Friday, September 3, 2010

Finally, Sts. Timothy and Titus get contextual

From the Daily Announcements of Concordia Seminary - St. Louis for today, September 3.

Contextual Worship/Chapel Bands

If you are gifted in the ways of music or can run a sound board, come audition to be a part of a chapel band. Come sign up for an audition time at the Information fair on Friday (9/3) or Tuesday (9/7). Or email [a student address - +HRC] if you are unable to be at the info fair. Email me with any questions. Thanks.

I wonder if they will be playing at the installation?

The seminaries - for worse, not better - have followed a funding model for quite a while that is basically identical to how all private institutions of higher learning function. Therefore, if won't be blog analyses of how "contextual worship" is inferior to Lutheran worship, but rather complaining donors who will stop this sort of thing - if it is ever to stop.



  1. Sad but not surprising. I think its more surprising that this didn't happen years ago.

  2. To his credit, when I worked for Dean Brauer "years ago" as sacristan, he would not allow a "chapel band." We had excellent organists, choirs, instrumentalists, and the like. I am disappointed.

  3. True, the donors will always get their opinions heard, but is this coming across like it is something against the wishes of the profs? Do they see contempo for the blight it is? Because if they do, you'd think we'd hear more from them on that front. There are two different journals put out by the seminaries, both have websites, one even has a blog -- do you pick up a lot of dissent on this issue in those forums? It's not like this is a new issue in our church body.

    Just asking.

  4. "Contextual worship" - when the context IS what you worship, yeah ... this is the result.

  5. So much for leading "a contextually pure and decent life..."

  6. "The seminaries - for worse, not better..." Please don't write a piece about StL and then rope in FW, as you often do. In terms of liturgy, chapel at FW strives for the highest and best. If you can find a more orthodox place for the training of future Pastors let me know.

    As Shakespeare once said, "Thou dost protest too much."

  7. cat,
    He was speaking of the funding model, not the worship life. And in that context, his assertion is quite correct. The seminaries (plural) follow a donor funding model. This gives donors far more influence over the life of either seminary than is healthy.

  8. This direction in worship fits the architectural direction of that worship space. This direction screams "We are Protestants!"

    Most CCM artists eventually cross over to the secular music industry. Most churches who put their bands up front tie themselves and their future, financially and otherwise, not necessarily to any ecclesiastical structure, church body, or religious association but primarily to the entertainment industry.
    Such an industry soon becomes their new "ecclesiastical" structure, and this helps determine their future direction.

  9. Scott,

    At CSL a lot of things happen that a lot of the faculty don't like. But there seems, from my experience, to be an unwritten rule: professors don't criticize the seminary to the outside world.

    So, the profs who find this unprofitable will probably talk about it with students, but not anywhere else. But who knows? Maybe someone will take this public topic public.


  10. I just graduated from CSL this past may. During my time there, chapel attendance was dismal. The rock and roll is seen as a way to boost attendance. There were certainly many students who wouldn't go because they didn't like organ music. (I even knew one student who wouldn't commune there because only the chalice was offered). The administration at CSL refuses to make chapel attendance mandatory, and generally didn't ever say anything about going. (Incidentally, many faculty members were not to be found in chapel either.) They are changing times and styles in order to accommodate the students' schedules. This is how we learn to do this sort of thing in the parish.

  11. Dear Kyle:

    I was at CTSFW from 2000-2003. We generally had good attendance, but we did have a few guys who had ridiculous excuses for not going: it would be sinful to take communion twice a week, going too often would be "Pietist," and the most outrageous (no kidding): one guy claimed that the rarely-used incense gave him diarrhea. There were some guys who wanted happy-clappy, but they generally went to chapel anyway.

    We had some guys who would flaunt their non-attendance by playing foosball and watching the big-screen TV instead.

    I understand that now the TV is off-limits during chapel at CTS. I don't understand why chapel shouldn't be seen as mandatory for seminarians just as a class or a paper is.

