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3 years ago  ::  Jun 11, 2011 - 7:56AM #1
Nino0814
Posts: 1,753

If you don't mind my inquries, I am an Episcopalian and would like to understand more about Lutheran liturgy, in comparison to the Episcopal Church USA. 


If you participated in joint worship with The Episcopal Church USA / Anglican Church, did you notice any distinctions in the order and content of worship?

Are Lutheran ministers obligated to follow the Lutheran Book Of Worship, as Anglicans are in following the Book of Common Prayer?

In your opinion, are the remaining difference primarily organizational / polity, or are there still doctrinal distinctions (and if doctrinal, what are those distinctions)?

I plan on attending an ELCA congregation this Summer to experience a Lutheran worship service, and thought some insights I could gain here will help me notice some of the unique characteristics of a Lutheran worship.

Thank you for your help with my questions!


Nino

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3 years ago  ::  Jun 11, 2011 - 8:53AM #2
tawonda
Posts: 4,367

Jun 11, 2011 -- 7:56AM, Nino0814 wrote:


If you don't mind my inquries, I am an Episcopalian and would like to understand more about Lutheran liturgy, in comparison to the Episcopal Church USA. 


If you participated in joint worship with The Episcopal Church USA / Anglican Church, did you notice any distinctions in the order and content of worship?

Are Lutheran ministers obligated to follow the Lutheran Book Of Worship, as Anglicans are in following the Book of Common Prayer?

In your opinion, are the remaining difference primarily organizational / polity, or are there still doctrinal distinctions (and if doctrinal, what are those distinctions)?

I plan on attending an ELCA congregation this Summer to experience a Lutheran worship service, and thought some insights I could gain here will help me notice some of the unique characteristics of a Lutheran worship.




Hi, Nino! Welcome to our forum.


In answer to your questions:


You will find the Lutheran order of service very similar to both the Anglican order of service and to the RC Mass; it's the same basic outline. Most Lutheran worship tends to be a little lower down the candle, so to speak, than Anglican worship, although this is largely a matter of local custom. And even though weekly Eucharist has been the standard-of-practice in the ELCA and its predecessor bodies for years, you will find, here and there, congregations with a more Pietist background who still resist this (don't get me started) and alternate their services from week to week, so you'll enter a Lutheran church on Sunday morning and find yourself at a Matins service instead of a Eucharistic one. (Although I've seen this in Episcopal congregations also, in my part of the world...so perhaps the phenomenon is not unfamiliar to you.)


ELCA Lutherans are not obligated to use a particular hymnal. You will find many congregations who use the newest version, Evangelical Lutheran Worship; others are more comfortable with the older Lutheran Book of Worship; a few congregations go off the reservation altogether and use their own liturgies, although (one hopes) they'll still maintain the basic liturgical structure. Most Lutheran congregations also use the Revised Common Lectionary for their texts, although again you get a few renegades who do their own sermon series (especially in the summertime/during the looooong season of Pentecost); and some congregations concerned about worshippers' biblical literacy are trying a new lectionary, whose name escapes me, that's based more on following a Gospel from beginning to end than on following the particular theme of a given Sunday.


I think that you'll find Lutherans in general, unlike Anglicans, to be more concerned with orthodoxy than with orthopraxy; I think in general we hold our historic confessional doctuments (the Augsburg Confession, particularly) more binding than you do your 39 Articles...although in the ELCA we are still able to pitch a pretty wide tent theologically.  So there's that. Anglicanism was influenced in some quarters by Calvinism, which may account for some subtle differences between those Anglicans and (at least North American) Lutherans in theological thought; likewise, while there are certainly Lutherans who, like Anglo-Catholics, do not self-identify as "Protestant" and who hold out the hope that someday we can reconcile with the RCC, I think that that goal has far more traction in the Anglican tradition, in some quarters -- especially these days when the RCC seems to be retrenching and pulling back a bit from its ecumenical relationship with the ELCA. And of course there are polity differences between Anglicanism and Lutheranism in general, including between TEC and the ELCA.


I hope you have an enjoyable, enriching experience at whichever ELCA congregation you choose to visit! I was at an Episcopal service a few weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed both the order of service and the friendliness and graciousness of the people there.

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3 years ago  ::  Jun 16, 2011 - 4:29PM #3
G_Erdner
Posts: 170

I suspect you'll find that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and The Episcopal Church are quite similar, and that the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod and the Anglican Church in North America to be quite similar. I also think you'll find that the differences between the ELCA and LC-MS are similar to the differences between TEC and ACNA.

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3 years ago  ::  Jun 21, 2011 - 6:58PM #4
teilhard
Posts: 51,386

The "Lutherans" (in General) are about, "What does this Mean ... ???," while The Anglican-Episcopalians are about, "How is this Done ... ???" ...

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3 years ago  ::  Jun 21, 2011 - 11:21PM #5
AFskypilot
Posts: 352

What everyone said--for the most part.


Lutherans consider the worship form we use adiaphra, meaning it is neither commanded nor forbidden in the Bible.   The only confessional principle is that it clearly presents the Gospel.  For the most part, you will find Lutherans following the same liturgy outline you are familar with though we more variety when it comes to the chants.  For instance, in the Evangelical Lutheran Worship book there are ten different liturgical forms.  And even then, there is some variation among different congregations.  Our congregation, for instance, has a Mass that is dedicated specifically to our congregation--has more of an African beat (even though 98% of us are European American.)


That said, I have been noticing a tendency to change the order somewhat in a few congregations, trying to make it more of a General Protestant Service.  I am not too keen on it myself.  I think there is enough latitude in the Common Order to be able to spice it up some.

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3 years ago  ::  Jul 03, 2011 - 12:43PM #6
Nino0814
Posts: 1,753

I attended an ELCA worship service this morning.  The congregation was very personable, welcoming and reverent.  Their liturgy was also similar to the ECUSA order of worship; with slight differences in wording and order.


Thank you all for your comments!


Nino

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3 years ago  ::  Jul 04, 2011 - 10:38AM #7
AFskypilot
Posts: 352

It;s good to know you had a good experience with the ELCA service, Nino.  Hope you continue to worship with us in the future.

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