Archive for the ‘United Evangelical Lutheran Church’ Tag

Concerning Wheat, Tares, and Donatism   4 comments

Above:  Danish Lutheran Synods in the United States of America and Canada

Scanned by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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Another parable [Jesus] put before them, saying,

The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.  So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also.  And the servants of the household came and said to him, “Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field?  How then has it weeds?”  He said to them, “An enemy has done this.”  The servants said to him, “Then do you want us to go and gather them?”  But he said, “No; lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them.  But both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”

–Matthew 13:24-30, Revised Standard Version–Second Catholic Edition (2002)

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The Roman Emperor Diocletian (reigned 284-305) presided over an empire-wide persecution of Christians starting in 303.  He ordered the burning of Christian books and the destruction of churches.  The penalty for a clergyman (from 303) and a lay person (from 304) who resisted was the combination of incarceration and torture and, in some cases, execution.  The Dioceletian Persecution resulted in many martyrdoms.  That persecution ultimately ended because Constantine I “the Great” (reigned 306-337) won the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312 and issued the Edict of Milan the following year.  During that persecution, however, many professing Christians chose not to resist.  Traditors surrendered Bibles to the authorities, who burned those volumes.  Many of these traditors subsequently sought reconciliation with the Church, which consented, on condition that they were sincere and penitent.  This forgiving attitude met with the disapproval of rigorists, especially in northern Africa.

The trigger for the Donatist schism occurred in 311.  That year some rigorists opposed the consecration of Caecilian as the new Bishop of Carthage due to the fact that Felix of Aptunga, an erstwhile traditor, consecrated him.  Numidian bishops consecrated Majorinus as a rival bishop.  Soon Donatus, from whose name we derive the word “Donatism,” succeeded him.  The Donatist schism ended only when the Islamic conquest of northern Africa destroyed it centuries later.  Donatists understood themselves to be the true church, the assembly of the uncompromising and the holy.  They were self-righteous.  These rigorists, who identified themselves as pure, were not as pure as they thought they were.  They were, after all, only human.  These rigorists were much like the unforgiving elder brother in the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

Donatism (in the broad sense) predated the schism of 311.  It has also persisted to the present day.  It has been a factor in a host of ecclesiastical schisms, whether on the congregational or denominational level.  I have traced many denominational schisms, unions, and reunions as a hobby.  Along the way I have arrived at a few conclusions:

  1. Most mergers occur to the left.
  2. Most schisms occur to the right, usually in the name of maintaining a standard of purity, whether of orthodoxy, orthopraxy, or both.
  3. Whenever two or more denominations merge, two or more denominations frequently form.
  4. Regardless of how theologically conservative a denomination might be, there is probably at least one denomination to its right.  This might be the result of a schism.
  5. Schism frequently begets more schism.

The state Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark encompassed a range of theological factions in the 1800s.  Two of these were the Pietists and the Grundtvigians.  Pietists, who shunned “worldly amusements,” such as dancing, playing cards, and attending plays, emphasized separation from the world.  Grundtvigians, however, enjoyed “worldly amusements,” especially folk dancing, which scandalized their pietistic co-religionists.  Grundtvigians also differed from Pietists and agreed with Martin Luther that

Printed words are dead, spoken words are living.  On the printed page they are not so forcible as when uttered by the sound of man through his mouth.

Grundtvigians therefore argued that the Bible is not the Word of God (as opposed to the word of God) and that the living message of salvation contained in the Bible and reinforced in Holy Baptism and the Apostles’ Creed is instead that Word.

Although the Danish state church avoided all but minor schisms, the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (1874-1962), renamed the American Evangelical Lutheran Church in 1953, was not as fortunate.  In 1894, after much controversy, pietists seceded and formed the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America.  They quickly joined with another pietistic group, the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church Association (1884-1896) in forming the United Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church (1896-1960), which dropped “Danish” from its name in 1946.  UDELC/UELC was strongly pietistic during much of its existence.  “Worldly amusements” were allegedly sinful for these “Sad Danes;” the folk dancing that was ubiquitious among the “Happy Danes” in the DELCA/AELC was absent in the  UDELC/UELC.