  12. Chapel attendance is mandatory for Christians whether or not a dean is checking your name. I like to call this requirement the "3rd Commandment".

  13. Dear Kyle:

    Welcome to modern American Lutheranism: "I don't have to even attempt to keep the commandments, because Jesus has done it all for me. In fact, even trying to keep them is Pietism, works righteousness, and legalism."

    Or as one person put it: "I don't have to repent. I'm baptized."

    So, put on your "Weak on Santification" t-shirt, wear your collar and get sloppy drunk in public, and brag about it after the fact as a celebration of your freedom in Christ.

    Hey, maybe CSL is training Lutheran pastors for the real world after all...

  14. Or, perhaps on chapel attendance let us put it this way -- it's a good thing. How is what you are doing instead of going to chapel to hear God's Word preached better than going to Chapel?

    Of course, we could argue that Fort Wayne is both better than St. Louis because it has daily matins and vespers as well and also more wicked for its students skip more services and are therefore more wicked. Oh wretches that we are, who will save us from the body of death?

    Maybe St. Catherines?

  15. Dear Eric:

    "Why, when I play foosball instead of going to chapel, I'm exercising my Christian liberty and proving that I'm not a Pietist."

    Not me saying that. I'm repeating what I actually heard.

    Of course, if we call it "sin" and tell these men to repent, that just proves what legalists we are.

    "Sin boldly," and all that.

    Of course, requiring passing grades is somehow not legalism. Maybe we should just give everyone an "A" - since Jesus has done it all for me - including studying for that Early Church exam in Weinrich's class...

  16. Dear Larry,

    There may come a time when playing football to prove that one isn't a Pietist may be more important than going to chapel (I suppose in a state of confession or some such thing). Of course, I don't know if I would call not going to chapel itself fundamentally sin. . . there is no law "Thou must attend daily service". The sin there would be of lying. The purpose of playing football is not to make a theological statement, it is because what you wish to do. That's a lie, and that is that person being works righteous (the exercise of your freedom is a Good Work, and they are claiming to be more righteous and free than others).

    Passing grades are required for graduation - that is part and parcel of the program. Why isn't chapel attendance? Eh, I could see individual classes where it would be good to have it be required - your hom. classes where you analyze the sermons; your worship classes. But there is something to be said about not simply treating Chapel like a hoop to jump through in order to graduate. Grades are there to provide an academic standard -- is the desire for mandatory chapel attendance about academic standards or establishing a spiritual standard? That would be something to consider.

    And actually, if a person were to say, "Maybe I should have gone to chapel today, but you know, I really wanted to play football. I desired to just get out, be active, and let my mind wander for a bit. This is what I have done - if it is wrong, God be merciful to me, a sinner. Even if it is not wrong, God be merciful to me, a sinner, for every act I make is tainted with sin and worthy of damnation." That would be more of a "sin boldly" sort of approach.

    But you and I would agree that praise bands to draw students in is not a good exercise of Christian liberty, serves neither academic or spiritual improvement, nor a proper application of the "sin boldly" concept. And on this, Fort Wayne should be humble - for the power jacks were installed in the front of the chapel there in the 90s. There but for the grace of God go we.

  17. Dear Eric:

    We're not talking about mandatory chapel attendance to merit salvation. This has nothing to do with a state of confession or even physical fitness (foosball is a table game that resembles soccer with little plastic men on poles - it is commonly played while smoking and drinking a beer - which I suppose is all the exercise some guys get...).

    You're missing the point.

    Chapel should be mandated just as going to class and writing papers are. Not to have salvation, but rather to be certified for ministry. Chapel is a learning experience. Chapel is training for the holy ministry. It is where we learn liturgy, preaching, and rubrics. It is not just a nine-week course. It is rather ongoing pastoral formation.

    And if a man desires to play a kiddie game instead of daily hearing the Word of God in the chapel, I'm not saying he is going to hell. I am saying that, in my opinion, it shows that a guy is unfit to serve in the ministry.

