Lively Stone

What is the history of the liturgical movement in the Missouri Synod? If you were to come up with names, some of them would include Fredrich Lochner, Arthur Carl Piepkorn, Valparaiso, Fort Wayne, Arthur Just, Walter Buszin, the St. James Society, Ron Feuerhahn, and others. No matter how you compiled your list, one name would always be on it: Berthold von Schenk.

Berthold von Schenk (1895-1974) was a pastor in Northwest St. Louis, Hoboken, the Bronx, and elsewhere. He was known as a powerful preacher, an ecumenical spirit, a proponent of tithing (“The Kingdom Plan”), and a gadfly to pretty much everyone. What we know him for is his liturgical predilections, especially through his little book, “The Presence,” and his work in founding the St. James Society.

His autobiography, Lively Stone, was published fairly recently by the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau.  I will try and work up a more complete review, but suffice it to say that if you are a liturgical Lutheran, you simply must read this book.  It helps us to make sense of a lot of the oddities in the LCMS.  More on it later.  But READ THIS BOOK.


2 thoughts on “Lively Stone

  1. I read the book over a year ago and keep going back to it time and again. It does show what makes the Missouri Synod tick even today. von Schenk is mercurial, curmudgeonly, and feisty, not to mention an enigma among enigmas. I look forward to future posts.

  2. Todd, I haven’t read that book, but thanks for pointing it out. I remember that Bishop Pittelko tried to compare the LLPB (Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood) to the St. James Society. I think he is mixing apples and oranges though. While our interest in liturgical prayer is similar, the LLPB guys tend not to be doctrinal liberals.

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