Enok Mortensen, author of the official retrospective account of the DELCA/AELC, made no excuses for pietism and Donatism:

The schism of 1894 must be seen against the background of a situation existing at that time.  The historian who weighs the evidence carefully and objectively does not doubt the good intentions of those who sought a “pure” church; he only questions their wisdom.  The Christian church is not a society of angels; in the words of the Lord of the church, it is a field of wheat and tares in which both must grow together until harvest.

–Enok Mortensen, The Danish Lutheran Church in America:  The History and Heritage of the American Evangelical Lutheran Church (Philadelphia, PA:  Board of Publication, Lutheran Church in America, 1967), page 121

Laying the issue of the identity of the Kingdom of Heaven (reverential circumlocution is a false argument, according to Jonathan Pennington) in the Gospel of Matthew aside for the purpose of this post, Mortensen’s tolerant theological position was commendable.  Likewise critical (in the best sense of that word) of pietism and Donatism was John M. Jensen, author of the corresponding volume about the UDELC/UELC:

The men who had written about the UELC in the past had generally been uncritical.  They simply glorified the pioneers and placed a halo about their heads and their works.  That was especially the case concerning the men of the Danish period.  This tended to color all writing about the church in the church papers.

It has been my purpose to be as realistic as possible.  While I have written about the accomplishments of the men, I have ever hesitated to point out weaknesses wherever I found the.  This, it seems to me, must be the prerogative of a historian.  Otherwise the history will be distorted.

–John M. Jensen, The United Evangelical Lutheran Church:  An Interpretation (Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Publishing House, 1964), pages v-vi

Furthermore:

In the earlier years of the church, it was not so much in the later years, there was a sharp distinction between the saved and the unsaved, between the believer and the unbeliever.  This may have been both a strength and a weakness, but it was what furnished the motivation for the preaching and the work, for maintaining the school, and for sending out missionaries.  There were places where the spirit built up strong congregations, but there were also places where pietism became so legalistic that the congregations could not grow.  An example of this legalism was the constant preaching by some pastors that the members should be sure not to eat and drink themselves to damnation in Holy Communion.  An overly legalistic attitude sometimes became a barrier to sound evangelism.

–Jensen, page 234

To speak or write about Donatism in the past, especially in denominations that have merged themselves away (as the two Danish synods did in the early 1960s), is relatively easy.  Likewise, speaking and writing harshly of the self-righteousness of Donatists (in the narrow definition) who died thousands of years ago is a low-risk proposition.  However, Donatists (in the broad definition) exist among us.  Some of the readers of this post might even be Donatists.  Thus labeling contemporary Donatism becomes politically fraught.  Without naming any congregations or denominations in this post I assert that you, O reader, can probably find concrete evidence of Donatism in your community.

To return to the parable at the beginning of this post, I assert the following also.  Anyone who fancies oneself to be wheat and certain others to be tares might be correct.  Or one might be mistaken; one might be a tare or others might be wheat.  Only God knows for sure.  One should not presume to know more than one does.  One should also leave all weeding to God.  Collegiality is superior to Donatism.  If collegiality is not a feasible option, simply refraining from imagining that one is purer than one actually is will suffice.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 1, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES DE FOUCAULD, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF DOUGLAS LETELL RIGHTS, U.S. MORAVIAN MINISTER, SCHOLAR, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF EDWARD TIMOTHY MICKEY, JR., U.S. MORAVIAN BISHOP AND LITURGIST

THE FEAST OF PETER MORTIMER, ANGLO-GERMAN MORAVIAN EDUCATOR, MUSICIAN, AND SCHOLAR; AND GOTTFRIED THEODOR ERXLEBEN, GERMAN MORAVIAN MINISTER AND MUSICOLOGIST