    Can you imagine a guy in medical school who shows no interest in human anatomy? Maybe he's just there to get a high-paying job. Maybe he doesn't know what he wants to do. But an M.D. student who has no interest in medicine would not make a good doctor. That's not his vocation. Ditto for an M.Div. student who lacks a desire to hear preaching and the Word of God in order to form him into a pastor.

    When I was 15 and worked as a dishwasher, my aunt (the manager of the restaurant) would sometimes schedule a Saturday morning employee meeting. We had to be there, or we would be fired. This had nothing to do with "state of confession" or Pietism or works righteousness or neo-Romanism or neo-Evangelicalism, or anything of the sort. It was a vocational requirement. There were exceptions, but "I wanted to play a game" was not one of them.

    Similarly, pastors have vocational requirements. I am required to preach and say Mass twice a week - unless I am out of town or sick. It is a vocational requirement. I have to do it. If I blow it off, I will be removed from office - and rightly so.

    It is not an option for me to blow off Sunday services and then attempt to justify myself by throwing around the terms "Pietism" and "works righteousness" and come up with some nonsense about a "state of confession."

    Chapel should be as mandatory to a seminarian as church services are to a pastor.

  18. Larry,

    I am laughing, cause you had typed "football" instead of foosball - and I was wondering what flag football games were happening during chapel.

    Now, to the crux. "Chapel should be as mandatory to a seminarian as church services are to a pastor."

    First - there is a difference that you are missing. I am called to be at the services of my congregation to officiate at them. A seminarian is not called to officiate. If you wish to say that chapel services should be as mandatory to a seminarian as church services are to a member of the congregation, then you are keeping vocational duties in line.

    I understand the desire that seminarians be involved in devotional life. I understand the importance of joining in the chapel life. However, what do you mandate? What of the person who does not have class on Tuesday and Thursday - are they bound to chapel that day? Or what of Matins and Vespers - ought seminarians be bound to those services as well? Or will there be a number - X times a week? I could see tying it to a class that day - a hom class saying, "we will discuss today's sermon" or the Greek readings class saying, "we are going to translate today's reading" - these are practical and observable goals.

    But one additional point. You call into question whether someone should be fit for the office if they don't attend. But now, I'm wondering. . . did I miss chapel too much? Am I not really fit for my office - did the Seminary err in certifying me and placing me - ack and alas is my Divine Call in error because my chapel attendance wasn't perfect!?!?!? Oh, wait, I have a divine call. I exercise these duties faithfully. Eh, Lord have mercy on me.

    But, if you want seminarians to be forced to listen to the praise bands at St. Louis to prove that they are fit for office, more power to you.

  19. Dear Eric:

    A seminarian still has a duty to be a diligent student. It is part of his vocation to attend classes, to write papers, to pay attention in class, etc. Chapel is part and parcel of that vocational experience as a student. It is not only for his spiritual edification. It is also for his formation as a pastor.

    You might as well be asking "How many times do I have to attend Homiletics Class before I'm unfit for ministry?" Well, believe it or not, we do have standards in such matters. We do measure things like wrong answers on exams, classes blown off, etc. It isn't an exact science, to be sure. But some men do flunk out, wash out, or simply try their best and not make the mark - because not everyone has a vocation for ministry.

    You can defend these guys all you want. But I certainly would not want a surgeon operating on me who blew off Triage class to play poker, or a lawyer who cheated his way through Torts because it wasn't fun enough.

    When it comes to seminary, it should not be treated like a joke. It is important. The table of duties covers seminarians too. In fact, "to whom much is given..."

    I think seminary is too lax on many counts - academically as well as spiritually. These men are training for the holy office. And when I think of how many lay people sacrificed to provide us with financial aid - how can anyone excuse goofing off during chapel on theological grounds? I can't believe you don't see the scandal. Would you feel any guilt if your father made a surprise visit to the Fort only to find you playing foosball during chapel? That pang of guilt is not Pietism or works righteousness.

