10 August 2008

Evaluating the Lutheran Service Book

My son-in-law recently brought to my attention a critical review of the Lutheran Service Book; not the first I've seen, but from a somewhat different angle. There have been positive reviews, as well, and the overall assessment and reception of the book by the Church at large has frankly been impressive. The reasons for its acceptance vary, rather widely I suspect, as do the criteria by which it has been criticized.

I have my own thoughts and opinions concerning the Lutheran Service Book; not unbiased, given my extensive participation in the project that produced it and the adoption of the book by my congregation. Here, though, I am first of all raising the questions for others: What are your assessment and evaluation of LSB? What are its strengths, and what are its weaknesses? Has your congregation adopted it? Why, or why not? What unanswered questions do you still have? What do you most regret? What's missing, and what should not have been included?

I'm asking because I honestly want to know what others think, and because I also intend to share my own perspectives in turn, but I'd like to initiate a conversation. We're coming up on two years of using LSB at Emmaus (since the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels in 2006). That seems an appropriate juncture at which to step back and take stock of things. So, what say you?


revalkorn said...

There is much to appreciate in LSB. However, I do have one beef, and it's not a small one. When CPH re-released Luther's Small Catechism with explanation, the text of the actual chief parts didn't change. That was a wonderful aid in the continuing catechesis of the church. Pick one translation and stick with it. LSB does not have that same integrity to it. Hymns that I learned and taught from two (and sometimes three) different hymnals now have a third (and sometimes fourth) translation. So many of the "alt" hymns are ones that I've used in catechesis, and I (and a number of my former students) used to be able to sing and pray them from memory in the worship service. This is no longer the case, and I think LSB is the weaker for it.

revalkorn said...

Bob Schaibley, SSP, sent the following to me via e-mail by mistake, meaning to post it here:

‘Tis a good point that revalkorn raises, but he doesn’t go far enough. Why pick one translation now (I know, I know, Luther says to do this)? Bear with me. We picked one as a Synod in 1943. Now, I don’t mind updates in the Explanation section – they’re fine, and necessary – “Mommy, Mommy, what’s an abortion?” But when 1986 rolled around, and we were given a new catechism, the NIV was used for the Scriptural sections of the Catechism. Some of us pleaded with the powers that be (which, frankly, we found in CPH, not in Synodical Conventions) that the texts of the Catechism-proper should be left alone. We quoted Luther. It was to no avail. And the NIV texts give us weak, and even errant catechetical texts – e.g. “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping holy. Wrong! That’s not just weak, it’s errant, it’s wrong. That’s not what Luther teaches us. That’s not what you do with a Hebrew infinitive. It turns the Commandment on its head. Remembering is the action, and holy-kept days are the result, not the other way around. But, we had to use it, because of this agreement with Zondervan’s concerning the NIV text, which was: for a great deal on copyright licensing, use it all and use it only. And we said, Yes, sir!

So, and I’m getting to revalkorn’s point – please be patient with me, we come to this new Catechism, and we have a new agreement with a new copyright holder of a new English text. And some of us, the old farts, thought, yippy! We’ll get a correct 2nd Commandment, because the ESV (along with every other major English translation, except for the NIV) honors the infinitive, and therefore gets the flow of the commandment down correctly: Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. But NO! This time, new pastors sounding like the old farts of old, complained – Don’t change the translation of the Catechism text –Listen to Luther! Duh! And this time, CPH in its infinite wisdom, gave in, and so we STILL have that garbage translation of the very center of what we believe and teach especially to our children. And revalkorn (along with me and many others) gripes about the unnecessary rewording of well-known hymns! The catechism needs our gripes, too!

Well, we use LSB now. But we’re not all that happy about what we have. So, we’re developing our own Lutheran Service Book Supplement. It has a better text for the Catechism. It has older, thankfully in public domain, hymns texts for certain hymns, and if I get my way, it’ll have the text of the Augustana, too, which used to mark the genuineness of practically every Lutheran hymn-book in history, except for what the LCMS has produced in her puny history (we may have to compromise on just using the first part of the Augustana, for which I’d gladly settle). It would be a benefit to have the entirety of the Psaltery, even notated for Anglican chant that we still use (it is the chant form of the TLH, though many never recognized that fact). But it is only a supplement, so we’ll just major in majors. I would humbly offer this option to others who are irritated in what we are given of the “old” in the LSB.

Paul McCain said...

Correction to Pr. Schaibley's remark:

CPH in its infinite wisdom, gave in, and so we STILL have that garbage translation of the very center of what we believe and teach especially to our children.

The use of the text of the Enchiridion, as is, with no changes, was a very explicit/specific mandate of The LCMS Convention. Pastor Schaibley is incorrect in ascribing the decision to retain the text, as is, to CPH. He is correct however in indentifying those most instrumental in calling on the Synod to retain the text, as is.

Rev. Fr. Robert W. Schaibley said...

I stand corrected about what language passed the convention. Thank you, Rev. McCain! I remain appalled at the result.


wmc said...

I'm glad Rick posted this topic. One thing I learned from serving on the LSB committee was that hymnals reflect the state of the synod as it is when the hymnal is produced. Many people wanted the hymnal to be an agent for whatever change they were pushing, whether traditionalist or modernist.

I was talking with a friend of mine about this very topic a week or so ago. He made some comments that got me thinking about what LSB reflects of the state of the LCMS. I think, in part, it reflects fear for the future, a desire to unite the various liturgical strands within the LCMS, and a desire to be all things to all people. I remember the fatwahs and threats of "charges" leveled against our committee if we included this or excluded that from LSB. I think LSB is the best hymnal we could have produced given the state of the LCMS today.

On the whole, I appreciate LSB conciliatory tone; it made introduction a no-brainer in our congregation. Still, it's ease of introduction points to its greatest weakness - there really isn't anything new here. Most of it is "wir bleiben bei dem Alten."

I think of hymnals past and their legacy. TLH brought an unprecedented unity to English speaking confessional Lutheranism. It combined the core hymnody of Lutheranism with the best of Episcopalian, Presbyterian, and Methodist hymnody. Though somewhat pietistic, TLH was radically ecumenical for its time, at a time when the LCMS was going through what Roger Patelko called "its Angliophile period."

LW and its cousin LBW were remarkably contemporary for their day. They brought fresh setting to the divine service, and a certain dissonance to the hymnody that grew to be wearying but at the time was remarkably contemporary. I recall the two congregations I attended that made the shift from TLH to one of these two books, and they were greeted with great enthusiasm for their lively renditions of what had become rather tired hymns.

