Monday, October 29, 2012

Worship Wars - A Lutheran Spin

The title sounds old hat, doesn't it.  These wars have been going on for the last three decades with more and more churches throwing in the towel and going contemporary.  Confessional Lutheran churches are not immune to this trend and pastors who stand in the way become vulnerable.

Lutheran Pastor Hans Fiene has a helpful article about this topic.  He writes:

When advocates of historic Lutheran worship argue against the widespread use of contemporary worship, in particular the use of Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) in the Divine Service, they often do so using a syllogism that looks something like this:

Major Premise: Music that focuses on the objective work of Christ is beneficial for use in worship, whereas music that focuses on the subjective feelings of Christians is not.

Minor Premise: Most historic Lutheran hymns focus on the objective work of Christ, whereas most CCM songs focus on the subjective feelings of Christians.

Conclusion: Therefore historic Lutheran hymns are beneficial for use in worship, whereas CCM songs are not.

He continues by noting that most critics focus on the minor premise and the conclusion.  They do so by arguing that "there are plenty of bad hymns" and that somehow justifies their preferences.  To read more of Pastor Fiene's comments go here.

It is without question that there are plenty of bad hymns out there (bad theologically and/or bad musically).  The solution isn't to chuck all hymns - it is to retain that which is good and write new ones that are equally good (Part of what our church is doing is going back to the Psalter and getting acquainted with the Psalms themselves and the tunes sung by our spiritual forefathers).    

Marva Dawn's book Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down is a good place to begin studying this topic. There are other works out there too but I've found this one particularly helpful in my ministry.

1 comment:

Wes said...

Good syllogism. Handy reference! Thanks, Brother.