More BJS Contributors with Respectful Disagreement – Magness and Simeon-Netto

(Editor’s Note: There is quite a lively discussion of the sale of KFUO over on Uwe Siemon Netto’s blog The Center for Lutheran Theology and Public Life between Uwe, who is a BJS advisory board member and Cantor Phillip Magness, regular contributor to the BJS Quarterly. This must be the day for BJS folks to respectfully disagree since we started the day out with Todd disagreeing with Mollie. We have recorded two of Phillip’s comments here. He makes some great points about the nature of evangelical worship which will help  all BJS members and readers to better understand authentic  Lutheran worship. For the entire discussion please see Uwe’s website.)

Post by Cantor Magness at 8:40 AM (edited) It is true, Luther did say, “”The Holy Spirit dignifies music as an implement for His ministry.” But music is not a means of grace. And I doubt Luther intended that sentence to be used out of context to suggest such a thing, as some in the LCMS have recently.

Yes, music is a TOOL of the Holy Spirit – but only when it is joined to His Word. One can expand this even to say that purely instrumental music accompanying the adminsitration of the Sacraments is also used by the Holy Spirit to call, gather, and enlighten, but it is simply not correct to assert that music-as-music is a means by which the Holy Spirit does His work. At best all music alone can do is soothe a deranged Saul. It does not enlighten with God’s gifts.

Luther elsewhere described music as a “handmaiden” of the Gospel, “second only to theology” in its usefulness. This is its correct use in the Church: to support and magnify the Word of God. Apart from that it has no power.

The idea that music “prepares ears” for the Word is the worship theology of American Evangelicalism. That’s why they “front load” the music in “contemporary worship”. I’ve been to their seminars, read their books, and know they teach this: music “clears the debris” of life away and “prepares the heart” so that then the Word can “do its work”. This is music-as-handmaiden-of-the-Holy-Spirit.

The Lutheran view is that music is handmaiden of the Gospel. It serves not so much the Third Person of the Trinity, but the Second.

This is why music is integral to our proclamation of the Word in the Divine Service. Sure, the Spirit works through the Word and so is present. So in that sense one can say music is a “tool of the Spirit”. The Paraclete uses music in His calling, gathering, and enlightening through the Word. But music does not spiritually enlighten in and of itself.

I’d like to think music would be so powerful – after all, I’m a professional musician! – but I can see music alone being the Spirit’s “tool” only inasmuch as a good steak might also be used by God. But that doesn’t mean the synod should have a butcher shop now, does it?

God Himself has chosen hidden and humble means for doing His work, and we should not make claims for Him that He Himself does not make.

 

Another post from Cantor Magness at 9:40 AM – The idea that music “prepares ears” for the Word is the worship theology of American Evangelicalism. That’s why they “front load” the music in “contemporary worship”. I’ve been to their seminars, read their books, and know they teach this: music “clears the debris” of life away and “prepares the heart” so that then the Word can “do its work”. This is music-as-handmaiden-of-the-Holy-Spirit.

The Lutheran view is that music is handmaiden of the Gospel. It serves not so much the Third Person of the Trinity, but the Second. This is why music is integral to our proclamation of the Word in the Divine Service. Sure, the Spirit works through the Word and so is present. So in that sense one can say music is a “tool of the Spirit”. The Paraclete uses music in His calling, gathering, and enlightening through the Word. But music does not spiritually enlighten in and of itself. I’d like to think music would be so powerful – after all, I’m a professional musician! – but I can see music alone being the Spirit’s “tool” only inasmuch as a good steak might also be used by God.

But that doesn’t mean the synod should have a butcher shop now, does it?

So, yes, God can do what He wills. I’m not setting a methodological limit on what He might do. But God Himself has chosen hidden and humble means for doing His work, and we should not make claims for Him that He Himself does not make.

By the way, the Japanese example is inspiring, but the music itself only inspired their INTEREST. The Holy Spirit then worked through the actual Gospel contained therein. This doesn’t happen at KFUO-FM, and, sadly, neither does such unveiling of the Gospel through great music happen in but a few of our congregations.

Kind Regards, in Christ,

Phillip

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.