The legacy has yet to be written on LSB, but my initial reaction is that it tries to be an excellent hymnal, liturgically and hymnically, without paving much in the way of new ground. It is a rather "postmodern' hymnal, comfortable with the pastiche of the old and the relatively new, though failing to the take any significant risks. Perhaps the greatest risks taken were the expanded prayers of the Lord's Supper, and forcing the TLH-only crowd to say the Creed with everyone else.

It will be interesting to see where worship and hymnody goes in the years ahead, assuming Jesus doesn't appear first (Maranatha!), as many if not most of our churches have functionally abandoned the hymnal while the rest muddle along or produce their own canon of liturgy and hymnody.

Interesting times in which we live.

Matt said...

Where did the Amens go in LSB?

I know the consensus of the committee is that the 1943 hymnal overdid things by putting the Amen after every hymn. LSB compromised by publishing a supplement noting which hymns did and did not deserve the Amen.

Thus ensuring endless confusion! Wouldn't the sensible thing be to print the Amen where it makes sense and omit it where it does not?

wmc said...

Should be pretty obvious. The hymns with the triangle indicating a doxological stanza, hence the custom to stand, would have an Amen after them.

Prof. William Pollock, the architect of TLH, didn't want Amens after every hymn either, but no one could agree when which ones should have them and no one trusted organists to know how to play them. Hence the Amen after every hymn.

Rev. Wright II said...

I grew up using the TLH, I always make the joke they would not have called it THE Lutheran Hymnal for nothing. Then at the sem we used the LW, but both field work and Vicarage I used TLH. Then a year in to the service of the church I have been called to moved from LW to LSB. They have received this change pretty good. I did not have to “sell” them the LSB. I have found great joy with the ease of the transition from the LW to the LSB. I would like to share one of the great things as a Pastor I use and appreciate of the LSB.
I was the hospice chaplain for the area. I was told to go into the home and bring comfort to these people. The people in hospice care who I saw were all Christians in one way or another. I told the director that I am Lutheran and I will be Lutheran to all these people. So being Lutheran I do what comes natural to a Lutheran, the liturgy. I found the daily prayers, Morning, Noon, Early Evening, and Close of the Day to be outstanding to use at the bedside. It was amazing to see people who have never really been exposed to the liturgy respond like they did. The Baptists I visited always said they have never heard of something like this. The Catholics loved it and were in one way or another use to it. While visiting the hospice people I would read some of the hymns, (I can’t sing). Which again pointed to what we have in Christ. The comfort I was to bring to these people was that of the cross, the liturgy, hymns, readings, and prayers all point to this. These daily prayers were a great introduction to the liturgy, the Word of God, our sacramental understanding, and Church. One of the most amazing thing said to me was by a dear woman caring for her husband was simply “I feel like I have been to church when you come and visit.” This is what I got to do, I got to bring church to her and her husband and to all those I visited in hospice care, through these simply daily prayer services. The LSB is has been a great recourse for Pastoral care.

Phil said...

As chairman of the LSB Introduction Committee, I obviously share some of bias on this issue as well. That said, I think you would agree that extensive knowledge of, and experience with, the hymnal shouldn't disqualify me from commenting, even though I volunteered to be a "champion advocate" for the project.

We are also coming up on our 2-year anniversary of using LSB. Our first service with the new book was our opening day school chapel service in August of 2006. We may have been one of the first congregations to actually start using the book.

The congregation readily accepted the new hymnal. It was not the easiest of "sells" in the beginning, due to bad memories of "Make it New in '82" LW, but once people saw what was in the book, it was readily adopted by the Voters' Assembly, and donations quickly came in to pay for the books. We've sold over 100 copies of LSB to members via our bookstore, and congregational reaction has been uniformly positive.

The strengths are many. It preserves our Lutheran hymnody, incorporating the great chorales and moving newer classics forward into the next generation. Most of the hymns jettisoned to make room for new hymns were Anglo-Methodist hymns from TLH, hymns from LW that never caught on, and hymns from the pietistic era. In addition to its solid core of hymns, many new hymns of high quality have been added. Some in professional circles have objected to the number of Starke hymns or translations in the book, but I don't think those objections are substantive. When asked "which new hymns would you exclude", hymns other than Starke's come to mind. (Perhaps in some cases jealousy is just rearing its ugly head!)

In addition to the core of hymns, another strength is the liturgies. From day one, any congregation used to TLH, LW, or LBW, can readily use this book. I also think that the retention of older language for sung hymnody and liturgy while updating language for spoken liturgy was a masterstroke! Even in the contemporary worship world, folks sing "How Great THOU Art" and "As the Deer PANTETH for the Water". Folks get that. So the downdating of many LW hymns back to TLH language, along with using consistent modern language for the Creeds and confession of sins was very good, IMO.

Finally, I think that the LSB does a great job of supporting the lectionary, and am thorough impressed by the "constellation of resources" that supports the hymnal. (The Altar Book was a problem due to the original paper & binding, but I understand that problem has been fixed - though they aren't offering refunds on first runs!) The Pastor Care companion is an extremely valuable resource, as are the well-crafted rites of the Agenda. Other strengths include listing the appointed antiphon for the psalms, putting back in Scripture references in the Pew edition, and the comprehensive cross-references available in the hymn selection guide.

As with any hymnal, there are weaknesses. I would have liked at least one new setting of the Divine Service. I think they should included a setting that is guitar-friendly as well. I think a little more world hymnody should have been included, and think the electronic edition should have had more Taize and less CCM. I don't agree with my confessional brothers who think LSB should be anathema because a couple of contemporary songs are in the book, but I think a couple of better choices could have been made as to which ones should have been included. A couple of the Gospel hymns are also weak, and there are better choices in the African-American tradition as well. I think on these last two points popularity trumped content, and that does weaken the book. But I do agree with the LSB's goal of reflecting the catholicity of the church while nurturing our Lutheran heritage, and am OK with using 95% of the book. No hymnal will please everyone, and, for my congregation, more of LSB is usable than would be LW or TLH.

Because LSB did not include new settings of the Divine Service, Matins, or Vespers, and because the hymn section brought in fewer new hymns than other new hymnals, I don't know if this book will have the staying power of TLH. However, the ability to add new hymns and new settings of Canticles via the Electronic Edition may well make up for these deficiencies. Jon, Paul, Greg, and Dave haven't admitted this, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to connect the dots and see that decisions were made in view of the world being opened up by the electronic edition.

So, in closing, I'll offer this ironic and perhaps original observation: the electronic edition made it easier for the synod to produce a conservative pew edition!

What are your assessment and evaluation of LSB? What are its strengths, and what are its weaknesses? Has your congregation adopted it? Why, or why not? What unanswered questions do you still have? What do you most regret? What's missing, and what should not have been included?

