The rape of the Lutheran chorale -or- How LSB is subtly robbing you of your heritage

I wasn’t going to write this post, because I realized that it might commit me to writing something every week here, and I’m not sure I can handle that kind of pressure.

But then it happened again. I noticed a yuge difference between the chief hymn as sung in church from LSB and the chief hymn as sung at home from TLH. Last week, Trinity 5. This one was a doozy. I thought to myself, “This one is a doozy.” It dawned on me that there was a better way forward than my usual routine of taking pictures of offending verses from LSB and texting them to my friends with messages like “WHAT THE HELL?!” and “ARE YOU SERIOUS??”—yeah, an even better way forward than that, if you can believe it.

If I do end up writing a series, I guess this post will be the pilot episode. So pardon me if I go long on this one.

Last week, which among the churches of God is called Trinity 5 or the Fifth Sunday after Trinity, the chief hymn was “Come, Follow Me, The Savior Spake,” by Johann Scheffler. Yes, it is true that Scheffler became a papist later in life, but that’s a crap attempt at poisoning the well (heh, no pun was intended there, but Luther would be proud). You people still sing “The Infant Priest” even though Chad Bird became a serial adulterer. I know that you think becoming a Roman Catholic is worse, because you’re Lutherans, but seriously, don’t go there.

Here are the TLH and LSB versions side by side. Note verse 5:

TLH 421

LSB 688

1 Come, follow Me, the Savior spake,
All in My way abiding;
Deny yourselves, the world forsake,
Obey My call and guiding.
Oh, bear the cross, whate’er betide,
Take my example for your guide.

2 I am the Light, I light the way,
A godly life displaying;
I bid you walk as in the day,
I keep your feet from straying.
I am the way, and well I show
How you must sojourn here below.

3 My heart bounds in lowliness,
My soul with love is glowing,
And gracious words My lips express,
With meekness overflowing.
My heart, My mind, My strength, My all,
To God I yield, on Him I call.

4 I teach you how to shun and flee
What harms your soul’s salvation,
Your heart from every guile to free,
From sin and its temptation.
I am the refuge of the soul
And lead you to your heavenly goal.

5 Then let us follow Christ, our Lord,
And take the cross appointed
And, firmly clinging to His Word,
In suffering be undaunted.
For who bears not the battle’s strain
The crown of life shall not obtain.


1 “Come, follow Me,” the Savior spake,
“All in My way abiding;
Deny yourselves, the world forsake,
Obey My call and guiding.
O bear the cross, whate’er betide,
Take my example for your guide.

2 “I am the Light, I light the way,
A godly life displaying;
I bid you walk as in the day;
I keep your feet from straying.
I am the way, and well I show
How you must sojourn here below.

3 “My heart abounds in lowliness,
My soul with love is glowing;
And gracious words My lips express,
With meekness overflowing.
My heart, My mind, My strength, My all,
To God I yield, on Him I call.

4 “I teach you how to shun and flee
What harms your soul’s salvation,
Your heart from ev’ry guile to free,
From sin and its temptation.
I am the refuge of the soul
And lead you to your heav’nly goal.”

5 Then let us follow Christ, our Lord,
And take the cross appointed
And, firmly clinging to His Word,
In suff’ring be undaunted.
For those who bear the battle’s strain
The crown of heav’nly life obtain.


Thanks, LSB, for helping us “keep it positive.” I guess all hymns need to end with a happy Gospel thought, too. Definitely wouldn’t want people to think that those who do not take up their cross and follow Christ might not enter heaven, even though the Bible says so:

Matthew 10:38: “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me.”

Luke 9:23-25: “And [Jesus] said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.

And just so there’s no doubt, LSB’s translation is unfaithful:

Modern Lutherans believe that Scripture is “perspicuous” until some perspicuous passage threatens one of their cherished antinomian beliefs. That’s generally how it goes. So they do things like edit the hymnal, sometimes subtly, sometimes grossly— as future installments will show (dang it, I guess that sounds kind of committed).