Comments

More BJS Contributors with Respectful Disagreement – Magness and Simeon-Netto — 47 Comments

  1. What a treasure this Cantor is. Where musicians are also schlars and theologians, CCM-like errors shall not exist.

  2. The Lutheran Church is blessed to have theologians among all its ranks, including its musicians.
    For the sake of our theology and for the sake of our neighbors in the pews, we’re not to be sloppy in our selections or treatments of music.
    It’s good to make people feel good, but it’s not theologically good. That’s not the job of the church musician or of church music.
    Sounds like someone is likening ’emotional’ to ‘spiritual’ and that’s not Lutheran.

  3. I am amazed at many things today. One of them is that a Japanese man’s introduction to Bach so christianized him that he now teaches papist dogmatics. A greater one is that such a thing is used as the basis for insisting that the LCMS should continue to pay for a classical music station, because this is proof that music is a tool of the Holy Spirit.

    Granted, I’m on a bunch of pain meds, etc, today (stented and waiting for lithotripsy), but the third and most amazing thing, to me, is that no one seems too concerned about this fatally flawed leap of logic.

    If Bach knew that his music were being used to create loyal sons and defenders of the Antichrist, I think he would wish he had never touched a key.

    EJG

  4. We are very fortunate to have Cantor Magness at Bethany Lutheran in Naperville. Of his many accomplishments in the last few years maybe the most noteworthy, is the fact that the congregation is singing much better than in the past. I know that he works hard to accomplish this and it pays off.

    Another note, as I consider this post, what a blessing it is to have such two excellent lay theologians in our synod – Magness and Simeon-Netto.

    TR

  5. So both Eric and I are stented and on pain meds, which makes two of us, and therefore one must make allowances. But what pains me in this context is the “Antichrist” argument, phew! Moreover, the LCMS is not paying for this classical station. It is trying to sell it for an apple and an egg. Ah, and perhaps one should look into the interesting topic of Bach and Catholicism a little more closely. But, hey, “de gustibus non est disputandum.” For example, there are those who find modern Lutheran churches attractive and those who prefer the beauty of old Lutheran churches even if they were once Roman (excuse me, temples of the Antichrist).

  6. I’d like to see some of Uwe Siemon Netto’s comments in context (for reasons known only to themselves, the military’s firewall here in Iraq blocks access to his “Center for Lutheran Theology and Public Life” site) my impression though is that if Mr. Siemon-Netto is stretching a point, that Cantor Magness is dancing close to “musical pietism” to coin a term. Luther’s joy over, and love, of music transcended church music per se, and, given a choice between Luther’s love of music, and a crass love of money I think this might be a Mark 14:4,5 moment (hopefully not a John 12:4-6 one, but if the shoe fits …).
    That doesn’t make a Bach concerto into a mass, or an orthodox sermon, but it’s still a mistake to destroy something good, beautiful and useful for the sake of mammon. Poor seminarians, and unpaid bills you will always have, you can donate to them any time you want. Our communities don’t in general need more rap, heavy metal, or easy listenin’ stations piping garbage into their ears.
    If my congregation had a vacant lot that the community around it was using as a playground, if the parents were taking responsibility for the upkeep and maintenance, and were grateful for a place for their kids to play, that wouldn’t make the vacant lot “a mission” or “the gospel,” but a decision to sell it to the highest bidder, regardless of whether that would help or hurt the community, would be a crass and frankly shitty thing to do.
    If it’s time to sell Classic 99 let’s at least get behind pressuring the LC-MS to sell it to the “Circle of Friends,” even if “Gangstas ‘r Us,” and the United Methodists both offer us more money.
    -Matt Mills

  7. FYI – I sent Matt the text of the post and the comments on it inline in a couple of e-mails.

  8. Now just as I had ended this conversation in a last-ditch effort to escape the Wittenberg stake, I received an email from a friend on the West Coast showing that the Holy Spirit had once again failed to consult the Book of Concord before reaching the soul of a nonbeliever with the help of the Goldberg Variations. I will give you the relevant passage from this email leaving out the convert’s identity. But I might reveal it if forced by a secular court where, I am told, some Lutherans nowadays settle their differences in an idiosyncratic way of interpreting Scripture.

