Lutheran Forum online

Pastor Clint Schnekloth of Lutheran Confessions alerts us to the new website of Lutheran Forum, “an independent theological quarterly for clergy and laity” with authors “belong[ing] to the ELCA and LCMS, as well as Lutheran church bodies across the world.”

I thought this article by Philip H. Pfatteicher on the new ELCA and LCMS worship books was interesting. Alas, Evangelical Lutheran Worship, which I’ve yet to experience, sounds distinctly inferior to the perfectly good Lutheran Book of Worship. In fact, the LBW isn’t even that old – was a new book really necessary?

UPDATE: Christopher offers the first of a series of comparisons of ELW and LBW here.

On a personal note, as we’ve not yet settled on a church home here in DC we’ve attended a Lutheran Church the past two weekends. I have a hunch they are using texts from ELW in the service though there are no books in the pews since some of the language is unfamiliar to me (the liturgy is printed in a bulletin). I don’t have too many complaints so far except there seems to be an excessive allergy to masculine terms for God and a certain flattening of the language of some of the prayers (e.g. referring to God at the Eucharistic prayer as “Source and Goal” – is this kind of abstraction really preferable to the rich, personal language of the Bible? Reminds me of C. S. Lewis’ remark that some of the abstract language about God that came from modern theologians led him to think of God as a vast amorphous force, something like tapioca pudding).

Another Update: Chris (a.k.a. The Lutheran Zephyr) has some thoughts on ELW and takes issue with Pfatteicher’s criticisms.

10 thoughts on “Lutheran Forum online

  1. *yawn*

    I’ll offer a more thorough response later, but I disagree with his analysis that an Augsburg Fortress bail-out and an anti-masculine language minority were the driving force behind the creation of Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Rather, the driving force was the needs of parishes who, in increasing numbers, were looking for more flexible and varied worship resources and rejecting LBW as stale.

    More later. Gotta go pick up the kiddo from pre-school.

  2. Not sure I buy the bail-out theory either, though I must admit, when the book first came to fruition, my mind instantly went there.

    I am not thrilled with the ELW overall. It is a real mixed bad: some good, some bad, some indifferent. I think if you use the Eucharist settings as written and straight from the book you end up with a so-so service. We are using setting 2 from ELW right now and I hate it (mostly it is the musical setting, but I don’t like this new creed translation either). But then again, I am not that big of a fan of Haugen liturgies (except Holden Evening Prayer and the Kyrie from Now the Feast, both of which I quite like).

  3. My biggest find thus far is that ELW is weak on Sin. Subtle changes water down sin and word about evil. My second complaint, changes in hymn wording that aren’t necessary or better, and great inconsistency in changes around masculine language so that some great hymns simply get messed with. I do think the loose plug and play ordo, a consequence of the work of one now retired liturgy prof. has greatly influenced this work.

  4. Chip Frontz

    For “one now retired liturgy prof.” read Gordon Lathrop, former professor of liturgy at Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia.

    To have “Gathering,” “Word,” “Sending” etc. headings stuck to everything from Compline to the Committal of the Dead is annoying.

    For Chris to say that inclusive language was not a major concern and push for a new worship resource is mind-boggling, to me. This is not inconsistent with a call from the parish for more “flexible” resources, as they are increasingly pastored by those who have been inculturated into seminaries which in the past twenty years have adopted the inclusive-language gold standard. Perhaps the needs for the new hymnal may have been multi-faceted, but the form which the new hymnal has taken is certainly greatly influenced by this one perceived need.

    There are some good things in ELW. As I have said to proponents of ELW, it is possible to use the resource in a (c)atholic way. The problem is that is not the only way one can use it.

  5. Our church gets the new book in the pews in two weeks, but I’ve had a copy for quite awhile. For the record, I will say that I have never liked the liturgical melodies in the LBW. And I don’t think that the general people in the pews give a rip about any of the “stuff” in the book that isn’t in the hymn section, so the stuff that the clergy cares about is different from what the “people” care about.

    Our church has been using excerpts from the trial version for several years. My impression at first had nothing to do with theology or doctrine, but rather was, If You Can Say Something In A Longer Form than the Old Book (green) Then Here It Is. It was annoying. Or maybe it was just that particular pastor who always said everything the long way.

  6. Ledsicsneed

    What’s up? Been reading for a while and just decided to write!

    Umm so like does anyone know how to browse just about any site easily while at school?

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