Monday, June 7, 2010

Explanation of the Common Service — Part 1

by Douglas Lindee

In the past week or so, several inquiries have been made, both privately and publicly, regarding the meaning of the liturgy in use today by Lutherans in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS). In nearly every case, laymen have been the ones yearning for such an explanation. It seems that in our circles there is still a need to explain Lutheran liturgical worship practices.

As recently as, say, a century ago, Lutherans highly valued their historic Lutheran and distinctively catholic (that is, universal) worship practices, that served to starkly contrast them with the American sects which surrounded them — which had in many cases been given over to the evangelical revivalism of Charles Finney, and to practices emanating from the Holiness movements within American Methodism. Even in confessional Lutheran churches in America, the allure of the Anxious Bench became increasingly difficult to resist, and Methodist hymnals were, distressingly, in growing demand. It was within this environment that the confessional and liturgical movements of the 19th century grew, working toward the establishment of confessional unity among Lutherans in America, and to distinguish and insulate American Lutheranism from the poison of sectarian influences.

In 1908, the General Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America published an Explanation of the Common Service -- a harmony of sixteenth century Lutheran liturgies published in 1888, in the English language. This is the same Common Service found in The Lutheran Hymnal, which was published by the Synodical Conference in 1941, and which is still used in many Lutheran congregations even today. It is my understanding that, in many circles, this liturgy of the Divine Service is still referred to as a benchmark of liturgical quality.

As the reader may recall, the General Council was a consortium of Lutheran church bodies, founded in 1867 under the leadership of Charles Porterfield Krauth, and which was dissolved with the formation of the United Lutheran Church in America (ULC) in 1918. The Wisconsin Synod was a member of the General Council from 1867-1869, while the Minnesota and Michigan Synods (which later joined the Wisconsin Synod) left the General Council in 1871 and 1887, respectively. Here is a technical history of the General Council.

Interestingly, this Explanation was dedicated to "Young Lutherans who ask the meaning of the beautiful liturgy of the Lutheran Church." As you read this Explanation, notice the use of language it contains. Consider the fine education and catechesis "Young Lutherans" must have enjoyed a century ago, which was deliberately reinforced by the church in books such as this. Do Lutheran publishing houses have such respect and concern for the youth of today? Certainly, they target young people with a great deal of material, so concern unquestionably exists — but does the quality of these materials generally rise to this level? Does it specifically advocate and reinforce Confessional practice? Does it refer to the liturgy as something "beautiful" and as something to be valued? I don't believe I've seen this sort of thing coming from the main Lutheran publishers.

Indeed, as we discussed among ourselves whether to publish this explanation, Rev. Spencer, responding in enthusiastic support for publishing, indicated its quality and value:
    Back in '69, this was one way our first WELS Pastor introduced us to the Wisconsin Synod - we were going to go "independent" at first. It was his way of telling us that the WELS...was fully Lutheran and fully "catholic." They still read through it one Sunday a year in that church.
Over the next few weeks, we will be posting the contents of this explanation, up through the explanation of "The Service," omitting what follows after it (explanations of "The Matins" and "The Vespers," glossaries, appendicies, and indicies).

(NOTE: The reader may recognize this posting from a series posted on The Finkelsteinery in 2009. We have obtained permission from that blog owner to reprint his HTML rendering of this Explanation).

NOTE: Following installments in this series can be found at the following links:IN ADDITION, this entire series was republished as the single blog post,along with the following companion blog posts:

An Explanation of the Common Service (1908)
Board of Publication of the General Council of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America
To the
Young Lutheran who asks
The Meaning of the
Beautiful Liturgy of
His church

The preparation of this little book was begun February 9, 1903. The first edition was issued in four parts, beginning September 29, of the same year. The work was undertaken at the instance of the Luther League of the Allentown District, by the committee appointed for this special purpose. The book was intended for use in the Luther League meetings, as a guide and aid in the study of the Common Service. In its new form it is offered to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, for use in the Luther League, Sunday school and the home. For League and Bible Class study, it will furnish abundant material for a half year's course of twenty-six lessons.

The text of the Common Service, as it appears in this book, is that of the Standard Manuscript adopted by the Joint Committee of the several General Bodies uniting it its preparation. [For a list of variations in the published editions see article by the Rev. L. D. Reed, Lutheran Church Review, July, 1901.]