    So here is the excerpt:

    “Let me close with a wonderful happening that has me meditating every day on the goodness of God. My musician son (has a) … son…. He was baptized but has never become part of our very church-involved, deeply religious family. Last year (my son), who is a Bach scholar, gave (his son) a CD of the Goldberg Variations, even though (he), now sixteen, had never shown any interest in Bach or the piano. Several months later, (he) sat down at (his father’s) piano and played two of the Variations perfectly; he had learned them by ear. (My grandson) began studying with (my son), practices Bach for hours each day, is now also studying pipe organ and- the very best news- shows a deep interest in Lutheranism. I meet him at our church, where he practices on the organ three times a week, we have a little lunch together, discuss religion and music and then I listen to him practice. My prayers are being answered!”

    Tsk, tsk! That Holy Spirit! He really does blow as He wills, even with the help of Goldberg. Go figure…

  9. But are we to take this anecdotal story over the clear word of Scripture? Is the argument really, “don’t criticize what the Holy Spirit is obviously blessing?”

  10. Uwe,

    I greatly admire your gumption and stick-to-it-iveness and appreciate you moving the dialoge over here. Before I comment on your California example how about a little commercial: everybody, be sure to check out Uwe’s blog over at http://concordia.typepad.com/ for some great work by Uwe on Christ and culture.

    Now to the argument. It appears to me that this child had the influence of the Word through his family. Bach was helpful in getting him to hear the word but the music per se was not the cause of his conversion. It can’t be. It has no power to do that. Now, if he was hearing the word through Bach and it was that word in Bach that converted him then we are all in violent agreement here.

    What we are balking at is the notion that anything but the word of God would cause conversion. A beatiful meadow filled with flowers may lead the unbeliever to exclaim that there must be a God but until he confesses with his mouth that Jesus is Lord he is not saved. That confession can come only through the regenerative power of the Holy Spirit working through the word (Romans 10:16, I Cor. 12:3).

    Can the Holy Spirit bring people to faith through means other than Word and Sacrament? Of course he can, He’s God. Have we been mandated to use and promote means other than Word and Sacrament? No, we are to be the stewards of the mysteries of God.

    TR

  11. Since Uwe and I are both sedated and in pain, I declare Todd the winner. 😉

    Just for some balance wrt my personal perspective:

    1. I was raised in the Roman church.

    2. There are people in the Roman church who are going to Heaven.

    3. I was not one of those people.

    4. Such people are those who do not embrace the official dogma of Rome. I embraced it wholeheartedly.

    5. #4 tends to argue against a Jesuit dogmatician’s salvation—not making it impossible, but arguing against it, that is, if he is an ‘orthodox’ Romanist who believes what he teaches, he teaches contrary to the Gospel.

    6. I have a history of being called both a Romanizer and a Romophobe. Granted that I have a bias in such labeling, I think that such is the very definition of a Lutheran, both doctrinally and aesthetically. Thus, I will always choose a gothic structure over vast fields of white drywall…unless the guy with the good building is teaching false doctrine and the guy with the big white barn doesn’t let it stop him from teaching and practicing as he ought.

    So, what about the sale of Classic 99?

    I think it may already be too late. When Tom Kuchta was first talking about it–when it was worth over $20m–it was probably a good idea. Today, as its value has decreased, it is probably worth more as a ‘pillar of the community’-type resource for the LCMS. I think the LCMS would do well to mandate a 6-hour Christian programming schedule intertwined with its classical schedule, thus making the station worth more in every way…but, as Todd has pointed out, that’s not going to happen.

    Thus, the LCMS–by its inattention to its programming and its inaction when a sale would have been truly profitable–has this radio station that can do it far more harm than good…and whichever way it goes (sale or no sale), there is a negative impact, whether in the community in which the future LC-USA, Inc., is headquartered, or within the body itself as members wonder, “Why do we own something that is not reallly preaching the Gospel and that might well become more of a liability as terrestrial radio continues to fail. Then again, there is the further consideration that a sale at this time would not have the proceeds going where they ought–the paying back of LCMS World Relief and Human Care–but to the Baptist ‘mission’ program that Jerry and DPs so love.