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

I'll have more to say concerning the LSB in general, though for the time being I am appreciating the input from others.

For now, I want to comment on the translation of the Catechism. I was an opponent of the changes that were proposed; so, while I cannot speak for others, I can represent my own concerns in this matter.

It is certainly true that Dr. Luther's admonition concerning the retention of a single translation ought to be taken seriously, and that was one of the arguments I made in speaking against the proposed changes. However, I would not have been opposed in theory to the adoption of an improved translation; because there are definitely some problems with the "NIV" rendering that was adopted in 1986. My primary argument was that such changes and such a move ought to be undertaken by the Synod in an orderly and comprehensive fashion, rather than having such a significant thing presented unilaterally by the Commission on Worship in a last-minute overture to the Convention without any prior discussion or deliberation by the Synod at large. To do so would not have been appropriate nor expedient.

As Brother Bender documented at the time, the current synodical translation of the Catechism was adopted after a number of years of concerted effort and attention. While the end results do leave something to be desired (in more than one case), the procedure by which it was undertaken and then finally adopted had integrity.

It was beyond the Commission on Worship's prerogative to revise the translation of the Catechism, and there was simply no time or opportunity for the Church to review and consider the proposal. It was mainly for that reason that I spoke against it; with a view toward the fact that, if and when a new and better translation is to be made, it ought to be adopted only after broad and careful deliberation.

This touches upon one of my single biggest grievances with the LSB project and proposal, namely, the way in which the ESV was brought in as the de facto LCMS translation of the Holy Scriptures. In my opinion, the choice of a translation for the LSB and, as a consequence, for all the other publications of the Synod, should have been dealt with separately, rather than included as a "line item" within the LSB proposal. It should also have been presented with full disclosure of the factors involved. The ESV is an improvement over the NIV, but the way in which it was introduced to the Synod is eerily similar to the way in which the NIV made its inroads with LW, and I think that is a shame.

Reformationalist said...

I'd like to try again at posting comments about the LSB, if I don't run into more problems either with my handling of the whole blogging experience (qwarks, I know; and I though, therefore, that atoms I surely know; but it seems, around here in the world of blog, I must ask, "What is an Atom"?), or with the combination of my curmudeonness, my humor, and the extant rules of the Blackbirds rules of verbal conduct.

That said, here are some of the things I very much appreciate about the LSB, which, complaints notwithstanding, make the investment and use of same worthwhile. First, I like the unique way in which the "page number vs. hymn number" has been solved. The only lingering item not well in hand in our congregation is quickly find the Psalm of the Day without reference to a page -- a minor problem that I'm sure we'll solve.

Second, I appreciate very much being given DS III in Jacobean English, even if we weren't quite so lucky with Matins and Vespers. Sometime soon, in an original post, after I figure out how to do that, I'd like to suggest reasons for using Jacobean language, which go well beyond "old LCMSer's like it." That's for another day, but the availability here is for this one, and I am a happy camper about it, and also about the number really good TLH hymns that were retained.

Third, while we use Anglican chant tones for the liturgy proper, we are starting to use the newer tones provide for the psalm, and the experiment is working well.

Fourth, heavy though it is, and with some concerns about the longevity of the bindings, the Altar Book, with its "duplication" in of pages of content is appreciated, so that we are able to carry on the flow of the liturgy without to-and-fro flipping of pages.

Fifth, I am grateful for a complete set of One-Year Lectionary and Calendar. I realize that we who are one-year advocates are in a minority, even among friends, and consideration of our liturgical needs is appreciated.

Six, there is "Lift Every Voice and Sing," #964. What can I say? I'm not sure we'll ever sing it in the Divine Service, but it warms my heart to be able to take the LSB, and with it to show that this is what we used to sing in PUBLIC SCHOOLS, back when the nation considered itself to be a Christian country which gives peace and liberty also to other religions in its midst. Of course, this one doesn't mention Christ, but it had plenty of companions back then that did, so that there was no doubt of Who is the God to Whom every voice is hereby raised.

I like the work of Steve Starke, evidences both his talent and his liturgical sensitivity. So, in this casek, the many contributions from one author or composer is fine with me, and his abundance supply here simply carry on the tradition with the LW of his mentors at River Forest, Schalk and Bunjes, as they are now coming back to my mind. [At least, Starke didn't have to adopt the move of Bunjes in working under two aliases (George Leonard and Wilhelm Quampen) in addition to his own name.

So, my desire for things being different in this new hymnal notwithstanding, I am grateful user of it, and so is my congregation.

Robert. [Schaibley]

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

Thanks for your comments, Father Schaibley, both for the positives and for your critique of the Catechism translation. I'll look forward, also, to your comments on the use of Jacobean English.

As I'm daily appreciating the input from others regarding the LSB, I'm holding off on sharing my own reflections and assessments. However, I do want to respond to one of Phil's observations, which is a matter of concern.

Phil points out that the electronic edition of the LSB (the Lutheran Service Builder) invites the possibility of adding to the hymn corpus (and adding other things, too). From a practical standpoint, he's right, of course. But whether such a thing should be done is another matter.

The official service books and hymnals of our synodical fellowship are subject to convention approval. That is how they become "official." In the case of the LSB, the electronic edition was adopted along with the book and belongs to it. In fact, the extensive resolution by which the LSB was adopted (in 2001) indicated those hymns and songs that would be included in the electronic edition but not in the pew edition. Those contents are therefore specified and delimited, no less so than the contents of the book.

As I understand, the Lutheran Service Builder allows for the addition of local materials, which is potentially fine and good. It would be something else, though, for the Commission on Worship or the publishing house to start adding "songs, hymns and spiritual songs" to the electronic edition apart from the official approval of the Synod in convention. It might be great to incorporate some of those hymns from TLH and LW that have been lost in the LSB, since those predecessor books do have "official" status. But it would certainly not be legitimate, for example, to add the mysterious "100 songs" that the Commission on Worship has run through doctrinal review (though the Synod has yet to learn what those "100 songs" are). That would be precisely the sort of mischief that having an electronic edition invites, but which the Commision should not be permitted to perpetrate.

I'm not suggesting that there is never an appropriate time to use materials from outside the LSB. I'm only asserting that it would be disingenuous to introduce new and unapproved materials into the LSB corpus by way of the electronic edition.

wmc said...

I'm only asserting that it would be disingenuous to introduce new and unapproved materials into the LSB corpus by way of the electronic edition.

I completely concur with this. The "electronic edition" should be simply that and nothing more - an electronic version of LSB. That it already contains a larger corpus of hymns is troubling. That it could be added to is even more troubling. The "electronic edition" should have to meet the same synodical standards as the pew edition. Perhaps this should be flagged by a resolution of the synod.


