Lord’s body,

therefore being ready to begin to take Communion, he or she, before the church elders,

shall be examined

as to his or her

knowledge and piety

to the elders’ satisfaction.

Unbaptized people seeking to join to church must

after giving satisfaction with respect to their knowledge and piety, make a public profession of their faith in the presence of the congregation; and thereupon be baptized.

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IV.  THE DIRECTORY FOR THE WORSHIP OF GOD (1894)

The Southern Presbyterian Directory for the Worship of God (1894) (http://archive.org/details/constitutionofp00pres) contains some optional forms, but not one for baptism.  Its guidelines regarding Christian initiation retain the 1789 standards, adjust some language slightly, and add questions.  There are now, for example, three optional model questions to follow the minister’s instructions to the parents/guardians:

Do you acknowledge your child’s need of the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ, and the renewing grace of the Holy Spirit?

Do you claim God’s covenant promises in his behalf and do you look in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ for his salvation, as you do for your own?

Do you now unreservedly dedicate your child to God, and promise, in humble reliance upon divine grace, that you will endeavor to set before him a godly example, that you will pray with and for him, that you will teach him the doctrines of our holy religion, and that you will strive, by all the means of God’s appointment, to bring him up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?

Likewise, the 1894 Directory establishes four model questions for those professing their faith and seeking to join the church:

Do you acknowledge yourselves to be sinners in the sight of God, justly deserving his displeasure, and without hope save his sovereign mercy?

Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and Saviour of sinners, and do you receive and rest upon him alone for salvation as he is offered in the gospel?

Do you now reserve and promise, in humble reliance upon the grace of the Holy Spirit, that you will endeavor to walk as becometh the followers of Christ, forsaking all sin, and conforming your life to his teaching and example?

Do you submit yourselves to the government and discipline of the church, and promise to study its purity and peace?

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V.  THE UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF NORTH AMERICA, 1858-1958

The United Presbyterian Church of North America (UPCNA)  (http://archive.org/details/testimony00unit) adopted its revised Book of Government and Worship (http://archive.org/details/digestofprinci00unit) in 1910.  The 1926 version of it, containing amendments passed from 1911 to 1925, provides guidance regarding baptism.

Parents/guardians must answer the following questions:

Do you now take God as your God in covenant, and as the God of your children?

Do you renew the profession you made when you were admitted to the Church?

Do you solemnly promise, if God shall spare your life and that of your children, to train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; to instruct them in regard to their lost condition by nature, and to lead them to the Saviour; to pray with them and for them, to worship God regularly in your family; to set before them an example of piety; and to use all the appointed means of salvation?

People baptized as adults make a public profession of faith and receive baptism by water.  They promise

to cultivate the spirit of Christian fellowship and brotherly love, and to seek the welfare of the congregation

while a member of it.

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VI.  THE BOOK OF COMMON WORSHIP (1906), THE BOOK OF COMMON WORSHIP (REVISED) (1932), AND THE BOOK OF COMMON WORSHIP (1946)

The 1870-1958 incarnation of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. published three versions of The Book of Common Worship (BCW).

The 1906 BCW (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/the-book-of-common-worship-1906/), although authorized by the General Assembly, was unofficial and optional.  And many PCUS ministers found some of its contents useful, despite the fact that the Southern Presbyterian General Assembly never authorized its use.  The PCUS General Assembly did authorized the use of the PCUSA’s 1932 and 1946 versions of the BCW, however.

The 1906 ritual for baptism requires the parents/guardians to answer the following questions affirmatively:

Do you accept, for yourself and for your Child, the covenant of God, and therein consecrate your Child to Him?

Do you promise to instruct your Child in the principles of our holy religion, as contained in the Scriptures, to pray with him and for him, and to bring him up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?

Adults being baptized answer the following questions:

Do you receive and profess the Christian faith and in this faith do you desire to be baptized?

Do you confess your sins, and turn from them with godly sorrow, and put all your trust in the mercy of God, which is in Christ Jesus; and do you promise in His strength to lead a sober, righteous, and godly life?

One who confirms baptismal vows confesses

Christ as Lord,

adhering

to the Christian faith,

ratifying and confirming his or her baptismal vows, and promising

with God’s help to serve the Lord, and keep His commandments all the days

one one’s life.  Then one answers the the following question:

Now desiring to be received to the Lord’s Supper, do you promise to make diligent use of the means of grace, submitting yourself to the lawful authority and guidance of the Church, and continuing in the peace and fellowship of the people of God?

The 1932 (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/the-book-of-common-worship-revised-1932/) Christian initiation rites are identical to those of 1906.

The 1946 (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/the-book-of-common-worship-1946/) Christian initiation rites are similar to those of 1906 and 1932, with one notable change:  Adults being baptized and renewing their baptismal covenants affirm the Apostles’ Creed also.

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VII.  THE WORSHIPBOOK (1970/1972)

Different language appears in the baptismal rites in the late 1960s and early 1970s (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/the-worshipbook-services-and-hymns-1972-services/).

The questions (with answers), directed to parents/guardians or to the baptismal candidates, follow:

Who is your Lord and Savior?

Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior.

Do you trust in him?

I do.

Do you intend (your child) to be his disciple, to obey his word and show his love?

I do.

Will you be a faithful member of this congregation, giving of yourself in every way, and will you seek the fellowship of the church wherever you may be?

I will.

At confirmation one answers the first two questions and a variant of the fourth.

These rites are consistent with the 1961 Directory of The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (UPCUSA) and the 1963 Directory of the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS).

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VIII.  BOOK OF COMMON WORSHIP (1993)

The Directory for Worship (1989) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) lists the required elements of baptism in that denomination.  Among these are:

Those desiring the Sacrament of Baptism of their children or for themselves shall make vows that

(a)  profess their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior,

(b)  renounce evil and affirm their reliance on God’s grace,

(c)  declare their intention to participate actively and responsibly in the worship and mission of the church,

(d)  declare their intention to provide for the Christian nurture of the child.

–W-3.3603

The Book of Common Worship (1993) (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2012/06/28/book-of-common-worship-1993/) provides a variety of baptismal texts, which I will quote here quite partially.  The renunciations, long parts of the baptismal rituals in many denominations, appear now in Presbyterian rites.  The baptismal candidates, for example, renounce

evil and its power in the world

in two options and

all evil, and powers in the world which defy God’s righteousness and love

plus

the ways of sin that separate you from the love of God

in another.  There is also the Consultation on Common Texts service for baptism, in which one renounces, in order:

Satan and all the spiritual forces of wickedness that rebel against God;

the evil powers of this world, which corrupt and destroy the creatures of God;

all sinful desires that draw you from the love of God;

evil and its power in the world, which defy God’s righteousness and love;

the ways of sin that separate you from the love of God.