In the preparation of this Explanation the standard sources and authorities have been consulted. It has been deemed unnecessary to give particular credit for whatever has been adopted from these sources, as the only pretension which the book makes is to a certain unique fitness and convenience for popular use. Whatever seemed well adapted to explain the meaning and the connection of the several parts of the Services of the Church was freely used.

In order to give completeness to the work, and to bring out more clearly the beautiful harmony of the parts of the Service which are appointed for the particular Festival or Day, the propria for the Festival of Christmas were selected and have been inserted and examined in their appropriate places in the Service.

The Lutheran Church may justly claim that, in the Common Service, she possesses and uses "the completest embodiment of the Common Service of the Christian Church of all ages;" a Service "which may be tendered to all Christians who use a fixed Order, the Service of the future as it has been of the past" (Preface to the Common Service). Should this book be of assistance to any one, in awakening interest, or in developing a better understanding, a more intelligent use, as a higher appreciation of the forms of Divine Worship, as the Church of the Reformation conceives and orders it, the very considerable time and labor which its production has cost will not have been spent in vain.


1. What is Divine Worship?
Divine Worship in its widest significance includes the observance of every rite or ceremony whereby man believes that God communes with him, and he with God.

2. Distinguish between the true and false worship of God.
True worship of God is only such as conforms in spirit and expression with God's revelation of Himself. Read John 4:24.

All worship is false which seeks communion with God in ways other than those He has appointed. False worship is either
    (a) The paying of divine honors to false gods, such as idolatry (the Hindu), nature-worship (the Greeks), ancestor-worship (the Buddhist), or
    (b) The false worship of the True God. Such is the worship of the hypocrite. Read Matt 15:7-9; Matt 7:21-23. Such has become all Jewish worship which was abrogated by the Advent of our Lord.
3. Distinguish between the true worship of God before and after Christ.
Before Christ, the true worship was that of the Jews, temporary, typical, a shadow of good things to come. Since Christ, the true worship is that of the Christians, final, perfect, and the very substance of those things. Read Heb. 1:1-2; John 1:17 with Heb 7:18-19. Also Luke 16:16; Heb 9:11-12, 23-26, and Heb. 10:9.

4. What is Christian Worship?
It is the outward expression, by the power of the Holy Ghost, of the communion of man with God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

5. Of what elements does Christian Worship consist?
Christian worship consists of two elements – the sacramental and the sacrificial.

In the sacramental acts of worship, God speaks to us. In the sacrificial acts, we speak to God. In the sacramental acts, God's grace is exhibited, offered and conveyed. In the sacrificial, man offers to God the service which is due Him.

6. Which are the chief sacramental acts in The Service?
    The declaration of Grace
    The Lessons
    The Sermon
    The Distribution of the Holy Supper
    The Benedictions (The Votum, The Pax, "The body of our Lord," etc., "The Lord bless thee," etc.)
7. Which are the sacrificial acts?
    The Confession
    The Prayers
    The Hymns and Canticles
    The Creed
    The Offerings
(Note: The Introit is both sacramental and sacrificial. The Words of Institution are regarded by some as sacramental, by others as sacrificial.)

8. In view of the above, what is the proper attitude of the Minister when he conducts the various parts of the worship?
While conducting the sacramental parts of worship, the Minister should face the people, because at such times he stands as the Lord's ambassador and addresses them in His Name. Read II Cor. 5:20.

While conducting the sacrificial parts, the Minister should face the altar, as do the people, since he now addresses the Lord on their behalf and as their leader.

9. Distinguish between private and public worship.
Private worship is the communion of the individual soul with God. Public worship is the common and united worship of believers in the unity of the Body of Christ, as they are assembled in church.

10. Is this distinction important?
Yes, for there are indispensable elements of true worship in which no one can engage except in common with others. Public worship is, moreover, an Apostolic rule, a permanent institution, and accords with the universal practice of the Church. The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews most beautifully exhorts the common worship in chapter 10, verses 19 to 25.

11. How did Christian worship become corrupted?
As the teaching of the Church became corrupted, the worship of the Church naturally shared in that corruption. Men were taught that their works and prayers, their pilgrimages and fasts atoned for their sins. Christ's work of atonement, and faith in Him were lost to sight. This inevitably led to the perversion of the sacramental element of worship, and the undue exaltation of the priesthood; and the whole service, even the Lord's Supper, came to be regarded as a sacrifice offered to God by the priest on behalf of the people. This was the fundamental error of the Romish Church of the Middle Ages.

