Poll

Do you (if you are laity - state what your church does - and if you avail)

Offer it scheduled consistently
Announce it is available by appointment - and it is regularly taken up
Offer it by appt, but it is not ever used
Don't offer it
Private what?
Offerend and rarely used (as opposed to not used)

Author Topic: Private C&A  (Read 10929 times)

grabau14

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #135 on: February 27, 2011, 05:17:09 PM »
Well, in defense of Pr. Hess, the Small Catechism has a model example of Private Confession and Absolution:
Pray, Propose to Me a Brief Form of Confession.

Answer.

You should speak to the confessor thus: Reverend and dear sir, I beseech you to hear my confession, and to pronounce forgiveness to me for God's sake.

Proceed!

I, a poor sinner, confess myself before God guilty of all sins; especially I confess before you that I am a man-servant, a maidservant, etc. But, alas, I serve my master unfaithfully; for in this and in that I have not done what they commanded me; I have provoked them, and caused them to curse, have been negligent [in many things] and permitted damage to be done; have also been immodest in words and deeds, have quarreled with my equals, have grumbled and sworn at my mistress, etc. For all this I am sorry, and pray for grace; I want to do better.

A master or mistress may say thus:

In particular I confess before you that I have not faithfully trained my children, domestics, and wife [family] for God's glory. I have cursed, set a bad example by rude words and deeds, have done my neighbor harm and spoken evil of him, have overcharged and given false ware and short measure.

And whatever else he has done against God's command and his station, etc.

But if any one does not find himself burdened with such or greater sins, he should not trouble himself or search for or invent other sins, and thereby make confession a torture, but mention one or two that he knows. Thus: In particular I confess that I once cursed; again, I once used improper words, I have once neglected this or that, etc. Let this suffice.

But if you know of none at all (which, however is scarcely possible), then mention none in particular, but receive the forgiveness upon your general confession which you make before God to the confessor.

Then shall the confessor say:

God be merciful to thee and strengthen thy faith! Amen.

Furthermore:

Dost thou believe that my forgiveness is God's forgiveness?

Answer.

Yes, dear sir.

Then let him say:

As thou believest, so be it done unto thee. And by the command of our Lord Jesus Christ I forgive thee thy sins, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. Depart in peace.

But those who have great burdens upon their consciences, or are distressed and tempted, the confessor will know how to comfort and to encourage to faith with more passages of Scripture. This is to be merely a general form of confession for the unlearned.

* These questions may not have been composed by Luther himself but reflect his teachings and were included in editions of the Small Catechism during his lifetime. 


Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #136 on: February 27, 2011, 05:23:54 PM »
And this is a defense of Karl's unhelpful, incorrect, and  inappropriate comment to George...how?

George to Karl:  “So, I trust you'll excuse me for not embracing your insistence on how wonderful this [private confession/absolution] ritual is that I've been taught for 59 years wasn't necessary…”

Karl to George:  “George, in response to your earlier response to me…In the large catechism [Luther] says that those who don't desire absolution--that is, private absolution, are not Christians… Christianity and private absolution are synonymous for Luther… The truth is that general confession is in many ways hiding from absolution…But reality is thst [sic]many who confess publicly say they are sinners, but they are actually denying their sins. ”

Karl now states:  “I'm not saying that George is not a Christian…"

Oh.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2011, 05:49:31 PM by dgkirch »
Don Kirchner

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George Erdner

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #137 on: February 27, 2011, 05:51:51 PM »
Well, in defense of Pr. Hess, the Small Catechism has a model example of Private Confession and Absolution:
Pray, Propose to Me a Brief Form of Confession.

Answer.

You should speak to the confessor thus: Reverend and dear sir, I beseech you to hear my confession, and to pronounce forgiveness to me for God's sake.

Proceed!

I, a poor sinner, confess myself before God guilty of all sins; especially I confess before you that I am a man-servant, a maidservant, etc. But, alas, I serve my master unfaithfully; for in this and in that I have not done what they commanded me; I have provoked them, and caused them to curse, have been negligent [in many things] and permitted damage to be done; have also been immodest in words and deeds, have quarreled with my equals, have grumbled and sworn at my mistress, etc. For all this I am sorry, and pray for grace; I want to do better.

A master or mistress may say thus:

In particular I confess before you that I have not faithfully trained my children, domestics, and wife [family] for God's glory. I have cursed, set a bad example by rude words and deeds, have done my neighbor harm and spoken evil of him, have overcharged and given false ware and short measure.