The renunciations and affirmations associated with baptism recur in the confirmation ritual and the rite for the public profession of faith.

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IX.  CONCLUSION

There is no single correct way to cover the serious liturgical work of baptismal vows.  One can do much of it via renunciations, but, if one words affirmations properly, one can cover the same content in purely positive terms.  How to do it best is a matter of taste.

As I read the texts for this blog post I noticed much continuity amid change from one generation to the next.  I chose not to quote extensively from the 1993 texts, but they echo and quote previous Presbyterian liturgies while expanding upon them.  The 1993 texts are, I think, the best which the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) tradition offers.

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KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 30, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT WILLIAM PINCHON, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF HORATIUS BONAR, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF RUDOLF BULTMANN, BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM WILBERFORCE, ABOLITIONIST

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

First I acknowledge my brain, given the years I have spent becoming an expert on U.S. Presbyterianism.  Citing my brain is quicker and easier than seeking print sources for certain details.

I consider any document to which I have provided a hyperlink cited properly already.

I also used certain books while drafting this post.  Those credits follow:

Book of Common Worship.  Louisville, KY:  Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993.

Book of Common Worship, The.  Philadelphia, PA:  Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1906.  Reprint, 1922.

Book of Common Worship, The.  Philadelphia, PA:  Board of Christian Education of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, 1946.

Book of Common Worship (Revised), The.  Philadelphia, PA:  Presbyterian Board of Christian Education, 1932.  Reprint, 1942.

Confessional Statement and The Book of Government and Worship of The United Presbyterian Church of North America, The.  Pittsburgh, PA:  United Presbyterian Board of Publication and Bible School Work, 1926.

Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), The.  Part II.  Book of Order 2004-2005.  Louisville, KY:  Office of the General Assembly, 2004.

Psalms and Hymns Adapted to Social, Private, and Public Worship in the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America.  Philadelphia, PA:  Presbyterian Board of Education, 1843.

Worshipbook:  Services and Hymns, The.  Philadelphia:  Westminster Press, 1972.

KRT

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Ventures of Which We Cannot See the Ending: Reflections on U.S. Lutheran Liturgy   5 comments

Books about Worship

Above:  Six of My Books about Liturgy, July 27, 2013

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U.S. LUTHERAN LITURGY, PART XXI

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O God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown.  Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 304

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Father Peter C. Ingeman, the recently-retired Rector of Christ Episcopal Church, Valdosta, Georgia, has said that anyone who worships regularly at a church with predictable order of worship attends a liturgical church.  Some orders of worship are more intricate than others, but they are inherently liturgical, even if, as in some especially bad U.S. Lutheran services from the 1800s, the primary or only role for the congregation is to sing hymns.

I have had some unfortunate and unpleasant encounters with people who have mistaken the simplicity of worship for the purity thereof.  Most of these have been Southern Baptists, actually.  So I am glad to read in Christian Worship:  Its Theology and Practice, by Franklin M. Segler (1967), that the author, a Southern Baptist minister (deceased now) does not fall into the false dichotomy of simple worship vs. insincere ritualism.  Yet I recognize that he, especially in his last chapter, dismisses ritualism.

I am, however, an unapologetic ritualist.  Ritualism creates the worship environment in which I feel in my soul most deeply and ineffably the words of Psalm 84:

How lovely is your dwelling place,

O LORD of hosts!

My soul longs, yes, faints

for the courts of the LORD;

my heart and flesh sing for joy

to the living God.

Even the sparrow finds a home,

and the swallow a nest for herself,

where she may lay her young,

at your altars, O LORD of hosts,

my King and my God.

Blessed are those who dwell in your house,

ever singing your praise!

Revised Standard Version–Second Catholic Edition (2002)

Good ritual–especially in the context of ritualism–is a lovely spiritual practice.  This is especially true when the congregation has much to do, as in most rewritten U.S. Lutheran liturgies from about 1860 forward.  So most U.S. Lutheran denominations deserve much credit for this reality of their service books.

Uniformity need not be a goal of service books, Henry Melchior Muhlenberg’s dream of one church and one book not withstanding.  The Common Service, in its variations, one far superior to most of what preceded it.  But there is also much worth in other Lutheran liturgies old and new.  Perhaps it is time for U.S. Lutheran scholars to begin to develop a Revised Common Service to take its place beside the 1888 liturgies and their variations.  There are certainly many meritorious rituals from which to draw inspiration and texts.

Liturgy is a product of theology, hence arguments about the contents of Creeds, for example.  Did Jesus descend into hell or merely to the dead?  Is the Church “Christian,” “Catholic,” or “catholic” in the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds?  And how often should the congregation take Communion?  Also germane to these matters are folkways, which influence opinions regarding the language of worship and order of its elements.

Thus much arguing over words and orders of worship ensues.  A tradition is neither inherently good nor bad because it is old, just as innovation is neither inherently good nor bad because it is new.  Elements of liturgy now quite old used to be new.  Faddish language in late 1960s and early 1970s liturgies did not age well, but addressing God with the familiar “you” instead of “Thee” is consistent with the spirit of the development of language.  In English, for example, everybody used to be “Thee,” so to address God as “you” these days constitutes a return to previous practice.  And, as Philip H. Pfatteicher writes:

The church needed by trial and occasional error to come to understand that the new is not always found in opposition to the old as its natural growth and development.  Stability and continuity are essential elements of catholic Christianity.

Commentary on the Lutheran Book of Worship:  Lutheran Liturgy in Its Ecumenical Context (1990), page 10

Thus U.S. Lutheran denominations have mixed the old with the new.  Even ultra-conservative Lutheran synods which make The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) look like a pack of wild-eyed liberals have published hymnals-service books in contemporary English, as have the LCMS and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), which ultra conservative synods think is really a pack of wild-eyed liberals.

Unfortunately, one tendency which crosses liberal-conservative lines is bad contemporary worship.  Last year, during an ecumenical visit to an ELCA congregation, I noticed an announcement on a bulletin board.  The church was planning to add a praise band to one service.  And, about nine years ago, when I thought that I might attend the University of Florida, I looked up websites for Episcopal congregations in Gainesville.  I knew that I would never attend the one which, on its service roster, listed the person in charge of overhead transparencies.  The probability that people were posting the words to “I Bind Unto Myself Today the Strong Name of the Trinity,” which takes three pages in the Episcopal Hymnal 1982, were very low.  “Seven-eleven songs,” which, as the critique tells us, have seven words which people sing eleven times, are theological tide pools.  Karl Marx’s analysis of religion as the opiate of the masses is an overgeneralization, one which applies well to some aspects of religion, such as praise choruses, and not at all in many others.

The real meat and potatoes of good liturgy and worship is found in excellent history-based form and practice updated occasionally.  The best U.S. Lutheran liturgies of today strike and maintain that balance well.