    If we crack down on our sons and daughters who are attending college or high school, and insist that they attend class and perform what is expected of them at that level, than we should expect at least as much out of a seminarian in a graduate level academic program who is training to be a pastor.

    This is the problem with the corner you've painted yourself into here. In the name of "not being a Pietist" you are forced into finding clever ways to condone and excuse such shameful behavior. Good luck with that.

    And if we don't call these men to repentance and give them the opportunity to do better, we will deprive them of learning about confession and absolution, repentance, and (gasp!) sanctification. We don;t do them favors allowing them into a parish with an inferior education or a sense that the Divine Service is unimportant.

    Salvation is easy. Jesus does it all for us. But seminary is, and should be, hard. Jesus does not study for me nor whisper the quiz answers in my ear. Nor does He zap me with knowledge of homiletics, rubrics, liturgy, and how to conduct services. It calls for w-o-r-k.

  20. As far as praise bands in chapel go, I think this is going to set off yet another exodus of men from Lutheranism. Prepare for CSL to become a feeder school for St. Vladimir's.

    I saw many of our own brightest and best leave the LCMS because of what goes on in the name of worship in our churches. It is a scandal, and shame on CSL for wallowing in it.

    If I were a seminarian, and the finest two Lutheran seminaries in the world offered rock music, banners, dancing girls, and all of the other nonsense we see in our churches, I would be sore pressed to remain Lutheran. At very least, I would have quit the seminary.

    I hope Harrison's election is a bellwether and the high-tide of this kind of nonsense - though I'm skeptical that Pr. Harrison can do much of anything about it. I hope he can, and I hope he does!

  21. During my days at CSL the student paper once printed dueling essays on mandatory chapel from two professors. Nothing surprising in the points made on either side - and chapel never became mandatory.

    I don't think there is any question that seminary formation would make better pastors if it featured the prayer life of the church at its heart. The problem with CSL has always been that the prayer life of the Church was never exactly what went on in chapel. At least while I was seminary, the professor preaching at chapel for the prayer services simply got to pick his own order or non-order for the day. I distinctly recall showing up for my scheduled day of chapel assistance and the professor that day handing me a 3"x5" notecard and saying, "I know the schedule says Morning Prayer, but we're going to use this for our order."

    So, at least at CSL, the aversion to order in the Church runs pretty high. Not only will students not be required to go to chapel, but, it seems, that professors will not be required to follow the orders of our church's hymnal.

    This, at least, is a lesson many students learn very well: you can do whatever you want, whatever suits your fancy, in the Lord's house.


  22. HRC,

    I can understand not wanting to slag your own place of employment. Fine. But aren't the profs doctors of the church? Shouldn't they be the ones addressing the topics of the day that affect the church?

    The sem profs probably carry more weight among the clergy than any other group in the synod. If they speak, I think the clergy will at least give them a hearing (and hopefully it would trickle down to the laity from them). Now, they could obviously put the best construction on anything at the sem they don't agree with, but if they refuse to speak on any controversial topics, we are hearing nothing from the best educated (and most influential) group in the synod. This seems, to me at least, to be a shame.

  23. Larry,

    It's not that I don't see the "scandal" - it's that I don't think regulation is the cure to scandal. And until chapel attendance is mandated by the regents and professors (who have duty to determine what is required for completing a course of study)... well, I can say, "you should attend - it's a good thing, it will help you" - but I can't say, "You should be kicked out of the Sem, you bum!" Until those who have be given the duty of overseeing Seminary education determine it is mandatory -- it isn't.

    Also, I think you neglect what field work and vicarage are supposed to be. I did much of my learning about the parish. . . you know, in the parishes I was at during field work and vicarage. That's the intense learning part - let the people at chapel be hearers who are refreshed - students are working and studying much the rest of the time. What of the simple joys of being able to hear the Word - why is that not being extolled?