With few exceptions, the versions of our great Lutheran chorales which appear in LSB have been just gutted. Maybe you don’t think that’s a fair metaphor. Fine. Those that are not gutted are often critically maimed in small but significant ways. If someone cuts your pinky-toes off, you can’t walk. Yeah, great, no one gave you the Braveheart treatment, but how do you like being a cripple?

Why have our trusted LCMS theologians and “liturgical experts” done this to our hymns?

One reason is that our synod is severely infected with antinomianism. Some would say at the “highest levels.” I have a friend who left the LCMS for the WELS because, at least in his mind, the LCMS is full of “Fordeians” (a reference to the ELCA theologian Gerhard Forde) “at the highest levels.” (I’m not confident about my recollection of the full quote, but those were definitely the last four words.) He couldn’t stomach it anymore. That’s his take. I still wish he would’ve stayed, but like Bill Clinton, I feel his pain (this is the only way that I’m like Bill Clinton). There can be no doubt about it: the LSB’s rape of our great Lutheran hymns manifests an antinomian agenda. Sometimes it’s blatant, as with today’s example. Sometimes it’s more subtle. Later installments (dang, more commitment talk there) will bear witness to this, but I’ll say this for now: LSB’s obsessive stripping away of male pronouns and references to “man,” “mankind, and “men” should trouble you. And it’s all over the place. Feminism is a revolt against the order of creation, for which “patriarchy” is a perfectly good synonym. It is pure antinomianism.

A second reason: Beauty is confusing, apparently, and you’re stupid and wouldn’t benefit from encountering it, apparently, nor could you come to appreciate it. So LSB’s squad of “editors” just flattened the poetic contours of beautiful hymn-verses into Midwestern Nice so that you never have to worry about feeling awe or wonder stirring in your breast. It’s safer that way. You’ll “understand” it better. Snip snip. I’m glad that a hymnal committee didn’t decide what version of Shakespeare we all get to read. Can you imagine what these people would do to Romeo And Juliet? “Romeo, Romeo, huh, that sure is a funny name!”

The arrogance of these lyrical alterations is just astounding. Who are these people that they think they are free to hack away things that don’t fit their little procrustean beds-o’-the-moment? The great Lutheran hymnographers of old are dead and can’t protest the butchery of their work. All of this is like Chesterton’s fable of the gate: two men walk down a country lane and come upon a gate. The first says, “I don’t understand why this is here. Let’s tear it down.” The other says, “I don’t understand why this is here. We’d better not touch it.” To me the analogy is obvious, so I’m not going to bother spelling it out. I will say, though, that I would love to see the edits that our Lutheran fathers would make to our hymns. How would we like that? Probably not one bit. But because we are arrogant and ungrateful children, we have no problem turning the tables.

Whatever the intentions of LSB’s hymn-wrecking crew might have been, this is all objectively insidious: this is how tradition—good tradition, which is the act of passing down good things to the next generation—dies. It’s like the memory hole in George Orwell’s 1984. In today’s LCMS, converts and millennials—anyone who’s grown up only knowing LSB, basically—are effectively cut off from their heritage, and they don’t even know it. In fact, they—and the synod-o-crats who all seem to love the LSB—adopt an air of superiority around anyone who expresses frustration with it. Unless that person is Pastor Mark Preus. It’s really hard to adopt an air of superiority around Mark Preus. Not only is he ten times smarter than you (on the topic of Lutheran hymns and probably plenty of others), but he also looks like he could take a bite out of a truck bumper while singing “Salvation Unto Us Has Come.” Just stand down.

I’m not against new hymns, in theory. Yes, the LSB includes some good newer hymns that weren’t written when TLH first came out, but, really…not that many, when you think about it. And I’d give up every single one of the supposedly great new hymns in LSB if I could have all of Gerhardt’s hymns in their place—unmaimed and with the guts still in. Again, I’m not judging the intentions of (all of) the men who worked on LSB. I’m sure some of them had great intentions. But it’s a bad book. Containing good hymns does not make a hymnal good. A camel is a horse built by a committee. With each passing year, I think more people in the LCMS realize that the LSB’s horse costume is falling apart and the hump is poking through. We’re not going to whoop ass on the Apache while riding this steed.

