In this series, I use the following notations:
- highlight the questionable portions in yellow,
- the portions with some merit in green,
- and my comments in red text
------ Quotes from Lively Stones by Berthold von Schenk, comments by BackToLuther ------
Pg 124: Am I really preaching the Gospel, challenging my people to full commitment to Jesus Christ?But I thought the Gospel was that Jesus died for my sins, that none of my works or "commitment" was necessary for my salvation.
Pg 124: I soon realized that our church was neither Christian nor Apostolic, and certainly not catholic.Then why did you not leave the Missouri Synod since it "was not Christian"? Weren't you a Christian, von Schenk?
Pg 124: It was a thrilling ministry after I found out that my business was to promote Leiturgia, Missio, and Diakonia in the various rundown parishes I inherited. I knew that I could not fail.
Pg 125: There were always a few members who resigned because they just did not believe in sacramental worship. The pastors of neighboring churches, of course, welcomed these prodigalsThese "prodigals" were like the seminary student who ran weeping away from Prof. Walther A. Maier Jr.
Pg 126: Luther, of course, was not a liturgiologist, nor a sacramentalist. The most stupid thing which Luther let himself in for was the Colloquy in Marburg with Ulrich Zwingli. How much time and thought has been wasted by insisting on absolute truth in dogmas! Luther fell into that trap in his controversy with Zwingli and split the Reformation. Zwingli had a much deeper understanding of the liturgy than we give him credit for, and his liturgy is far superior to that of Luther. The argument of dies bedeutet and dies ist ("this represents and this is") was sheer nonsense. In scientific language bedeutet and ist are the same thing. Luther was fighting windmills, and his position, "Ihr habt einem anderen Geist als wir," [You have a different spirit than us] was a tragic statement.
Pg 126 - 127: Those familiar with John Calvin will also realize that he was a much more profound theologian than Luther. 230 Footnote 230 by editors Fry and Kurz:Why should we be "puzzled or disturbed" by these statements, editors Fry and Kurz? Luther was not a liturgiologist, nor a sacramentalist, so why should we be disturbed? No, no, I'm not disturbed – bring on your new renewals in liturgy and sacramental theology... I want more of von Schenk! I can't get enough of him, and you say I might be "puzzled or disturbed"? Von Schenk is speaking plainly here and you say I should be "puzzled or disturbed"? Surely neither of you are "puzzled or disturbed". Neither is Pastor Paul Robert Sauer. Neither is Prof. David P. Scaer disturbed – von Schenk is a "good read" and Scaer gives us no warnings of his own (only a hint). So why should I be "puzzled or disturbed"?
For those puzzled or disturbed by these statements, clarification of von Schenk's thought is given in The Presence...
Pg 132: The outline of the liturgy shows how amazing and complete the ignorance of Walther and his "yes men" was.Stupid Walther.
Pg 138: ...unfortunately Loehe's influence was diminished by Walther and Pieper's museum theology.
Pg 138: I pleaded with some faculty members in the late twenties to address liturgical theology, but they were either against liturgical renewal or considered it an adiaphoron.We see how the old (German) Missouri Synod reacted in the true faith to von Schenk's dreams of converting adiaphoron (indifferent things, Mitteldinge) to Gospel.
Pg 138: At Valparaiso, under the influence of O.P. Kretzmann, ... there is a liturgical life. ... They conduct a solemn high Eucharist every Sunday morning in their magnificent chapel. ..., celebrating in that beautiful cathedral-like chapel seating some 3,000 students. The wonderful thing is to see that most of these students receive the Sacrament every Sunday.Never mind that their Christian faith is being utterly confused by Valpo's (and the LC-MS) teaching... and in some cases lost. But that does not matter to von Schenk. There is no danger in the thought of ex opere operato – for von Schenk or Valparaiso.
Pg 139: Of course I introduced the surplice, stole, and cassock (and later the traditional Eucharistic vestments), but this was because I did not like to celebrate the Eucharist in an academic gown! To my great regret, the traditional Eucharistic vestments are still quite common in useThanks for nothing, von Schenk, for neither your "surplice, stole, and cassock", or your "sacramental theology", a theology that played right along with my own sinful human nature as I fell from Christianity in my youth.
Pg 139: The big problem, however, remains – the emphasis is still on liturgical haberdashery. The Liturgical Movement, even at Valparaiso University is influenced by prettiness, along with liturgical romance and poetry.Von Schenk dreams his theology is right because he says he is not like some of his followers ("friends") who take it too far ("liturgical haberdashery", "prettiness", "ecclesiastical dress-makers"). He thinks he is right because "the heart and soul of the movement is the desperate struggle to be the Church and to restore catholicity to our Lutheran Church." (see pg 53) Rather his theology is largely false because it is confused from the beginning on the First Premise – the Doctrine of Justification.
Pg 141: It has been taught that a person is unworthy if he does not believe that the bread is the true Body of Christ and the wine the true Blood. This is not what St. Paul said. Luther answered the question as to who is worthy at the celebration when he stated, "Those who have faith in these words, 'Given and shed for you for the remission of sins."'Von Schenk quotes Luther against himself!... we are not supposed to believe Scripture when it says "This is My Body, This is My Blood"... what a travesty von Schenk makes of his "sacramental theology"! Von Schenk's theology isn't truly sacramental, but sacrilegious. How can a poor Christian believe "for the remission of sins" if he isn't supposed to believe the words "This is my Body", and "This is my Blood"? It's OK with von Schenk to not believe Scripture just as long as congregations "celebrate" Holy Communion at every service!
The next post is Part 9 in this series – (we will reach rock bottom in Part 10).