Why Do Lutheran Pastors Wear Robes?

The Protestantism church has 5 different branches which are Baptists, presbyterian, Anglicanism, Methodism, and Lutheranism.

The Lutheran church is not a single entity like the Catholic churches, and it is the largest in Protestantism. Regardless of the little difference in the entity between the Lutheran and Catholic Church, the pastors of the Lutheran church are known to dress like the priest in the Catholic Church – which is wearing robes. But why do the pastors in the Lutheran church put on robes? Let’s find out.

There are a few reasons why the Lutheran Pastors choose to wear robes: 

  • Due to custom and tradition. 
  • To conceal the wearer in the right manner.
  • The robe expresses the bureau that is held. 
  • It decorates the Lord’s sermon with the right badges. 

Due to custom and tradition

The most precise reason why the Lutheran Pastors choose to put on tunics is due to custom and tradition. Regardless of the fact that the Lutheran church is not part of the Roman Church, the pastors and other ministers of the church did not do away with the custom that was adopted from the Catholic Church- which is putting on cloaks. 

The robes that the priests wear are not mandatory, but because it has been adopted, they put them on during services and other celebrations.

In fact, the Lutheran Pastors wear the Geneva gown that is always worn, all the way to the diverse type of vestments. Moving forward, the stole and other wear that is worn by the Catholic priests are also worn by the pastors of the Lutheran church. 

To conceal the wearer in the right manner

The robe is worn by the Lutheran Pastors to suppress their attention concerning their personalities and closet. Due to how critic the congregation can be about the dressing, shape, and accessories of the pastor, the cloak helps to prevent that. 

It also helps to prevent the pastor from worrying about the previous outfit that was worn or the next apparel to be worn for the next service.

A Methodist senior pastor once said, “she prefers robes because they make her worry less, rather she would be more devoted to reading the word.”

No lie, you can’t be devoted to two things at a time – you have to pick one. So, you can be able to tell that the Lutheran Pastors choose the word over fashion. 

The robe expresses the bureau that is held

How do you identify a barrister? When the barrister is putting on a robe, yeah? Of course. Likewise, when a Lutheran pastor is wearing a robe – depending on the type, you can be able to tell the bureau that is being held by the pastor. 

Just like the cloak of a barrister is authoritative amongst a large number of crowds, the robe that the Lutheran ministers wear is also authoritative amid the congregation. In addition, the robe often differs by the office held in the church – just like the Catholic. 

It decorates the Lord’s sermon with the right badge

Finally, the Lutheran ministers put on robes because it decorates the Lord’s sermon with the right badge. A quick question!

What do pastors preach about? Of course, they preach about Jesus – the word. They also make sure to remind the congregation about the second coming, not living in sin, and many more. 

The robe that the Lutheran ministers wear while preaching to the people signifies that they are characteristic of Christ. Furthermore, the tunic separates what is divine from worldly things. It reveals more of the heavenly things that are being preached by the pastor to the congregation. 

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What type of robes do the Lutheran Pastors wear?

Having known that the Lutheran ministers wear tunics and also, why they wear them, let’s find out the type of robes that the pastors wear. As aforesaid, the cloaks they wear differ just like Roman Church priests. 

Here are the types of vestments that the Lutheran Pastors wear:

  • Chasuble.
  • Cassock.
  • Surplice.
  • Stole.
  • Alb.

Chasuble 

The first type of cloak that the Lutheran cleric wears is the Chasuble. The chasuble was originated from the warm tunic that the apostle Paul mentioned in 2 Timothy 4 verse 13. 

This garment is highly ornamental, so it became used in the church for different celebrations. At first, the chasuble was employed by the pastors during the Lord’s supper.

But then, this ancient and graceful tunic has been reclaimed by the Lutheran Pastors, so they wear it to describe the scripture- Matthew 11 verse 28. In other words, the pastors wear this cloak to say that they have fully carried the yoke of Jesus. 

Cassock 

Another typical robe that is worn by the pastors of the Lutheran church is the cassock. I believe you might have seen this cassock on most of the priests. It is a black, long-length garment that most priests wear with the clergy collar. 

The cassock robe has two styles, and it differs by the church – the Roman Catholic cassock is different from the Anglican/ Lutheranism cassock. This robe is worn for sermons or on the pulpit, it is mainly worn as daily clergy wear. 

Surplice 

Then, there is the surplice. This garment is often worn over the cassock. It is white in color, with full sleeves, and a long length similar to the cassock. 

Due to how the surplice is worn over the cassock – which is a black gown, most people see it as how Christ covers over sins with his righteousness. The surplice is worn for non- communion masses, while the alb is worn for communion services. 

Stole 

The Lutheran Pastors also wear a stole to indicate their function in the ministry. The stole is often given after the ordination, so it isn’t an outfit that can be worn by just any person. It is often worn around the neck – showing at the front of the apparel you are wearing. 

Alb 

Finally, the Lutheran ministers put on the alb. The Alb is ankle length and white attire. Over the years, the Alb has become different from the way it was in ancient times. Plus, it also became popular in the Roman and Protestantism churches. 

This particular garment put a reminder of the crowd that was standing in front of the throne in heaven, putting on white – as illustrated in Revelation 7 verse 14. It reminds the priest that someday, he will also be putting on the white tunic that was described in the bible. 

Do Lutheran Pastors Wear collars?

Oh, yea! The Lutheran Pastors do put on collars. However, not all the Lutheran ministers. As aforesaid, the Lutheran church is not a single entity ministry like the Catholic Church. So, putting on a collar can differ by the branch of the Lutheran church. 

The collar is not an item of ordinary clothing in the cleric apparel – it carries a huge significance that I will share below. Regardless of this, the Lutheran ministers can decide whether or not to wear the collar. 

In addition, whilst the tunics can only be worn during masses, the pastor can wear the collar every day as he wants. The significances of the collar are:

It embodies holiness 

The shade of this clerical collar is white. And white represents holiness, forgiveness, righteousness, and purity. The main duty of a pastor is to share the good news of the gospel with the congregation – telling them all about the forgiveness they will receive, the righteousness, and many more. 

So, the fact that the collar is around the neck, it reminds everyone – both the pastor and the listeners, about the role of the pastor in the church. 

Reveals the duty of the priest

The collar is more like an identity card. It tells you that the person you are speaking with is a priest or a minister of the church. For instance, if a police officer is not wearing his uniform, the other way to identify him is by his card. 

In the case of a Lutheran pastor, the card you can employ to identify his duty in the church is by the collar – when the vestment is not worn. 

The collar also informs you that the minister has dedicated his whole life to God – and he’s carrying the yoke of Christ. Since the robe can’t be worn daily, most of the priests decide to wear the collar as everyday wear – mainly for identification, as most people would feel safe reaching out to them easily. 

Conclusion – Why Do Lutheran Pastors Wear Robes?

The Lutheran Pastors put on tunics for several reasons which are custom and tradition, concealing the wearer appropriately, expressing the office that is held, and decorating the Lord’s sermon with the right badges. I expounded on all of the reasons in this article. 

Also, I gave a list of the type of vestments that are worn by the Lutheran Pastors and for more understanding, I explained why they wear them. In addition, I answered another question that is frequently asked, and also gave full detail about it. 

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