But I’m going to try to be fair. If there’s a genuine improvement in LSB’s version of a hymn, or even if they just leave it a lone, I will certainly note this and give credit where credit is due. But that’s small comfort, and it’s not going to change the overall verdict, which has already been set by a jury way larger than one autistic guy on a gripe blog. Way larger. It includes those who are dead. (Didn’t Chesterton say something about that, too? Tradition is the democracy of the dead?)

That’s all I’ve got to say for now. If you want to follow along with this project, or work ahead of me, or if the concept of a chief hymn is new to you, consult this list. Look up the same hymns in TLH that are given for LSB.

Chris Rosebrough’s “Aletheia Church”

Heyo! Welcome to Aletheia Outreach, Chris Rosebrough’s latest grand gesture of stroking his ego in private…yet somehow still in public, so as to be seen by men:

I MEAN church. We’re a church. This isn’t weird.

First some pre-service music:

Wait a second—how did you get here? Have you been vetted by PASTOR? Ah. That’s right. You have the sacred GoToMeeting link. Just like Jesus did it. Well, don’t forget to set some matzos and Mogen David on the table and do a sound check, because when PASTOR speaks his all-powerful consecrating words, you’ll need to be sure that some of the sound-waves make contact.

Yes, this is what they do.

Those of us who have known Chris from the early days saw this coming a loooooong time ago. Saw what coming? Please, take another look at General Hamilton’s tweet. You either die draining the swamp, or you live long enough to see yourself become the swamp.

He didn’t want to take the time off to go apply to the seminary. No—the public needed him! How would they have dealt with life while he was cracking books? So he asked his pastor if he’d endorse him for the SMP program. Yeah, that’s right. Take it to the bank. This is well corroborated.

I wasn’t there, but this must have been the gist:

Chris’s pastor: “Uh…the SMP program? But that’s for…you know…liberals. It’s a weak-sauce fast track. We’re against that.”

Chris: “Yeah, well…I can’t go to seminary like ordinary people.”

Chris’s pastor: “How come not?”

Chris: “Uh, hello? I’m Chris Rosebrough. I’m special. Besides, if I stop breathing life into people via my internet radio station, the church will fall.”

Chris’s pastor: “It will?”

Chris: “Yes. Besides I’m already super smart and stuff. Smarter than a whole entire pastor and everything. I just need to get the badge.”

Chris’s pastor: “You mean ordination.”

Chris: “Whatever. I already know all the stuff.”

Chris’s pastor: “Well, be that as it may, the SMP program is shite and it’s for liberals. You of all people should be opposed to that. I cannot, in good conscience, recommend you.”

Chris: “OK, I’m peacin’ out. Gonna go somewhere where people will recognize that I’m a genius who’s too cool for regular school.” *Immediately orders clerical shirts, collarettes, and huge pectoral cross from Almy*

Now, I don’t know much of anything about the TAALC. I know that the LCMS is in fellowship with them, but I don’t know whether that speaks well of them or not. I know that some of their pastors went to an online seminary and seem to be none the worse for it, and I know that…there’s also Chris Rosebrough. They must be desperately trying to figure out how to put their toothpaste back into the tube right now. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried this, but it doesn’t work.

Let’s be real. Rosebrough sought a fast track into the ministry for the optics. The TAALC provided that way, probably without knowing what they were doing. Fast-forward to today, past the part where Chris is whoring himself at a conference run by a pseudo-Lutheran sexual predator: now he’s doing an online invite-only “church” for people who’ve been “hurt by the institutional church.” (Oh, please. Let me guess— this is the “Gospel for those broken by the Church.”) His actual church is just a physical front to provide him with legitimacy, like a dry-cleaner run by the mob, except that, at least in the movies, mobsters are cool and sympathetic, and Chris is not. He’s there at Kongsvanger so that he can be “Pastor Chris Rosebrough” rather than some nerd who carps all day on an “internet radio station” about “muh false teachers.” Yeah, well, if you lie down with the dogs all day, don’t be surprised if you come up covered in fleas. Apparently he’s absorbed their ideas by osmosis or something. He’s doing parachurch just like all of the schmucks he rails on…but he’s doing it the right way, see?

