Thursday, January 1, 2009

An Excellent Macroanalysis of LSB

Over at the blog, Lutheran Theology, Father John Paul Salay, Ph.D., who is an outstanding liturgical scholar and theologian, has provided an excellent assessment of Lutheran Service Book. Fr. Salay is a hypereducated liturgist, especially for a modern American Lutheran, and his perspective is informed by a sensitivity and appreciation for genuine liturgical renewal which preserves the organic development of liturgical tradition. I commend his article to all readers.


William Weedon said...

Color me not impressed, Br. Latif. It fails precisely by treating the LSB Hymnal in isolation from the LSB Altar Book (and by extension, the Builder). The Hymnal was never intended to "stand alone." The responsories, invitatories, antiphons and such for the daily office are fully supplied in both Altar Book and Builder and even more so in Treasury. The Psalter and its rich use in the liturgy, likewise. The assumptions made about the Eucharistic prayer also show little familiarity with the discussions in Missouri about this (as in Tim Quill's book) and the recognition that 4th century prayer forms need not set the pattern for Eucharistic praying for all time. Still, I DO wish that we'd have had included the original suggestion for the Eucharistia based on St. Basil. Did you ever see it? This is what the working group originally proposed:

The Anaphora of St Basil the Great
Proposed Anaphora for the Lutheran Hymnal Project, 007 Liturgy
(A Conflation and Redaction of Egyptian and Byzantine Basil by the Lord’s Supper Working Group of the Liturgy Committee)

Working Group Redaction as of Conference Call, March 5

Sursum Corda

P: The Lord be with you.

C: And with your spirit.

P: Lift up your hearts.

C: We lift them up unto the Lord.

P: Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God.

C: It is meet and right so to do.

Confession of the Living and Holy God (Preface)

P: It is truly meet, right, and salutary, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to You, Master of all, Lord of heaven and earth and all Creation, seated on Your throne of glory, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ--Who is our Savior and our Hope, the true God, the Image of Your goodness, the Manifestation of Your presence, the living Word, the eternal Wisdom, and the true Light by Whom the Holy Spirit is revealed--the Spirit of Truth and of Sonship, the Pledge of the Inheritance to come, the Lifegiving Power and Fountain of Sanctification, by Whom the whole Creation is enabled to offer You the eternal doxology.

The Hymn of All Creation (Pre-Sanctus and Sanctus)

P: Therefore with angels and archangels, with thrones and dominions, with principalities and powers, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Your glorious name, evermore praising You and saying:

Q: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of Sabaoth: Heaven and earth are full of your glory; Hosanna [Hosanna, Hosanna,] in the highest. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna [Hosanna, Hosanna,] in the highest.

Confession of the Saving Grace and Mercy of Our God (Post-Sanctus)
(The Post-Sanctus of Byzantine Basil may be substituted**)

P: Holy indeed, and blessed are You, O Lord our God: For You formed us to share Your life forever in paradise. But when we disobeyed Your commandment through the deceit of the serpent and fell from eternal life, You banished us from your presence. Yet, even then, You did not cast us off for ever, but sent to us Your holy prophets.

Now in these last days You appeared to us, who were sitting in darkness and the shadow of death, through Your only-begotten Son, our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ, Who from the Holy Spirit and the blessed virgin Mary was made flesh and became man.

He revealed to us the way of life and His means of salvation. He gave us new birth by His Word in the water of baptism and so sanctified us by the Holy Spirit. Thus He gained a special people for Himself, redeemed by His own blood. Having loved His own who were in the world, He offered Himself as a ransom to death, which had reigned over us and held us captive, enslaved by sin. So going forth to His voluntary and life-giving death, to hand Himself over for the life of the world, He left us this great mystery of godliness in His holy supper:

C: Amen.

The Words of our Lord (Verba Domini)

P: Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said: Take, eat; this is my  Body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of me.

In the same way also He took the cup after supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying: Drink of it, all of you; this is my blood  of the new testament, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.

Remembrance of the Incarnate Son of God (Anamnesis)

P: As often as we eat this bread and drink this cup, the holy body and precious blood of Christ, we thereby remember His sacrifice for us and thus proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. Therefore, heavenly Father, remembering our Lord's holy sufferings, His life-giving cross and three-day burial, His resurrection from the dead and His ascension into heaven, His enthronement at Your right hand and His glorious coming for judgment:
C: We praise You, we bless You, and we give You thanks.

Prayer for the Faithful Reception of Christ (Epiclesis)

P: And we unworthy sinners ask You: By Your mercy and grace send down Your Holy Spirit upon us to sanctify us, body and soul, by Your Word. Keep us steadfast in the one true faith and so prepare us to receive Your sacrificial Lamb, who comes to us now in His body and blood, given and poured out for the forgiveness of our sins, for the life of the world.

