“Hoping to gain others, they lost themselves…”

Something changed.

Something changed.

Gradually a desire manifested itself to gain popularity for the Lutheran Church in this country. The hard dogmatical knots of the old Lutheran oak were to give way under the Puritan plane. The body was deprived of its bones and its heart, and the empty skin might be filled with whatever was most pleasing, if only the Lutheran name was retained! The statement of the seventh article of the Augsburg Confession, that ‘unto the true unity of the Church it is not necessary that human traditions, rites, or ceremonies instituted by men, should be everywhere alike,’ was most extensively used, and in the desire to make the Lutheran Church as much as possible like others, her leaders were much more ready to adopt foreign elements than to retain her own distinctive features. Thus the Liturgy, the ancient lessons of the Gospels and Epistles, the festivals of the Church Year, the gown, and other usages were given up, in order that as little as possible might be seen of these Lutheran peculiarities. Hoping to gain others, they lost themselves. The Lutheran Church had given away her own spirit, her own original life and character.

 

~ William Julius Mann, “Blaetter aus dem Wanderbuche,” Der Deutsche Kirchenfreund, Vol. VIII [1855], pp. 386 ff.; quoted in Adolph Spaeth, Charles Porterfield Krauth, Vol. I [New York: The Christian Literature Company, 1898], pp. 354-55

Amazing as it may seem, this was written in 1855, not 2015. “There is nothing new under the sun,” evidently.

There are literally tens of thousands of places where you can be not-Lutheran. If you don’t like the traditions of the Church of the Augsburg Confession, pick one of those ten thousand places, or pick all of them, and just go there, please.

 

+VDMA