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KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 28, 2013 COMMON ERA

PROPER 12–THE TENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF THE PIONEERING FEMALE EPISCOPAL PRIESTS, 1974 AND 1975

THE FEAST OF ANTONIO VIVALDI, COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH, COMPOSER

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COMPREHENSIVE ACKNOWLEDGMENTS FOR THIS SERIES

Books:

Ambassador Hymnal for Lutheran Worship.  Minneapolis, MN:  Association of Free Lutheran Congregations, 1994.

Bible.  Revised Standard Version–Second Catholic Edition.  2002.

Book of Common Prayer, The.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 1979.  Reprint, 2007.

Book of Common Worship.  Louisville, KY:  Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993.

Book of Common Worship, The.  Philadelphia, PA:  Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1906.

Book of Common Worship, The.  Philadelphia, PA:  Board of Christian Education of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, 1946.

Book of Common Worship (Revised), The.  Philadelphia, PA:  Presbyterian Board of Christian Education, 1932.

Book of Hymns.  Milwaukee, WI:  Northwestern Publishing House, 1917.  Reprint, 1932.

Christian Worship:  A Lutheran Hymnal.  Milwaukee, WI:  Northwestern Publishing House, 1993.

Commission on the Liturgy and Hymnal, The.  Service Book and Hymnal.  Music Edition.  Philadelphia, PA:  United Lutheran Publication House, 1958.

Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church.  Philadelphia, PA:  The Board of Publication of The United Lutheran Church in America, 1917, 1918.

Concordia:  A Collection of Hymns and Spiritual Songs.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Publishing House, 1917.

Concordia:  The Lutheran Confessions–A Reader’s Edition of the Book of Concord.  2d. Ed.  Paul Timothy McCain, General Editor.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 2006.

Concordia Hymnal, The:  A Hymnal for Church, School and Home.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Publishing House, 1932.

Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), The.  Part I.  Book of Confessions.  Louisville, KY:  Office of the General Assembly, 1996.

Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary.  St. Louis, MO:  MorningStar Music Publishers, Inc., 1996.

Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America, The.  The Lutheran Hymnal.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 1941.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Fortress, 2006.

Fevold, Eugene L.  The Lutheran Free Church:  A Fellowship of American Lutheran Congregations, 1897-1963.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Publishing House, 1969.

Hymnal and Order of Service, The.  Lectionary Edition.  Rock Island, IL:  Augustana Book Concern, 1925.

Hymnal for Church and Home.  3d. Ed.  Blair, NE:  Danish Lutheran Publishing House, 1938.

Hymnal Supplement 98.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 1998.

Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship.  Lutheran Book of Worship.  Ministers Desk Edition.  Philadelphia, PA:  Board of Publication, Lutheran Church in America, 1978.

__________.  Lutheran Book of Worship.  Pew Edition.  Philadelphia, PA:  Board of Publication, Lutheran Church in America, 1978.

Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship for Provisional Use.  Contemporary Worship 2:  Services–The Holy Communion.  Philadelphia, PA:  Board of Education, Lutheran Church in America, 1970.

Jones, Cheslyn, et al, eds.  The Study of Liturgy.  Revised Edition.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 1992.

Lutheran Hymnary Including the Symbols of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, The.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Publishing House, 1935.

Lutheran Intersynodical Hymnal Committee.  American Lutheran Hymnal.  Music Edition.  Columbus, OH:  The Lutheran Book Concern, 1930.

Lutheran Service Book.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 2006.

Lutheran Worship.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 1982.

Melton, J. Gordon.  Encyclopedia of American Religions.  4h. Ed.  Washington, DC:  Gale Research, Inc., 1993.

Methodist Hymnal, The:  Official Hymnal of The Methodist Church.  Nashville, TN:  The Methodist Publishing House, 1966.

Pfatteicher, Philip H.  Commentary on the Lutheran Book of Worship:  Lutheran Liturgy in Its Ecumenical Context.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Fortress, 1990.

Pfatteicher, Philip H., and Carlos R. Messerli.  Manual on the Liturgy:  Lutheran Book of Worship.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Publishing House, 1979.

Reed, Luther D.  The Lutheran Liturgy:  A Study in the Common Service of the Lutheran Church in America.  Philadelphia, PA:  Muhlenberg Press, 1947.

__________.  The Lutheran Liturgy:  A Study in the Common Liturgy of the Lutheran Church in America.  2d. Ed.  Philadelphia, PA:  Fortress Press, 1959.

Segler, Franklin M.  Christian Worship:  Its Theology and Practice.  Nashville, TN:  Broadman Press, 1967.

Stulken, Marilyn Kay.  Hymnal Companion to the Lutheran Book of Worship.  Philadelphia, PA:  Fortress Press, 1981.

United Methodist Hymnal, The:  Book of United Methodist Worship.  Nashville, TN:  The United Methodist Publishing House, 1989.

Wentz, Abdel Ross.  The Lutheran Church in American History.  2d. Ed.  Philadelphia, PA:  The United Lutheran Publication House, 1933.

With One Voice:  A Lutheran Resource for Worship.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Fortress, 1995.

Worship Supplement.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 1969.

Worshipbook, The:  Services and Hymns.  Philadelphia, PA:  Westminster Press, 1972.

PDFs:

“Ambassador Hymnal for Lutheran Worship.”  Hymnal Sales, Minneapolis, MN.  This is a document designed to convince congregations to purchase the 1994 hymnal.

Association Free Lutheran Bible School, Plymouth, MN.  AFLBS Student Life Guidelines 2009-2010.

__________.  AFLBS Student Life Handbook 2012-2013.

Christian Worship:  Supplement Introductory Resources.  Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, 2008.

DeGarmeaux, Bruce.  ”O Come, Let Us Worship!  A Study of Lutheran Liturgy and Hymnody.”  1995.

Erickson, Anne.  ”God Wants to Help Parents Help Their Kids.”  Pages 8-9 in The Lutheran Ambassador (April 10, 2001).

Faugstad, Peter.  ”Centennial of The Lutheran Hymnary.”  In Lutheran Sentinel, May-June 2013, page 14.

Schalk, Carl.  ”A Brief History of LCMS Hymnals (before LSB).”  Based on a 1997 document; updated to 2006.  Copyrighted by The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.

Stuckwisch, D. Richard.  ”The Missouri Synod and the Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship.”  Lutheran Forum, Volume 37, Number 3 (Fall 2003), pages 43-51.

Walker, Larry J., Ed.  ”Standing Fast in Freedom.”  2d.  Ed.  Association of Free Lutheran Congregations, 2000.

Zabell, Jon F.  ”The Formation of Function of WELS Hymnals:  Further Conversation.”  For the National Conference of Worship, Music, and the Arts, July 2008.

