I can’t think of a good title for this

Here is a paragraph from the Reporter article, “The ‘Song’ of the people!” that I found extremely telltale:

The songs listed on the Web page have not been subjected to the same in-depth process that selected hymns receive before being included in a synodically approved hymnal. The rapidly changing scene of Christian contemporary music requires constant attention to evaluate emerging songs in a timely manner.

First of all, I noticed with some irony that the word “Song” in the title of the article was in quotation marks. But seriously, doesn’t this paragraph say it all? Doesn’t this very statement show us why “Christian contemporary music” ought not be part of the regular diet of the Christian in worship? Doesn’t its very nature as “rapidly changing” suggest that it is not the best choice for pastors when picking songs and hymns for the services of the church?

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About Rev. Paul L. Beisel

Graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN in 2001 (M Div.) and 2004 (S.T.M.); LC-MS Pastor and Adjunct Instructor for John Wood Community College; Husband of Amy and father of Susan, Elizabeth, Martin, and Theodore.
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4 Responses to I can’t think of a good title for this

  1. Dear Paul:

    I caught that too. I just don’t understand the process. If these “songs” are going to be used by the people of God assembled for divine services, why shouldn’t their examination be as rigorous?

    It seems to be a two-tiered standard.

    Kind of like the double standard we now have for putting men into the ministry:

    First, there is the traditional method of a bachelor’s degree, acceptance into a seminary, three years of graduate study and a year of internship, years of facetime with profs and fellow students, topped off by a masters degree, a thesis, theological interview, certification, and call/ordination.

    Second, there is the “Instant Pastor” method of taking some 8 correspondence courses, spending a couple weeks on campus, and even allowing the “candidate” to function as a pastor during the process itself apart from ordination.

    Which method is more rigorous? Which will likely result in fidelity to the catholic faith? Which will likely better identify and expose men who are *unfit* for ministry before they get into a place where they can cause damage?

    I guess this only bolsters our argument that traditionalism is better all the way around – be it training pastors or providing theologically sound music for worship.

  2. Rev. Paul L. Beisel says:

    Right on. Good comparison Fr. Beane. I just don’t know why others cannot see that their are really two diametrically opposed forms of Christianity that have emerged in our Synod. I really don’t think they can be reconciled either.

    As an aside, I saw this ad on Fox News for the new Glen Beck show. I thought it was stupid. “We just need to trust each other more.” That sounds familiar. That’s right. The problem is not in two different philosophies and world views, but in trust between parties. Right. Trust only goes so far.

  3. Weedon says:

    Amen, Paul. Whatever “contemporary worship” is (and I think the argument that it is simply Pentecostal/Charismatic liturgy is rather hard to defeat), it is not LUTHERAN and it has ZERO place in our churches. To ask us to put this stuff before our people before it has been adequately “tested” is as reckless as the F&D administration approving a medicine that its manufacturer insists works miracles, but may in fact cause irreparable harm. If it cannot be truly scrutinized and measured according to our Lex Credendi, it has NO place in our Lex Orandi. Period.

  4. Rev. Paul L. Beisel says:

    That is a GREAT analogy (there are really so many that can be used). I think what it comes down to is that we are perceived as being overly fussy about so-called “insignificant” details in wording and musical expression. Styles are not neutral, no matter how you want to look at it. Another thing is that there is this attitude that does not see false teaching or weak teaching as being actual poison to the soul. It is looked at as something that “might not be completely right, but makes me feel good nevertheless.” I think the question that must always, always be asked (and I think I got this from Marcus Zill) is: Is this the best that we can give to our people? As a pastor do I want to give my people the very best of Christian hymnody and liturgy, or the least? And why would I want to give the least? Amongst those of us who already share a commitment to historic and traditional forms of worship, there may be some “lightening up” (to use Harrison’s wording) that could happen so that we are not demonizing otherwise orthodox pastors and lay people. But I think that we need to remain steadfast and dogged in our insistence on doctrinally pure and musically tasteful worship.

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