12. How did it come to be purified?
The Lutheran Reformers led the way in this work. Just as false teaching developed a corrupt worship, so the restoration of pure doctrine effected the restoration of pure worship. The New Testament teaches that we are saved by grace, not by works. Therefore, as Luther maintained, in true Christian worship, Divine Words and the Holy Supper are not a sacrifice which man offers to God, but a means of grace in which God comes to man. Hence the sacramental should be the chief element in the Service, as it is with us.

13. What was the attitude of the non-Lutheran Reformers in revising the Service?
Zwingli, in his first Order of Worship, which he introduced at Zurich, followed Luther's form of the Mass rather closely; but later he aimed at eliminating from the service all forms which were not directly traceable to New Testament usage. Calvin sought in every way to simplify the Service. He appeared to think that the spiritual and churchly development of fifteen centuries could be swept away by simply ignoring it. His aim was to go back to the foundation principles of the Church as it existed in the days of the Apostles. With this in view, he abandoned everything that could not be justified from Holy Scripture as Apostolic or early Christian. Accordingly, he made of the church a mere house of prayer; the altar became a simple table; statues, pictures, and even the cross had to disappear from the church; music was barely tolerated in the form of simple psalm-singing. Thus, besides the Lord's Supper, the only component parts of the Service were psalm-singing, preaching and prayer. John Knox prepared "The Book of Common Order" for the English congregation at Frankfort, and it afterwards became the established order of worship in Scotland, and remained such for nearly a century. This order was approved by John Calvin, and was used by the English congregation at Geneva.

14. Is the Lutheran conception of worship held by the other Protestant churches also?
No, for in those churches chief emphasis is laid upon the sacrificial element. This is done to such an extent, that even such sacramental ordinances as the Lords' Supper and Baptism are regarded as the Christian's own acts of worship, rather than as means through which God offers and bestows His grace.

15. What is the Anglican (Episcopal) conception of worship?
It varies with the High and Low Church tendencies. The High Church conception is Romish, while the Low Church is Calvinistic.

16. What was the relation of the English Reformers to the Lutheran in the work of revising the ancient Service?
The Lutheran revision of the Service, issued in many editions in many states and cities, had been fully tested by more than twenty years of continuous use before the revision made by the English Church, first issued in the Prayer Book of Edward the Sixth, 1549. The Latin Missals, from which the English translations were made, agreed almost entirely with the Missals from which the German translations had been made. Archbishop Cranmer, the head of the commission which prepared the First English Prayer Book, spent a year and a half in Germany in conference with Lutheran theologians and princes, and was thoroughly familiar with the Lutheran Service. Two Lutheran professors, who were called to the English Universities, took part in the formation of the Prayer Book. During the years 1535 to 1549 there had been many embassies and conferences between the English and Lutheran rulers and theologians concerning these matters.

17. In the reformation of the Service, who led the Lutheran movement?
Luther, who in the year 1523 published his treatise "Of the Order of Divine Service in the Congregation," and later in the same year, his "Form of the Mass;" and John Bugenhagen, chief pastor at Wittenbrg, who published an "Order of Christian Mass," in 1524. For other early Lutheran Orders, see the Preface to The Common Service.

18. What were the principal changes which the Lutheran Reformers introduced?
While the Lutheran Reformers retained all that was deemed sound and Scriptural in the Latin Mass, the work of purification required some radical changes. The chief change was in the view which was taken of the Mass. What had been wrongly regarded as sacrifice, was now understood in its true significance as a sacrament. The Liturgy was translated into the language of the people; the Sermon was assigned greater importance; all that was contrary to Scripture was removed; church song was given a new and higher place; a few things were added, such as the General Prayer and the Exhortation before the Communion.

19. What is the Common Service?
It is the typical Lutheran Service of the Sixteenth Century, adapted for the use of English-speaking Churches.

20. Why is it called the Common Service?

    a) Because it embodies the common worship of the pure Christian Church of all ages
    (b) Because of the rule which governed its preparation, namely, "The Common Consent of the Pure Lutheran Liturgies of the Sixteenth Century."
    (c) Because it was prepared in common by three of the general bodies of the Lutheran Church in America, namely, The United Synod of the South, The General Synod, and The General Council. It is also used in common in all parts of the English Lutheran Church.
21. What obligation is there upon Lutheran Congregations to use a Common Service?
According to the Lutheran Confessions, there can be no binding obligation, but there is a strong moral and churchly obligation; for these same Confessions say: "It is pleasing to use that, for the sake of unity and good order, universal rites be observed."