KRT

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And All His Works: U.S. Lutheran Baptismal Vows, 1917-2006   2 comments

Liturgy Books

Above:  Selected Works from My Liturgy Library, July 27, 2013

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U.S. LUTHERAN LITURGY, PART XX

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Dost thou renounce the devil, and all his works, and all his ways?

Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church (1917), page 234

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I.  INTRODUCTION

Among the issues I encountered while comparing U.S. Lutheran service books was baptismal vows–especially renunciations.  Christians–not all of them, to be sure–have been renouncing the devil during baptismal rituals since at least the 200s.  There have been permutations of this in the U.S. Lutheran liturgies since 1917.

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II.  THE COMMON SERVICE BOOK OF THE LUTHERAN CHURCH (1917)

The Common Service Book (1917) (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/17/truly-meet-right-and-salutary-the-common-service-in-the-united-lutheran-church-in-america-and-the-american-lutheran-church-1918-1930/), being fairly traditional in its baptismal rites, is a good place to begin.

The Minister asks the sponsors of an infant to

renounce the devil, and all his works, and all his ways,

to affirm the Apostles’ Creed, to instruct the child

in the Word of God,

and to bring the child

up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

If the baptism is of an adult, however, the baptismal candidate renounces

the devil, and all his works, and all his ways,

affirms the Apostles’ Creed, and promises to

abide in

the Christian Faith and to

remain faithful to

the teachings of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and

to be diligent in the use of the Means of Grace.

If one is being confirmed, one does the same things then is permitted to receive the Holy Communion.

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III.  THE SERVICE BOOK AND HYMNAL (1958)

Traditionally U.S. Lutheran baptismal rites have included the renunciation of the devil, all his works, and all his ways in one question or in three.  The Service Book and Hymnal (1958) (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/holy-art-thou-the-service-book-and-hymnal-1958/) retains that language in the baptism of infants but merges the baptism of adults with Confirmation, something to which Martin Luther might have objected.  The 1958 book also makes that question optional in both the Order for the Baptism of Infants and the Order for Confirmation, for the rubric for each instance indicates that the Minister

may then

say:

Do you renounce the devil, and all his works, and all his ways?

In the ritual for infant baptism this renunciation follows instructions to teach the child

the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer,

to place

the Holy Scriptures

in the child’s hands as he or she matures, to bring the child

to the services of God’s House,

and to provide for the child’s

instruction in the Christian Faith.

After the renunciation the Minister asks the sponsors to affirm the Apostles’ Creed.

But one being baptized/confirmed as an adult might

renounce the devil, and all his works, and all his ways

if the Minister asks the question.  Such a candidate does, however, affirm the Apostles’ Creed, promise to

abide in this Faith and in the covenant

of his or her baptism, and,

as a member of the Church to be diligent in the use of the Means of Grace and in prayer.

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IV.  THE LUTHERAN BOOK OF WORSHIP (1978)

Liturgical renewal affected baptismal rites, as in the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/lord-of-heaven-and-earth-the-lutheran-book-of-worship-1978/).  The language, although different, remains close to tradition.

Sponsors of young children promise to bring them

faithully…to the services of God’s house, and to teach them the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments,

and,

as they grow in years,

to

place in their hands the Holy Scriptures and provide for their instruction in the Christian faith….

That material is familiar, is it not?

The baptismal vows entail renouncing

all the forces of evil, the devil, and all his empty promises

and affirming the Apostles’ Creed.  The traditional renunciation is gone, replaced by a stronger statement.

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V.  LUTHERAN WORSHIP (1982)

Lutheran Worship (1982) (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/gathered-in-the-name-and-remembrance-of-jesus-lutheran-worship-1982/) takes a more traditional approach to the baptismal vows than does the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978).  Sponsors of young children make the traditional promises retained in the previously discussed volume.  Then the candidate or sponsor renounces

the devil and all his works and all his ways

before affirming the Apostle’s Creed.

Lutheran Worship, unlike the Lutheran Book of Worship, on which it is based, contains a separate rite of Confirmation.  The confirmand renounces

the devil and all his works and all his ways,

affirms the Apostles’ Creed, promises to

continue steadfast in this confession and Church and to suffer all, rather than fall away from it,

affirms that

all the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures

are

the inspired Word of God

and confesses

the doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, drawn from them,

as learned from

the Small Catechism, to be faithful and true.

The confirmand also vows

faithfully to conform

all his or her

life to the divine Word, to be faithful in the use of God’s Word and Sacraments, which are his means of grace, and in faith, word, and action to remain true to God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, even to death.

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VI.  EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN WORSHIP (2006)

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006) (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/you-are-indeed-holy-o-god-the-fountain-of-all-holiness-with-one-voice-1995-and-evangelical-lutheran-worship-2006/), successor to the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), remains grounded in liturgical tradition while modifying the baptismal vows to make them stronger.

Sponsors of children presented for baptism receive the following instruction:

As you bring your children to receive the gift of baptism, you are entrusted with responsibilities:

to live with them among God’s faithful people,

bring them to the word of God and the holy supper,

teach them the Lord’s  Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments,

place in their hands the holy scriptures,

and nurture them in faith and prayer,

so that your children may learn to trust God,

proclaim Christ through word and deed,

care for others and the world God made,

and work for justice and peace.

I notice the added emphasis on social justice and environmental justice approvingly.

The sponsors also promise

to nurture these persons in the Christian faith as you are empowered by God’s Spirit, and to help them live in the covenant of baptism and in communion with the church.

The baptismal vows entail renouncing

the devil and all the forces that defy God

then renouncing

the powers of this world that rebel against God

then renouncing

the ways of sin that draw you from God

before affirming the Apostles’ Creed.

There is a rite for the Affirmation of Baptism, which includes the three renunciations and the affirmation of the Apostles’ Creed.

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VII.  THE LUTHERAN SERVICE BOOK (2006)

The Lutheran Service Book (2006) (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/blessed-are-you-o-lord-our-god-king-of-all-creation-hymnal-supplement-98-1998-and-the-lutheran-service-book-2006/), successor to Lutheran Worship (1982), is more traditional than Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006).

The sponsors receive instructions to pray for the children,

support them in their ongoing instruction and nurture in the Christian faith, and encourage them toward the faithful reception of the Lord’s Supper,

as well as

at all times to be examples to them of the holy life of faith in Christ and love for the neighbor.

The baptismal vows entail renouncing

the devil

then renouncing

all his works

then renouncing

all his ways

before affirming the Apostles’ Creed.