Communion of Saints (Intercessions)

P: Unite all who receive this one bread and cup with Your saints of all times and places [patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, and evangelists ... and all the righteous spirits perfected in faith] who have found mercy in Your sight through this holy body and blood of Your Christ.


P: Receive us all into Your Kingdom; bestow on us Your peace, and grant us with one heart and one voice to glorify Your holy name, with Jesus Christ and the life-giving Holy Spirit: The Father in the Son, the Son in the Father with the Holy Spirit, in Your one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, now and forever.
C: Amen.

C: Our Father...

Latif Haki Gaba, SSP said...

Thanks very much for sharing this, Fr. Weedon. I will read it with interest tonight (I'm running off to work in a minute). One thing I would suggest is that Fr. Salay is quite aware of the LSB companion volumes, and that he is concerned precisely that many elements of our standard worship that could have been included in the edition that most people will see, were not included. Consider the collects, for example. Just how much sense do you think it makes to erncourage the people to use these, if they are not in the pew edition?

William Weedon said...

Indeed, the omission of the collects has (I believe) been acknowledged as a class #1 blooper. Fortunately, CPH did provide an offset that you can slip in your hymnal. It's not the best, but it's something!

Bryce P Wandrey said...

In response to your "colour me not impressed" reaction, JP did write: "The introits, lectionary list of proper psalms, and the texts of the collects were always included in previous Lutheran hymnals. The editors of Lutheran Service Book should not have assumed that the clergy will refer to the companion Altar Book or to synodically published bulletin inserts, but they should have included these prayers in the book so that the clergy may use them in the services and devout laypeople may use these prayers for their own devotions."

But, what about JP's analysis of:

1) The liturgical calendar & daily reading calendar:

"The calendar’s commemoration of the births of Phillip Melanchthon and Martin Chemnitz are however notable breaks in the tradition of the universal Church, which never celebrated the birth of anyone except the Lord Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and St. John the Baptist. Commemorating the births of Melanchthon and Chemnitz is paramount to declaring them equal to Jesus, Mary, and John the Baptist!"


"his calendar also includes saints and prophets from the Old Testament. Again, this is a break with the ancient Western tradition, which only commemorated people who lived after Christ although there were a few locally observed exceptions (e.g., Elijah, Moses, and Adam and Eve). While the Eastern Orthodox Church includes commemorations of saints and prophets from the Old Testament, the dates chosen for these celebrations in the Lutheran Service Book do not always match the dates in the Orthodox calendar."


"This new daily lectionary is unusual, and breaks with the ancient tradition. Traditional daily lectionaries have designated certain books to be read in certain seasons, e.g., Isaiah during Advent, Revelation and Acts during Easter season, etc. ...Since almost all of the post-medieval liturgy books begin lectionaries with Advent and list readings according to the day of the week and liturgical season, the Lutheran Service Book’s daily lectionary is at best confusing."

2) The psalter:

"The most disturbing feature of the Lutheran Service Book’s version of the lectionaries is the omission of psalms designated for each service."


"Without a list of proper psalms or introits in the service book, well intentioned but uninformed clergy and musicians could simply omit them from the Divine Service, which would be a complete break with the catholic tradition."

3) The baptismal rite:

"Perhaps the greatest shortcoming of the rite is the placement of the traditional blessing of baptismal waters, the “Flood Prayer”. Although this prayer is based on Luther’s adaptation of the ancient blessing of the font during the Holy Saturday Easter Vigil, the placement of this prayer at the beginning of the service of baptism rather than immediately before the baptism, spoken over the baptismal waters, follows Luther’s rite and not the practice of the ancient church. Almost all modern liturgies have returned to the ancient practice of speaking this prayer over the font." (sidenote: this is where the Flood Prayer is placed in the Church of England's Common Worship).

These seem to be just as big of flaws, according to JP, than the anlayses you criticized him.

Past Elder said...

Speaking as a pew warmer and for my fellow pew warmers -- we non-clergy who present ourselves for parish worship -- JP is quite right that companion books and inserts may or may not help you guys, but they pretty much invalidate a service book for a pew warmer considering the extraordinary step of actually having one in his home for personal devotion and study.

Either he will proceed unaware of what is not there of which to be aware if it were, or he will note it's available but not begin to assemble a pastor's library to surround what he hoped would be a convenient source.

I think all of the listed shortcomings of the LSB are manifestations of this: the LSB is essentially Vatican II novus ordo For Lutherans, with the bonus that we did not have to wait for Jerruh to issue a motu proprio saying it's OK to worship as we "always have" too, so the Common Service, the lectionary used for a millenia and one half, and the German Mass made it in there too.

