Archive for the ‘Confirmation’ Tag

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




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

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



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.



The Common Service Book (1917) (, 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.



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) ( 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


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.



Liturgical renewal affected baptismal rites, as in 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,


as they grow in years,


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.



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


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.



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.



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.



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.



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


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.

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.








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.



The Book of Common Prayer (2004)   2 comments


Above:  Ireland, October 11, 2010

Image Source = Jet Propulsion Laboratory


Image Courtesy of Jeff Schmaltz



The contents of this post flow from Bishop Harold Miller’s chapter in The Oxford Guide to The Book of Common Payer:  A Worldwide Survey (Oxford University Press, 2006, pages 431-437), his lecture at the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University (, my online research, and my use and study of The Book of Common Prayer (2004).



The Texts Themselves:

Worship Homepage, Church of Ireland:

Previous Editions of the Irish Prayer Book:


Eternal God and Father,

whose Son at supper prayed that his disciples might be one,

as he is one with you:

Draw us closer to him,

that in common love and obedience to you

we may be united to one another

in the fellowship of the one Spirit,

that the world may believe that he is Lord,

to your eternal glory;

through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (2004), page 335



Liturgy interests me.  My childhood experiences of bad liturgy in rural United Methodist congregations in southern Georgia interacted with my innate interest in ritualism to make me an Episcopalian.  There were other factors, of course, but those two constituted major factors in my decision to convert.  So I have become attached to versions of the Book of Common Prayer.  I know the 1979 BCP of The Episcopal Church the best.  Indeed, I am a Rite II person.  The 1928 Prayer Book is nothing more than an artifact to me; may it reside only as an exhibit in the proverbial museum of liturgy.  A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989) (, among my favorites, has carved out a niche on the vanguard of Prayer Book revision and liturgical renewal.  I seek it out when I want more adventurous and less traditional rites, more experimental than even The Episcopal Church’s Enriching Our Worship series offers.

The language of prayer interests me.  My private name for God–the one I use when speaking to God alone–is simply “You.”  It is a modern English word, for I speak modern English.  “You” is intimate without committing anthropomorphism.  To call God “Thee” in this age is to rebuild a barrier which Jesus tore down via the Incarnation.  And, in the romance language versions of the Bible I have seen, the text uses the informal form of the second person to refer to God.

I understand that it is impossible to avoid committing anthropomorphism when calling God anything other than “You,” given our human perspectives and the limitations of language.  This is especially true in public worship and liturgies for private prayer.  Yet me must remember that our language for God contains many metaphors and that the reality behind them exceeds our capacity for understanding.  So I choose not to take offense at gendered metaphors, which can prove spiritually helpful if one knows that they are merely metaphors.


The Church of Ireland has produced and authorized a new edition of the Book of Common Prayer which contains both Elizabethan and modern English, preserves poetry in the modern English portions, and offers a relatively conservative example of Prayer Book revision.  The Church’s previous Prayer Books (that of 1926, for example) were based mostly on the 1662 BCP.  Liturgical renewal and Prayer Book revision, starting with the publication of the first new rites in 1967, led to the Alternative Prayer Book (1984) and subsequent services in the 1990s.  There were 1926 BCP parishes, 1984 APB parishes, and parishes that alternated between the two books.  But now, with The Book of Common Prayer (2004), the Church of Ireland has just one legal Prayer Book.

Harold Miller, Bishop of Down and Dromore, lecturing at the Institute of Sacred Music of Yale University, summarized the volume as follows:

A quick review of prayer books in the Anglican Communion would show many liturgical volumes that are more flexible, more inculturated, more imaginative, and more “on the edge” theologically than the liturgies of the Church of Ireland.  For example, apart from a list of Celtic saints and their dates, and one or two Irish propers, some of the Irish hymns in the hymnal, and the fact that there is an Irish edition of the new BCP, there are very few signs of Celtic spirituality in the formal worship books of the Church of Ireland.  While characteristics such as flexibility, inculturation, and imagination and not in any sense absent from the 2004 Book of Common Prayer, the book is nevertheless characterized above all else by a desire for unity in the worship of God’s people–something greatly treasured in the Church of Ireland, not least because of our other political, cultural, and theological divisions on the island of Ireland.  This desire is, therefore, part of our own inculturation in a varied and sometimes divided community.  The theme song of the 1878 preface to the Book of Common Prayer is very much part of the psyche of the Church of Ireland when it states:  “What is imperfect wiht peace is often better than what is otherwise excellent without it.”

