The following passage comes from from the fifth volume of the authors' Cyclopædia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature (1894). After scanning and linking the text, I divided the original into separate paragraphs to make for easier reading. — George P. Landow ]

The foundation for [Lutheran church services] was laid by Luther in his Formula Missae (1523) and his German Mass (1525). In these he proceeded upon the principle, which he expressed and defended, that the Church service was not to be abrogated as a whole; that the vital parts of it had a noble origin; that the great thing was to purge off its excrescences and defilements, and to restore to its true place in it the Word of God, which had been more and more neglected. In conformity with Luther’s fundamental principles, the ritual was purified, the neglected elements replaced, and the more necessary parts developed still further. It was brought back to the standard of the Bible, and of early pure Catholic antiquity.

The Lord’s Supper, restored to its true position, became the grand point of culmination in all the chief services.

The office of the Word was renewed. Preaching became a great indispensable element of the chief public services.

The congregation took a direct part in the service in response and singing.

The services were held in the vernacular of the country, though a certain proportion of the familiar old Latin part of the services was in many cases continued, mainly, however, in order to retain the noble Church-music, until time had been given to fit it to a vernacular service complete in all its parts.

Luther insisted simply on an organization of worship which should preserve its rich treasures and resources.

Services for the morning and evening, and for the days of the week, were retained or arranged. More than all, congregational singing was developed. In conformity with these views, there arose the service of the Lutheran type which we find in the agenda of the 16th and 17th centuries. In northern, eastern, and middle Germany the Wittenberg order was followed, and is maintained to this day. The service is of moderate length, and is rich liturgically. [V, 577]

Last modified 12 October 2015