There is also a Confirmation rite, which includes the three renunciations and the affirmation of the Apostles’ Creed.  Confirmands also

hold all the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures to be the inspired Word of God,

confess the doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, drawn from the Scriptures, as you have learned to know it from the Small Catechism, to be faithful and true…intend to hear the Word of God and receive the Lord’s Supper faithfully,

… and

intend to live according to the Word of God, and in faith, word, and deed to remain true to God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, even to death.

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VIII.  OTHER SERVICE BOOKS

To be concise, my survey of other U.S. Lutheran service books past and present reveals that, without exception, conservative synods retain the traditional baptismal vows and renunciations, with varying degrees of formality and some linguistic variations and degrees of formality, including modernizing personal pronouns if the book postdates the 1950s.

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IX.  CONCLUSION

The more often mainline Lutherans revise their baptismal rites the more those renunciations resemble questions from The Book of Common Prayer (1979), in which one renounces

Satan and all the spiritual forces of wickedness that rebel against God

then

the evil powers of this world which corrupt and destroy the creatures of God

then

all sinful desires that draw you from the love of God.

And the environmental stewardship and social justice components of the rites from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006) echo themes from the Baptismal Covenant from the 1979 Prayer Book, including the promise to

strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.

These are positive developments, ones rooted in tradition and Christian ethics.

As to the rites themselves from 1917 to 2006, I recognize much consistency–usually a good thing in this case–yet with shining examples of innovation which makes the language more potent.

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KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 27, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN HENRY BATEMAN, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM REED HUNTINGTON, EPISCOPAL PRIEST

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Ambassador Hymnal for Lutheran Worship.  Minneapolis, MN:  Association of Free Lutheran Congregations, 1994.

Book of Common Prayer, The.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 1979.  Reprint, 2007.

Christian Worship:  A Lutheran Hymnal.  Milwaukee, WI:  Northwestern Publishing House, 1993.

Commission on the Liturgy and Hymnal, The.  Service Book and Hymnal.  Music Edition.  Philadelphia, PA:  United Lutheran Publication House, 1958.

Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church.  Philadelphia, PA:  The Board of Publication of The United Lutheran Church in America, 1917, 1918.

Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary.  St. Louis, MO:  MorningStar Music Publishers, Inc., 1996.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Fortress, 2006.

Hymnal and Order of Service, The.  Lectionary Edition.  Rock Island, IL:  Augustana Book Concern, 1925.

Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship.  Lutheran Book of Worship.  Ministers Desk Edition.  Philadelphia, PA:  Board of Publication, Lutheran Church in America, 1978.

__________.  Lutheran Book of Worship.  Pew Edition.  Philadelphia, PA:  Board of Publication, Lutheran Church in America, 1978.

Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship for Provisional Use.  Contemporary Worship 2:  Services–The Holy Communion.  Philadelphia, PA:  Board of Education, Lutheran Church in America, 1970.

Jones, Cheslyn, et al, eds.  The Study of Liturgy.  Revised Edition.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 1992.

Lutheran Service Book.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 2006.

Lutheran Worship.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 1982.

Pfatteicher, Philip H.  Commentary on the Lutheran Book of Worship:  Lutheran Liturgy in Its Ecumenical Context.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Fortress, 1990.

Pfatteicher, Philip H., and Carlos R. Messerli.  Manual on the Liturgy:  Lutheran Book of Worship.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Publishing House, 1979.

Reed, Luther D.  The Lutheran Liturgy:  A Study in the Common Service of the Lutheran Church in America.  Philadelphia, PA:  Muhlenberg Press, 1947.

__________.  The Lutheran Liturgy:  A Study in the Common Liturgy of the Lutheran Church in America.  2d. Ed.  Philadelphia, PA:  Fortress Press, 1959.

Stulken, Marilyn Kay.  Hymnal Companion to the Lutheran Book of Worship.  Philadelphia, PA:  Fortress Press, 1981.

Wentz, Abdel Ross.  The Lutheran Church in American History.  2d. Ed.  Philadelphia, PA:  The United Lutheran Publication House, 1933.

I also found some PDFs helpful:

Schalk, Carl.  ”A Brief History of LCMS Hymnals (before LSB).”  Based on a 1997 document; updated to 2006.  Copyrighted by The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.

Stuckwisch, D. Richard.  ”The Missouri Synod and the Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship.”  Lutheran Forum, Volume 37, Number 3 (Fall 2003), pages 43-51.

KRT

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You Are Indeed Holy, O God, the Fountain of All Holiness: With One Voice (1995) and Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006)   4 comments

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006)

Above:  My Copies of With One Voice (1995), and Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), July 22, 2013

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U.S. LUTHERAN LITURGY, PART XIX

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You are indeed holy, O God,

the fountain of all holiness;

you bring light from darkness,

life from death,

speech from silence.

With One Voice:  A Lutheran Resource for Worship (1995), page 23

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I.  TECHNICAL NOTICE

Last year I wrote a comparative review of the Lutheran Service Book and Evangelical Lutheran Worship (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2012/07/01/evangelical-lutheran-worship-2006-and-lutheran-service-book-2006-services/).  That review stands, with this post complementing it.  Also, this post is part of a series, thus it builds on information from previous posts, a guide to which I provide here:  https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/12/guide-to-posts-about-lutheran-worship/.

Also, my copy of Evangelical Lutheran Worship is the Pew Edition, not the altar book.

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II.  BACKGROUND

Just as there was great demand with The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) for the Lutheran Service Book (LSB) (2006), there was equivalent demand for a successor to the Lutheran Book of Worship (LBW) within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).  The standard lifespan of a hymnal in most U.S. denominations is about twenty to thirty years, usually closer to twenty to twenty-five years.  Off the top of my head I recall the dates, for example, of Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (PCUSA) hymnals (1874-1895-1911-1933-1955), Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) hymnals (1901-1927-1955-1972), Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) hymnals (1990 and 2013), and U.S. Methodist hymnals (1905-1935-1966-1989 in one stream and 1901-1935-1966-1989 in another stream).  (There are other streams.)  Thus, in 2006, the LBW was twenty-eight years old–arguably time for a change.  The ELCA had been using a provisional book, With One Voice (WOV) (1995), beside the LBW for eleven years before Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW) debuted.  The former influenced the latter.

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III.  COMMUNION RITUALS AND SERVICES OF THE WORD

ELW offers ten settings of the Holy Communion.  These are adapted from the LBW and WOV.  The altered form of the Common Service from the LBW is the basis for some of the ten settings, which feature different styles of music.  Most of the settings, however, are variations on Settings 4 and 5 from WOV.  These are not Common Service forms.

ELW, like WOV and the LBW, contains a non-Eucharistic service–Service of the Word in ELW and the LBW and the Service of Word and Prayer in WOV.  These are nice-enough rites, I suppose, but the Holy Eucharist is supposed to be the central act of Christian worship–one which many leading Protestant Reformers of the 1500s encouraged people to take as often as possible–every Sunday, even.  The Holy Eucharist has constituted the core of my spiritual life since my childhood.  But since frequent–especially weekly–Eucharistic celebration is not a defining characteristic of The United Methodist Church, I chose to convert and become an Episcopalian.