Phil said...

The extra material currently in the electronic edition went through the same process as LSB proper, so I don't know what exactly is troubling about that.

I do see the problem with sticking in the 100 praise songs, however, as that would give them the impramatur of LSB.

But would there be a problem of including a new setting of The Song of the Three Young Men for the Easter Vigil? Or a setting of Psalm 78? Or a new tune for "May God Bestow On Us His Grace"?

And what was the process for HS98? Could electronic materials be treated in this way?

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

Phil, I'm not arguing that nothing could ever be added to the electronic edition, but it should rightly be done with the same sort of convention approval that the entire LSB was required to have. HS98 was a different scenario, in that it was a temporary supplement and not a permanent service book or hymnal.

It seems to me that musical settings and so forth could be produced for the sort of things you mention, and distributed in a variety of ways, without becoming an addition to the LSB via the electronic edition. Even in CPH sold materials that local congregations could upload into their own data bases, that would have more integrity, in my opinion. It simply makes a mockery of having an "official" service book and hymnal, if things can be added without the approval of synod in convention.

Phil said...


I know you aren't arguing that NOTHING should ever be added to the electronic edition. My rhetorical questions were intended to illustrate the challenging issues involved.

You wisely note that a supplement like HS98 is a different product than the hymnal proper. I submit that the electronic edition is also a different product. Certainly when it is time for a new supplement, it is anticipated by everyone that the electronic edition will be the means for field testing materials to be considered for the next hymnal.

So I think the question really should be: "What should be the process by which new materials are included in the Lutheran Service Builder, a.k.a. LSB-Electronic Edition."

I think the process should be more rigorous than the anonymous and inconsistent 'doctrinal review' standard being used to import 100 "praise songs". But I also think having convention votes like it is a new hymnal is too cumbersome - and likely to be problematic as well. (routine additions tucked into omnibus resolutions approved by select committees.)

I also think the process should be different for psalms & canticles vs. hymns and liturgies.

I'm not sure at this point if there are any controls on the process, so I agree with you all that this should be addressed - though I might address some of the aspects of this issue differently.


p.s. I believe CPH plans on morphing Creative Worship into the Lutheran Serivce Builder. So these issues certainly are timely and should be brought to everyone's attention.

Pastor J Palm said...

As said, the best the LCMS in her current state could come up with.

But has a weak Pneumatology.

No exorcism in the Baptismal service. No seven-fold spirit prayer in the confirmation service. A Spirit-less eucharistic prayer.

It may seem a small gripe to many but inadequate pneumatology in the west has given us many plagues and scourges, such as revivalism, Pentecostalism, Mariolotry, and the Pope.

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

To add "Creative Worship" to the Lutheran Service Builder would be a gross abuse of the protocols in place for "official" service books and hymnals. I hope you are mistaken that CPH would be planning any such thing.

The comparison to HS98 is understandable, but it doesn't hold. HS98 is not an official LCMS service book or hymnal. It was basically a more formal and substantial beginning of the field-testing process. The very fact that it is a book, as compared to electronic software, actually makes it less prone to abuse. It is self-contained and, especially given the flimsy cover and poor binding, it will eventually wear out and go the way of all flesh.

The Lutheran Service Builder may be a different product than the LSB pew edition, but it is nevertheless an edition of the same official service book and hymnal. The differences between that electronic edition and the pew edition were explicitly spelled out in the resolution by which the LSB was adopted by the Synod in convention. Adding to it without convention approval would be, as I have said, disingenuous; no less so than if CPH unilateraly decided to add another section of materials to the LSB pew edition.

Neither the Commission on Worship nor the publishing house has any prerogative to change what the Synod in convention has officially adopted as its service book and hymnal. The introduction of new materials into the electronic edition of the LSB should, in my opinion, be subject to the same convention approval as the entire LSB project was to begin with. Of course that process can be abused, but that doesn't mean the process should simply be ignored or set aside.

Field-testing of new materials should not be done by way of the Lutheran Service Builder; no more than CPH should start selling copies of the pew edition with experimental test materials sewn into its covers. Electronic files can be shared in other ways than by intruding them into the LSB. Once that mischief is begun, the cat won't go back into the bag again. Of course, that may already become the case with the "100 Songs," which, if they are snuck into the Lutheran Service Builder, will then belong to the official LCMS hymn corpus. But let us hope and pray that such abuses of power don't happen.

Phil said...

You make good points, Rick, but I'm not convinced that the LSB software must necessarily be the same thing as the official LSB. For example, when the time comes out for a new supplement, it seems to me that files uploaded to the builder for field testing can be appropriately labeled as "unofficial" or "provisional".

I agree, though, that there is wide potential for abuse here.

Regarding Creative Worship, that resource really has two parts: alternative liturgies in the front part of each book (usually of poor quality, IMO), and liturgical music in the back (in a wide range of qualities, some quite excellent).

What I heard from someone connected to both CPH and the Commission was that "the future of the Creative Worship lies in a convergence with the electronic edition of the LSB." What this exactly meant I am not 100% sure, but given the context of the converation I believe this "convergence" was not that the LSB Electronic Edition would change, but that the Builder would be able to seemlessly import the CW material and that people would be able to get CW material via the internet on LSB-compatible files rather than having to get CW on a seperate disk and then to through the cumbersome process of importing the data into the builder.

Some aspects of this convergence will make some of the distinctions you draw obsolete. This is why it is important, in my opinion, to look for solutions to this problem outside the convention process.

The convention process is excellent for traditional print materials like the pew edition, but the ease and accessibility of digital information seems to call for a quicker and more authoritative process.

BTW, who was in charge of the occasioanal services? I have a question about one of the rites.


Mike Keith said...

I am impresed and happy with LSB overall. As a parish we were using LW and I feel this is an improvement. However, there are three things that I really believe to be a problem with the hymnal that I noticed immediately. I am sure others have and have commetned as well:

1. The Introits are not included. This menas that unless one purchases the inserts or prints the Intoits out they are not available for congregational use. This has resulted in our parish not using the Introit and instead singing an Entrance Hymn - but we have added the Psalm reading in between OT & NT.

2. The Collects are not included. A terrible oversight. I have been caught several times without the Collect when I wanted it (especially when I was still used to LW). Furthermore, if oen wants to use the hymnal as a daily prayer book not having the Collects is inconvenient. I have since purchased the little pamphlet of Collects - the fact that a pamphlet had to be printed seems to highlight the oversight of not including them in the first place.