    But there is an upside in all of this! That is: it isn’t your call. Just as the burrocrats managed to force Pirate Christian Radio into existence, so they will end up looking like what they are at the end of this mess, too, no matter what they do, and maybe, just maybe, it will wake a few more people in the LCMS up

    Now, for a point of unity–because I truly believe that in asking this question Uwe and Todd will end up with a plan that both could live with:

    “If you had the responsibility for determining what would be done with KFUO-FM, that is, if your optimal recommendation had to be followed, what would you want to see done?”

    (After some receptionist-teeth-pulling, I got my lithotripsy scheduled for tomorrow morning so that Holy Trinity of Harrison, AR doesn’t have to delay Holy Week for a week; Bro. Uwe, I hope your situation is resolved in a way favorable to you, as well.)

    EJG

  12. Can the Holy Spirit bring people to faith through means other than Word and Sacrament? Of course he can,

    Now we have a choice: do we accept what is written above, or what is written below?

    10] Therefore we ought and must constantly maintain this point, that God does not wish to deal with us otherwise than through the spoken Word and the Sacraments. 11] It is the devil himself whatsoever is extolled as Spirit without the Word and Sacraments. SA 3 VII 10-11

    One of these statements is in accord with a quia subscription to the Lutheran Confessions and the other, I contend, is not. But, perhaps someone can reconcile the two in a way that I am not seeing.

    EJG

  13. God is God and can do anything he wants to do but it has pleased him to save us through word and sacrament and so that is what we are committed to using. We have no other means available to us by which we can deliver the saving message of Christ. God has other means that he could use but he has told us of nothing like that and so we walk by faith trusting the means he has given us.

    TR

  14. It’s not the reasoning itself that is the problem; it is the statement and the statements that come from it.

    Could God…? I suppose He could, but I’d better not ever say that He did. The Confessions state that nothing is to be attributed to Him outside of His means, and that to do so is of the devil. Thus, while one might philosophically argue that God could, one is always wrong if he says that God did.

    EJG

  15. As fellow Lutherans, it simply won’t do to pit Luther’s opinion against the Lutheran Confessions. Luther held various pious opinions. However, Lutherans aren’t bound to Luther’s opinions.

    However, as fellow Lutherans, we are bound to the following:

    “In these matters, which concern the external, spoken Word, we must hold firmly to the conviction that God gives no one his Spirit or grace except through or with the external Word which comes before… All this is the old devil and the old serpent who made enthusiasts of Adam and Eve. He led them from the external Word of God to spiritualizing and to their own imaginations, and he did this through other external words. In short, enthusiasm clings to Adam and his descendants from the beginning to the end of the world. It is a poison implanted and inoculated in man by the old dragon, and it is the source Accordingly, we should and must constantly maintain that God will not deal with us except through his external Word and sacrament. Whatever is attributed to the Spirit apart from such Word and sacrament is of the devil.” (SA, 3, VIII, 3, 5, 9-10)

    TW

  16. I have been reading this conversation for a little while, and perhaps it is unfair to characterize Uwe’s position as “un-Lutheran” or even directly counter to SA 3 VIII.

    Uwe’s antecdotal story is of a young man who “had been baptized.” SA 3 VIII is arguing specifically against enthusiasts who believed that faith could come prior to hearing the Word. That’s not the case with this story. The young man has heard the Word (in a family that was quite involved in the church). He has been baptized.

    Now, what role did the Goldberg variations play in his renewed interest in the Christian faith? It presented a new opportunity to speak the external Word to this young man. (To use Luther’s imagery of SA 3 VIII, the music is akin to Moses seeing the burning bush and walking over to see what is going on. Moses only knows what is going on when the LORD speaks.) Is the Spirit behind these opportunities? Probably,possibly, who knows? But that is far inside the hidden knowledge of God, and not to be our concern.

    More to the point of KFUO-FM…this story doesn’t necessarily defend the radio station. A father gave his son a CD. The father had already seen to it that his son was baptized and taught the faith. The father was available to speak the word of Christ to his son. The music that HE gave to his son provided another opportunity for the father to speak of Christ.

