Do Lutherans Use the Rosary?
Q: I have a set of rosary beads that were given to me as a gift. Are there many Lutherans that use the rosary on a daily basis? I have found Lutheran prayers for rosary. Does the LCMS support the rosary or discourage its use?
A: I don’t know how many regularly (or irregularly) pray a form of the Rosary. The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod has no set position on rosary beads nor on many other aids to prayer and devotion. They are fine for those who use them correctly and not good for those who misunderstand or misuse them. Evidently, Lutheran theologian Martin Chemnitz, the gentleman pictured here, placed himself in the former category and utilized this aid to prayer.
Just as one person can use religious art as a means of contemplation while another turns it into idol worship, so one can utilize a rosary to focus and pray a series of godly prayers while another might improperly employ it to invoke the saints or treat it as an almost magical talisman against evil. Although not commanded by God, I think that believers can use rosaries and the like in a manner similar to Deuteronomy 6:8-9. After commanding that Israel know and teach His commands, the Lord said of His words spoken that day, “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
If you want suggestions for prayers, check out A Lutheran Rosary [PDF] from Darrel E. Paul. More links and some interesting commentary are available at Prayer Beads, Rosaries, etc. etc. ... and the Lutherans from Confessional Lutheran Ecclesiastical Art Resources.
For my previous comments relating to religious art and the Second Commandment, please see Crucifixes and Graven Images.
Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.
Send email to Ask the Pastor.
Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.
Technorati Tags: Rosary | rosaries | prayer | devotion | meditation | beads | graven images | images | idolatry | Martin Chemnitz | art | ecclesiastical art | theology | systematic theology | practical theology | worship | Lutheran | Lutheranism | Catholic | Catholicism | Roman Catholicism | Christian | Christianity | Pastor Walter P. Snyder | Walter Snyder | Ask the Pastor
Newspaper column #555:3