Whoever saw such things before 1960s Rome? Did St John Chrysostom or any of the others provide five masses, two calendars, two lectionaries, matins/vespers/compline and morning and evering prayer? The church over many times and places provides well more than that, but that is over many times and places, not within one.

To me, this shift is the one great break with tradition from which all others flow. It doesn't look like a break with tradition, because it's a cut and paste from tradition, however, the idea is no different than those who cut and paste their Sunday, whoops, week-end, not to leave out Vatican II Saturday services, carryings-on from Willow Creek et al. except in the sources chosen.

So we have contemporary worship that looks like contemporary worship, and contemporary worship that looks traditional (and includes actual traditional as one of its options). Not a cause for rejoicing for those interested in zealously guarding and defending the mass, and holding it in higher regard than our opponents.

That said, considering the forces at work in our beloved synod, that the LSB was produced as well as it was or even at all is a modern miracle, and watching its formation from afar as a WELS elder was one of the major factors in convincing me that Lutherans of my kind belong in LCMS, so here I am.

William Weedon said...


Loehe's Sanctoral Calendar shows that the Lutherans had a long tradition of observing certain OT saints in their sanctoral calendar.

LSB PRESCRIBES the reading of Isaiah in Advent; of Genesis/Exodus in Lent (according to historical precedent).

LSB PRESCRIBES appointed Psalms for each Divine Service, and for Matins and Vespers.

Lutheran Baptismal rites have NEVER had a blessing of the water (before the LBW) because we confess that Christ's baptism has sanctified and blessed ALL water.

In short, the problem with the analysis is that it was not offered from a Lutheran perspective. Lutheran liturgy should be judged from a Lutheran perspective and not from that of alien confessions.

Bryce P Wandrey said...

"Lutheran liturgy should be judged from a Lutheran perspective and not from that of alien confessions."


There is no value in judging Lutheran liturgy from a perspective other than a Lutheran perspective? No insights or criticisms are valid unless they come from the Lutheran perspective?

Past Elder said...

Not for Lutherans, and no there's not, respectively.

Bryce P Wandrey said...

Past Elder,
Are you being serious or sarcastic?

Doesn't Lutheranism stand within the tradition of the Western rite (and is hence subject to critique based upon the history of that rite), a rite that stretches back far beyond what any of us know as "Lutheran" liturgies? Isn't this why you called for the inclusion of the Basilian Eucharistic Anaphora in the first response, because it is consistent with a Lutheran understanding of the liturgy, but surely not a "Lutheran" liturgy itself?

Past Elder said...


BTW, I grew up in Rochester, went to St John's and thought about being a Benedictine. Been to England too.

I go to a Lutheran church to get a Lutheran "perspective". If I wanted a different one, I'd go to a different church.

Bryce P Wandrey said...

Past Elder,
Interesting. You probably know that I am from Elgin. Currently sitting there on holiday actually. Go Oles! Boo Johnnies!

I wasn't speaking so much about going to a certain church to get a certain perspective but instead, judging a certain tradition in light of it's own tradition.

William and you seem to have taken this to mean that Lutherans should be judged only by Lutheran tradition. But aren't Lutherans part of the heritage of the Western tradition (which includes the Western rite)? Hence, shouldn't Lutherans always have an eye to their heritage, even in regards to their liturgies? And even if that heritage doesn't make any impact on Lutheranism's own perspective, isn't it worth at least the effort to take stock every so often and say, "Here is where have come from; Where are we now?" (It seems that this is exactly what JP is attempting).

Undoubtedly there has been a liturgical renewal in the Western rite in the 20th century. Part of this renewal is based upon documentary evidence of early liturgies. My Lutheran Worship course at Fort Wayne focused on this scholarship and the efforts that the movement was trying to achieve. It appears that JP explicitly lays out that he is judging the LSB from this perspective because (supposedly) it is published by a denomination the claims to be part of the Western Church and an inheritor of the Western rite? Are you and William disputing this claim (I highly doubt it, but it is worth asking)?

Latif Haki Gaba, SSP said...

This discussion has been progressing relatively respectfully and reasonably so far. Therefore I don't mind if it continues on the same notes.

Since, however, our perspectives drive much of what we say, and even how we read others, let me pose that question explicitly to all participants.

We know that Fr. Weedon is a Lutheran of the utmost scholarly integrity, whose mighty and courageous struggle over his own confession & church in recent times is surely not a secret. And if he wants to share anything in this regard, he is welcome to do so.

Past Elder's posts & e-comments tend to be wonderfully autobiographical, and I always welcome them.

