Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Subjectifying the Objective

A comment on yesterday's post regarding the liturgy by Pastor Martin Diers was so good that he's been upgraded to First Class. Here's what he had to say:

A confessional study of the liturgy is not easy, because it cannot be presented in soundbites. It requires extensive teaching, more so today than at any time in the recent past, because our laity and ministry are woefully ignorant of their own history (And ignorant pastors are responsible for the ignorant laity - so don't blame the flocks!) But, more than the history, they are ignorant of the doctrine of worship, or even that there is a Biblical doctrine of worship. It is clearly laid out by Christ Himself, and established by the Apostles as the norm for the Church for all time, namely, that we are to preach repentance and the forgiveness of sins in His name, baptize, give the Lord's body and blood, and instruct in all Christian doctrine. These are the things that Jesus specifically bids His Church to do when they assemble together. Because we have a clear prescription from our Lord, however much the precise forms of worship might be adiaphora, no form which does not do the things which Jesus has explicitly bidden us to do can be called true Christian worship! Therefore, unless this is first understood, it will not be possible to instruct our pastors and laity in how the divine liturgy of the Mass fulfills this purpose, whereas all forms of modern contemporary worship do not.

We are quite literally re-fighting the battle for the liturgy that was fought during the Reformation. In both cases, we are dealing with a fanatical spirit which subjectifies the objective. The "sacrifice of the Mass" and the modern contemporary worship / seeker sensitive movement have in common a denial of the means of grace as God's objective imputation of the forgiveness of sins. They replace it with a spiritualistic grasping after God's glory via our own works, whether those works are "fulfilling your obligation" by showing up at the Mass and gaining merit ex opera operato, or by preparing yourself to "enter into the holy of holies" by a progressively ecstatic cycle of mindless or mind-altering psyco-hypnotic praise music (which in itself has much in common with the ascetic mysticism of the past).

And so, while it is certainly useful to demonstrate from the confessions that our churches fully intended to continue the Mass as they had received it (as purified by Luther), it is much more important to demonstrate from those same confessions just what, exactly, Christian worship is, and why the Mass IS true Christian worship, whereas modern contemporary worship is most certainly not.

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