Edification and Education as Primary Concerns of Worship Rites in the Lutheran Confessions
In recent years, “worship wars” have erupted in the Lutheran church. Different opinions concerning public worship have been advanced, varying principles have been cited, and papers, essays, and blog posts have been lobbed from either side of the battle lines. The starting place for investigating principles of worship must be the Holy Scriptures. As a Lutheran church investigating principles of worship, one must also consider what the Lutheran Confessions have to say on the topic. Having read what the confessions say about worship and, specifically, Lutheran worship rites, a multifaceted approach to ritual in worship became apparent. At the most fundamental level the primary concerns of Lutheran worship rites, according to the confessions, must be to edify and educate the people. The goal of this thesis is to trace the development of confessional Lutheran worship rites in their historical context as well as their use in the setting of public worship while keeping in mind the twin goals of edification and education. Along with this, this study will discuss a number of Confessional principles for practical application in worship as 21st century Lutherans strive to achieve the Lutheran middle road in public worship.