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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