And whatever else he has done against God's command and his station, etc.

But if any one does not find himself burdened with such or greater sins, he should not trouble himself or search for or invent other sins, and thereby make confession a torture, but mention one or two that he knows. Thus: In particular I confess that I once cursed; again, I once used improper words, I have once neglected this or that, etc. Let this suffice.

But if you know of none at all (which, however is scarcely possible), then mention none in particular, but receive the forgiveness upon your general confession which you make before God to the confessor.

Then shall the confessor say:

God be merciful to thee and strengthen thy faith! Amen.

Furthermore:

Dost thou believe that my forgiveness is God's forgiveness?

Answer.

Yes, dear sir.

Then let him say:

As thou believest, so be it done unto thee. And by the command of our Lord Jesus Christ I forgive thee thy sins, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. Depart in peace.

But those who have great burdens upon their consciences, or are distressed and tempted, the confessor will know how to comfort and to encourage to faith with more passages of Scripture. This is to be merely a general form of confession for the unlearned.

* These questions may not have been composed by Luther himself but reflect his teachings and were included in editions of the Small Catechism during his lifetime. 



That section of the Small Catechism was presented to us in Confirmation class as the predecessor of the Order for Public Confession that we use in regular worship, nothing more.

Karl Hess

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #138 on: February 27, 2011, 06:13:07 PM »
Well, let's start by stating that I have seen no one on this board disagree with this statement:

"Thus we teach what a wonderful, precious, and comforting thing confession is..." George has embraced confession/absolution.

Can you tell me how what you just accused me of, "pharisaic flummery", applies to me and not to Luther?  

Because you wrote those things, not Luther. Instead, having taken Luther out of context, no, even suggesting that Luther said something that he did not, you now try to cloak yourself in Luther. That's simply more flummery and intellectual dishonesty.

Furthermore, I know Martin Luther, Martin Luther is a friend of mine, and you are no Martin Luther. Luther would not have written such a shocking response to George.

Moreover, even if Luther would have written the flummery that you have written- he did not- it is not part of the German 1580 Book of Concord to which I suscribe. So, simply claiming that Luther said something is far from a slam dunk. But, you know that, "I'm assuming."

See, you're doing that thing again.  

Nah, you do it to yourself.

No, Don, you play stupid games designed to aggrandize yourself.  It's absurd and ridiculous for you to pretend to have pastoral concern for George with the way you try to play "gotcha" with other pastors on the internet.  If I said something that went beyond the bounds, it would be simple for you to simply spit out of your mouth what it was.  I'm sure eventually you will.

Whether or not Luther's quote is in the Book of Concord is irrelevant.  The fact remains that Luther wrote it.  There was no shift to "cloaking myself in Luther"; I was quoting Luther from the beginning.  Now I have the book in front of me; before I did it from memory.  Your argument that George embraces confession and absolution is just stupid; it's clear that the quote from Luther is referring to private confession and absolution.


Karl Hess

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #139 on: February 27, 2011, 06:14:18 PM »
And this is a defense of Karl's unhelpful, incorrect, and  inappropriate comment to George...how?

George to Karl:  “So, I trust you'll excuse me for not embracing your insistence on how wonderful this [private confession/absolution] ritual is that I've been taught for 59 years wasn't necessary…”

Karl to George:  “George, in response to your earlier response to me…In the large catechism [Luther] says that those who don't desire absolution--that is, private absolution, are not Christians… Christianity and private absolution are synonymous for Luther… The truth is that general confession is in many ways hiding from absolution…But reality is thst [sic]many who confess publicly say they are sinners, but they are actually denying their sins. ”

Karl now states:  “I'm not saying that George is not a Christian…"

Oh.


This is the same effeminate quibbling you always pull.  Why don't you deal with what Luther actually said? 

Karl Hess

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #140 on: February 27, 2011, 06:16:31 PM »
Well, in defense of Pr. Hess, the Small Catechism has a model example of Private Confession and Absolution:
Pray, Propose to Me a Brief Form of Confession.

Answer.

You should speak to the confessor thus: Reverend and dear sir, I beseech you to hear my confession, and to pronounce forgiveness to me for God's sake.

Proceed!

I, a poor sinner, confess myself before God guilty of all sins; especially I confess before you that I am a man-servant, a maidservant, etc. But, alas, I serve my master unfaithfully; for in this and in that I have not done what they commanded me; I have provoked them, and caused them to curse, have been negligent [in many things] and permitted damage to be done; have also been immodest in words and deeds, have quarreled with my equals, have grumbled and sworn at my mistress, etc. For all this I am sorry, and pray for grace; I want to do better.