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IV.  THE CALENDAR, PSALTER, LECTIONARIES, AND DAILY PRAYER SERVICES

ELW, like the LSB, has an extensive Calendar.  The  2006 Calendar of Saints is more impressive than its 1978 predecessor.  Now such luminaries as Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman (March 10), Julian of Norwich (May 8), St. Antony of Egypt (January 17), and Oscar Romero (March 24) are present.  Unfortunately, so is Jonathan Edwards (March 22).

There are four Daily Prayer services:

  1. Morning Prayer (Matins);
  2. Evening Prayer (Vespers);
  3. Night Prayer (Compline); and
  4. Responsive Prayer (Suffrages).

All are very good.  The first three are familiar pars of the Prayer Book usage I have adopted, and the first two have been part of the Common Service from its beginning (1888).

ELW offers two lectionaries:

  1. the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL),
  2. and a three-year daily lectionary built around it.

I am a fan of the Revised Common Lectionary.  My denomination and congregation follow it.  I have written three-years’ worth of devotions based on it.  And I am learning to adore the second lectionary as I write devotions based on it.

The lectionaries tie into the Psalter.  ELW breaks with U.S. Lutheran tradition by providing a complete Psalter in the Pew Edition.  The translation is a variation on that from The Book of Common Prayer (1979).  (The LBW uses the 1979 Prayer Book Psalter verbatim.)  A brief comparison of one verse (Psalm 1:2) from the 1978 and 2006 books reveals differences and similarities.  The LBW says:

Their delight is

in the law of the LORD,

and they meditate on his law

day and night.

ELW says:

Their delight is

in the law of the LORD,

and they mediate

on God’s teaching

day and night.

That is a minor difference, one which I accept and embrace.  Besides, God exists beyond human genders.  Our language for God is all metaphorical, is it not?  May we see through the metaphors–use them as icons–not see them instead of God–treat them as idols.

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V.  ASH WEDNESDAY AND HOLY WEEK

The Pew Edition of ELW, unlike that of the LBW, contains services for Ash Wednesday and Holy Week.  The LBW Ministers Edition services for these occasions are the bases of the corresponding ELW rites, which are partial in the Pew Edition.  The altar book of ELW contains the full ritual of the church, of course, but is good to have the congregational parts of these rites in the pews.

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VI.  OTHER MATERIAL

There is much excellent content in the ELW (as there also in the LSB) which categories I have used so far do not contain.  The ELW Collects are expanded and revised from those in the LBW, for example.  I know this because I am using the 2006 Collects as I write devotions based on the new ELCA Daily Lectionary.

There are also healing, funeral, and marriage rites.

Other occasional services and rites appear in two volumes:

  1. Evangelical Lutheran Worship:  Pastoral Care (2008), and
  2. Evangelical Lutheran Worship:  Occasional Services for the Assembly (2009),

two more books (along with the altar book) for my wish list.  Portions of these volumes are available as free PDFs at the Worship section of the ELCA website.

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VII.  CONCLUSION

ELW is an invaluable resource in my liturgy library, second these days to The Book of Common Prayer (1979).  The liturgy portion of ELW, constituting about one-third of the book, is definitely not an afterthought added to a hymnal, as some liturgy sections of previous U.S. Lutheran service books have been.  This is a well-planned contemporary resource for worship which remains grounded in tradition without becoming mired in it.

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KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 27, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN HENRY BATEMAN, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM REED HUNTINGTON, EPISCOPAL PRIEST

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Evangelical Lutheran Worship.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Fortress, 2006.

Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship.  Lutheran Book of Worship.  Ministers Desk Edition.  Philadelphia, PA:  Board of Publication, Lutheran Church in America, 1978.

__________.  Lutheran Book of Worship.  Pew Edition.  Philadelphia, PA:  Board of Publication, Lutheran Church in America, 1978.

Lutheran Service Book.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 2006.

Pfatteicher, Philip H.  Commentary on the Lutheran Book of Worship:  Lutheran Liturgy in Its Ecumenical Context.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Fortress, 1990.

With One Voice:  A Lutheran Resource for Worship.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Fortress, 1995.

KRT

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Blessed Are You, O Lord Our God, King of All Creation: Hymnal Supplement 98 (1998) and the Lutheran Service Book (2006)   8 comments

Lutheran Service Book (2006)

Above:  My Copies of The Lutheran Hymnal (1941), Worship Supplement (1969), Lutheran Worship (1982), Hymnal Supplement 98 (1998), and the Lutheran Service Book (2006), July 22, 2013

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U.S. LUTHERAN LITURGY, PART XVIII

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Blessed are You, O Lord our God, king of all creation, for You have had mercy on us and given Your only-begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

Hymnal Supplement 98 (1998), page 11

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I.  TECHNICAL NOTICE

Last year I wrote a comparative review of the Lutheran Service Book and Evangelical Lutheran Worship (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2012/07/01/evangelical-lutheran-worship-2006-and-lutheran-service-book-2006-services/).  That review stands, with this post complementing it.  Also, this post is part of a series, thus it builds on information from previous posts, a guide to which I provide here:  https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/12/guide-to-posts-about-lutheran-worship/.

Also, my copy of the Lutheran Service Book is the Pew Edition, not the altar book.

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II.  BACKGROUND

The two major U.S. Lutheran bodies and their Canadian counterparts revised their hymnals-service books, publishing them in 2006.  The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), formed by a 1987 merger, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), formed by a 1986 merger, released Evangelical Lutheran Worship (abbreviated hereafter as ELW), the topic of the next post in this series.  The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) and The Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) published the Lutheran Service Book (abbreviated hereafter as LSB), which, I can believe what I read on Lutheran websites, has accomplished its goal of being a unifying hymnal-service book.

First, however, came Hymnal Supplement 98 (abbreviated hereafter as HS98), published in 1998, of all years.  Who would have thunk it?  There was great demand for a new worship resource.  The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/o-come-let-us-sing-unto-the-lord-the-lutheran-hymnal-1941/) was close to sixty years old and Lutheran Worship (1982) (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/gathered-in-the-name-and-remembrance-of-jesus-lutheran-worship-1982/) had not aged well.

Considering HS98 and the LSB together makes sense, for the first influence the second.

