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High, Low or Broad – Pr Larry Peters – Pastoral Meanderings

March 23, 2014 Leave a comment

Interesting history of the terms.

Excerpts:

Any cursory reading of the Lutheran Confessions would see that there is no ‘low’ church envisioned for Lutherans.  There may be a ‘broad’ church presumed by the use of a hymn mass like the Deutsche Messe but not in doctrine and even then ceremony is not a thing indifferent according to Luther who put it together.  Though our own Lutheran history of the last several centuries would contradict it, the Confessions know only a ‘high’ church practice.  Some of us as Lutherans might not like that or even refuse to admit it, but I find it impossible to read the Lutheran Confessions and end up with the idea that what you do on Sunday morning does not matter and a Sunday morning that does not look like the Mass is okay with those who wrote those Confessions, those who agreed to those Confessions, and their expectation of those who follow them who ascribe to those Confessions.

Read the Confessions.  What you find there is ‘high’ church without rigid rules requiring every ceremony, bow, hymn, etc… being exactly the same in every place.  Historically, any diversity within Lutheranism was NOT from parish to parish but from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  Oddly enough, ‘high church’ within Lutheranism should refer to those places where a liturgical choir leads the liturgy versus the ‘low church’ where no choir is present.  Read Joseph Herl’s Worship Wars in Early Lutheranism: Choir, Congregation, and Three Centuries of Conflict.  Read Bodo Nischan Prince, People, and Confession:  The Second Reformation in Brandenburg.  Read Walter Zeedon  Faith and Act – The Survival of Medieval Ceremonies in the Lutheran Reformation.

If we have to resort to using Anglican terminology to describe Lutherans as ‘high’ or ‘low’ church, we have forgotten not only our history but our Confession. –

See more at: http://pastoralmeanderings.blogspot.com/#sthash.c0iQldUF.dpuf

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