Indeed, unity is what The Book of Common Prayer (2004) is meant to maintain.  For example the rite for the Ash Wednesday service does not mention the imposition of ashes.  As Bishop Miller said at Yale University,

Reference to such a custom might divide.

My use of the book  has been restricted to private devotional purposes.  So I am not equipped to comment on whether the volume has had a unifying effect.  Bishop Miller says that it has had such an effect; I take his word for that.

The book itself is a handsome volume.  The green hardcover book features a Celtic cross and the words


on the front cover.  The spine displays smaller versions of each of those features.  There are three ribbon bookmarks (white, light green, and dark green) for the user’s convenience.  The paper quality inside is excellent and the font is easy to read.  The rubrics are even printed in red ink.  The volume demonstrates the care which people took in preparing it.

The services and prayers are a combination of Elizabethan and modern English.

  1. Morning and Evening Prayer (printed together with morning and evening portions labeled plainly) come in both forms.
  2. The rites for Holy Communion come in both forms.
  3. The rituals for Christian Initiation come in both forms.
  4. The marriage ceremony comes in both forms.
  5. The Funeral Services come in both forms.
  6. The ordination rites come in both forms.
  7. The Collects and Canticles come in both forms.
  8. Compline comes only in Elizabethan English yet A Late Evening Office comes only in modern English.
  9. The ashless Ash Wednesday service comes only in modern English.
  10. The Daily Prayer service, which comes only in modern English, features a seven-day cycle of thanksgivings and intercessions–a nice touch.
  11. The Psalter, borrowed from The Church of England’s Common Worship (2000), is stately modern English.  Those who prefer the modified Coverdale Psalter from The Book of Common Prayer (1926) have the option of using it instead.
  12. The “Some Prayers and Thanksgivings” section contains both Elizabethan and modern English language.

The most non-traditional service in the 2004 BCP is the Service of the Word, outlined on page 165 with three pages of instructions following.  The rubrics use the word “may” often, as in

A Psalm and/or a Scripture Song may precede or follow readings.

It reminds me of An Order for Celebrating the Holy Eucharist, a.k.a. Rite III, from The Book of Common Prayer (1979) in flexibility of structure.

The 2004 Prayer Book contains the Revised Common Lectionary for Sundays plus readings for major holy days and saints’ days.  The retention of the practice of numbering Sundays after Trinity, not Pentecost, is a holdover from olden times.  (The Episcopal switched to counting Sundays after Pentecost in the 1970s.)  The absence of a Daily Office lectionary seems odd to me, but the Worship Homepage of the denominational website provides that information.

I detect a careful Protestant-Roman Catholic balancing act taking place in the 2004 BCP.  This becomes evident not only in the ashless Ash Wednesday service but in a comparison of Holy Communion One (traditional) and Holy Communion Two (contemporary).  The language in both refers to the body and blood of Jesus in relation to the bread and the wine of the sacrament, but Holy Communion Two contains something crucial which Holy Communion One lacks.  The priest, at the breaking of the bread, says:

The bread which which we beak

is a sharing in the body of Christ.

The congregation responds:

We being many are one body,

for we all we share in the one bread.

Where is the Incarnation of Jesus in the sacrament located?  Is it situated in the bread and wine themselves?  Or is it a non-localized spiritual presence, as in Reformed theology?  The texts are vaguer on that point in Holy Communion Two than those of Holy Communion One are.  And one can read the language (without stretching them too much) in both rites to find them consistent with Transubstantiation or Consubstantiation, the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion not withstanding.  This vagueness need not be negative and my comments are not criticisms.  Much of the beauty of Anglicanism is located in its fence-straddling between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism.  My own theology borrows generously from both sides.


The Book of Common Prayer (2004) has become a valuable part of my library.  I found its services online a few years ago, printed two of them, placed the pages in sheet protectors, and used the rituals.  But it is better to have a book sometimes, and I am a man of books.  True, the 2004 BCP is not a cutting-edge volume in regard to inclusive language or any other criterion, for it is a relatively cautious revision.  But it is a nice and graceful revision, a copy of which occupies space on the same shelf as A New Zealand Prayer Book, my favorite source for good cutting-edge liturgies.  I recognize the good in both and praise them.