    Also, note what you say - "And if we don't call these men to repentance and give them the opportunity to do better, we will deprive them of learning about confession and absolution, repentance, and (gasp!) sanctification." Really - so unless we tell students that they should be kicked out of the Sem if they don't attend chapel more. . . they won't? They won't grow, they won't learn? Why is it that the only way you see someone improving is because of the threat of force? And they won't learn about C&A, or repentance or sanctification if they don't attend chapel regularly? Really?

    Going to chapel is good. Be zealous for people to attend - encourage, promote. Let's have good chapel services at both seminaries. And let's encourage folks to take advantage of these gifts - especially as their occupation is going to me that they will not get to be simple hearers in the future.

  24. Scott,

    Maybe if we dump the CTCR (do you know what's its yearly budget is by the way?) the profs will recover their self-understanding as doctors of the church on controversial topics. Some profs do an admirable job going to conferences talking about closed communion and other topics. No one comes readily to my mind as a champion of the Lutheran liturgy in public fora - though I'm sure many do a good job with it in class, at smaller gatherings, etc. And certainly, I may just not know what a lot of profs - especially from CTS - are doing on the conference circuit these days.


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  26. Dear Eric:

    My point is that the powers that be should make chapel mandatory in some way - just as they do with classes.

    And yes, if a seminarian neglects chapel - and I don;t mean occasionally or with some reasonable excuse - but fragrantly and with self-justification - like our foosball players - yes, I say they need to be tossed.

    Chapel should be treated like the classroom. You blow it off, you show contempt, you boast about not going and play games instead - then you need to find your true vocation, because the OHM isn't it.

    If we "regulate" class attendance, grades, and theological interviews, we should also "regulate" chapel. At very least, men who show contempt (contempt, for goodness's sake!) to worship and God's Word ought to be called on it, or released and sent off to some other vocation.

    I mean, really. Is this rocket science?

  27. If I had ever told my father, and Pastor for most of my life, "I think I will sleep in this Sunday morning as a practice of my Christian Liberty." He would have slapped me and threw me in the car. Then, after church, I would have done all the cleaning the church needed for months.

  28. @ Larry,

    The Seminary will remove a student who flagrantly disregards worship, who refuses to go... if that worship is field work or vicarage.

    Also, if you regulate chapel attendance, that is suddenly adding a whole layer of oversight and the like - perhaps with the dean of students - but then you have to define what is a reasonable excuse, how many absences and the like. You can't just say, "If it is flagrant" - there has to be something concrete, because you are talking about removing people from a publicly accredited program which they have paid for. I think making things mandatory (outside of specific classes making it mandatory) is messier than you think.

    Now, please, do not think that this means I am diminishing the idea of chapel - I have long argued that both sems should have full-time campus pastors, someone who is to run the services and provide pastoral care to the students (faculty and staff not so much, because as permanent residents they should be well tied to a local congregation). However, chapel is part of the individual's personal devotional life... saying, "you must go just because it's chapel" without tying it into a specific class is sort of like saying, "If you don't read Portals of Prayer each day, we're going to kick you out" or "If you don't do the Treasury of Daily Prayer daily we'll kick you out." It's just... oddly monkish.

  29. Dear Eric:

    Why not just make chapel a class and say you have to go?

    It's funny how other institutions manage all of this "overhead" somehow.

    But the bottom line is this: if a man doesn't *want* to go to chapel, he is UFM - and hopefully he will either have an epiphany, or he will bomb out in some other way. I believe that there needed to be more "weeding out" at seminary. Maybe they have fixed it by this time.

    But it is really goofy to have mandatory classes, mandatory field ed, mandatory vicarage, mandatory Sunday attendance, mandatory papers, mandatory TIs... but requiring men to be in chapel - *the central place of pastoral formation* - would somehow be "monkish" or wrong.


    The laity deserve properly trained pastors - and they are trained in chapel as much as they are trained in Greek class. And it isn't "strangely monkish" to require pastors to attend Greek class. It's called "vocation."