    What if this were an anonymous listener to a radio station driving alone in his car on I-270? Who will speak the Word of Christ to the person who wonders about what Bach’s lyrics are saying in a given concerto (since most St. Louisans don’t speak German)? How many people have called KFUO-FM seeking such conversation? I can’t answer that question, but I don’t know that we have concerned Christians waiting by at KFUO-FM to speak of Christ to listeners who may have heard the Word of life in the music of Bach or any other composer.

    What if this anonymous listener had not heard the Word and was not baptized? I could ask many more questions like these.

    My point is that this story is more properly about a father exercising spiritual headship in the household than about the need for classical radio in St. Louis as an avenue for outreach.

  17. Pastor Wagner,

    Well said.

    My point in citing SA 3, VIII is that we, as Lutherans, cannot speak of possible ways the Spirit might possibly act.

    Such talk is speculation, nothing more.

    As Lutherans, we bind ourselves to speak only of the sure and certain way that the Spirit certainly acts.

    Thanks.

    TW

  18. EJG, #14,

    I did not pit the reavealed God against the hidden God. That was your doing and misunderstanding. I stated in #12 and then clarified in #15 that we are limited to the revealed means.

    TR

  19. #21,

    That’s not the point; it’s not simply that we are so limited, but that God has chosen so to limit himself. Thus, when you said,

    Can the Holy Spirit bring people to faith through means other than Word and Sacrament? Of course he can, He’s God. Have we been mandated to use and promote means other than Word and Sacrament?

    I say that you haven’t spoken far enough. Rather, the Smalcald Articles are insisting that we say, “The Holy Spirit could do that, but He doesn’t. And even if her were to do so, we have n o business taking note of it or saying so, but, rather, reckoning that He must have used the means to which He has revealed Himself as self-confined.” He not only has us act as stewards of those media, but He does not allow us to attribute anything to Him apart from them–even though we would allow that He could do whatever He wished.

    EJG

  20. EJG,

    You are far too scholastic for me. I will simply stick with Luther who speaks of God has hidden and revealed.

    BTW – we know you are a secret admirer of HerChurch.org 🙂

    TR

  21. The sentence, “God can do anything, He is God” is only true if you’re talking about Allah; not the Triune God.

    There are many things the true God cannot do:

    God cannot cease to exist.
    God cannot lie.
    God cannot sin.
    God cannot break a promise.
    God cannot fail to punish sin.
    God cannot damn someone who trusts in Jesus.
    God cannot deny himself, etc.

    In other words, God cannot act contrary to his nature and promises.

    Lutherans have never been particularly interested in what God can do. Leave that kind of speculative theology to the Calvinists, Charismatics and Liberals. Lutherans stick to what God has promised to do, period.

    TW

  22. “Sticking with Luther” requires us to say that we cannot attribute anything to the Holy Spirit that is apart from the external Word and sacraments, More, since that statement of Luther’s is in the Confessions, it is sticking not only with Luther, but with the “faith once delivered to the saints” as God caused said faith to be confessed. This is not, imo, a fine point or me trying to be fancy; it is a necessary statement of a point at which only the Lutherans have confessed clearly and fully.

    EJG

  23. Is TW’s argument that there is no Word in Bach? If you can’t find the Word in Bach, you won’t find it in any hymn ever sang in a Lutheran church.

    I support keeping KFUO and firing its management. Get some well trained Lutheran musicians to run the place. Play Bach’s cantata for the week once a day, play vespers and matins daily, and devote time every day to hymns. TW thinks it won’t happen. But selling KFUO will ensure it never will.

    Maybe Pirate Christian Radio can stream a true mission oriented sacred music station. I’d send my check. I found a halfway decent repository of Lutheran hymns here: http://www.lutherhigh.org/about/association/lutheran-radio-committee

    My soul can tolerate so much discussion of how LCMS doctrine requires we phrase our evangelization, what some LCMS bureaucrat wasted our money on, or liturgical missteps in LCMS churches, before it needs to be elevated by the Pure Gospel, as presented by Bach or Gerhard.