3. The entire Psalter is not included. Again, this is mainly for the use of the hymnal as a daily prayer book. Since I am hearing siuch wonderful things about the Treasury of Daily Prayer in the end these may not be huge inconveniences - but presently they are (at least to me!).

I understand that these items were left out due to size/space restrictions. YetI do wish they were included.

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

Mike, I understand your frustrations with these three points. In particular, not including the Collects in the pew edition was most unfortunate. I pushed for them to be in there (as did others), but you are correct in understanding that space concerns were behind their exclusion. In my opinion, space for the Collects and for the missing Psalms could have been made (and should have been made) by the omission of the weakers hymns and "songs." If I were king (and of course we can all give thanks that I'm not), I'd take out 100 of the hymns included in the LSB, and I'd add 50 hymns now missing, as well as the rest of the Psalter and the Collects for the Sundays and Feasts of the Church Year.

While I appreciate the benefit of having the Introits in the pew book, I don't think their inclusion would have been the best stewardship of space. I provide them for my congregation, along with the Gradual, references for the appointed Readings, and hymn numbers, within an outline of the Order of Service, all on a single half sheet of paper (which serves the double purpose of a book mark). That has worked well for us.

The reality is that, with both a three-year and a one-year lectionary, the space required for all of the Introits (and Graduals) would have been quite large. The consequence in LW was that, in most cases, the Introit provided for each Sunday was the one intended for the one-year lectionary (even though very few congregations ever used the LW one-year lectionary). The vast majority of the Introits chosen for the three-year lectionary in LW hit the cutting room floor due to space constraints. Because we were intent on providing proper Introits for the several different series of the lectionary, it was most expedient to leave them out of the pew edition. As I say, it has worked well for us at Emmaus to provide the Introit each week.

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

I've been meaning to respond to the very first comment made on this thread, regarding the changes in translation of many of the hymns.

In some cases, I agree that changes in translation were unnecessary and a bit irritating. However, as far as the prospect of making any such changes, it needs to be remembered that the LCMS was in the position of having (primarily) two different hymnals in use among its congregations. Roughly a third were using TLH, and roughly two-thirds were using LW. With respect to hymns found in both of those books (comprising a major percentage of the hymns now in LSB), a great many of them were found in differing translations. So, the LSB hymnody committee did its best to make wise choices in addressing those differences, as well as other related translation concerns. Despite some irritations, overall I think they handled things with real integrity.

Compare the handling of language in the Lutheran Service Book with that of the ELCA's new Evangelical Lutheran Worship, and that helps to put things into perspective.

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

Phil asked about the occasional services found in the LSB. Any questions you may have about those could be directed to Pastor Peter Bender, as I believe that he would know the answers (or he would know who to ask for the answers). He served on the Agenda Committee, which was largely responsible for the occasional services (perhaps in consultation and cooperation with the Liturgy Committee). As I understand it, these several different services were handled by corresponding working groups, respectively.

Rev. Thomas C. Messer, Pastor Peace Lutheran Church (LCMS) said...

Overall, I am pleased with LSB. While it has some weaknesses, its strengths far outweigh them, imho. I was especially pleased to see the "Amen" return after the Pax Domini in all the orders. "And also with you" was just bad theology! I would have liked to have seen "And with thy spirit" as the salutation response in all of the orders, but I know you can't win 'em all.

The biggest complaint I have about LSB is with the lectionaries. I like the format and the pronunciation helps, etc., but why in the world didn't they include the responses after the readings? This is a mystery to me. There is space there for them, so it couldn't have been a matter of space, and I really do not understand why this was ommitted. In the LW lectionaries, the reading responses are there, and yet not all of the orders in the hymnal had them. But, in LSB, the responses are not there, and yet all of the orders in the hymnal have them.

Furthermore, in all of the feedback I've read across the blogosphere about LSB in the last couple of years, I have yet to notice anyone pointing this out. Am I the only one who thinks this was a goof? Does anyone know the rationale for excluding the reading responses from the lectionaries?

revalkorn said...

Rick, I'm assuming I'm going to be a parish pastor again. And in assuming so, having missed the past 3 years and having spent much of what I'd saved toward retirement, I figure I'll still be preaching in 40 years when it's time for a new hymnal. That will be the 5th hymnal congregations in our Synod have used in my lifetime. I promise you, I'm not going to memorize these hymns for a fifth time! I'm not even sure about the fourth time! And I'm pretty sure that few of the kids I've catechized will bother to memorize them out of the new hymnal, having done so out of the old. I wish they'd have picked one or the other, instead of making a third. I don't mind integrity, but they're not making catechesis any easier.

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

Pastor Messer, thanks for your comments on the LSB.

Regarding the lectionary books, I don't recall that we on the lectionary committee addressed this question at all. However, I suspect that the reason for not including the responses was that they vary depending on the order of service being used. Ideally, everyone would be celebrating the Divine Service each Sunday and festival day, that's still not the case; and in many circumstances, Matins (for example) is serving in place of the Divine Service. The verse and response may differ, then, depending on the situation. There may have been other rationale involved in the decision to leave the responses out, but that's the thought that comes to my mind.

I should say that the LW lectionary book was not produced by the Commission on Worship, but by CPH on its own initiative. In fact, as I understand it, the Commission specifically chose not to publish a lectionary book with LW, so as not to prejudice the translation that would be used. When the NIV came roaring in with the LW Psalter, and CPH followed with everying in the NIV, along came the NIV-based LW lectionary book, as well.

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

I understand the frustration with the changes in translation. I still get messed up with the new translation of the Small Catechism, because I learned it from the old 1943 Catechism, and that still comes back to me when I'm working from memory (only it comes back muddled up with the new translation intermingled!).

With respect to the hymnals, I don't think the problem is so much with the LSB (in most cases), but with the situation we found ourselves in with TLH and LW.

As far as memorizing hymns is concerned, I think that happens less by conscious decision to sit down and learn them by heart, and more so simply by singing them in and with the congregation regularly. That's why it's so important, in my opinion, that congregations sing a steady "diet" of the best and strongest hymns, rather than glutting on the fluff and stuff.

revalkorn said...

In my confirmation classes, we have a hymn of the week. It's assigned as memory work, and then the next class we use it for the pre-class vespers, and then we sing it the next Sunday morning. Those hymns are added to the . . . forgive my German . . . kernlieder? Whatever, it's added to the list of common hymns that I would choose often.

Well, at least for most of the rest of my time as a parish pastor, God willing it happens again, I should be using just one hymnal.

But it was nice to pray the hymns in worship. Now I read them.

Rev. Thomas C. Messer, Pastor Peace Lutheran Church (LCMS) said...


