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Now This is a Lutheran Altar!

April 19th, 2007
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This is the altar that was placed by Lutherans in St. Martini Church in Braunschweig, Germany: Martin Chemnitz’ church. It was installed during the age of Lutheran Orthodoxy. Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version. It is beautifully rich and filled with symbolism. Why do some Lutherans today think that church buildings that look like big non-denominational barns are more "spiritual"? Why do some Lutherans today shudder at the thought of a crucifix? Why are some Lutherans so uptight about being uniquely and distinctively Lutheran? I don’t get it.

Braunschweigaltar

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Don Crow
    April 20th, 2007 at 08:50 | #1

    The reason some Lutherans don’t like the large, ornate, and unique church styles, is that they are to busy worrying about not being perceived as Roman Catholics. It truly is a shame because there is some very beautiful and symbolic church architecture, but for some it is too Catholic.
    McCain: The interesting thing to notice is that when you look at the churches in Germany that inherited Roman Catholic altars, they did not destroy them or change them, but when they had the chance to build their own altars, you see a much more clear emphasis on Christ and when saints are portrayed they are most frequently done as here: Moses and St. Paul then the four evangelists, but at the center will be Christ, and the Lord’s Supper. This altar is a particularly spectacular example!

  2. Christine
    April 20th, 2007 at 11:47 | #2

    “McCain: The interesting thing to notice is that when you look at the churches in Germany that inherited Roman Catholic altars, they did not destroy them or change them, … at the center will be Christ, and the Lord’s Supper. This altar is a particularly spectacular example!”
    So very true, Pastor McCain. The “Andreaskirche” in Bavaria where my Lutheran family worshipped was formerly Roman Catholic but all the beautiful altarpieces, etc. were retained when it became Lutheran after the Reformation.
    Luther was no iconoclast and he retained the historic catholic position on Christian art and architecture. It is not only the patrimony of “Roman” catholics.

  3. Joanne
    April 22nd, 2007 at 20:58 | #3

    Noting your skill with the camera, I would love to see pictures you would take of the altar in the Wenzelskirche at Naumberg (Saale), another product of Lutheran orthodoxy. I’ve seen plenty pictures, but none seem to do it justice.
    http://home.arcor.de/okrim22/Sehen/NWenzelskirche.html
    I remember some remarkably ornate altars in Westconsin, in particular at St. Mark’s Watertown and St. John’s Milwaukee. And as you say, when it’s Lutherans being ornate, Christ is the adorned focus of all the art. All the art points to Christ and to Him crucified.
    In Germany, I thought I noticed that a large wall crucifix was often positioned opposite the pupit so that the preacher must look upon the crucifix the whole time he is preaching. That must have a salutory effect on sermons. Image a large crucifix standing before Rev. King at VT while he gave that remarkably vacuous “witness” to our faith.
    I’d like to think that holding an image of the broken Christ before the eyes of a preacher would have a similar effect as would showing a choosy mother a video image of the abortion as it takes place.

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