A master or mistress may say thus:

In particular I confess before you that I have not faithfully trained my children, domestics, and wife [family] for God's glory. I have cursed, set a bad example by rude words and deeds, have done my neighbor harm and spoken evil of him, have overcharged and given false ware and short measure.

And whatever else he has done against God's command and his station, etc.

But if any one does not find himself burdened with such or greater sins, he should not trouble himself or search for or invent other sins, and thereby make confession a torture, but mention one or two that he knows. Thus: In particular I confess that I once cursed; again, I once used improper words, I have once neglected this or that, etc. Let this suffice.

But if you know of none at all (which, however is scarcely possible), then mention none in particular, but receive the forgiveness upon your general confession which you make before God to the confessor.

Then shall the confessor say:

God be merciful to thee and strengthen thy faith! Amen.

Furthermore:

Dost thou believe that my forgiveness is God's forgiveness?

Answer.

Yes, dear sir.

Then let him say:

As thou believest, so be it done unto thee. And by the command of our Lord Jesus Christ I forgive thee thy sins, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. Depart in peace.

But those who have great burdens upon their consciences, or are distressed and tempted, the confessor will know how to comfort and to encourage to faith with more passages of Scripture. This is to be merely a general form of confession for the unlearned.

* These questions may not have been composed by Luther himself but reflect his teachings and were included in editions of the Small Catechism during his lifetime. 



That section of the Small Catechism was presented to us in Confirmation class as the predecessor of the Order for Public Confession that we use in regular worship, nothing more.

When it says: "Before the pastor, we should confess only those sins which we know and feel in our hearts," how did they explain that?  And when it then proceeds to spell out how we should examine ourselves in order to find out which sins we should confess to the pastor, how was that explained?

George Erdner

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #141 on: February 27, 2011, 06:32:53 PM »
When it says: "Before the pastor, we should confess only those sins which we know and feel in our hearts," how did they explain that?  And when it then proceeds to spell out how we should examine ourselves in order to find out which sins we should confess to the pastor, how was that explained?

As I recall from lessons I was taught almost half a century ago, it was explained that during the part where the minister says on our behalf the part that includes "we poor sinners confess unto thee", we are to think about and reflect on any specific sins we've committed that bother us. As for the rest of it, like I said, it was explained that what was written in the Small Confession over 400 years ago was what Lutherans used to do, but that we don't do it that way any more because in the four hundred plus years since then we stopped doing private confessions. I'll be honest, I didn't save my notes from 48 years ago to reference them today. I didn't realize I'd be quizzed on my precise recollections of events of 48 years ago. 

What part of what I'm telling about what regular, ordinary, non-seminary attending Lutherans were taught in the 20th and 21st centuries can you not grasp? Maybe you'd like to pretend that private confession didn't fall out of general use in the 20th century, but it did. Most Lutherans don't do it. Most pastors don't make a point of offering it, and most Lutheran lay people don't make a point of asking for it. It's like making the sign of the cross that Lutherans stopped doing and then started doing again relatively recently.

I realize you'd like to see the practice revived and reinstated, and to see it happen more often. Fine. The reason why it needs to be reinstated is because it has fallen into disuse. If most Lutherans availed themselves of the Order for Private Confession and Absolution, there would be no need to even have this discussion thread.




Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #142 on: February 27, 2011, 06:38:05 PM »
Whether or not Luther's quote is in the Book of Concord is irrelevant.  The fact remains that Luther wrote it.  There was no shift to "cloaking myself in Luther"; I was quoting Luther from the beginning.  

Well, let's stick with what's in the BOC. Luther’s Baptismal Booklet [pages 371-375 of the Kolb edition of the BOC] was included in some 1580 editions of the Book of Concord. It included in the Baptismal Rite the Flood Prayer, a couple of exorcisms, and the following:

“At this point he shall take the child and immerse it in the baptismal font and…”

Now, while I think the Flood Prayer is wonderful and is included in LSB, it was not in LW or the TLH Agenda. The exorcisms are long gone from the Rite in the hymnals and rightly so, in my opinion. And how many baptize infants by immersion?

Yet, looking to Luther’s words, he uses mandatory language: “The baptizer shall say…” before the first exorcism, “Then he shall…say…” before the Flood Prayer and the second exorcism, and “…he shall take the child and immerse it…” for the baptism.