No, I don’t see, and neither do you, because we’re not idiots. An online video-conventicle with a tele-consecrated Lord’s Supper is not church. And the supper that they eat is not the Lord’s Supper. Sorry, but it’s just not. (That’s the worst part, the whole sacraments part. I’m sensitive to this because I grew up in a cult.) No, it isn’t described in these terms on the website, but this is absolutely what they do. I know because I talked to someone who’s “attended” one of the Aletheia Outreach services. Just ask Chris. He’ll even defend it. He’ll say it’s no different than using a microphone to project the pastor’s voice, yadda yadda. Yeah. Come on. Because someone sitting at the back of a big church has their own little altar set up on a TV-tray with their own elements. No, of course they don’t. “Our Lord Jesus Christ took bread,” etc. He didn’t just think of all of the bread in various places in the world, say magic words, and turn it into His body. For that and a hundred other reasons, this doesn’t pass a basic smell test.

You don’t need hifalutin theology to recognize that this is bogus. This is a guy who wants you to want him. He’s somehow not busy enough ministering to actual 3D members at a church that has actually called him to be their pastor? Really? Do you believe that? Maybe you’re reading this, and you’re a pastor. If so then you know that this is total crap. This man is just an internet addict LARPing the holy ministry. Why can’t these people go to actual churches? Answer: because Chris Rosebrough is the indispensable man. Or so he thinks. Any old pastor simply will not do. He is the anointed leader.

If that sounds culty, it’s not a coincidence. It’s culty.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering if you can give your first seed to Aletheia Ministries so that later you can stand under the rainbow and claim the blessing or whatever, yes, there is a way to do that. Give money here! You have to just laugh. What a sheister. To be honest, though, I don’t think Chris is malicious. I think he truly just believes his own hype. He’s also never worked a day of real work in his life (Vintegrity does not count, for obvious reasons), so he probably does need the money. Still, don’t give him any.

Here are all of the links on Aletheia Outreach:

They’re all on, too, in case he scrubs them. Hell, I sure would.

Anyway, just wanted to get this out before Chris preaches at Higher Things tomorrow. I’m sure your kids will learn great stuff from him. Sorry, buddy. I know it hurts, but at this point you’re just doing it to yourself. You need to give it up and go work at Target or learn to cut hair or something.



Lutheran Twitter Trolls, Useful Idiots, and Your Pearl-Clutching

We are not…

Are there other Lutheran troll accounts?

Whoever @Repravda, @RealVELoescher, @King_Prester, and @HansFiene are, we thank them for those times when they are right, and we ask them to sober up a bit, choose their battles wisely, and stop tagging us. We are not offended by their use of fake names, however, and we recognize the need for the use of the same in this day and age when not everyone has a six-figure “screw you” petty-cash sock to fall back on if petty people try to ruin their lives for speaking the truth.

We don’t know if all of what these good trolls do rises to the august level of “truth-speaking” or not—probably not, as at least one of them writes for the FDRLST, which sucks—but we don’t care, either, and we’re not going to madly scan their tweets and clutch our pearls if they step out of line. We don’t even have pearls. If you do, you should stop clutching them, because that little string is going to break, and they’re going to fall on the floor and bounce all over the place; some might go down the heater-vent, and you’re just never going to find them all…

Stop reading their damn tweets if they offend you. Put your damn iPhone on your damn dresser and go for a damn half-hour walk and look at the damn birds. Then come home and read a damn book for an hour. Better yet, read the Bible. For Pete’s sake, you are such a neurotic foot-stamping little child.

If there are more so-called “troll-accounts,” we are not them, either. We are @doorcellarthe, and that’s it. But that Twitter account is a bit like John Malkovich in the movie Being John Malkovich. Don’t get the reference? Watch the movie.

We are small and insignificant for now, but you should pay attention to us. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our Facebook page (you don’t even have to “like” it). We talk about important things here.

