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Flag tawonda June 8, 2011 9:44 AM EDT
Our church blog has a weekly feature called "Wednesday Whys" where we attempt to answer people's questions about Lutheran Christianity as well as general questions about the Bible, church history, etc. (Its popularity waxes and wanes...fortunately I live with an ex-RC who often provides me with excellent questions when we go through a dry spell.)

What questions would you ask a "Lutheran whys" blogger?
Flag Hoppy393 June 8, 2011 10:52 AM EDT

Why must the elements be blessed by an ordained minister before communion can be administered?


Flag tawonda June 8, 2011 12:13 PM EDT

Hoppy: We have a related question on my church blog today:

IMHO it comes down to Scriptural model and model that the Church has always practiced and taught since Jesus blessed the bread and wine of the Last Supper; and our understanding of Holy Communion as a Sacrament that is operative in the nexus of the spoken Word as the celebrant repeats those ancient words of Institution and the believer's faith in that promised "for you."

We have a concept, in Lutheran worship, of "good order." And believe me, if you get people involved in worship who know just enough to be dangerous;-), you can wind up with Dr. Pepper-and-moon-pie-Communion, "Words of Institution" taken from God knows where -- maybe Dr. Suess or "The Shack" or Oprah -- all kinds of weird stuff. Good order keeps things real and grounded in both the witness of the Scriptures and the historical practice of the Church.

Flag Nino0814 June 12, 2011 1:57 PM EDT

Why do you call yourselves "Lutherans"? Luther was a great spiritual leader, but as a man he had a lot of shortcomings (for example his comments about Jews).  Didn't Luther ask people not to call themselves "Lutherans"?

Flag tawonda June 12, 2011 3:11 PM EDT

Luther himself was quite opposed to having the Reformation movement named after him. He preferred the term "Evangelical," referencing the Reformers' reclaiming Scripture as the primary spiritual authority for Christians.

And on the Continent, if you visit a primarily Lutheran country, you'll note that "Evangelical" is the common name.

What happened, though, was that as the different strands of the Reformation went in different theological directions, "Evangelical" started meaning different  things in different places -- in other words, if you went to an Evangelical church, did that mean one following Luther's ideas, or Calvin's, or Zwingli's? So, despite Luther's dislike of the practice, "Lutheran" came to be used as a kind of handy distinguishing shorthand.

As far as Luther sometimes being an ass...yes, he was. (Simul iustus et peccator, Exhibit A.) So were, and are, a lot of Christians, and Christian leaders. Lutherans acknowledge that Luther, like his contemporaries on the other side of the aisle, said and did some pretty ignorant, hateful things; but Luther was also was the primary vehicle for renewing the Church at a time when it desperately needed it.  People are funny that way. Lutherans don't treat Luther as if his every thought were some sort of ex cathedra pronouncement inspired of God; and he would have been the first to reality-check anyone who did that.

And also -- because I hear this question a lot -- I have to remind you that there are also Christians who, as noted above, self-identify as Calvinists, Wesleyans, Mennonites, etc., who similarly understand that the founders of their particular Christian traditions were sinful human beings who didn't always get it right. Again, those monikers are really less an homage to their namesakes and more a shorthand that distinguishes the theology of the group.

Flag dearwatson June 17, 2011 5:55 PM EDT

Why do we line up to shake the pastor's hand after the service?

Flag Nino0814 June 18, 2011 7:28 AM EDT

Jun 17, 2011 -- 5:55PM, dearwatson wrote:

Why do we line up to shake the pastor's hand after the service?

Because there is one Pastor and many in the congregation. 

Flag AFskypilot June 18, 2011 11:13 AM EDT

As a former pastor, the one reason why I liked to shake peoples' hands was it was a way of making a very brief connection with people on a weekly basis.  I was able to get a quick impression on how people were doing.  Often I would either get a sense that maybe I should visit the person that week or I would be invited to visit a person.

Of course, as some churches have gotten larger it is next to impossible to shake everyone's hand, especially if there are multiple engress and egress places in the sanctuary.  Some pastors will try to change which door they are standing at at the end of sevices, but that sometimes does not work.  Having assistants take up different stations can help too.

Just doing a quick search on the internet I found many people from mega churches miss being able to shake the pastor's hand.

Flag tawonda June 18, 2011 10:50 PM EDT

I'd agree that it provides an opportunity for the pastor to have some personal interaction with parishoners, even briefly. I know when I lay-preach, it also gives me some indication of how well my sermon went over, which is helpful to me.

From what I've been reading, mega-churches are beginning to decline, so perhaps their pastors will start finding themselves able to shake hands after the service after all.;-)

Flag steve August 19, 2011 9:47 AM EDT

I read on the "reliable" wikipedia that Martin Luther had a Catholic understanding or the communion of saints, in that he had a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  When did this Catholic understanding 'leave' the Lutheran church?  If it did in fact leave, why?


The Catholic understanding of this is that through the Holy Spirit, the Saints in heaven can hear our prayers to them, and actually pray to the Father through the Son for us, just like those here on earth can pray for us.





Flag AFskypilot August 20, 2011 11:32 PM EDT


Here are several articles on  the Virgin Mary:

If I may make a suggestion, you might also be interested in reading through the Book of Concord which has the basic doctrines of the Lutheran Church.  In particular, read through the Augsburg Confession, which was written to show we were still catholic in our teachings, and the Apology (or Defense) of the Augsburg Confession, which expanded on the original confession--it has a good section on the saints.  You can read it on line @




Flag steve August 21, 2011 4:16 PM EDT

Thanks so much.  The first few links you gave me of the Lutheran answered the question.  Thanks also for the other link on Lutheran doctrine.  ONline is good!  I'll bookmark both.

Flag allan444 March 6, 2012 6:58 PM EST


Why did Luther say in his sermon about infant baptism that “in baptism the children themselves believe and have their own faith,”


Flag teilhard March 6, 2012 10:28 PM EST

Because we understand "Faith" to be a GIFT --- NOT an Accomplishment ...

Mar 6, 2012 -- 6:58PM, allan444 wrote:


Why did Luther say in his sermon about infant baptism that “in baptism the children themselves believe and have their own faith,”


Flag allan444 March 12, 2012 5:40 AM EDT

Mar 6, 2012 -- 10:28PM, teilhard wrote:

Because we understand "Faith" to be a GIFT --- NOT an Accomplishment ...

Mar 6, 2012 -- 6:58PM, allan444 wrote:


Why did Luther say in his sermon about infant baptism that “in baptism the children themselves believe and have their own faith,”


Thanks , I always wondered how the ceremony of baptism saves someone but now I can  understand that the words

 “For it is by his grace that we have been saved through faith, and this faith was not from you, but it is the gift of God”

hold true especially in  infant baptism………..another instance of Gods  immense love for us

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