Now I have the book in front of me; before I did it from memory.  Your argument that George embraces confession and absolution is just stupid; it's clear that the quote from Luther is referring to private confession and absolution.

Of course George embraces confession/absolution! And you insist that he does not and, "quoting Luther," set forth that George is not a Christian. Looking to the above and cloaking yourself with Luther, you then must mantain that those who do not immerse infants have not baptized the infant. Do you immerse infants whom you baptize, Karl?

You see, Karl, in your use of Luther, he was discussing private confession/absolution without considering the alternative of corporate confession/absolution. So, his statements really do not deal with private being better than corporate. So, your use of Luther to suggest that those who prefer corporate over private are not Christians is a misuse of Luther. So, when you quote Luther: "Therefore, when I urge you to go to confession, I am simply urging you to be a Christian" George can state, "And I do so. I go to confession, and the pastor absolves me."

On the other hand, in the case of baptism, pouring water on the head of an infant was an alternative to immersion when Luther wrote the above. Luther was aware of the use of both, and mandatorily stated that one should immerse the infant.  Do you do so, Karl?

BTW, your inflammatory language characterizing my arguments as "stupid" and "effeminate" are a new low. I am embarrasssed for you.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2011, 07:36:10 PM by dgkirch »
Don Kirchner

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Rev. Kevin Scheuller

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #143 on: February 27, 2011, 06:43:27 PM »
FWIW, George, of the 10-20 times I've taken part in private confession and absolution, at least half of those times it was initiated by the "pewsitters."  Other times, I offered it because I thought it would be helpful to the individual who, in turn, agreed with me.  I have never forced it on anyone.  I would offer it here, but since it might appear too "Roman" in my current setting, I choose (wisely) not to.  Even though I don't broadcast it, I have had opportunities in this current call to use it for those who find it helpful. 

« Last Edit: February 27, 2011, 06:45:20 PM by Rev. Kevin Scheuller »

George Erdner

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #144 on: February 27, 2011, 07:19:30 PM »
FWIW, George, of the 10-20 times I've taken part in private confession and absolution, at least half of those times it was initiated by the "pewsitters."  Other times, I offered it because I thought it would be helpful to the individual who, in turn, agreed with me.  I have never forced it on anyone.  I would offer it here, but since it might appear too "Roman" in my current setting, I choose (wisely) not to.  Even though I don't broadcast it, I have had opportunities in this current call to use it for those who find it helpful. 



AFAIC, even if it were the full 20 times, and each time was a different person, 20 people out of a congregation of 290 is still less than 7%. I would say that my statement that "most Lutheran lay people don't make a point of asking for it" is proven if around 93% don't ask for it.   

Rev. Kevin Scheuller

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #145 on: February 27, 2011, 07:28:21 PM »
FWIW, George, of the 10-20 times I've taken part in private confession and absolution, at least half of those times it was initiated by the "pewsitters."  Other times, I offered it because I thought it would be helpful to the individual who, in turn, agreed with me.  I have never forced it on anyone.  I would offer it here, but since it might appear too "Roman" in my current setting, I choose (wisely) not to.  Even though I don't broadcast it, I have had opportunities in this current call to use it for those who find it helpful. 



AFAIC, even if it were the full 20 times, and each time was a different person, 20 people out of a congregation of 290 is still less than 7%. I would say that my statement that "most Lutheran lay people don't make a point of asking for it" is proven if around 93% don't ask for it.   
...and AFAIC, just because "most Lutheran lay people don't make a point of asking for it" does not make it "un-Lutheran."

Weedon

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #146 on: February 27, 2011, 07:36:02 PM »
What I find fascinating in the discussion is that it ends up being the same old discussion had here in a hundred and one guises:  the fight over the understanding of "Lutheran."  For many the word is used to describe what IS either at the current moment or when they were young.  For others, the definition and meaning of Lutheran is defined by teaching (and concomitant practice) that is in agreement with the Lutheran Symbols.  Pr. Hess, Fr. Peters, myself - when we extol the private absolution, are seeking to challenge the status quo by the confession of our Church.  In other words, we see something defective and contradictory of the Symbols in the way that Lutheran practice in this regard has developed over time.  I note that the leading theologian of the LCMS, C. F. W. Walther, did as well.  Thus the first constitution of the Synod insisted that in every place where the practice has been allowed to fall into disuse, private confession was to be reintroduced.

