Thursday, December 29, 2011

Free Conference - Ft. Wayne - January 16

On Monday, January 16, 2012, Redeemer will host a free conference. The theme of the conference is the on-going difficulties with Rome’s doctrine of the papacy and Pope Benedict 16th’s hermeneutics and theological process. This might strike some as strange since Benedict is the friendliest pope in memory and maybe since Luther’s excommunication. So also there have been requests that we re-think and re-evaluate the Confessional identification of the office of the papacy with the antichrist.

The Roman doctrine is more complicated than it first appears and Lutheran apologetics haven’t always been fair. We make no promise that we will answer all the issues fully. But we promise no cheap shots and will attempt to address them together, fraternally, and to seek to better understand the Holy Scriptures and the Confessions regarding these things.

The first address will be given by Rev. Heath Curtis, Gottesdienst Editor, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Worden, Illinois and Zion Lutheran Church in Edwardsville, Illinois. He will consider the doctrine of the antichrist in the Holy Scriptures as well as the confessional claims, in the context in which they were written, while evaluating whether or not these things still apply to the modern pope.

The second address, “Benedict 16th and the Hermeneutic of Continuity” will be presented by Rev. David Ramirez, assistant pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Lincoln, Illinois. From his own involvement in Vatican II to his time as the Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the “hermeneutic of continuity” has been a central aspect of his Benedict’s Theology. It not only defines his interpretation of Vatican II, but also is the key to his understanding of history, doctrine, authority, and the nature of the church.

The conference itself is free, but lunch is not. We will order in pizza and take a collection to cover the cost for those who stay. You may, of course, choose to go elsewhere for lunch or to bring your own lunch. The conference will begin with the panelists at 11 but be preceded by an opportunity for Private Confession with Rev. Petersen in the Chapel beginning at 9:30 am and the Holy Communion at 10:30. We will also have the opportunity to learn better how to read and sing Gregorian chant as presented in the Brotherhood Prayer Book under the tutelage of the Rev. Dr. Ben Mayes at 3:30 pm and then to pray Vespers together from the Prayer Book in the Chapel at 4:30.

Here is the schedule:

Monday January 16, 2012 A+D

9:30 Private Confession available with Petersen in Redeemer's chapel

10:30 Low Mass in the Chapel

11:00-45 “Consideration of the Papacy in Light of the Confessions” by Rev. Heath Curtis

11:45 “Benedict XVI and the “Hermeneutic of Continuity by Rev. David Ramirez

12:30 Lunch - order in pizza, pitch in for costs

2:00 The Panel takes questions and considers statements from the floor

3:30 Gregorian practice/training with Dr. Ben Mayes for the LLPB Vespers

4:30 LLPB Vespers w/ Treasury Propers

Monday, December 26, 2011

Spot the error!

Have you received the CSL 2012 calendar yet? Instead of complaining about it, let's make it a game. The game is: spot the errors, in doctrine, practice, or fact. I'll go first: nice picture for February, Alma Mater! Thanks for supporting classic, traditional, Methodist practice!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Blog + Beg = Bleg

I would be very appreciative if someone with access to the Graebner's essay, "Our Liturgical Chaos," could scan it in and email it to me. pastorcurtis AT gmail DOT com

Thanks in advance - and I promise to share it with others so your work will be worth the effort.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Just how many new pastors do we need again?

From the latest meeting of the LCMS Council of Presidents:

At the conclusion of the meeting, COP Secretary Rev. William Klettke, president of the New Jersey District, reported that 221 LCMS congregations were calling sole pastors; 37, senior pastors; and 45, associate or assistant pastors. He also reported that 430 congregations were listed as having temporary non-calling vacancies.
Numbers from all 35 LCMS districts were included in his report, Klettke said. He also noted that since the September COP meeting in St. Louis, districts had reported 21 new starts and seven closures.

What does this hold for May? I assume that those 37 congregations looking for senior pastors won't be looking for seminary graduates. That leaves 261 calling congregations. Do half of them really want seminary graduates? Doesn't there need to be some room for mobility among veteran pastors as well?