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II.  COMMUNION SERVICES

The LSB contains all the Communion services from The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) and Lutheran Worship (1982) (abbreviated hereafter as LW), with modifications.  The 1941 service is in modern English now, for example.  And “implore” (a 1982 usage) has become “beseech” (a 2006 usage).  The Nicene Creed is still in the first-person singular and the Church is still “Christian,” not “catholic.”  This word substitution, originally not anti-Roman Catholic, has become that for many Protestants of the Lutheran variety, unfortunately.  Anyhow, there is a recurring footnote in LSB:

Christian:  the ancient text reads “catholic,” meaning the whole Church as it confesses the wholeness of Christian doctrine.

I file that under the “Duh!” category.

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III.  DAILY SERVICES, THE PSALTER, LECTIONARIES, AND THE CALENDAR

HS98 contains useful forms for Daily Prayer for individuals and families (the basis for that section in the LSB) and Evening Prayer.  The LSB provides offices for Matins, Vespers, Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Compline.  Complenting these rites are lectionaries, the Calendar, and the Psalter.

There are three lectionaries, which pertain to the Calendar, which has filled out nicely since 1982.  All four pages of it are impressive now.  The slightly adjusted three-year lectionary from the Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship (ILCW) sits next to a modified one-year lectionary reminiscent of the 1941 lectionary.  Use of this second lectionary carries with it a return to the pre-1960 calendar, with the -gesimas and Sundays after Trinity.  But, if one uses the first lectionary, there are no -gesimas and there are Sundays after Pentecost.  The Daily Lectionary is an excellent one-year plan based on which I have written devotions.

The translation for the Psalter (partial in the LSB, per usual Lutheran practice) is the English Standard Version (ESV).  This constitutes a change from LW (1982), which uses the New International Version (NIV).  In fact, whenever the LSB quotes the Bible, it does so in the ESV.  HS98, in contrast, uses the NIV and the New King James Version.

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IV.  CONCLUSION

The LSB stands up well relative to its competition on the right wing of U.S. Lutheranism.  Its closest rival in excellence is the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (1996), of The Evangelical Lutheran Synod, which, as far as I can tell, thinks the LCMS is too liberal.  And I know that, according to official LCMS statements, I am a raving heretic.  But, as Alex Haley said,

Find the good and praise it.

There is much to praise in the LSB, a volume which, along with ELW, enriches my liturgy library greatly.

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KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 26, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ANNE AND JOACHIM, PARENTS OF SAINT MARY OF NAZARETH

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Ambassador Hymnal for Lutheran Worship.  Minneapolis, MN:  Association of Free Lutheran Congregations, 1994.

Christian Worship:  A Lutheran Hymnal.  Milwaukee, WI:  Northwestern Publishing House, 1993.

Concordia Hymnal, The:  A Hymnal for Church, School and Home.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Publishing House, 1932.

Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary.  St. Louis, MO:  MorningStar Music Publishers, Inc., 1996.

Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America, The.  The Lutheran Hymnal.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 1941.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Fortress, 2006.

Hymnal Supplement 98.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 1998.

Lutheran Service Book.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 2006.

Lutheran Worship.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 1982.

I also found some PDFs helpful:

Christian Worship:  Supplement Introductory Resources.  Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, 2008.

DeGarmeaux, Bruce.  ”O Come, Let Us Worship!  A Study of Lutheran Liturgy and Hymnody.”  1995.

Schalk, Carl.  ”A Brief History of LCMS Hymnals (before LSB).”  Based on a 1997 document; updated to 2006.  Copyrighted by The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.

Zabell, Jon F.  ”The Formation of Function of WELS Hymnals:  Further Conversation.”  For the National Conference of Worship, Music, and the Arts, July 2008.

KRT

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He Descended: Christ’s Descent in the Apostles’ Creed   4 comments

Harrowing of Hades

Above:  The Harrowing of Hades

A Medieval Russian Orthodox Icon

Image in the Public Domain

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U.S. LUTHERAN LITURGY, PART XVII

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Christ himself died once and for all for sins, the upright doing for the sake of the guilty, to lead us to God.  In the body he was put to death, in the spirit he was raised to life, and, in the spirit he went to preach to the spirits in prison.

–1 Peter 3:18-19, The New Jerusalem Bible

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…He descended into hell….

The Book of Common Worship (1946), page 47

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I.  INTRODUCTION

I take a break from focusing on specific U.S. Lutheran volumes to write about a related theological question instead.  When I grew up in The United Methodist Church, we said the Apostles’ Creed weekly.  Item #738 in The Methodist Hymnal (1966), renamed The Book of Hymns after the 1968 merger, is the Apostles’ Creed.  That version omits

He descended into Hell,

relegating it to a footnote.  Items #881 and 882 in The United Methodist Hymnal (1989) are the Apostle’s Creed–traditional and ecumenical versions.  Both follow the 1966 Hymnal‘s practice.  And both explain that “catholic” means universal, something which the editors of the 1966 Hymnal saw no need to do.  But that is a different matter and a rabbit I will not chase here.

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II.  POSSIBLE MEANINGS OF THE DESCENT

Philip H. Pfatteicher, the great Lutheran liturgical scholar, points out that the literal translation of the Latin text of that line from the Apostles’ Creed is:

He descended to the lower [world].

Furthermore, Pfatteicher writes, there are three main interpretations of what that means:

  • It emphasizes that Jesus was dead.
  • It indicates that Jesus went to battle Satan.
  • It indicates that Jesus freed the souls of the dead.

The English Language Liturgical Consultation (1988) version of the Apostles’s Creed renders that line:

he descended to the dead,

which applies to all three interpretations.

I prefer the traditional form:

He descended into hell.

This has been the standard U.S. Lutheran rendering, based on my secondary reading and opening of hymnals-service books in my liturgy library.  It remains the text in conservative U.S. Lutheran hymnals-service books and was likewise in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) line until Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), which uses the ecumenical version, with

He descended to the dead,

and places the traditional

He descended into hell

in a footnote.  But the descent is present.

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III.  MATTERS LUTHERAN AND REFORMED

Christ’s descent has been a hot potato for many Protestants over time.  Methodists have tended to avoid it, but at least Presbyterians have wrestled with it.  The Book of Common Worship (1906), of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., for example, placed

He descended into hell

inside brackets and provided an alternative text in a footnote:

He continued in the state of the dead, and under the power of death, until the third day.

The Book of Common Worship (Revised) (1932) removed the brackets but provided a different alternative text:

He continued in the state of the dead until the third day.

The Book of Common Worship (1946) said simply that Christ descended into hell, but our Lord and Savior has descended to the dead since 1970.  That is more than many Calvinists were willing to say for along time.  The Heidelberg Catechism (1562), Question 44 explains the descent into hell this way:

That in my severest tribulations I may be assured that Christ my Lord has redeemed me from hellish anxieties and torment by the unspeakable anguish, pain, and terrors which he suffered in his soul both on the cross and before.

