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What Luther Says

Evangelizing The Evangelical: The Divine Liturgy Explained

As a former Evangelical, I wanted to start a new series called "Evangelizing The Evangelical" to help confess "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3) to those who believe the things that I once believed.

After all, the thought of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering from a lack of assurance due to a conscience that is never really comforted by their good works "In Jesus' Name!" let alone their own perceived "stage of sanctification" brings back far too many bad memories.

It makes me think about how I wish I would've been exposed to the Lutheran faith a lot earlier in life (the complete Lutheran confession of the faith and not some Lutheran-In-Name-Only substitute) and how that would've made all the difference given the Biblical, Christ-centered focus. In other words, it would've been great to have been taught not just who Martin Luther was and what he did, but what makes being a Lutheran different from all the other confessions and denominations of the Christian faith.

Without being anchored to anything historical and orthodox, I was left to drift off on my own toward what I thought was the "True Jesus Christ" as portrayed by contemporary American Evangelicalism, but in reality was anything but (Matthew 15:14; Ephesians 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:3-4).

So, that's a quick explanation about why this series was born. I can't think of a better entry for our next installment of such a series than to take a closer look at something Evangelicals downplay if not completely ignore.

What Is The Divine Liturgy And Why Is It Important? 
It has been mentioned several times that Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL has in its pew racks a laminated 9″x14″ (7″ wide folded) pamphlet that describes the Divine Service. This is useful for visitors or those unfamiliar with the liturgical service. It’s been seen by many at BJS conferences held at the church over the past several years. The Brothers of John the Steadfast has worked with Bethany to make this available to other churches. We’ve spent some time working on this document to make it as clear as possible for people unfamiliar with our services. The first version available for public distribution is found below. We would appreciate everyone at least reviewing it, and leaving any comments that would help readers understand it be posted below. 

If you're still a little unsure as to why the Liturgy is important and how it denotes a clear difference between Evangelicals and Lutherans, then please set aside 60 minutes to watch and listen to this video lecture.

It features Pastor William Weedon, LCMS Director of Worship/International Center Chaplain, from an interview he gave to Ad Crucem Live, and it's specifically designed to introduce Evangelicals to the historic Divine Liturgy.

Introducing American Evangelicals To The Historic Liturgy 

After watching that, why in the world would we ever want to do away with the "Traditional Worship Service" and replace it with a "Contemporary Worship Service" instead? That's why I'm desperately seeking a faithful LCMS Church nearby for me and my family to attend as soon as possible.

Below is the link to the 24-part series that Pastor Weedon did on the Historic Liturgy for Issues, Etc. where he explains each and every single part of the Liturgy.

Issues, Etc.: Historic Liturgy Series With Pastor Will Weedon

I need to say one more thing here. A proper understanding that the Divine Liturgy wasn't just something "symbolic" that we did as a matter of tradition to "prove our love" and/or "show our obedience" to God was absolutely essential in helping me to see the errors in the things I had believed, taught, and confessed for so long.

The shift in thinking from "ME For Christ" to "CHRIST For Me" wasn't easy (and I still battle my "Old Evangelical Adam" from time-to-time), but it was a welcomed relief.

What I love most about the Divine Liturgy is that it keeps the focus where it belongs -- on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Not only that, but a proper understanding of the Biblical foundation for practicing the Divine Liturgy is what also helped me to finally realize the importance of going to church regularly to receive God's gifts for me, which I so desperately need after a long week stained by sin.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, this is the kind of Bible study that I wish I had been exposed to some 10 years ago, because perhaps then I would've been able to avoid sailing the "Works Righteousness Waters of American Evangelicalism" for as long as I did (almost making a shipwreck of my faith; 1 Timothy 1:19) before I came to rest upon the "Saved By Grace Alone, Through Faith Alone, In Christ Alone Shores" of the catholic, historic, traditional Confessional Lutheran faith.

NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a "Book of Concord" containing our Confessions even existed. In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by common Evangelical concerns/criticisms that aren't that big a deal for us Lutherans. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Finally, please know that any time we engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible unless otherwise noted. Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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