  24. Folks,
    I’m ok w/ saying that our God only promises to make disciples through Word and Sacrament ministry, but are we really saying that the church should never do anything except Word and Sacrament ministry? I get that you think Mr. Siemon-Netto went a bit too far on his Holy Spirit working through music angle, what do you think about his music as “the highest possible service to God in the left-hand kingdom, according to the Lutheran doctrine of vocation” or his “the Church is not just a property of the right-hand kingdom but a corporate citizen of the left-hand kingdom as well” points?

    I consider myself to be absolutely Confessional, but I have always seen it as a mark of the Schwärmeri when every picnic and every service project had to be an “outreach tool” rather than something nice to do for people for whom Christ died. Part of confessing AC V is that w/ God in charge we can relax just a bit. We don’t need to staple a Bible tract to every sandwich we hand out, we don’t need to give a sermon every time we stop to help someone change a flat tire, and we don’t need Classic 99 turned into some sort of heavy-handed bait-n-switch outreach ministry. Perhaps it’s enough that we’re providing something beautiful and salutary to a community in which we live, at next to no cost.

    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  25. At no cost?
    I thought the cost was behind this whole kerfuffle.
    No cost to listeners, maybe, but it’s cost the providers.

  26. I’m ok w/ saying that our God only promises to make disciples through Word and Sacrament ministry, but are we really saying that the church should never do anything except Word and Sacrament ministry?

    No, no one has said any such thing. Nor has anyone said that the Word is absent from Bach. What has been said is that music is not the Word itself and that it is wrong to say that the Holy Spirit works outside of the Word and sacraments. And guess who’s saying that? Not me, but Luther. And, really, not Luther, as if it were a private writing, but our Confessions. If we want to assert our confessionalism, ought not our words and teaching be in line with what the Confessions state?

    Beyond that, the previous two posts only knock down men of straw.

    EJG

  27. Pastor Stefanski,

    You, Luther, our Confessions, and I all agree “it is wrong to say that the Holy Spirit works [faith] outside of the Word and Sacraments.” So you might be wasting a few bullets on strawmen yourself.

    My point in #28 was: we can acknowledge Classic 99 isn’t one of the instruments through which the Holy Spirit works faith, and support keeping it anyway. If you haven’t implied that we should sell Classic 99 (or retool it as an overtly evangelistic station) simply because it isn’t making disciples, other have. If you believe these are two unconnected issues we appear to be in agreement.

    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

    P.S. Can anyone out there clarify to what extent Classic 99 is “listener funded,” and how much Synodical money goes into its operation on an annual basis?

  28. Susan,

    I based my “next to no cost” statement on a quote from the original article for which Mollie provided the link: “Maier believes it would be unethical for the Synod to sell the station and keep the proceeds: It has contributed less than 1 percent of the station’s income over its history.” So, I think Classic 99 is being funded by a combination of listener donations and ad revenues, but if I’m wrong I’m willing to be corrected.

    I really like the word “kerfuffle.”

    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  29. We don’t need to staple a Bible tract to every sandwich we hand out, we don’t need to give a sermon every time we stop to help someone change a flat tire, and we don’t need Classic 99 turned into some sort of heavy-handed bait-n-switch outreach ministry. Perhaps it’s enough that we’re providing something beautiful and salutary to a community in which we live, at next to no cost.

    It is the fact that I agree in principle that makes me dislike your wording. No one is talking bait-and-switch and no one is talking down God’s gifts under the First Article. What is being said is that First Article gifts are not the primary purpose of the Church and, as such, they ought not take priority over Third Article gifts. Gifts under each article need to be distinguished and not have it seem as though Bach’s secular works carry the same Third Article benefits as his religious works; that was the point of the distinction.

    Once that distinction is made, then other considerations come into play: Are the First Article works supporting or undergirding the Third? Is there a benefit accruing to the church body, for example, that ‘gives it a voice’ by means of its positive reputation, etc.? (Cf. the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, whose excellence has led people to look beyond Mormonism’s status as a cult.) In one sense, it is similar to Hector Ottomueller’s saving the cattle of the Fulani people in Nigeria from rinderpest…which was done *simply because it was the right thing to do*…but which opened up avenues for the spread of the Gospel through the credibility the LCMS received as those who love genuinely. Such is the effect, also, of what Pr. Harrison does with LCMSWR&HC.

