03 May 2010

Subterranean scribbling: Two rites, one wrong

"I would argue that when the documents comprising the Lutheran Symbols, the Christian Book of Concord, are no longer permitted to critique and challenge current teaching or practice; when instead our Church's Confession is relegated to the museum as an interesting artifact of what was once the case, then we have lost the right to the name 'Lutheran.'" Rev'd. William Weedon

Some six or seven years ago, when I was still an LCMS pastor, I was a doctrinal reviewer for the hymnal--specifically, for the rite of baptism. I rejected the proposed rite, because it didn't include exorcisms. When I argued that the baptismal rite should include exorcisms, since Luther's rite (which is found in the Book of Concord) had them, I was told that Luther's rite exercised 'no normative role' in regard to current Lutheran baptismal practice.

Someone may note that the agenda has the exorcisms included. What's relevant, however, is the reasoning for not including them in the hymnal's rite.

Let the reader draw his conclusion.

3 comments:

oruaseht said...

The precedent is disconcerting to me as a Lutheran. Sola Scriptura has effectively produced theology and praxis divorced from tradition - that which has been handed down.

As a related aside regarding LSB's Baptism rite, we were just discussing the exorcisms/credal affirmations this past winkel. Why does the pastor direct these questions to the unbaptized "candidate(s)" (p. 270) instead of the church/sponsors? An unbaptized infant can't positively affirm these questions in faith without Baptism. The rubric is puzzling, seemingly to be written for Adult/"Believer's" Baptism, unless one is supposed to infer that the rite also is intended for infants who are going to answer for themselves without faith!? Very odd.

Fr John W Fenton said...

Oruaseht,

Lutheran theology, in concert with Orthodox and Catholic theology, affirms that faith is present before the moment of the actual baptism. As one who used to debate Lutherans, I realize that many Lutherans believe otherwise; that baptism creates faith. When that is asserted, however, the one offering such an assertion has stepped outside the boundaries of the "faith once delivered."

oruaseht said...

Fr. Fenton, I have never heard the theology of which you speak regarding Baptism. "Faith is present before the moment of the actual baptism" - I would be interested in hearing more about this. How is faith present outside of the Sacramental Life of the Church?