22. What forms of worship are included in the Common Service?
    The Service or The Communion
23. What are the distinguishing marks of these several Services?
The Communion is the chief Service of the Lord's Day, and by common consent its most appropriate time is near the middle of the day. Matins for the morning, and Vespers for the evening, are minor services for daily use.

The Communion we trace directly to our Lord's institution of the Holy Supper, and to the obedience of the first believers as "they continued steadfastly in the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in the breaking of bread, and in prayers" (Acts 2:42). Matins and Vespers we trace to the daily worship of the early Christians, which they in turn inherited from the Synagogue of the Jews.


Rev. David M. Juhl said...

I have this magnificent book in the sixth edition, published in 1941. This book may also be purchased from Emmanuel Press:

Lisette Anne Lopez said...

I am amazed at the intelligence and wisdom and insight our Pastor's must have in order to serve their sheep. Really, think about it- this is only Part 1. We should never take for granted how patient our Pastor's must be towards their sheep when we at times frankly, are just plain stupid in comparison to their studies and knowledge. We should never complain against them and say things like, "Don't you have anything better to do?!"
I am thanking God for these Pastors He sends out to us. God is working for a purpose and he is definitely guiding and attempting, through these pastors, to teach us, protect us and watch out for the church.
This they do with so little in return. Shame on any Pastors who might, in my mind, be playing around and testing God. A very foolish mistake...

Mr. Daniel Gorman said...

Thanks for posting the excerpt and link to "An Explanation of the Common Service." It is good for Lutherans to learn what they have lost.

Back in 72, I was still a young man. For years, I had attended a variety of Protestant churches with little or no effect. The very first time I attended a Common Service I knew God was speaking to me. I would never return to the man-centered worship of the Protestants.

Why have so many Lutheran congregations traded in the inestimable treasure of God's Word for the worthless pottage of man-centered worship? For many decades, by the grace of God, English-speaking Lutherans throughout the world had only one liturgy, the Common Service of 1888. But Satan was active among the Lutherans sowing division in order to promote his theology of glory.

Satan encouraged minor liturgical innovations (TLH, 1941) which, in turn, led to major innovations (LBW, 1978). The Common Service was altered almost beyond recognition (CW, 1993) and then abandoned altogether in favor of completely man-centered forms of worship.

Joel Lillo said...

Mr. Gorman,

How was the Common Service "altered altered almost beyod recognition" in CW? Aside from updating the language a little, moving "Lord have mercy" to before the absolution, and substituting a congregational psalm for an introit spoken by the pastor, what changes were made?

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Mr. Gorman,
I love the Common Service, but I would never say it's the only version of the liturgy that may be used in the English-speaking world, or that Satan was behind any of the changes made to it. Why do you make this assertion?

(And "Joel," please add your last name next time you comment.)

Joel Lillo said...

Sorry, didn't even notice that my last name wasn't there. Not trying to hide my identity.

Joel Lillo

Mr. Daniel Gorman said...

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki opines, "I love the Common Service, but I would never say it's the only version of the liturgy that may be used in the English-speaking world, or that Satan was behind any of the changes made to it. Why do you make this assertion?"

There are many non-English orthodox versions of the liturgy. Lutheran synods are free to translate any orthodox version of the liturgy into English. However, in order to establish universal rites, Lutheran synods rejected their own historic non-English liturgies in favor of the Common Service (See Explanation, Question 22).

Having established universal English rites, Lutheran synods incurred an obligation to maintain those universal English ceremonies for the reasons outlined in your "Nevertheless we confess." Deviations from traditional English ceremonies contrary to your "Nevertheless we confess" are satanic in origin.

Daniel Gorman said...

Joel Lillo asks, "How was the Common Service "altered altered almost beyod recognition" in CW? Aside from updating the language a little, moving "Lord have mercy" to before the absolution, and substituting a congregational psalm for an introit spoken by the pastor, what changes were made?"