The Book of Concord, however, affirms Christ’s descent into hell.  The Formula of Concord, Epitome IX (1577), says:

This article has also been disputed among some theologians who have subscribed to the Augsburg Confession:  When and in what manner did the Lord Christ, according to our simple Christian faith, descend to hell?  Was this done before or after His death?  Was this done before or after His death?  Did this happen only to His soul, only to the divinity, or with body and soul, spiritually or bodily?  Does this article belong to Christ’s passion or to His glorious victory and triumph?

This article, like the preceding article, cannot be grasped by the senses or by our reason.  It must be grasped through faith alone.  Therefore, it is our unanimous opinion that there should be no dispute over it.  It should be believed and taught only in the simplest way.  Teach it like Dr. Luther, of blessed memory, in his sermon at Torgau in the year 1533.  He has explained this article in a completely Christian way.  He separated all useless, unnecessary questions from it, and encouraged all godly Christians to believe with Christian simplicity.

It is enough to know that Christ descended into hell, destroyed hell for all believers, and delivered them from the power of condemnation and the jaws of hell.  We will save our questions and not curiously investigate about how this happened until the other world.  Then not only this mystery but others will be revealed that we simply believe here and cannot grasp with our blind reason.

The Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration IX (1577) affirms:

Even in the Ancient Christian teachers of the Church, as well as among some of our teachers, different explanations of the article about Christ’s descent to hell are found.  Therefore, we abide in the simplicity of our Christian faith.  Dr. Luther has pointed us to this in a sermon about Christ’s descent to hell, which he delivered in the castle at Torgau in the year 1533.  In the Creed we confess, “I believe….in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who…was crucified, died, and was buried.  He descended into hell.”  In this Confession Christ’s burial and descent to hell are distinguished as separate articles.  We simply believe that the entire person (God and man) descended into hell after the burial, conquered the devil, destroyed hell’s power, and took from the devil all his might.  We should not, however, trouble ourselves with high and difficult thoughts about how this happened.  With our reason and our five senses this article can be understood as little as the preceding one about how Christ is placed at the right hand of God’s almighty power and majesty.  We are simply to believe it and cling to the Word.  So we hold to the substance and consolation that neither hell nor the devil can take captive or injure us and all who believe in Christ.

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IV.  CONCLUSION

The descent of Christ is an important theological point, not one which any Christian should sweep under an ecclesiastical rug.  But it is also a theological point replete with mystery and ambiguity.  Self-identified orthodox Christians have, since the Patristic era, offered competing interpretations of it.  I prefer the Harrowing of Hell version, but it is sufficient for me that a version of the Apostles’ Creed contain Christ’s descent.  Whether it says that he descended into hell or to the dead is a minor issue.

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KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 26, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ANNE AND JOACHIM, PARENTS OF SAINT MARY OF NAZARETH

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Ambassador Hymnal for Lutheran Worship.  Minneapolis, MN:  Association of Free Lutheran Congregations, 1994.

Book of Common Worship.  Louisville, KY:  Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993.

Book of Common Worship, The.  Philadelphia, PA:  Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1906.

Book of Common Worship, The.  Philadelphia, PA:  Board of Christian Education of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, 1946.

Book of Common Worship (Revised), The.  Philadelphia, PA:  Presbyterian Board of Christian Education, 1932.

Book of Hymns.  Milwaukee, WI:  Northwestern Publishing House, 1917.  Reprint, 1932.

Christian Worship:  A Lutheran Hymnal.  Milwaukee, WI:  Northwestern Publishing House, 1993.

Commission on the Liturgy and Hymnal, The.  Service Book and Hymnal.  Music Edition.  Philadelphia, PA:  United Lutheran Publication House, 1958.

Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church.  Philadelphia, PA:  The Board of Publication of The United Lutheran Church in America, 1917, 1918.

Concordia:  A Collection of Hymns and Spiritual Songs.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Publishing House, 1917.

Concordia:  The Lutheran Confessions–A Reader’s Edition of the Book of Concord.  2d. Ed.  Paul Timothy McCain, General Editor.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 2006.

Concordia Hymnal, The:  A Hymnal for Church, School and Home.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Publishing House, 1932.

Constitution of the Prebyterian Church (U.S.A.), The.  Part I.  Book of Confessions.  Louisville, KY:  Office of the General Assembly, 1996.

Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary.  St. Louis, MO:  MorningStar Music Publishers, Inc., 1996.

Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America, The.  The Lutheran Hymnal.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 1941.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Fortress, 2006.

Fevold, Eugene L.  The Lutheran Free Church:  A Fellowship of American Lutheran Congregations, 1897-1963.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Publishing House, 1969.

Hymnal and Order of Service, The.  Lectionary Edition.  Rock Island, IL:  Augustana Book Concern, 1925.

Hymnal for Church and Home.  3d. Ed.  Blair, NE:  Danish Lutheran Publishing House, 1938.

Hymnal Supplement 98.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 1998.

Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship.  Lutheran Book of Worship.  Ministers Desk Edition.  Philadelphia, PA:  Board of Publication, Lutheran Church in America, 1978.

__________.  Lutheran Book of Worship.  Pew Edition.  Philadelphia, PA:  Board of Publication, Lutheran Church in America, 1978.

Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship for Provisional Use.  Contemporary Worship 2:  Services–The Holy Communion.  Philadelphia, PA:  Board of Education, Lutheran Church in America, 1970.

Lutheran Hymnary Including the Symbols of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, The.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Publishing House, 1935.

Lutheran Intersynodical Hymnal Committee.  American Lutheran Hymnal.  Music Edition.  Columbus, OH:  The Lutheran Book Concern, 1930.

Lutheran Service Book.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 2006.

Lutheran Worship.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 1982.

Methodist Hymnal, The:  Official Hymnal of The Methodist Church.  Nashville, TN:  The Methodist Publishing House, 1966.

Pfatteicher, Philip H.  Commentary on the Lutheran Book of Worship:  Lutheran Liturgy in Its Ecumenical Context.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Fortress, 1990.

Pfatteicher, Philip H., and Carlos R. Messerli.  Manual on the Liturgy:  Lutheran Book of Worship.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Publishing House, 1979.

Reed, Luther D.  The Lutheran Liturgy:  A Study in the Common Service of the Lutheran Church in America.  Philadelphia, PA:  Muhlenberg Press, 1947.

__________.  The Lutheran Liturgy:  A Study in the Common Liturgy of the Lutheran Church in America.  2d. Ed.  Philadelphia, PA:  Fortress Press, 1959.

United Methodist Hymnal, The:  Book of United Methodist Worship.  Nashville, TN:  The United Methodist Publishing House, 1989.

With One Voice:  A Lutheran Resource for Worship.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Fortress, 1995.

Worship Supplement.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 1969.

Worshipbook, The:  Services and Hymns.  Philadelphia, PA:  Westminster Press, 1972.

KRT

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