Do you hate the degradation of the Lutheran Church?

Do you, like us, find that what might be termed “reactionary traditionalism” is necessarily entailed by our Lutheran confession of faith, especially if our churches are to survive and flourish?

Do you despise secularism, liberalism, modernism, feminism, antinomianism, and all of their works and ways, and are you tired of watching supposedly orthodox Lutheran synods, churches, pastors, and theologians incessantly capitulate to them and compromise with them?

Do you think that Robert Conquest’s Three Laws of Politics apply all too well to the LCMS?

Then you may already be one of us already. Welcome.

Don’t apologize if the foregoing describes you. Lutherans apologize online way too much. It’s super fake, and it’s super gay.

What do you think? We’ll leave comments open on this post for a change. But we still aren’t going to publish your comment, Bill. Or yours, Chris.



1517 The Legacy Projection: whither movest it, and whence?

From the comment section over at BJS. Trent Demarest pointed me to this with the following disclaimer:

This was sent to me via email by Pr. Mark Surburg, who assumed that I was the author and indicated that others have been making the same assumption (presumably on Facebook). I’m honored(ish), but, no, I am not the author. Funny thing, I was actually trying to get a comment in on that story all day, but was having weird CAPTCHA difficulties and was unable to post. I am not the author, but I wish I were. Well, kind of. I would never say, “1517/CHF is a lot of good and a lot of bad all mixed together”— I think the whole thing is a flaming pile of […], and I have never liked Rod Rosenbladt even a little. Nothing personal— I only know him as a theologian, and he’s awful. Even when I was an antinomian, I thought he was a weird, emotive try-hard. It’s like he never stopped being a pietist. Anyway, on the whole and in general, yes to all of this. You should post it.

Alright, well…whatever.

I’ve taken the liberty of putting links in where available. Read and share. Papa bless.

NOTE: photos, captions, etc., are all the creation of The Cellar Door Syndicate™ and are all completely © and even ®, so don’t even think about stealing our OC.

What is a “Preston Sprinkle”? We just don’t know. But, wow, Popovits. What a cool guy. “How cool?” you ask. Oh, you don’t even know…

Comparisons with Issues, Etc. or Seminary Symposium, or pastors contributing to non-Lutheran blogs are more obscuring than helpful. Same with personal testimonies about how 1517 used to be. 1517 understands itself as a “movement.” The question is, where is it moving?

Once upon a time 1517 had nothing to do with Christ Hold Fast (CHF). Now it does. Is that a “movement” toward or away from Confessional Lutheranism?

The founder of CHF, “Pastor” Daniel Price, has sexually preyed upon one of Christ’s sheep. He twists the Bible to remain instated as a “pastor” of an “independent Lutheran church” (read: cult leader). He practices open communion, slanders confessional brothers, is divisive, quarrelsome, and blatantly unrepentant. If you want to know his m.o. read, “Beware of Broken Wolves” by Joe Carter. It spells out how Price uses the gospel so that Price can do what Price wants to do.

What Price wants to do is (actually) strangle Demarest. This just looks like soccer-between-the-trenches “haha irony” stuff.

Once upon a time Van Voorhis used his gifts in service to Confessional Lutheranism. For example, google his videos on “American Christianity” and “A Brief history of Lutheran Pietism.” Since becoming part of the “movement” that is 1517, how has Van Voorhis moved? There was the pro Nadia Bolz-Weber article, bizarre and questionable videos on “Christ and Culture,” the Reinke interview, the Eilers interview, and now hours of narcissism and humble-bragging about a sinful past (See “Virtue in the Wasteland” and “Monsters”).

If 1517 was interested in working together with Confessional Lutherans, how hard would it be to simply post a correction, retraction, or clarification (on the Eilers issue, for example, or any of the others)? How hard would it be for 1517 to simply say: “If you see something contrary to the Bible or the Confessions, let us know, we will take it down”?

But 1517 is a movement and it isn’t interested in what Confessional Lutheranism thinks. It’s headed in another direction, one small step at a time.