Thanks for your response. To be honest, I wasn't even thinking about the daily offices in connection with the lectionary. Even so, I'm not sure I agree with the rationale. But, at least it's an explanation. :)

Thanks also for the info regarding the LW lectionary. I was not aware of that history.

In Christ,

Paul McCain said...

All interesting comments. Everyone is going to have an opinion, right/wrong or indifferent.

I think Rick said this in one of the comment:

In my opinion, the choice of a translation for the LSB and, as a consequence, for all the other publications of the Synod, should have been dealt with separately, rather than included as a "line item" within the LSB proposal. It should also have been presented with full disclosure of the factors involved. The ESV is an improvement over the NIV, but the way in which it was introduced to the Synod is eerily similar to the way in which the NIV made its inroads with LW, and I think that is a shame.

I would respectfully disagree that in any way the ESV was somehow, as the comment would, at least to me, seem to imply, "foisted" or "slipped in" at the last minute or unawares.

In fact, there was a very careful deliberative evaluation of which translation should be used, a very public process that anyone/everyone had every opportunity to pay close attention to through the voluminous numbers of updates and information reported to the Synod via multiple mediat: print, e-mail and web.

A study was done by the translation committee and a study/evaluation done by the CTCR. There were materials prepared for circuits of the Synod to take up this issue and to provide input and feedback on the question Bible translations.

In other words, the move to use the ESV as the translation of choice in the hymnal was, in fact, a careful, deliberative process with a lot of time and information provided to the Synod to study and discuss this matter.

While some of may have preferred the use of another translation, the fact is that the choice of the ESV was not some kind of "quick decision" but, as was the case with every other major decision of the LSB project, made very openly with complete information shared with the Synod for reaction and one made very transparently.

Suggestions or implications to the contrary are simply factually incorrect.

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

You're welcome to your opinion regarding the ESV, Brother McCain, and I respect that.

Let me clarify that I have nowhere said that the choice of the ESV for the Lutheran Service Book was a speedy or last-minute decision. That would have been the case with regard to the translation of the Small Catechism, but not so with the use of the ESV in the LSB itself. Fair enough, your point and clarification are well taken.

However, I disagree with you regarding the broad discussion of the ESV within the Synod. The materials that were sent out for study and feedback were all heavily freighted up front in favor of the ESV. It was made very clear to all of us out here in the parish that the Commission was really impressed and pleased with the ESV as it was emerging. Thus, it is not surprising that the feedback to those "surveys" tended to reflect a positive attitude toward the ESV. Even so, the amount of feedback was not overwhelming.

As far as the testing of the ESV within the course of the hymnal project was concerned, that didn't go the way that it was supposed to. What the Lectionary Committee said was going to happen, was that the proposed changes in the lectionaries would be field-tested, not only in the NIV, but also in the ESV, the NKJV, and the NASB. Instead, only the NIV and the ESV were ever given that exposure.

In discussions with various members of the Translations Committee, I was surprised and disappointed to be told that the NASB was never seriously considered; nor the NKJV either, though for different reasons. One member of the Translations Committee was not even aware that the NASB had been updated in 1995. What I have been told by more than one member of that committee is that, according to the popular rhetoric, the NASB is "too wooden," and therefore wouldn't work well. In fact, I have found that it works very well as a translation for the public reading of the Holy Scriptures. Far better, in my parish, than the ESV did over the course of an entire year of using it for everything (at the beginning of which I was very hopeful that it would be a winner). Whether it was me, or my people, or what, I don't know, but I never got past feeling like the ESV was tangling up my tongue. In the weeks immediately following a return to the NASB (without fanfair), I suddenly had members, including children, commenting on how clear the Readings seemed. Hmmm. That said something to me. I've stuck with the NASB (the 1995 update) ever since. It works well, and it's a shame that it wasn't given a fighting chance.

The NKJV was not seriously considered, either, from what I have been told, because it uses the Majority Text tradition; which many of us actually prefer. I know there are differences of opinion within the Church, but many of us parish pastors favor the use of the Majority Text (and I say that as someone who uses the NASB, anyway, even though it doesn't follow the Majority Text).

When it came to the Convention in 2004 (not 2001, as I incorrectly wrote previously), my congregation and circuit, and others, submitted overtures asking that the matter of the Scripture translation be considered apart from the rest of the LSB proposal. For this, I was chided and called a fool, both to my face and behind my back (far and wide). The argument was made that the LCMS doesn't have an "offical translation," so the Commission on Worship was free to choose whatever it wanted for the LSB. Yet, we all knew that, if the LSB went with the ESV, then CPH was going to be moving everything else to the ESV, too. And I still say that it doesn't get much more official than to have the same translation used for the Lectionary, as well as for Sunday School and gradeschool curricula, and everything else the Synod's publishing house produces. In any case, there was a clear intent that the Church not be given the opportunity to say, specifically, "yes" or "no" to the ESV. It was all or nothing, and so, in my opinion, the ESV rode in on the LSB's coat tails. The reality is that it was still so new at that point, barely out for a year or two, that very few people had a studied opinion of it. Mostly what people knew of the ESV was what the Commission on Worship had told them about it.

Now, as I have said any number of times, I have no particular beef with the ESV as a translation. It seems a good one to me. It is a far cry better than the NIV, I think. And it is certainly true, I'll happily grant you, that the ESV was given more publicity ahead of the 2004 Convention than anyone had any warning concerning the NIV back in 1979 (even the Commission on Worship didn't know that the NIV was going to be slated for the Lutheran Worship Psalter until it was a done deal, because their first choice and recommendation, the Book of Common Prayer Psalter, fell through at the last minute). But I still object to the way the ESV decision was tied up with the LSB proposal. The adoption of the ESV with and for the LSB had much broader consequences than the hymnal project, and the Church should have had the opportunity to say its "Amen" to that. I think the Church should also have been told that a major factor in favor of the ESV was a financial consideration. I don't think that's inappropriate, but I think it should have been communicated more clearly and openly than it was.

Over and over again, in the years leading up to the 2004 Convention, I had colleagues complaining that the choice of the ESV was already a done deal, and that there wasn't anything to be done about it. Over and over again, I defended the process, much as you have here, Brother McCain. I insisted that everything was being tested and considered carefully and equitably; that other translations were also being considered and tried. But it wasn't a level playing field after all. That's my opinion, as you say, but it isn't offered recklessly or thoughtlessly.

It was pretty hurtful, actually, to have friends and colleagues turn on me and besmirch my name. For what? Using the polity and protocol of the Synod to make a request that the Church be allowed to express its collective opinion regarding the translation that would be used for all of our synodical publications. Well, if I'm going to be called a fool for that, so be it. I still believe it would have been the right thing to do.