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Guide to Posts Regarding the American Evangelical Lutheran Church and the United Evangelical Lutheran Church   1 comment

Lutherrose.svg

Above:  Luther Rose

Image Source = Daniel Csorfoly, Budapest, Hungary

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Of Their Time:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2015/07/26/of-their-time/

Holy Art Thou:  The Service Book and Hymnal (1958)

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/holy-art-thou-the-service-book-and-hymnal-1958/

Assembled in This Thy House:  Danish-American Lutherans, 1870-1962:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/assembled-in-this-thy-house-danish-american-lutherans-1870-1962/

Concerning Wheat, Tares, and Donatism:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2017/12/01/concerning-wheat-tares-and-donatism/

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Holy Art Thou: The Service Book and Hymnal (1958)   14 comments

Service Book and Hymnal (1958)

Above:  My Copies of the Service Book and Hymnal (1958) and The Lutheran Liturgy (1959), July 22, 2013

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U.S. LUTHERAN LITURGY, PART XI

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Holy art thou, almighty and Merciful God, Holy art thou, and great is the majesty of thy glory.

Thou didst so love the world as to give thine only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him might not perish, but have everlasting life; Who, having come into the world to fulfill for us thy holy will and to accomplish all things for our salvation, IN THE NIGHT IN WHICH HE WAS BETRAYED, TOOK BREAD; AND WHEN HE HAD GIVEN THANKS, HE BRAKE IT AND GAVE IT TO HIS DISCIPLES, SAYING TAKE, EAT; THIS IS MY BODY, WHICH IS GIVEN FOR YOU; THIS DO IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME.

AFTER THE SAME MANNER ALSO, HE TOOK THE CUP, WHEN HE HAD SUPPED, AND, WHEN HE HAD GIVEN THANKS, HE GAVE IT TO THEM, SAYING, DRINK YE ALL OF IT; THIS CUP IS THE NEW TESTAMENT IN MY BLOOD, WHICH IS SHED FOR YOU, AND FOR MANY, FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS; THIS DO, AS OFT AS YE DRINK IT, IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME.

Remembering, therefore, his salutary precept, his life-giving Passion and Death, his glorious Resurrection and Ascension and the promise of his coming again, we give thanks to thee, O Lord God Almighty, not as we ought, but as we are able; and we beseech thee mercifully to accept our praise and thanksgiving, and with thy Word and Holy Spirit to bless us, thy servants, and these thine gifts of bread and wine, so that we and all who partake thereof may be filled with heavenly benediction and grace, and, receiving the remission of sins, be sanctified in soul and body, and have our portion with thy saints.

And unto thee, O God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be all honor and glory in thy holy Church, world without end.  Amen.

–The Prayer of Thanksiving, as printed on page 11 of the Service Book and Hymnal (1958)

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I.  TECHNICAL NOTE

This post, being Part XI of an ongoing series, flows from previous entries, links to which I have provided here:  https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/12/guide-to-posts-about-lutheran-worship/.

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II.  INTRODUCTION

The Service Book and Hymnal (1958), prepared and authorized by eight denominations, superceded five official hymnals-service books:

  1. The Common Service Book (1917), of The United Lutheran Church in America (ULCA);
  2. The Hymnal and Order of Service (1925), of the Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church; used also by the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America since 1930;
  3. The Hymnal for Church and Home (1927, 1938, and 1949), of the two Danish-American synods, The United Evangelical Lutheran Church and the American Evangelical Lutheran Church;
  4. The American Lutheran Hymnal (1930), of The American Lutheran Church (1930-1960); and
  5. The Lutheran Hymnary (1935), of The Evangelical Lutheran Church.

The Service Book and Hymnal also superceded (for the hymnody, at least), The Concordia Hymnal (1932), which The Lutheran Free Church did not authorize but did encourage the use of as its unofficial hymnal.