CW, page 15, has at least 20 unnecessary and/or harmful deviations from the Common Service of 1888:

1. Lutheran Declaration of Grace was replaced with a non-Lutheran corporate confession/absolution.
2. Introit and Gloria Patri were removed.
3. Traditional Gloria in Excelsis was replaced with a modernized version.
4. Rubrics for Epistle, Gradual, Gospel were removed.
5. Lenten song in place of Hallelujah was omitted.
6. The Historic Nicene Creed was replaced with a new creed that was invented by Papists, Feminists, and various Protestant sects.
7. Peace of God was omitted.
8. First verse of the Offertory was omitted.
9. Rubric for the Offertory was omitted.
10. General Prayer and prayer rubrics were omitted.
11. Traditional Proper Prefaces were replaced with new prefaces.
12. Traditional Santus was replaced with a modernized version.
13. Lord's Prayer after the Santus and before the Words of Institution was omitted.
14. Words of Institution rubrics were omitted.
15. Traditional Agnus Dei was replaced with a modernized version.
16. Administration of the Holy Sacrament was omitted.
17, Traditional Nunc Dimittis was replaced with a modernized version.
18. Nunc Dimittis Gloria Patri was omitted.
19. Traditional ministerial thanksgiving was replaced with a new version.
20. Final Salutation was omitted.

Not all of these deviations were initiated in CW, 1993. Some were initiated in the TLH, 1941.

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Mr. Gorman,

(Sorry the comment thread got messed up, it might have been our fault. I'm copying here my comment from the other thread.)

I do thank you for making out that list and will try to comment on portions of it later on.

But I want to make it clear that Intrepid Lutherans does not endorse any single version of the liturgy as inalterable and sacrosanct, nor do our Confessions speak of any rites or ceremonies in this way.

If we lose our balance on either side of this, we're in trouble. If we take the "freedom to change rites" sections of the Confessions to their extreme and abandon liturgical worship entirely, we stray from the spirit of the Confessions. If we take the "traditional rites should be used" sections to their extreme and condemn any change anyone makes, we also stray from the spirit of the Confessions.

Love for the pure truth of Christ and for the people of Christ (past and present) will keep us from losing balance on either side. Trust in the power of the Means of Grace will keep us from depending on any manmade rite to gather, enlighten and sanctify the Church.

Daniel Johnson said...

Thank you for your research Mr. Gorman, and everyone else for the discussion in general. I would like to compile as much information on the CW as possible since I also find the hymnal problematic. I'm trying to be patient, however, and I would like to hear defenses of CW too, because I have something of an "instinctive" negative reaction to what I call the jingling, non-harmonic settings of the CW liturgies and psalms (having long been used to TLH and the richly harmonic ELH). For any fans of the CW, please forgive me if I sound too harsh; I'm trying to understand all sides on this.

As for potential improvement, the only way that I see the WELS adopting a different hymnal is with a new hymnal project altogether, which, as I have heard, is slated to be produced in the early-mid 2020s. That is still a long way off, yes, but it could be a wonderful opportunity for liturgical improvement in the WELS. My real wish would be for the WELS to adopt ELH (the ELS hymnal), but I somehow don't see that happening.

Daniel J. Johnson

Mr. Daniel Gorman said...

1. Lutheran Declaration of Grace was replaced with a non-Lutheran corporate confession/absolution.

The corporate confession/absolution found in CW, pages 15 and 16, has no historical precedent within the Evangelical Lutheran Church. The liturgical form originates in the TLH, 1941.

The Lutheran Church has traditionally restricted unconditional absolution of sins to private confession. Public absolutions were either conditional or individual. For example: 1580 revision of the Herzog Heinrich Agenda (Corporate Conditional Remittal); Braunschweig-Woelfenbuettel Church Order prepared by concordists Chemnitz and Andrea (Corporate Conditional Remittal and Retention); Danish Norwegian Rite of 1685 (Individual Remittal).

In Holy Absolution we receive the forgiveness of sins as we return to our baptism in repentance (Augburg Confession, XII). Many visitors to public services have never been baptized. How do they return to a baptism they have never received?

Members of Christian sects believe that forgiveness is received through the outward act or covenant of absolution rather than through faith alone (Gal. 3:22). Should absolution be pronounced to those who deny justification by faith alone?

Members banned from the supper for public or private sins attend divine services. Should they, indiscriminately, have their sins remitted to them without repentance?

Unworthy guests at the supper eat and drink judgment not discerning the Lord’s body. Scripture says the steward should restrict the supper to those holding the catholic confession (1 Cor. 11:18-20). Should the steward pronounce absolution to all men (e.g., the unbaptized, the unbelieving, the excommunicate, etc.) or should absolution be restricted like the supper?

Anonymous said...