Evidence? Donavan Riley: “Clark Kent in a Manger” (Eutychianism), “God’s Not Angry At You” and “The Gospel For those angry At God” (Antinomianism). Chad Bird: “Safe Preaching and the Prophylactic Gospel” and “Gospel Phobia” (Antinomianism). Scott Keith: “Do you Really think You can Use God’s Law” (Antinomianism), “The Gospel As Dynamite …” (Anachronism, Bad Exegesis, Reductionism), “My First Lutheran Cruise” (Mocking the Lutheran church). Joel Hess: “Is God Drunk” (Blasphemy), “Want Uniformity In Worship? Go back to Prussia” (Anti-liturgical). There’s even a papist! Graham Glover: “Authority Problem” and “Protestants Need the Pope.”

Awwww! All of the boyz together, with somebody’s mom. (NB: Van Voorhis is the one rocking the contraposso and protest tats.) Man, this picture is just uncomfortable to look at.

Add all this to what you know about CHF and the tragic turn of Van Voorhis.

1517 identifies as a “movement.” Does it appear that they are moving (and want their audience to move) toward Confessional Lutheranism or away from it?

1517 has also promoted an organization called Mockingbird and its conferences (see the “friends” section of 1517’s website). If you want the abstract, simply google “episcodisco.” If you want the full scoop, check out the crass antinomianism of Paul Zahl’s book, Grace In Practice or the identical theology of his son, David Zahl. Mockingbird is also pro women’s ordination and has had, for example, “Rev.” Mrs. Fleming Rutledge as a conference speaker. Again, 1517 promotes Mockingbird and its conferences.

1517 identifies as a “movement.” Does it appear that they are moving toward Confessional Lutheranism or away from it?

1517/CHF are now promoting a conference called “Here We Still Stand” The conference name and list of speakers will tell you all you need to know. Orthodox (Montgomery, Rosenbladt, Francisco, Siemon-Netto), mixed with heterodox (non-Lutherans, David Zahl, etc.), mixed with predatory (Daniel Price), mixed with flat-out heretical (Stephen Paulson). Yes, Stephen Paulson who, in his book, “Lutheran Theology” denies the atonement (p. 91-93), denies the Third Use (p. 170-188), and even accuses our Lord Jesus Himself of personal sin (p.105) is one with whom 1517/CHF is going to “stand” on the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. Let that sink in.

1517 identifies as a “movement.” If it “stands” with the kind of teachers listed above, and implies that Lutherans have always stood with these kinds of teachers (“Here We Still Stand”), is this a “movement” toward or away from Confessional Lutheranism? Is it a “movement” toward or away from Truth?

Try not to laugh. Narrator def needs some Dulcolax.

How have orthodox teachers gotten wrapped into this? By not truly understanding the nature of the “movement” to which they are lending their names and talents. Once upon a time 1517 was not so. Now it is. The big picture and the slow drift are sometimes hard to see. Old age, old friendships, and a bit of money can make it even harder to see.

Of course, you could simply come to the same conclusion about 1517/CHF using the well-worn short-cut: lex orandi, lex credendi. If the worship is generically protestant, revivalistic, and ego driven – so too will be the theology. Check out any 1517/CHF conference.

1517/CHF is a lot of good and a lot of bad all mixed together. The bad is a move toward protestantism, nuanced with radical Lutheranism. The good is why it has its champions. Everyone interested in Confessional Lutheranism needs to understand that 1517/CHF is a “movement,” and they need to understand where that “movement” is headed.

And if this is, indeed, a “movement” that Higher Things wants to join, then, “Higher Things – Quo Vadis?”

Matt Popovits’s Incredible Journey of Cool

You may have thought that this was where it ended…



But it didn’t end there. It went…on.

I am honored to get to be the one to share the following very powerful story with you. If you don’t laugh, cry, and ultimately dance like nobody’s watching as you consume this sacramental image-narrative, you cannot possibly claim to understand the Gospel.