One of the functions of multi-synodical U.S. Lutheran hymnals and service books has been to foster unity.  Thus new hymnals-service books across denominational lines have preceded mergers.  Examples include:

  • The Lutheran Hymnary (1913), four years before the merger;
  • the Common Service Book (1917), one year before the merger;
  • the Service Book and Hymnal (1958), before mergers in 1960, 1962, and 1963; and
  • the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), nine years before the merger.

The second American Lutheran Church formed by union in 1960; The Lutheran Free Church joined it three years later.  And the Lutheran Church in America came into existence via merger in 1962.  Thus the Service Book and Hymnal (hereafter abbreviated as SBH), became the hymnal of two denominations.

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III.  BACKGROUND

In 1944 the ULCA, pondering the revision of its Common Service Book (1917), resolved to cooperate with as many Lutheran bodies as possible in creating the next hymnal-service book.  The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, having published its Lutheran Hymnal in 1941 (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/o-come-let-us-sing-unto-the-lord-the-lutheran-hymnal-1941/), declined to participate.  The Joint Commission on the Hymnal, organized in 1945, got down to work with Dr. Luther D. Reed as the chairman.

Aside:  Reed’s account of the preparation process in The Lutheran Liturgy (1959 edition) is thorough without being tedious.  I, seeing no need to paraphrase all of that account here, refer my readers to that fine volume.

Among the issues the representatives of the eight denominations needed to resolve was the plethora of minute differences in their respective variations of the Common Service.  Muhlenberg’s dream of “one church, one book” lived in the minds of many who labored to make the SBH.  When all was accomplished, the Joint Commission had prepared a revolutionary yet traditional resource–a milestone of U.S. Lutheran liturgy.

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IV.  LITURGY

The SBH (1958) contains 314 pages of liturgy and 602 hymns.  This volume, the new book of worship for about two-thirds of U.S. Lutherans, deserves much analysis, a short version of which follows.  The complete, book-length analysis comes courtesy of Luther D. Reed, in the 1959 edition of The Lutheran Liturgy.

The SBH Music Edition contains only part of the ritual.  Other material, such as the occasional services, comes bound separately and in the Text Edition.  I am writing based on the Music Edition, which refers one to the Text Edition for

the whole body of liturgical services.

–page x

The Calendar looks familiar from the Common Service Book (1917), with two additions which attract my attention.  All Saints’ Day (November 1) and the Feast of the Holy Innocents (1958) are new.

The Common Service is present, excluding all other rituals for the Holy Communion.  There are, however, two major differences between this variation on it and the 1888 original version:

  1. Although the Church is still “Christian” in the Creeds, there is a footnote which mentions that the use of “catholic” is “the traditional and generally accepted text.”  Reed’s disapproval of the continued substitution of “Christian” for “catholic” notwithstanding, at least he got an asterisk and a footnote to make an accurate point.  It was a partial victory.
  2. There is now a Lutheran Canon/Prayer of Thanksgiving.  Reed had proposed one in the 1947 edition of The Lutheran Liturgy (pages 336-337) after arguing for the existence of such a Eucharistic Prayer (on pages 331-336).  His 1947 proposed Prayer of Thanksgiving resembles the 1958 Prayer closely, for he and Paul Zeller Strodach collaborated on the final version, which I reproduced at the beginning of this post.  Variation of the 1958 Prayer of Thanksgiving appears in the Missouri Synod’s Worship Supplement (1969) and Lutheran Service Book (2006), the ecumenical Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), and Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

There are also the usual prayers and services one expects in such a Lutheran book:  Matins, Vespers, Collects, Introits, Baptism, Confession, Burial of the Dead, and Marriage.  The lectionary, which supports the services Eucharistic and otherwise, is a one-year cycle with three readings per day.

