A Jagged Contention: Ecclesiastical Practices

“We should not regard as free or indifferent, but rather as things forbidden by God that are to be avoided, the kind of things presented under the name and appearance of external, indifferent things that are nevertheless fundamentally opposed to God’s Word (even if they are painted another color). Moreover, we must not include among the truly free adiaphora or indifferent matters ceremonies that give the appearance or (in order to avoid persecution) are designed to give the impression that our religion does not differ greatly from the papist religion or that their religion were not completely contrary to ours. Nor are such ceremonies matters of indifference when they are intended to create the illusion (or are demanded or accepted with that intention), as if such action brought the two contradictory religions into agreement and made them one body or as if a return to the papacy and a deviation from the pure teaching fo the gospel and from the true religion had taken place or could gradually result from these actions.”

– The Formula of Concord: The Solid Declaration, Article X: Ecclesiastical Practices


Question:

How can these statements be applied today in a context where we are free to worship without the threat of persecution? Have you encountered any sort of ecclesiastical practices which undermine the preaching of the Gospel? How has the idea of “adiaphora” been misapplied to our worship settings?