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

It's off topic, but opportunity for "study and discussion" is not the same as governing authority. Quite apart from the LSB (which has been, frankly, a miracle of God's grace in our generation), the Synod affords plenty of time and opportunity for people to "study and discuss" things, while the decisions are made by a handful of executives and elected officials, who are under no obligation to care about or heed whatever has been studied and discussed. While there are exceptions, surely, it is most common for merely the illussion of participation in the process to be given. The present proposals of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Synodical Structure and Governance (or whatever it's properly called) appear to move even further toward that sort of top-heavy polity.

But that's another topic; because, notwithstanding my consternation over the way in which the ESV was chosen for the LSB, I was and am very pleased and impressed with how the hymnal project was carried out. A lion's share of the credit for that goes to Paul Grime, in my opinion. How about Grime for President of the Synod? (Not that I'd really want to do that to my dear friend and colleague.)

Paul McCain said...

Rick, respectfully, truly, I would like to point out that when the LSB was adopted there was a very specific mention made of the ESV as the "translation of choice" in the LSB materials. The delegates were informed precisely why this was the case, and the history of the ESV discussion was shared. There was a vote taken with the full awareness of the delegates that the English Standard Version was being adopted as the "translation of choice" for the ESV project. There is, as you rightly note, no "official translation" of the Synod and probably should never be, unless we ever get around to doing our own as a church body (pros and cons there, perhaps).

I just would like to say that your comments, in my view, might tend to give somebody the impression these decisions were made by a tiny few, acting off in a corner.

They were issues very carefully studied by the LSB translation committee with a great deal of care and delibration, comparing the alternatives. There were some very sharp folks on that committee: Ankerberg, Baue, erger, Lowitzer, Mitchell, Veith and Vo.

They received a large amount of input as they evaluated translations and shared all of that with the Synod. The matter was set before our folks for their careful study in circuits.

I guess what I'm trying to say, Rick (and please know, I'm not trying to be argumentative here) is that your comments appear to me to be more concern about process, when perhaps if you disagree with the choice of ESV, you could take up your concerns with that translation and make a case for whichever one you would have preferred.

But, the process was open, transparent and not a case of ill-informed decisions, made by a small group, pushed on the Synod unawares, or without plenty of information and study possibilities.

I do not know of a single person who exceeds Dr. Christopher Mitchell in his abilities with the original languages. Chris, literally, has significant portions of both the Hebrew and Greek memorized and he would in no way have been part of recommending a translation for use if he did not feel confident in that decision.

There is no perfect translation. They each have their own unique quirks and yes, problems, including the NASB and the NKJV, but when taking everything into account, it was the decision that the ESV offered the best English translation, for public worship.

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

Brother McCain, thank you for your cordial reply.

Let me clarify that I have no complaints against nor criticisms of the men who served on the Translations Committee. If I have give any other impression, I apologize for that most sincerely.

You are actually quite correct that my disappointment is with the process, far more so than with the ESV itself. I don't agree with the way in which it was adopted. Not because it was done secretly, but because it was a decision tied up with the LSB in such a way that one had no option other than "all or nothing." Yes, we delegates were well-informed that the ESV was the translation to be used with and for the LSB, but there was no way to express an opinion on that point apart from the vote on the LSB itself. I think that was a poor move, especially because the consequences of that decision were much larger than simply the "translation of choice" for LSB.

We disagree as to the extent that the Church at large was really given an opportunity to study the ESV and to give its opinion with respect to that translation and others. But it's neither here nor there anymore. I'm glad that the ESV is serving the proclamation of the Word of God, and that many of my colleagues find it to be a wonderful vehicle for the Lections. Christ be praised. Although I prefer the NASB and exercise my pastoral discretion and responsibility in using it, I have not had any desire or intention of campaigning against the ESV.

My beef, as you have discerned, is with the process that was followed. And I bring it up, not as though I suppose there's any going back to do it differently, but as a matter of principle for the sake of future decisions.

Paul McCain said...

Rick, many thanks for your response. It is good to have these conversations. If I might press my luck on this, I would like to make the observation that in fact the Synodical convention had every opportunity to pull the ESV decision out of the LSB decision. That is not at all uncommon, in fact, I recall quite vividly how the convention, to my surprise, listened to, and acted upon, the passionate appeal of a handful of delegates to instruct the Commission on Worship and CPH not to change a single syllable of the Enchiridion. This was brought before the house and voted on, and affirmed.

So, I really do believe that the opportunity to treat the ESV decision differently was there and the convention more than demonstrated its open willingness to consider any such request or call from the floor.

It appears to me that the majority of persons voting on this matter were in fact satisfied both with the process and the results, though I do recognize you are disappointed in the process, more than the result.

I thought I might add that point though by way of response.

Reformationalist said...

My friend Rev. McCain, you are somewhat disingenuous, perhaps not knowingly so, when you describe the process by which we arrived at the ESV in the LSB (except of course for the Catechism, which cites the NIV -- the ESV THERE would have silenced my every expression about the ESV, all for the join of being rid of some really inferior and even wrong statement in the Catechism because of the NIV.

You sing the praises of the committee that chose the version to recommend. In particular, you laud Chris Mitchell. I admire him myself, BUT when it comes to the ESV question he should have recused himself -- but didn't -- for he has a huge conflict of interest, in that he was the Editor of the Psalms for the ESV!!!

Several of those scholars are on record as opposing any translation based on one or another of the Majority Text options, which effectively eliminate the NKJV though it has wide popularity on the LCMS, especially among conservative pastors. Again, this seems to me to be a conflict of interest for such a committee with such power as to ultimately present the Synod with only one translation with a recommendation to adopt.

These are things that I recall when I read Pr. Stuckwisch's critique of process, and they make me agree with him.

Robert. [Schaibley]

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

Your comparison to the resolution pertaining to the Small Catechism is very helpful, Paul, because it illustrates exactly my grievance. In that case, the Church was given the chance to make a decision apart from the LSB proposal itself.

But it was precisely that opportunity that was asked for and pointedly denied in the case of the ESV as "translation of choice" for the LSB. Overtures were submitted (from my congregation and circuit, among others), asking that the translation decision be handled as a separate resolution, rather than part of the large LSB proposal itself. It was in response to those overtures that I was chided and criticized. It was even suggested to me at one point that my congregation had no business offering overtures on the LSB, since I was part of the hymnal project. When it came to the Convention, the floor committee was asked to separate the matter of the translation from the rest of the LSB proposal, but that request was not granted. As I recall, there was also an attempt from the floor of the Convention to deal with the translation, but I believe it was offered in the form of an amendment (rather than a separate resolution). The Convention showed itself unwilling to amend the LSB proposal; every attempt to do so, on several different issues, was rejected.