Given these numbers do we really need the SeminaryLite of SMP?

And those 430 "temporary non-calling vacancies"? What does one make of them? Didn't we used to keep track of "permanent non-calling" and "temporary non-calling"? Have we lumped those into one category now? I can't see a bail out fund of calls coming from them this spring.

Will the LCMS rationalize its seminary process? Can both seminaries survive without a new method of funding their mission? You've seen my plan for how to save them.

Some have argued that this dip in demand for pastors is like unto the dip in demand experienced during the Great Depression. Things will turn around, they say. But our problems are much deeper today than a mere lack of money in some congregations. In the 1930s we had a robust birth rate and (though we didn't know it then) we were just 10-15 years away from another influx of German Lutheran immigration and a cultural baby boom. None of those things holds for today. Surely it is passed time to face facts and plan for the future we are likely to have instead of kicking the can down the road. I do not envy our Synod's leaders at the district, Synod, and seminary level. I pray God gives them wisdom for the hard days ahead.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

2012 Gottesdienst Liturgical Calendar is Up

Subscribers to the print edition should already have theirs by now, but here's the online version of our Gottesdienst 2012 liturgical calendar, in living technicolor.

Friday, December 9, 2011

AC XIV, again

Curiouser and curiouser. . .the CTCR has a new (now that new, I don't get over to their website that often, I'm afraid) document out responding to a couple of questions from the South Wisconsin District. The latter asked if it was appropriate under AC XIV for lay men to "regularly carrying out the duties of the pastoral ministry, viz., the public proclamation of the Word and the administration of the Sacraments." The answer was "not appropriate."

BUT! A Footnote! "It is clear from background information in the District President’s correspondence that this request does not pertain to questions about the service of “licensed lay deacons,” but about lay men “commissioned” by the congregation to carry out certain functions of pastoral ministry, such as public preaching and regular sacramental administration."

So the CTCR has at least said that it's not right, excuse me, "appropriate," for some laymen to pretend they are pastors. This is a step in the right direction. Dare we read into this carefully parsed statement a general tendency on the current CTCR to look afoul of the "licensed lay deacons" as well? After all, they Synod is only a collection of congregations. If a congregation can't "commission" somebody to pretend to be a pastor, then why can a bunch of congregations "license" a guy to do so?

Perhaps this fine statement from the systematics faculties is finally having its effect.

The upcoming District conventions will see several memorials to the Synod to get rid of lay ministry. The time to restore the Augsburg Confession in the Missouri Synod is now. Will the current leadership step forth boldly to do this? Oremus.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Faithful Lutheran Mission Needs a Chalice

There is a faithful LCMS mission start to Chinese immigrants in Evansville, IN, under the pastoral leadership of the Rev. Dr. Michael Paul. They are starting from the ground up and would like to buy a chalice. They have been offered free individual cups from the usual sources but want to start this new mission out right. Would you like to donate? Contact Dr. Paul at: paulm9 at gmail dot com.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

More St. Nicholas

A very fine sermon from Dr. Stephenson.


Saint Nicholas

Heretic most hated
Spread the lie
Our Savior was created
Hearing of his fall from grace
Nicholas hit him in the face
Holy Father Nicholas

HT: Prof. W. Tighe

Monday, December 5, 2011

Hymns for this Church Year

Picking the hymns is the most stressful part of preparation for the Divine Service if you ask me. So I am a big fan of the hymn selection guide in the LSB volumes. Here are two more excellent resources.

* Here at Gottesdienst we have our own resident hymnologist, the Rev. Dr. Rick Stuckwisch. Search his blog archives for all sorts of information and suggestions. I especially like his lists of hymns ordered by how many times his congregation sings them each year.

* Father David Juhl can't put his disc spinning days behind him and still loves to come up with a play list. He plans out the whole year's hymns and then kindly sends them to me - and now I'm sharing it with you here.