“Hey guys! Can I get in on this selfie?!” <SIGH> “Yeah, sure.” “I sure do love being cool!” “Yeah, it’s great.”
“And now, please rise and join us for the “Matt Popovits is So Cool” dance, led by the Comfort Dogs. I mean…some dance drill team. Rooty-toot-toot!”
MH: (silently, to self) “I’ve made a huge mistake.”
“Yeah, well, you’ll never be as cool as us, cuñado…”
“Or us…”
“…or us” (mmmm heroin)
“Or us…” (where am I, and why are these guys always flanking me?)
“Or us…”
(real quick, just want to mention— I am the only cool person in this sequence of pictures. kthxbai.)
“Or us…”
“Or me…”
“Or me…”
“Or our mom…”
“Or us…” (mmmm tapas; I’m having these catered at my next wedding)
“And? Like, srsly, have you seen my custom vest? Don’t even.”
—(interrupts) “YEAH, WELL.”
The End.

On Joel Hess’s Inability To Find His Donkey With Both Hands

I searched Google for “Joel Hess” and this is what came up. Seems about right.

[UPDATE: In response to a reader request, we have removed all references to anatomical asses from this post.]

Among the many blogs by Lutherans that you should never bother reading, the Jagged Word comes in near the top of the list. Staffed by a tank of insecure Gen-Xers, this blog has featured absolutely nothing worth reading in its entire history of existence. It has, however, served the useful purpose of adequately showcasing the Everymoron’s opinion in any number of Lutheran controversies every couple of months, ever since…whenever. How the jagged decide among themselves which LARPing manchild writes what, and when, is surely a process which no algorithm could approximate. Mysterious. Needless to say, it is a blog devoted to signaling. Not a single post is excepted from this generalization.

The Jagged Word

In any event, there’s this guy Joel Hess who writes terrible articles at the Jagged Word with a frequency of something like one to ten articles per year. I don’t know. His latest is awful. Just…pitifully stupid. Like, worse than the ones that Scott Keith’s son writes, if you can imagine that. A lot of this can be explained by the fact that Hess went to the St. Louis seminary (sorry, I know there are exceptions— he’s not one), although one gets the feeling that the guy is such a dunce that, had he gone to the Ft. Wayne seminary, he would have emerged in a state of similar puerility and written articles that sucked just as hard. Though he went to seminary, I don’t think he’s a pastor, but I haven’t checked, and this is the Missouri Synod, so I could be wrong. To quote a friend who just recently read Hess’s latest:

“Wow. This guy couldn’t find his donkey with both hands.”

And that is about exactly the size of it.

If you want to read Hess’s article for reference purposes, you can do so by visiting this link. In his article, Hess asserts that the desire for liturgical uniformity makes one a partisan of the Prussian Union/a Romanizer. There is no argument, only assertion and B-grade snark, the sort you’d expect from twerps who white-knight on Facebook all day and look like bearded guppies. Hess says it because, again, as stated above, he’s insecure, and he hasn’t read very much. It’s never occurred to him to listen to men who are wiser than he, because as far as he knows, this is an imaginary category. That’s why he blogs at the Jagged Word.

Anyway, all of this is an overlong intro to this, the meat of this piece, which is just a link to this article by Dr. Holger Sonntag, who, unlike Hess, is a scholar:

“Freedom Shall Be and Remain a Servant of Love”: Luther on Liturgical Diversity and Uniformity as an Exercise in Distinguishing Faith and Love

And if you don’t want to slog through that— at all or just yet— consider this:

[​W]e teach that in these matters​ (i.e., adiaphora)​ the use of liberty is to be so controlled that the inexperienced may not be offended, and, on account of the abuse of liberty, may not become more hostile to the true doctrine of the Gospel, or that without a reasonable cause nothing in customary rites be changed, but that, in order to cherish harmony, such old customs be observed as can be observed without sin or without great inconvenience. And in this very assembly we have shown sufficiently that for love’s sake we do not refuse to observe adiaphora with others, even though they should have some disadvantage; but we have judged that such public harmony as could indeed be produced without offense to consciences ought to be preferred to all other advantages [all other less important matters]. (Apology of the Augsburg Confession, XVI, 51-52)

QED. Joel Hess is an ignoramus.