So, the end result was that the Convention did not have the opportunity to vote separately on the "translation of choice," as it did in the case of the translation of the Small Catechism (which was offered as a separate resolution to begin with). Consequently, it was not possible to vote for the LSB without voting for the ESV; and it was not possible to vote against the ESV without voting against the LSB. That, in a nutshell, was my frustration.

I didn't push the point at the Convention, myself, because I was tired of being pressured by other members of the hymnal project, who kept telling me I was foolish and that I was going to sabotage the entire project. There was a fear that the Convention would reject the ESV and opt to stay with the NIV. That would have disappointed me, though I think it would have been the Convention's prerogative to make that decision. Personally, I don't believe that would have happened; the NIV has not been popular with the majority of the Synod, and I strongly suspect that the delegates would have been very inclined to follow the Commission on Worship's lead and recommendation on the ESV. That wasn't my preference or choice, either, but I would have been glad for the Church to have it's opportunity to say "Amen" to it. That's all I ever asked.

Paul McCain said...

Rick, let me explain.

At the convention, from the floor, a motion was made re. the SC. And it was considered by the delegates. They agreed to consider it. They did. And they adopted it.

There was every opportunity for the ESV to be handled the same way, but the delegates decided not to.

In other words, Rick, respectfully, just because you do not like the outcome, I do not think "the process" is at fault. In spite of your wishes, others were comfortable with the ESV and chose not to indulge a separate consideration of it.

If there had not been the open, extensive and transparent process of going with the ESV, then, perhaps, Rick your point would be well taken.

But as it was, the process was well known, open, honest, transparent and clearly put before the Synod very well in advance of the convention.

There was no need perceived to consider the translation as you might have wished. Efforts to have the floor consider it, which were successful with the Catechism question, were not successful with the Bible translation. In this the convention delegates proved themselvs more than ready, willing and able to consider something on the floor.

But as it was, they did not.

You keep referring to those who critized you. I can tell you are still smarting from that. I heard nothing about that, and don't know anything about it, but I understand your pain over this and sympathize, but it is not really germane to our conversation at this point.

While I understand your frustration, it was more than possible to propose a separate consideration of the ESV. You seem to believe that in not doing that the Synod somehow did something untoward, wrong, ill advised, or inappropriate. I disagree.

The ESV translation was put to the Synod long before the convention through numerous mailings, studies and so forth.

I believe, Rick, that your analysis of the situation is mistaken, and flawed, and the reason I am making these points is that your are effectively casting doubt over the integrity of the process and those persons involved in it. While you may not mean to be doing that, this is the effect, in my opinion, of your remarks.

The fact is that the convention DID have the opportunity to split the decision, but chose not to. They voted against that.

I know it hurts when you are unable to achieve a desired outcome, but trying to blame that on the process, the convention or other factors, in this case, is, in my opinion, an error.

The ESV was chosen to be the translation of choice for the LSB by the convention, upon the recommendation of those duly appointed to make this recommendation, after due deliberation, sharing their thinking, via two separate reports, and a study sent out to the entire Synod for input and reaction.

The process was not flawed, wrong, or inappropriate.

Paul McCain said...

Rick, thanks for bearing with me, but a couple more comments.

As the ESV was being evaluated, reviewed and considered across the Synod, it was not insignificant that several of our best exegetes, at both seminaries, had roles in the preparation of the ESV, in various steps and stages.

Further, both seminaries embraced the ESV in their chapel worship services as the translation of choice, first Fort Wayne, then Saint Louis, if memory serves.

The Synod, through a long process of study and deliberation, and the vote taken at the convention did give an "Amen" to the use of the ESV.

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

Paul, I'm not going to the argue the point, as we simply disagree.

However, you are mistaken in your comparison of the matter pertaining to the Small Catechism. Because, in fact, the proposed changes in the translation of the Small Catechism were put forward as a separate resolution to begin with. It wasn't "taken out of the LSB proposal," because it was offered to the Convention for separate consideration from the outset. The Commission on Worship had the opportunity to do the same thing with respect to the selection of the ESV, and they chose not to do so. That's the key difference, and that's my point.

Other than that clarification of the facts of what happend, I'll say no more about it.

Paul McCain said...

Rick, I see your point, and understand it better now.

I would simply reply by saying that the translation issue was widely known, circulated, studied, etc.; whereas the wording of the SC was not and that is why, perhaps, it was felt that a separate resolution on that was necessary.

Again, however, the claim that the process by which the ESV was chosen was in any way inappropriate, unfair, or not the Synod's official "amen" is inaccurate and simply not factual.

The entire Synod has plenty of time and information to study, review and comment on the issue.

I'm sorry you remain disappointed, but the process was just fine, even is the result was not what you would have preferred.w

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

Paul, you've made your point, and I'll not repeat mine.

I will clarify a few points concerning myself, however.

My disappointment, as I have said, is not with the ESV, but with the process by which it was chosen. We disagree as to the merits of that process. In my opinion, it was ill-advised and unfortunate. But I've never once said or suggested that it was dishonest, illicit or untoward. There is a difference. I've not made any such accusations, and I don't want to leave the impression that I have. It is possible to disagree on such matters without breaking fellowship.

You are right that I am still "smarting" over the hurtful things that were said to and about me by men who were my colleagues and, I thought, my friends. But that is beside the point, except to the extent that some of those who criticized my efforts to have the ESV considered separately were involved in the process and had a vested interest in its outcome; and to the extent that I set aside my efforts in deference to friends. That's why I brought it up.

I am a sinful human being, and it is true that my own feelings and emotions can and do get in the way sometimes. Yet, it is unfair to dismiss my critique because of my hurt feelings. Being hurt doesn't make me right, surely; but it doesn't mean I'm wrong, either.

More than enough said. I'll join you in rejoicing that the ESV is a faithful translation that is now serving the proclamation of the Word of God within the LCMS. I'm sincerely delighted for those who are benefitting from it.

Paul McCain said...

Rick, thanks for this conversation. We obviously do have a very strong disagreement on this issue, and we have each expressed our points of view thoroughly and clearly here.

I am sorry you experienced hurtful words or attitudes over these issues. Tensions can run high and in the process things are said which may be regretted later, and most certainly usually are. I know you understand that I was unaware of the "behind the scenes drama" you were experiencing at this time, and am sorry to learn of it and understand how you must feel in its wake.

You are a kind, pastoral man and certainly did not deserve to be made to feel like a "leper" for expressing a point of view. I know you have forgiven your brothers for whatever the did, or said, to make you feel this way.