  30. Eric, Larry - Chapel is not a classroom. It is not a building or time meant primarily for learning. It is not a laboratory. It is not a practice for anyone, either in the pews or pulpit. It is where the Word is proclaimed and the Sacraments administered. Yes, people will learn something, but this is not the point. You go to chapel because you are a part of a community, and this is when and where the community comes together to pray, sing, hear and receive the gifts. To skip is to despise the gifts and neglect your neighbors. Not a good start for pastoral ministry.

    Seriously, why do we not see the 3rd Commandment as being regulatory enough? If you are worried that you skipped chapel too much, then you probably did. As far as I'm concerned, there is no quota or limit to how much you can miss. You just do it. Go to chapel. End of story. Just like Sam's dad did. Skipping? Not an option.

  31. Dear Kyle:

    I agree with you for the most part.

    But a seminary chapel has the *additional* use of being a "classroom." In the same way, a hospital is a place of healing. But a hospital that is attached to a medical college has the additional purpose of training doctors.

    And I believe that chapel is the main way pastors are trained in worship and preaching. The classroom, the dorm, the library, the nursing home - all are important. But chapel is where (I believe) a huge amount of real learning happens, where Word and Sacrament actually happen. It is where seminarians learn liturgy, preaching, music, reverence, etc. What is learned in chapel can't be taught in the sterile isolation of a classroom.

    In that sense, a seminarian attending chapel is something different than a lay person attending services. It is a place of worship - but it is also more.

    Some seminarians see it as study time or play time. And as far as I'm concerned, the seminaries ought to correct that misunderstanding. Chapel attendance should no more be a mere option or a luxury than sitting in the classroom and paying attention is in that place.

  32. Pr. Beane,

    Yes, but even medical residents are not simply learning. They aren't using fake sutures or fake needles or fake ultrasound machines. They are doing real things on real people. This is the same thing in chapel. Real sin. Real Gospel. Real people. I think if we focused on this as the primary purpose of chapel, then it will be conducted in a way which students will indeed learn.

    Although, I'm thinking that the mass does function in some sort of eschatologically didactic way. When Christ returns, we will know what to do, because we are already doing it in the mass. Both clergy and laity will remember the foretaste that they were given in the mass. Sitting in the pew is indeed a good way to prepare for presiding, yet you still cannot say that you know how to do it until you have done it. Likewise, sitting in the pew is a great way to be trained for the worship and the life which is to come, yet we cannot say that we know how to do it until we do it.

  33. Kyle,

    Your point is precisely why I would guess that chapel hasn't been made mandatory. Chapel shouldn't be viewed as simply a hoop to jump through, or something that one simply does. Nor should it even be primarily a learning thing - it is a place of the preaching of the Gospel and the forgiveness of sins. We don't want to shift that focus too much off of that.


    Two things. 1 - One can still have respect for the Word and preaching and not attend chapel -- I doubt we would ding the pastors in Fort Wayne because they don't show up to chapel when they could go and hear the Word. It's something I long for more so now that I am in the parish (what a joy to hear the Word preached to me!). I would rather see Seminarians more involved in congregational life for their training though, as none of us end up at a congregation that looks like the chapel.

    2. You keep tossing out how they are unfit for the office. I am too. Before every sermon I've preached from my pulpit I have prayed with Luther, "O Lord God, dear Father in heaven, I am indeed unworthy of the office and ministry in which I am to make known Thy glory and to nurture and serve this congregation... but since though has appointed me to be a pastor and teacher. . ."

    Don't be so quick to wash people out. . . a quarter wash out already (most on vicarage), and then once in the parish another 20% wash out in three years. Of the folks that started with us, less than 60% are in the parish - God attends to preserving the the unworthy stewards of His Grace. I'm not going to be too quick to try to cut off more.

  34. Eric-
    We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it. This doesn't sound optional to me. Chapel IS mandatory. Christians will go whether or not it is required for certification.

  35. During the epistle reading this morning these words from Philemon rang in my ears: "Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, yet for love's sake I prefer to appeal to you."

