Sunday, November 13, 2005

I was thinking about the differences that Lutherans and Catholics have on a whole. Since the post about my great uncle's funeral mass, I know more people are reading my blog, and that many of those readers are Catholic. I thought I might introduce you all to a few differences between our respective churches you probably don't know about. Most Lutherans don't know about these either.

The Canon-- While the Council of Trent canonized the Apocrypha, as we call it, the Lutheran church still considers the books deuterocanonical. If you ask us what books are exactly canonical, I'll evade and dodge the question because none of our confessions say which books are canonical and which are not. There are lists of books that make up the Bible, and it is the Bible handed to us from Rome (we all acknowledge that). Chemnitz listed these books, including the Apocrypha. We are also free to argue about whether certain books that are not generally included in the canon should be. For instance, the more I read 1 Clement, the more I wonder if it should have been included.

Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ)-- If you ever wondered if Lutheranism as a whole signed on to this, the answer is a resounding "No." Rome was dealing with the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), which my synod is not part of. As a matter of fact, many of the churches that belong to the LWF questioned the signing of this document. You basically signed a document that says you agree on justification with the more liberal wing of Lutheranism. It doesn't matter because both bodies made sure to write it in such a way as to be able to interpret it as they wish, which means Rome signed a worthless agreement. Anyway, the point is to say not every Lutheran agrees with that document, and I would have had a lot more respect for Rome if they would just told the LWF to piss off.

The three books that define Lutheranism-- There are three books that have always defined Lutheranism throughout the ages. The first is the Bible. The Second is the Book of Concord. The third is the hymnal. You can tell a lot about Lutheranism by the hymnals we use. The hymnals contain the propers, prayers, catechism, Psalms, orders of service and, of course, hymns. Lutheranism had a hymnal eight years before Luther wrote the Small Catechism. For instance, the horrors committed to many hymns in the new ELCA hymnal tells you a lot about the synod (most of it not good). You can also tell a lot about where the LCMS is at by our new hymnal (much better, but still some flaws). Lex ordandi, lex credendi.

By the way, it was the music with a quick look at the missalette or whatever you call that pitiful softbound book that contains hymns (a hymnal should be hardbound, one color, and contain a lot more that thing did) that convinced me that Catholicism is in trouble. What Catholicism needs in the USA is your version of Martin Franzman.

Thy Strong word didst cleave the darkness
At thy speaking it was done
For created light we thank thee
While thine ordered seasons run

Alleluia Alleluia
Praise to the whose light dost send!
Alleluia Alleluia
Alleluia without end

That, my friends, is a hymn.

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