What Makes Worship Lutheran?

by the Rev’d Paul Bosch

I’ve been challenged by Anglican friends in recent days by the question in my title. How can you tell when liturgy is authentically “Lutheran”? Put in other ways: Are there distinctive qualities in Christian worship that can be identified as Lutheran? What constitutes a Lutheran liturgy? Is there anything at all distinctive in worship that calls itself Lutheran? What can you find in Sunday worship in a Lutheran church that’s different from, say, worship in an Anglican church? In a Presbyterian church? A Methodist church? A United Church? Read more

Idol Factories – by Paul Bosch

The human mind is an idol factory.”  The sentiment is from John Calvin, the great  reformer.  I recalled his words as I composed my thoughts for this blog.
My original title for this piece was to be something like this: “Frontiers in Liturgy.”  Calvin’s pithy quote seemed more attention-grabbing. 

But “Frontiers…” is indeed what I want to get off my chest.  I’m recalling here an early mentor of mine, who argued when I began my ministry that the frontiers in worship these days are not in history:  “The Mozarabic Rite proposes such and such…”

They’re not either in theology, strictly speaking: “This liturgical act or ritual means such and such…”

They’re not, as I was taught now 60 years ago in Seminary, to be found in aesthetics:  “The Finer Things in Life require such and such in worship…”

Each of these worthy pursuits has its place, and each is fruitful for the fullest comprehension of what it is Christians do together when they gather on Sunday mornings.
And I’d be willing to argue that the frontiers in worship are not – Heaven forfend! — in Market Research:  “Baby Boomers are looking for such and such in worship…”  Although I suppose, begrudgingly, even Market Research could be a useful tool for a contemporary understanding of worship. Read more

Worship for Grown-Ups: Growing up into Christ

By Paul Bosch


Item: Several years ago, CBC Radio Two caused a nationwide uproar in Canada by changing the format of its venerable daily broadcast from twenty-four-hour-a-day classical music to “…a more youth-oriented play list.” I suppose the decision was motivated by demographic considerations, although CBC 2 has never aired commercials. In any case, now it’s pop, rock, grunge, and hip-hop. No more Mozart, Bach, or Beethoven… Read more