Tuesday, January 22, 2013

God's Service, Our Service, or Our Own Entertainment?

The following is part of what my response was going to be to a series of comments where a video was linked. It is apparently a clip from a WELS church's Easter service. The partial comment is as follows:

That video is absolutely disgusting. There's no altar so I'm assuming (I could be wrong) that there was no Sacrament of the Altar on Easter. If you're going to have the Sacrament of the Altar at all, the most perfect time to have it would be on Easter -- wow. The clapping at the end just solidifies the whole reason they're there. Now yes, I already know what you (plural) are thinking -- I don't know their hearts. But based off of the confession that they gave, i.e. clapping after that amazing guitar rift and rock out, they show that they are there to listen to the music; I mean why else would they leave their "traditional" churches for the "relevant" ones (statistically speaking)? They are there for the music and in the process they lose focus on the Sacraments and what they deliver -- just what the devil wants. It's thoroughly saddening. That pastor needs to reconsider what he is doing; he is misleading sheep whether he knows it or not -- putting an emphasis on their praise, what they do, rather than letting God feed His sheep.

I also find it bittersweet that they have the Lutheran Confessions linked on their "What We Believe" page of their website. It's awesome, I love it, and quite frankly it's rare for a WELS church's website (especially ones like this church). But what's foul is the thought of what they'd do when someone actually reads AC XXIV of the Lutheran Confessions and asks the pastor why they are the opposite from that. Or even worse, read Ap IV, 49 and realize they don't reflect that. What does the pastor say then? It's truly sad watching such a thing especially because most are now taught that doctrine and practice aren't related. I would never recommend such a church to anyone. It is soul destroying. I know too many people (WELS mostly) who are burnt out thinking worship is all about their praise. What these people really need is the forgiveness delivered to them through the Sacraments on a very regular basis. Let Christ come to you! Let Him forgive you! Let Him be in control! He's always been in control of your salvation. He has called you, enlightened you, and wishes to sanctify you! Let Him forgive and sustain you at worship (hence the fitting term "Divine Service" or "God's Service" [German: Gottesdienst])! He doesn't want or need your works of praise (Ap IV, 49). They're like filthy rags anyway (Isaiah 64:6). Let Him cleanse you and sustain you with his Life giving Word and Sacraments and let us humbly and reverently receive Him while He does (Hebrews 12:28). Run from churches that are focused on your praise and discipleship and flee to churches that reverently focus on and receive Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, Sunday to Sunday -- Christ for you, not you for Christ.


  1. Correct video url:


  2. Thanks for letting me know. Just fixed it now.

  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Applause
    "In Christianity, customs of the theatre were adopted by the churches. Eusebius [3] says that Paul of Samosata encouraged the congregation to applaud his preaching by waving linen cloths (οθοναις), and in the 4th and 5th centuries applause of the rhetoric of popular preachers had become an established custom. Applause in church eventually fell out of fashion, however, and partly by the influence of the quasi-religious atmosphere of the performances of Richard Wagner's operas at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus, the reverential spirit that inspired this soon extended back to the theatre and the concert hall."

    "Applause during church services is traditionally regarded as taboo, in light of the sanctity of the proceedings; stress is on the aspect of worship rather than the personality of the individual preaching or singing during the service. This rule may be relaxed to permit applause in honor of the bride and groom when the newly married couple may turn to be greeted by the congregation following the exchange of vows. Applause may also be permitted at certain services in honor of a specific individual, such as the investiture of a new priest or minister. In less traditional congregations, particularly in contemporary, evangelical "mega-churches", a more casual atmosphere obtains and applause may be encountered as frequently as at any secular performance."

    Applause in church confuses children. I have seen the children's choir patting themselves on the back during applause from the congregation. We are a society that praises children for each little thing they do. They have a "what's in it for me attitude." The only thing that applause does in church is feed the prideful sinful nature.

  4. "Mysticism's lie: You can find God in your heart...the worship of your emotions." - Pr. Fisk, Broken, p. 32, 48