  36. Kyle,

    What makes chapel mandatory and not the daily Matins at 7:30, or the 4:30 vespers? Or in Fort Wayne the midweek services over at Redeemer? Or why, if I have service out here at 10:45, am I not morally compelled to go to service at the neighboring congregation that has an 8 am service - I could go and be back in time. Is that now mandated? Did I commit gross sin this morning by not attending a service which I might have? There are sermons on-line that you could listen to right now - are you are we despising preaching if we don't listen to these sermons at all times?

    Despising the Word is not optional. Do not despise the Word. We are to hear the Word with gladness. But that does not mean that every time there is preaching you must hear it.

    Scripture has not mandated the daily attendance of worship. No one in authority at the Seminaries has mandated this. Is it good to go - Yes indeed! Well, okay, most likely (given the initial topic here). But the depth of my devotional piety does not define me as a Christian.

    I do daily matins at my Church. I think this is good. I would not say that members who do not attend are no longer Christian, nor would I think that Pastors who do not have daily matins are evil non-christians. It is important to come and hear the Gospel -- but it's importance is not demonstrated by merely making it a law of what we do.

  37. Getting back to the original subject:

    Pastor Curtis...unfortunately, we cannot fund any institution without donors. This is the case with all the Concordia colleges and universities.

    If this is happening (a chapel band), then someone thinks this will bring in more students or a donor is pushing for it. Perhaps, those of us who don't like it should write to the administrations that they will receive no more donations from us. Additionally, pastors and others can tell the administration that they will not encourage any potential students to attend that institution. Or the other option is to encourage orthodox Lutherans to all attend on institution and shape it in a positive direction.

  38. Flacius,

    Ah, but we used to fund them without donors. We used to fund them via Synod: everybody's offering plate money around the country went into funding seminary education. Now but a pittance from the plate goes there.

    If we had the collective will to do it, we could do away with the big donor throwing his weight around by going to a different funding model.


  39. I despise preaching and God's Word while IN the chapel at 10 in Fort Wayne. God be merciful to me, a sinner.

  40. It was just pointed out to me that the time stamp on my comment looks as if I posted during chapel. This is not the case. I love time zones.

  41. Ha! It could be "ChapelBlog" - a new contextual form of worship... ;-)

  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

  43. Dear Kyle:

    Christian liberty or Christian libertinism?

    Here is a different Lutheran view courtesy of Dr. Norman Nagel and Pr. Jeff Hemmer.

    May the Lord preserve us from being so crass as to take His grace for granted and turn His Word into a joke.

  44. Yeah. Sorry about my crass sarcasm. I just really cannot believe that people don't think that it could be said that someone should actually go to chapel instead of play games. Really though... you will not find anything better to do with those 20 minutes... I promise. I would also think that everyone else actually thinks that their parishioners cannot find anything better to do with their hour on Sunday morning. Not even football.

  45. It's not a matter of thinking that something is better - it is a matter of the use of force. It is one thing to say and teach that one thing is better - it is another to mandate it and enforce it under the threat of force.

    President Harrison gives one of my favorite Luther quotes on this topic -

    And JMcKinkley - you are right!

  46. Dear Eric:

    It isn't "force" to draw a line and say who will become a pastor and who will not. A man may fail Summer Greek. He mail even be given a second chance. But if he can't pass it, he can't be a pastor. It just isn't his vocation.

    If I have no interest in wrenches and pipes, I have no vocation to be a plumber - no matter how much I may want to want to be a plumber, no matter how much I may seek after the benefits of being one.

    If a potential pastor would rather play a child's game than walk 50 feet away to where the body and the blood of the Lord are being administered, where the Word is being preached, and if this is done repeatedly, flagrantly, and even boasted about - I can't imagine Luther just shrugging and deciding that this is a job for the Gospel rather than the Law.

    There are some things that render a man unfit for the ministry. I know you disagree, Eric, but I believe showing such contempt for God's Word is a case for the law and not for the gospel.

  47. I guess I would quote the "part and parcel" argument. I look back at my days at RF, and I remember those who were regular chapel attenders. Anecdotally, to my feeble memory, it seems that those are the people who have remained teachers.

