Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Worship, Adiaphora, Confessions, and Keeping Our Heads

Wednesday after Pentecost 11
August 11, 2010.

The Lord be with you

In the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod you can find a fairly diverse range of worship practices. In my own circuit we have at least two congregations that display Easter Orthodox Icons in their sanctuary. In at least one of our congregations, a large screen is used from time to time to display the words for songs sung and other images for the worshiping community. At Lamb of God, we kneel during the confession and absolution, but that is not observed in all our congregations. This diversity (and I could go on) exists even though we all have the Lutheran Service Book in our pews (at least I think we all do). This diversity also exists despite the fact that each of the pastors and congregations have sworn to God to be faithful to the Lutheran Confessions. This diversity exists even though each congregation and pastor has subscribed to the Bible as the word of God and the only source for our teaching.

This diversity has led to, or been an excuse for, what some have duded our “Worship Wars.” Much of the debate centers on the idea of “adiaphora.” Adiaphora are things neither commanded nor prohibited in Scripture. The debate can be heated and, at times, motives and believes can be attributed to others even when they emphatically deny such motives or beliefs.

I was pleasantly surprised the other day when I received a link to an article in the WorshipConcord Journal by James Alan Waddell titled “All Adiaphora Are Not Created Equally – A Response.” He was responding to a paper by Dr. Carles Arand that was delivered at the Model Theological Conference on Worship titled, obviously, “All Adiaphora Are Not Created Equally.”

I have read both papers and found them to be excellent examples of how to move this conversation forward in a caring Christian fashion, avoiding the posturing that so often accompanies such discussions. I commend them both to you for reading.

All Adiaphora Are Not Created Equally

All Adiaphora Are Not Created Equally – A Response

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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