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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.

19 September 2008

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?

Martin ChemnitzA: 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.

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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.

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Newspaper column #555:3


Blogger scott davidson said...

What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8LT475.
The image can be seen at wahooart.com who can supply you with a canvas print of it.

25 July, 2013 01:16  
Blogger Indhra Kannan said...

That's interesting! Can you please share more about it? Thank you.

Catholic Rosary Beads

11 October, 2015 23:29  
Blogger Moist Nugget said...

article 20 of the Augsburg confessions explicitly list rosaries among "childish and useless" practices advocated by papists, along with monasticism, lay societies, fasting, and pilgrimage.

if the LCMS holds to the confessions, doesn't this mean that their official position would then be that praying the rosary is "childish and useless"?

09 December, 2015 03:42  
Blogger KLJ in KC said...

In article 20, other things are also listed, including celebrating 'particular holy days' and taking part in lay societies. Would this be including LWML (Lutheran Women's Missionary League)? Or a holy day like Christmas, or Epiphany, or All Soul's Day? These things are not "childish and useless". If a Lutheran or Anglican rosary is utilized in the ways that are suggested for use, these items can be a very useful and helpful thing for prayer. Fasting can also be an extremely useful, spiritually centering practice.

30 December, 2015 22:51  
Blogger Campbell said...

Wonderful blog.. Thanks for sharing informative blog

Catholic Rosary Beads

23 February, 2016 05:15  

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