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V.  CONCLUSION

As I ponder the SBH in historical context, I recognize it as an intermediate step.  The Nicene Creed is still in the first-person singular and the Church is still “Christian,” for example, but that began to change by the late 1960s and early 1970s.  Most importantly from a liturgical point of view, the restoration of the Canon was a great step forward, one which the Missouri Synod accepted within eleven years, and which other more conservative synods have continued to reject.  Nevertheless, the ultra-conservative Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) added the canon to a service in its Christian Worship:  Supplement (2008).

The SBH was a great advance, one on which that which followed during the next twenty years built and expanded.

Next:  Lord of Heaven and Earth:  The Lutheran Book of Worship (1978).

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KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 25, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES BAR-ZEBEDEE, APOSTLE AND MARTYR

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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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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

Pfatteicher, Phiip 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.

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

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

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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Assembled in This Thy House: Danish-American Lutherans, 1870-1962   56 comments

getimage.exe

Above:  Interior of St. John’s Danish Lutheran Church, Seattle, Washington, 1920s and 1930s

Image Source = Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries

(http://content.lib.washington.edu/u?/social,1225)

and (http://content.lib.washington.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/social&CISOPTR=1225&CISOBOX=1&REC=8)

My copy of the 1938 Hymnal bears the stamp of this congregation.

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U.S. LUTHERAN LITURGY, PART VIII

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We would gladly behold the day when the One, Holy, Catholic, Christian Church shall use one Order of Service, and unite in one Confession of Faith.

–From the Preface to the Common Service (1888); Quoted in Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church (1917), page 308

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O Lord, we are assembled in this Thy house to hear what Thou our Father, Thou Jesus Christ our Savior, and Thou Holy Spirit our Comforter in life and death, wilt speak unto us.  We pray Thee so to open our hearts by Thy Holy Spirit that, through Thy Word, we may be taught to repent of our sins, to believe on Jesus in life and in death, and to grow day by day in grace and holiness.  Hear us for Christ’s sake.  Amen.

Hymnal for Church and Home, 3d. Ed., (1938), page 7

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I.  PREFACE

In U.S. Lutheran Liturgy, Part I (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/muhlenbergs-dream-the-road-to-the-common-service-1748-1888/), I wrote about the process which culminated in the unveiling of the Common Service in 1888.  I chose not to write about that liturgy because I had already entered twenty-four pages of writing from a composition book.  In U.S. Liturgy, Part II (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/17/the-missing-canon-the-common-service-1888/), I focused on the Common Service.  In U.S. Liturgy, Part III (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/), I wrote about it in The United Lutheran Church in America (1918-1962) and The American Lutheran Church (1930-1060).   In U.S. Lutheran Liturgy, Part IV (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/17/the-lord-is-in-his-holy-temple-liturgy-in-the-augustana-evangelical-lutheran-church-1860-1928/), I focused on The Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church (1860-1962).  In U.S. Lutheran Liturgy, Part V (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/17/all-glory-be-to-thee-most-high-finnish-american-lutherans-1872-1963/), I wrote about Finnish-Americans.  In U.S. Lutheran Liturgy, Part VI (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/my-soul-doth-magnify-the-lord-missouri-synod-liturgies-1847-1940/), I turned my attention to the Missouri Synod.  In U.S. Lutheran Liturgy, Part VII (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/20/that-by-thy-grace-we-may-come-to-everlasting-life-norwegian-american-lutherans-1853-1963/), I wrote about Norwegian-Americans.  Now, in Part VIII, I focus on Danish-American synods.

I have been studying this material closely, trying to record information accurately as I have reviewed primary and secondary sources.  This has required a commitment of much time, for there are so many synods about which to read.  And, since I grew up United Methodist in southern Georgia, U.S.A., in the Baptist Belt, Lutherans were scarce, if present at all, when I was quite young.  My spiritual journey has taken me into The Episcopal Church.  Anglicanism and Lutheranism have many theological and liturgical similarities and considerable theological overlap, but my adopted vantage point is still one outside of Lutheranism.  If I have misstated anything, I can correct it.