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #147 on: February 27, 2011, 07:39:39 PM »
And I find George's practice regarding confession/absolution as well as yours and mine to be within the parameters of and in agreement with the Lutheran Symbols.

OTOH, I don't immerse infants. So, perhaps I have some confessing to do.  :)

BTW, Pr. Weedon, you forgot the third alternative: Those for whom the word Lutheran is used for what was was descriptive at the time of Luther with no deviation, i.e., rendering such things prescriptive.   Yes, some extol private confession. Others use it, along with Luther, as a hammer to render another not-Christian.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2011, 07:59:27 PM by dgkirch »
Don Kirchner

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George Erdner

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #148 on: February 27, 2011, 07:51:19 PM »
FWIW, George, of the 10-20 times I've taken part in private confession and absolution, at least half of those times it was initiated by the "pewsitters."  Other times, I offered it because I thought it would be helpful to the individual who, in turn, agreed with me.  I have never forced it on anyone.  I would offer it here, but since it might appear too "Roman" in my current setting, I choose (wisely) not to.  Even though I don't broadcast it, I have had opportunities in this current call to use it for those who find it helpful. 



AFAIC, even if it were the full 20 times, and each time was a different person, 20 people out of a congregation of 290 is still less than 7%. I would say that my statement that "most Lutheran lay people don't make a point of asking for it" is proven if around 93% don't ask for it.   
...and AFAIC, just because "most Lutheran lay people don't make a point of asking for it" does not make it "un-Lutheran."

Kevin, I never said it was "un-Lutheran". I've only said that it is a practice that not many Lutherans practice nowadays. I'm not saying it's a bad thing. I'm not saying it's an "un-Lutheran" thing. I'm only saying that it is, in the year of our Lord 2011, a rare thing. It is a seldom-used thing that's mostly stored in the Lutheran archives, and not often pulled off of the shelf, dusted off, and used. I'm not saying that situation is a good thing, nor am I saying it is a bad thing. But it is very much a real thing.

Those members of the Lutheran clergy who'd like to see any practice that has fallen into disuse over the past 100 years revived, reinstated, and restored, great. More power to you. I hope you succeed in convincing the pewsitters to come around to your perspective on the issue. But I can tell you that if the method used to attempt to convince them carries with in an implied message that the Order for Public Confession isn't really good enough for the really big sins, your attempts will probably fail.

It's a funny thing about implication. A deceitful person who is skillful in the use of English as a means of persuasion can deliberately put a message "between the lines" that is both crystal clear and yet such that the person speaking the message can honestly say that he never actually said the "between the lines" message. On the other side of the coin, an honest person who doesn't take care in what he says and how he says it can accidentally stick one of those "between the lines" messages where he doesn't intend it to be. A wise and honest person will take it to heart when someone points out that he has inadvertently put an unintended message "between the lines". Others will just get defensive and swear up and down that the never specifically stated the message that they unwittingly implied.
 

Karl Hess

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #149 on: February 27, 2011, 08:05:12 PM »
Don, do you really think the quotes are similar? I mean on the one hand...the pastor shall immerse...a rubric.  On the other hand, "if you despise confession, you're not a Christian."  Of course, the context makes it clear that he is talking about private confession.  The people Luther was talking to were not despising general confession in the service.  If that was in place in Wittenberg at the time Luther wrote this, it's obvious that's not what he's talking about.  I mean, they aren't the same kind of document at all!  One is an agenda, essentially, with a suggested liturgy.  The other is an admonition to go to private confession!
Whether or not Luther's quote is in the Book of Concord is irrelevant.  The fact remains that Luther wrote it.  There was no shift to "cloaking myself in Luther"; I was quoting Luther from the beginning.  

Well, let's stick with what's in the BOC. Luther’s Baptismal Booklet [pages 371-375 of the Kolb edition of the BOC] was included in some 1580 editions of the Book of Concord. It included in the Baptismal Rite the Flood Prayer, a couple of exorcisms, and the following:

“At this point he shall take the child and immerse it in the baptismal font and…”

Now, while I think the Flood Prayer is wonderful and is included in LSB, it was not in LW or the TLH Agenda. The exorcisms are long gone from the Rite in the hymnals and rightly so, in my opinion. And how many baptize infants by immersion?

Yet, looking to Luther’s words, he uses mandatory language: “The baptizer shall say…” before the first exorcism, “Then he shall…say…” before the Flood Prayer and the second exorcism, and “…he shall take the child and immerse it…” for the baptism.