Dear Intrepid Lutherans: In the days of active public ministry before retirement, I wrote a small tract or booklet explaining the traditional Lutheran Liturgy. It was specificalluy aimed at new converts to the faith who had no understanding or grasp of why we do what we do in worship with Holy Communion/Eucharist. If anyone is interested I would mail you a copy. Yours Truly, Roger Ph. Drews ret.

Dan Gorman said...

6. The Historic Nicene Creed was replaced with a new creed that was invented by Papists, Feminists, and various Protestant sects.

WELS and LCMS were members of the CCT international committee that prepared the ELLC Nicene Creed text found in CW, page 18. However, the committee was actually dominated by the Papists (See “Proclaiming the Gospel Through the Liturgy” by Peter Toon) and controlled by ultra-liberal Reformed denominations ( The ELLC text reflects their sectarian agenda.

The Papists furthered their agenda with “one holy catholic and apostolic Church” The Feminists and the Protestant sectarians furthered their agenda with “For us and for our salvation, he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became truly human.” An offensive confession of Christ’s essential manhood was removed. An offensive confession that the incarnation of Christ is for all men, not just those who confess the Creed (Calvinism), was removed.

After using the ELLC Nicene Creed in a joint LCMS/ELCA hymnal project (LBW, 1978), the LCMS repudiated the ELLC text and returned to the historical Lutheran text found in the BOC, 1584; BCP, 1549; and Common Service, 1888 (LW, 1982; LBW, 2006). Regarding the ELLC Nicene Creed, the Special Hymnal Review Committee of the LCMS opines,

These alterations are not new translations but changes which cannot be harmonized with the Latin, German, and English texts as they are given in the Book of Concord to which every Lutheran pastor and congregation subscribes without reservation. . .
The following changes have been made:
"Seen and unseen" replaces "visible and invisible." the former is an attribute of the person; the latter is an attribute of the thing, or object. The difference may be better understood if we think of a table in the next room. It is not seen by us now but it is visible.
"Eternally begotten of the Father" replaces "begotten of the Father before all worlds." The new word "eternally" is subject to the misinterpretation of an ongoing process.
"The only Son of God" replaces "the only-begotten Son of God." While "begotten" is used in the next phrases, the deletion of this word is both arbitrary and unnecessary.
"God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God," replaces "God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God." The word "from" introduces a foreign concept.
"Of one being with the Father" replaces "Of one substance with the Father." "Substance" and "essence" are used synonymously; neither are accurate synonyms for "being."
"For us and for our salvation" replaces "Who for us men and for our salvation." The deletion of "men" is both arbitrary and unnecessary.
"Became incarnate from the Virgin Mary" replaces "Was incarnate of the Virgin Mary." These words, "from" and "of," are not synonyms.
"For our sake" replaces "For us." This is an inaccurate translation which weakens the meaning.
"He suffered death and was buried" replaces "He suffered and was buried." Whatever the reason, an extra textual addition has been arbitrarily made. "Is seated at the right hand of the Father" replaces "Sitteth on the right hand of the Father." This change is not supported in the original text.
"With. the Father and the Son, He is worshiped and glorified" replaces "With the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified." This is an arbitrary and unnecessary deletion of a word.

Does CW, page 18, Nicene Creed, contain doctrinal errors? Do the CW, page 18, changes to the Nicene Creed text of the BOC, 1584, make it appear that the religion of the sectarians is similar to our own? Is the CW, page 18, Nicene Creed, true or false adiaphora?

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Mr. Gorman,

This is the last of these comments we will be taking for awhile. We have no way of verifying all your claims about who worked with whom, so to continue to post them would not be responsible on our part.

As for your issues with the Nicene Creed, you make the wild and ridiculous claim that "The Historic Nicene Creed was replaced with a new creed that was invented by Papists, Feminists, and various Protestant sects." The "historic" Nicene Creed was written in Greek, not in Latin, German or English. It was written long before the Confessions were written. The Confessions contain a translation of the Creed into Latin and German. The CW translation of the Greek is a valid translation. As in most works of translation, there may be more than one right way to translate a phrase.

Nowhere in the Greek Creed does it emphasize Christ's maleness, but rather his humanity. No doubt he was a male. But that's not the point of the Creed.

Of the whole list of changes to the Creed you list, only one has been noted as an omission, "for us" instead of "for us men." "For us" is certainly not wrong. It means "For us human beings." But it could be clearer.

So no, the CW Nicene Creed does not contain doctrinal errors. And as a simple translation of a historic text, it does not represent any group, be it Lutheran or sectarian.

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