    What I get out the Post-Dispatch music critic’s comments is that no one really sees the LCMS as providing much of anything, but, rather, that the community is supporting the LCMS/KFUO-FM and that the LCMS therefore ‘owes’ the community. Thus, my comment, earlier, about bazaars, etc.: it is not merely about what the station does, but about what the picture of Missouri is based on what the station does. The picture seems to be. “The LCMS has a license, but they can’t sustain the station, so we in the community must therefore, the station is ours and we have a say in its disposition and how dare they threaten to take ‘our station’ away from us.

    My suggestion as to programming is one that asserts ownership: we own this station and we can support it if we use it for what our non-St. Louis members want to see us spend our money on; in return, we and our non-St. Louis members are happy to serve the arts community (and the community in general) with First Article gifts, as well as Third.

    But, as a non-LCMS Lutheran who is only a couple of hours out of general anesthesia, I’m going to leave such considerations to you LCMSers; my only real intended input here is to say, again, that music does not effect conversions and that we have no business, as Lutherans of any stripe, failing duly to heed what is written in the Smalcald Articles, as quoted in the posts above.

    EJG

  30. OK class. Let’s say I own a beautiful wooded field in your neighborhood. The field gives those who care about nature a lot of happiness. Maybe children play in it. But it’s still my field to do with as I wish. Suppose I want to hire some consultants, or start a movement. Isn’t it my right to sell that field and use the money as I see fit?

    Kozak

  31. Matt wrote: “Is TW’s argument that there is no Word in Bach?”

    Obviously not. I think I was very clear.

    Music, apart from God’s Word, has no promise of the Holy Spirit attached to it.

    Speculation about how the Holy Spirit might work is un-Lutheran.

    Those trying to save Classic 99 from sale should drop the pretense of theological argument and admit that Classic 99 caters to their musical preferences. There’s nothing wrong with that.

  32. Pr. Wilken,
    “Matt” did not write “Is TW’s argument that there is no Word in Bach?” That was “Boaz.”
    Despite my manifold faults, I have consistently done just as you council in 35 above. Although I lack the post-modern relativism to assert that only value neutral listener “preference” separates classical music from cop killa’ rap, or any of the other more commercially marketable music genres out there, I have steadfastly rejected any pretense of a kingdom of the right argument in my attempts to oppose the destruction of Classic 99.
    Again, I’m not even necessarily opposing the sale of the license, only the destruction of something objectively good and salutary for the sake of the $10M that the LC-MS could score by doing so.
    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  33. Pastor Kozak,

    It is unquestionably your legal right to sell your hypothetical wooded field, as it is the legal right of the LC-MS to sell its broadcasting license. Does that make these actions morally right? I see this as an issue to examine in light of Luther’s “A Christian man is the most free lord of all, and subject to none, a Christian man is the most dutiful servant of all, and subject to every one.”

    Again and again, I’m not even necessarily opposing the sale of the license, only the destruction of something objectively good and salutary for the sake of the $10M that the LC-MS could score by doing so.

    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  34. Dear Pastor Stefanski,
    I agree w/ what you wrote in number 34 above, and yet I find it easier to understand the statements and actions of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch music critic, than those of the rt. rev. Gerald Kieschnick in the matter at hand. Being out of step w/ the current SP has not traditionally been seen as controversial on this site, but I will do my best to take the rough w/ the smooth. God’s blessings on your recuperation.
    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  35. Matt did write: “Although I lack the post-modern relativism to assert that only value neutral listener “preference” separates classical music from cop killa’ rap…”

    Who ever asserted that?

    TW

  36. “Those trying to save Classic 99 from sale should drop the pretense of theological argument and admit that Classic 99 caters to their musical preferences.” -Pastor Todd Wilken

    In the above quote you wrote only in terms of “musical preferences.” If I missed a statement of yours acknowledging a qualitative advantage of classical music over other genres, I’m sorry Pastor.