I am a traditionalist Lutheran, who is struggling at times to figure out the rationale for some of modern Missouri's decisions (and I even mean some of its most serious liturgical decisions). Some surely think I have an ax to grind vis a vis LCMS Lutheran officialdom; I must suffer those risks for the sake of my passion in life.

Bryce, I don't ask this to be picky or nosy, or nose-picky, or judgemental, but because, as I say, I think it could help for all to lay their cards out so to speak. I am not saying you've been secretive; perhaps I have simply not been in the right circles to get completely caught up on this. My question is, would you please also now share with us a little of the direction you have decided to take, and what exactly, in your view, is your liturgical, theological, and ecclesial perspective.

I don't say this, again to be judgemental. As you can see from this very blog post, you & I seem to be largely in agreement on the general question of the merit of Fr. Salay's essay. And I can tell you that I have found myself defending him at the Wittenberg Trail precisely because his Missouri credentials have come into question. So I ask you to share what you feel relevant in this regard, just for the sake of the present discussion.

Bryce P Wandrey said...

Sure...hopefully this sheds enough light

Past Elder said...

Yes Bryce, I looked at your site, and thought what a hoot, a guy from Elgin who goes to St Olaf and a guy from Rochester who goes to St John's. Geez, one of the guys in the room next to me in the dorm freshman year was from Elgin!

You're quite right that I do not dispute the claim that Lutheran liturgy takes its place in the Western tradition, that Lutheran everything takes its place in the Western tradition, that, exactly as the BOC is at pains to point out, this is no innovation on our part but simply what is true in what has been there all along.

The question rather is, how does this proceed? As far as its expression in the novus ordo, and subsequently in the adaptations crafted by other churches with a liturgical bent, the result is a complete catastrophe unmitigated by a single redeeming factor, all of which was meant as the liturgical front for the new theology of the historical-critical school.

This happened right under my nose. Which is why the autobiographical twist to many of my posts. It's not something I have concluded from academic study, only, but saw happening as the changes were crafted and implememted.

Also, I understand we are speaking of perspective from the standpoint of seminars, papers, liturgical commissions, etc, rather than the pews. But my point is, all these "judgements" result in what gets presented to Joe the Pew Warmer, to adapt the phrase. And Joe is my concern.

Past Elder said...

I would add this too. While "Lutheranism" has its origins in the Western church, and most of us "Lutherans" are Western, "Lutheranism" neither in theory nor actuality is specifically Western.

There are Eastern "Lutheran" churches too, following Eastern, not Western, liturgies. A Ukrainian such is linked to on my blog.

So I maintain that strictly speaking Lutheranism stands in the tradition of the whole church, Eastern and Western, though specific Lutheran bodies are one or the other.

Past Elder said...

At the risk of serial posting, and having responded to Bryan, my "perspectives".

- career altar boy before the Tridentine Rite was the Tridentine Rite: the 1962 Bugnini TR is the "new stuff".

- ringside seat for the cage grudge match that was the implementation of Vatican II and attendant liturgical cleansing pogroms.

- attended hotbed of "liturgical reform", went in thinking of being a Benedictine, came out thinking the church just did hara kiri, must have all been wrong then.

- twenty years as a Righteous of the Nations in Orthodox Judaism (which is to say, Judaism), still big fan of Rabbi Hertz, Chief Rabbi of the British Empire.

- God makes offer cannot refuse, total babe of an LCMS girl for whom Seminex was her Vatican II.

- decide to resolve religious boof outs so as not inflict same on children, read Babylonian Captivity, see catholic church for first time.

- read BOC, all is clear, join WELS, elected elder, gates of hell do not prevail church still ok anyway, become rip roarin page 15 guy, can't find in WELS.

- join LCMS, lunatics and all, it's where Lutherans like me are, worst synod in the world, except for all the others (stole that from Pastor Lehmann).

William Weedon said...


Your link tells a nice autobiographical story, but gives nothing to me of a theological journey. It leaves me wondering, since I cannot believe that it is merely your love of things English that proved sufficient cause for you to renounce your former Confession and embrace women priests, theological liberalism, and historical criticism.


Thanks for your kind words on my own journey. It was so painful I hate to even write about it anymore. But I will simply say that at a several sticky points, I found Orthodoxy to depart from the Sacred Scriptures in a way that I finally could not discount. I didn't want that and believed for a long time that I could simply set those areas aside and would in time come to resolution on them - I wanted out of Lutheranism badly for all the reasons that are obvious to anyone who hangs around us. In the end, I'm here and I believe that our Symbols speak the clearest of truth in congruence with the Sacred Scriptures, though I grieve the condition of my own jurisdiction and seek to work toward remedying its ills by all spiritual means possible.


You are a treasure and a half. I thank God for your clear witness to being catholic by being Lutheran!