The material is, by its nature, complicated.  I have tried to organize and format it for maximum ease of reading and learning, however.  So, without further ado, I invite you, O reader, to follow the proverbial bouncing balls with me.

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II.  BACKGROUND

The Norwegian-Danish Conference broke away from the Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church in 1870.  The Conference merged into the United Norwegian Lutheran Church of America (UNLCA) in 1890.  That denomination helped to form a new body in 1917.  That merged organization, which took the name “The Evangelical Lutheran Church” in 1946, helped to form The American Lutheran Church (TALC) in 1960.  TALC, in turn, merged into the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in 1987.

Now that I have “placed cannons,” so to speak, I get down to the Danish-American Lutheran Synods in earnest.  The Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church Association (DELCA) broke away from the Norwegian-Danish Conference in 1884.  Meanwhile, The American Evangelical Lutheran Church (AELC), originally the Church Mission Society then the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church (DELC), had formed in 1872.  The Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America (DELCNA) split from it in 1893.  Three years later, DELCNA (1893) merged with DELCA (1884) to form The United Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church (later just The United Evangelical Lutheran ChurchUELC).

Thus, starting in 1896, there were two Danish-American Lutheran synods:

  1. The United Evangelical Lutheran Church (UELC) (1896), formed by the merger of two splinter groups; and
  2. The American Evangelical Lutheran Church (AELC), parent of part of the other synod.  The AELC merged into the Lutheran Church in America (LCA) in 1962.  The LCA, in turn, helped to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in 1987.

So both Danish-American synods became antecedents of ELCA by different routes.

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III.  LITURGY

The two Danish-American Lutheran denominations published their Hymnal for Church and Home in 1927.    They added about 150 hymns for the third edition in 1938.  The fourth and final edition rolled off the printing presses in 1949.  The Hymnal for Church and Home met a spiritual and cultural need–an English-language hymnal and service book which preserved Danish hymnody:

Many of our congregations introduced hymnals already available by other Lutheran bodies.  As they, however, contained but few translations of Danish hymns, several individual efforts were made to supply translations in booklet form.  These pointed the way and prepared the ground for a larger effort, but could not satisfy the increasing demand.

It was also felt that the unity which the use of a common hymnal had hitherto helped to maintain in the church services of the two Danish Synods would be lost, unless they united in preparing a hymnal in the English language.

Hymnal for Church and Home, 3d. Ed. (1938), page 3

The Junior Hymnal for Church and Home (1932) helped in that cause also.

The 1938 edition of the Danish-American Hymnal provides a Communion service similar to the Bugenhagen rite from The Lutheran Hymnary (1913) and its near-clone, The Lutheran Hymnary (1935).  This makes sense, for, as I established in the previous post, Norwegian-American Lutheran synods used rituals based on Norwegian and Danish liturgies.  The 1938 edition of the Hymnal also contains the Common Service (Communion, Matins, and Vespers), responsive readings, Collects, Introits, and a two-year lectionary which assigns two readings per Sunday and major feast.  All that content fills 146 pages.

The Service Book and Hymnal became official in 1958, but to write of congregations keeping copies of the Hymnal for Church and Home on hand for certain Danish hymns and the traditional service does not stretch credulity, does it?  My copy of the 1938 edition comes with a booklet containing a slightly modernized version of the first Communion service glued inside the front cover.  There is no date on this booklet, but 1958 or later would be possible.  The Church is “Christian,” not “Catholic,” or “catholic” inside the Hymnal, but it is “catholic” in the booklet.  Yet someone scratched though “catholic” and wrote “Christian.”

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IV.  CONCLUSION

Ethnic hymnody and liturgy added much flavor to U.S. Lutheran worship.  The transition to the Common Service of 1888 and to multi-synodical hymnals and service books reduced this variety yet did not eliminate it.  This was good, for variety is the spice of life.  If we were all alike, the world would be unbearably boring.

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KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 22, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARY MAGDALENE, EQUAL TO THE APOSTLES

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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.

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

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

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

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:

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

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

KRT

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