Now I have the book in front of me; before I did it from memory.  Your argument that George embraces confession and absolution is just stupid; it's clear that the quote from Luther is referring to private confession and absolution.

Of course George embraces confession/absolution! And you insist that he does not and, "quoting Luther," set forth that George is not a Christian. Looking to the above and cloaking yourself with Luther, you then must mantain that those who do not immerse infants have not baptized the infant. Do you immerse infants whom you baptize, Karl?

You see, Karl, in your use of Luther, he was discussing private confession/absolution without considering the alternative of corporate confession/absolution. So, his statements really do not deal with private being better than corporate. So, your use of Luther to suggest that those who prefer corporate over private are not Christians is a misuse of Luther. So, when you quote Luther: "Therefore, when I urge you to go to confession, I am simply urging you to be a Christian" George can state, "And I do so. I go to confession, and the pastor absolves me."

On the other hand, in the case of baptism, pouring water on the head of an infant was an alternative to immersion when Luther wrote the above. Luther was aware of the use of both, and mandatorily stated that one should immerse the infant.  Do you do so, Karl?


I can feel the lawyerly buildup that is about to come smashing down on me!  The suspense is killing me!

But Don, you're not a lawyer anymore.  You're a pastor, remember?  So putting words in my mouth--i.e., lying, is not your vocation anymore.  

I've watched you do this again and again on this forum.  You did it to Messer, Kim Schave.  Actually, you were doing it to George before I jumped in.  This is bad behavior, Don.  

Your argument is false.  There was corporate confession in Luther's day.  And even if there weren't, it was particularly the indivdual nature of the absolution that Luther praised, because as I said earlier, you are already being absolved as a group when the Gospel is preached to you.  But sadly, your argument is just false.  "At the start of the Reformation there were in practice...three types of confession: 1. private, or individual confession, the so called sacramental confession, followed by the indicative operative absolution...(2) general confession (Offene Schuld), usually conducted in the vernacular after the sermon with an optative or declarative absolution; and (3) the confiteor form with an optative absolution, said at the beginning of the Mass..."  (Fred L. Precht, ""Confession and Absolution: Sin and Forgiveness", Lutheran Worship, History and Practice, p. 333.  Moreover, the same guy writes: "Luther's high regard for the institution of confession does not result so much from the confessing aspect as such, but more from the absolution that is imparted to the anxious conscience and upon the comfort of the forgiveness of sins that is personally and individually imparted.  It is this personal certainty of the heart that gives confession its significance and which should cause the Christian to make use of it....The absolution to be sure, from the standpoint of content, does not differ from the preaching of the Gospel.  On the other hand, despising the absolution is tantamount to despising the Gospel..." (Precht, 336)  And please note: "And the absolution of the pastor on earth is one with God's absolution in heaven.  'It is Christ who sits there, Christ who hears, Christ who answers and not a man'...It is private, or individual, confession of which the Lutheran Confessions, or Symbols, exclusively speak and which they value highly in pastoral care, allowing it to be called a sacrament in the strict sense..." (Precht 338)  The first quote is Luther's statement; taken together, these all show that trying to make confession and absolution mean "private or corporate or whatever" is not in keeping with what the confessions in general, the small catechism in particular, or Luther mean when they praise confession and absolution.  Private absolution was distinguished from the general preaching of the Gospel because it was done in private, one on one.

The Lutheran Confessions actually, after all, do say the same thing Luther does regarding despising private confession and absolution.  "For we also retain confession especially on account of absolution, which is the word of God that the power of the keys proclaims to individuals by divine authority.  Therefore it would be unconscionable to remove private absolution from the church.  Moreover,those who despise private absolution know neither the forgiveness of sins nor the power of the keys." Apology XII:99-101, Kolb-Wengert.  

Ay ay ay!  Luther and the Apology and Fred Precht are all full of..what?  Legalistic mummery?  or flummery?  I guess you're the expert on all things legal, and it appears that you know a lot about flummery or mummery or mammaries or whatever it was.  

Seriously, Don, you need to quit doing this gotcha thing on pastors that are supposed to be your younger brothers in the ministry.  It's not pastoral.  If me or Tom or Kim says something that's wrong, just tell us you think it's wrong, instead of trying to make a point.  Last time I tried to let you say your piece, because I didn't want to argue with you in public and I had respected you.  But now it's obvious you're just being an ass.  Quit.