    I also remember those who would joke about not going, finding excuses in every corner. Granted, the late 70s was not the heyday of confessional liturgical worship, but I always thought that since God's Word never returns void, I may as well be there and get what I could, even if the preacher or liturgist was as sinful as I was. Hence, the beauty of the liturgy and its forms. Even if I, an extremely poor and miserable sinner, might read Scripture and the liturgy, I can't go wrong.

    20+ years go by, and I am sitting in a teachers' conference evening "worship service" with the RF chapel band playing. One of the young ladies was dressed up as if she were ready to go bar hopping- low cut top and bad make up. After the service, as I saw them loading out, I noticed that the same young lady was more appropriately dressed for worship while wearing jeans than she was while in the "worship service." Obviously, she found the experience an entertainment venue more than divine service.

    Though I may not know enough of my church history that all of you do, I at least know the difference between Christian liberty and the desire for the Word.

    Not only was I formed much by Steve Hein and Bob Schaibley at RF, and later Karl Fabrizius and Fritz Eckert, I was given the tools to "sharpen steel with steel." Though I am not yet comfortable to require our men to go to a minimum of chapel services, it only seems reasonable that they would want to hear the Word, as well as steel themselves in hearing it. Would it be more fitting for professors to counsel those who obviously stay away, asking them to examine themselves about their desire for and calling to the OHM? Or are we afraid to scare them away?

    Still, the church marches on, despite me. Or you.

  48. Larry,

    I agree that it is a time for Law - but what is the purpose of your law -- to correct their error, or to kick the lousy louts out? To teach them the value of the Word, or to weed them out?

    Now, Mark does bring up a good point - the question should be asked (perhaps by professors) why they are here if they have no desire to go to chapel - call for them to examine themselves. Excellent - I agree whole heartedly with that. I'm all for confronting, extolling, admonishing -- but I've seen too many folks simply jump through hoops that I would hate to turn chapel into simply another hoop.

  49. Dear Eric:

    You are confusing justification with vocation.

    With justification, there are no hoops. Jesus does it all. It is purely by grace.

    Vocation is not. There are indeed hoops. If you want to be a Navy Seal, you have to be able to swim. If you don't like water and are afraid of guns - you have no vocation to be a Seal. You should be weeded out.

    Every vocation has hoops: doctors, airline pilots, lawyers, etc. It is not an act of love to allow a man who flunks Anatomy 201 to wield a scalpel. Nor is it love to permit someone with vertigo to fly F15s. Weeding out is a good thing - especially if you are in the co-pilot seat or on the operating table.

    To become a pastor, you must read foreign languages, study the Bible, speak in public, deal with people, you must have a work ethic, you must maintain a GPA, you have to pass a theological interview, etc. There are hoops (and I don't mean Kingsman basketball).

    Chapel is to the seminarian what a lab is to a medical student. It is not "just another opportunity to worship" for the sake of convenience - take it or leave it. No, the seminaries have chapels because they are important, an integral part of pastoral formation. Otherwise, raze them and turn the grounds into parking lots.

    Jesus saves you apart from your works. But to become a pastor, there is a ton of work involved in order to be trained properly - and that is an act of love for the parishioners these men will eventually serve.

  50. "Chapel is not a classroom. It is not a building or time meant primarily for learning. It is not a laboratory. It is not a practice for anyone, either in the pews or pulpit."

    I dare say that the Mass and daily Office in the seminary chapel is indeed a laboratory, a place of learning, and a place of practice for the seminarians; it's all these things, among others. For it is a part of the seminary experience of forming a man for priestly service in Christ's Church. As it is today, parish churches are viewed as places where seminarians get to practice preaching. This, preaching before the public in a parish situation, is a clear violation of the Confessions. I suggest we flip things around, and start to look more to the sem. chapel as the place where excellent worship practices are modelled, and where students are both fed spiritually and get to practice delivering sermons.


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