    Now what have I written that led you to assume that I believed that music, apart from God’s Word, has a promise of the Holy Spirit attached to it? Where have I advanced a theological argument to save Classic 99 from sale?

    -Matt Mills

  37. I agree w/ what you wrote in number 34 above, and yet I find it easier to understand the statements and actions of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch music critic, than those of the rt. rev. Gerald Kieschnick in the matter at hand. Being out of step w/ the current SP has not traditionally been seen as controversial on this site, but I will do my best to take the rough w/ the smooth. God’s blessings on your recuperation.

    Matt: I agree with you wrt understanding the music critic’s position; such a thing ought never have come to be, this ;ownership’ of a church property by the community. That was a part of what I was getting at wrt bazaars. It is in akin to a parish receiving government funding: such funding ought never be received in any area in which you mind having government oversight–or, indeed, coercion or dictation. So it is with ‘outside gifts of any kind. (In one of my former parishes, they had accepted a ‘gift’ before I arrived of carpeting for the whole building…with the stipulation that a plaque be placed in the narthex of the non-member in whose memory it was given…just as several other recipient churches were doing…a hokey plaque in which there was a picture of the deceased in a long gown, seeming as if she were floating, etc. Can’t take the plaque down…what if the widower shows up some Sunday? Imo, they should have refused the ‘gift’.)

    When Pr. Wilken keeps saying, “Call the station manager” to see if he’d be amenable to the use of some of the schedule for the carrying out of the primary mission of the LCMS, we know it is because such would not be welcome. I think such a thing could be implemented very gently…perhaps an hour of Bach’s (and others’) sacred music with a little bit of commentary from a Lutheran perspective, just a two minute intro and a two minute conclusion, perhaps. Then again, maybe some talk could be added to the format…just as the other classical music stations generally have; instead of NPR’s programming, you end up with a Lutheran perspective on the news and whatever human interest stuff. But, will the station management go for it? Pr. Wilken’s repetition leads me to think that they would not. More, with this view of it being ‘community property’, I wonder whether the Circle of Friends would go for it at this point.

    (Hmm…from that same parish: there was a pre-school that was draining all of the parish’s funds. While the board consisted of parishioners, none of the staff was Lutheran. When the Council decided that the school, which served as outreach for the local Nazarene church, should no longer be supported in its non-Lutheran configuration, the head teacher and others in the community threatened to sue the church! It was their school, after all, and as with KFUO-FM, “they owe us something!”)

    Really, Matt, I don’t think that you and I are really in disagreement here. My principle wrt such ownership is something like the following:

    1. I agree that it is a good thing for the individual Christian to do things that a beautiful without having to overtly ‘christianize’ them; in such a case, perhaps only God and the artist, etc., know that what has been done has been a good work in the Christian understanding of the same.

    2. There is nothing wrong with a parish or larger body doing beautiful things–or works of mercy–without a manipulative tie-in…as long as such projects do not compromise the ability to do what is the first focus of the Christian Church or so involve the community in such a way as to make them bosses over the parish, etc. (An excellent example of this would be Cantor Magness’s fantastic work with the Peoria Area Civic Chorale’s Youth Chorus before moving to Naperville; much beautiful music was heard, both Christian and secular–and never ‘cute’, but always spectacular. He used Trinity, Peoria as his base of operations and, while not working in ‘intentional outreach’, I’m sure that some were brought to Christ through the words he had them sing.)

    Wrt this particular proposed sale, no I don’t want Kieschnick & Co. to have more money to blow. I i>would like to see the gifts given to LCMSWR FOUR YEARS AGO finally to reach those for whom those gifts were solicited. But, again, I have no dog in this race; I simply object to the thought that was brought up earlier that instrumental music is a medium salutis, which contradicts the Confessions, as well as the cavalier manner in which such an assertion was made (the Holy Spirit forgetting to check with the Confessions, or some such thing), which manner I am willing to overlook because of what the commenter was suffering in the body…but I would surely like to see him now disown.

    Thanks much for your prayers, Matt. Theoretically, I am to be free and clear by Monday, so I should only have to cancel one Holy Week office.

    EJG

  38. Dear Pastor Stefanski,
    It would have unnerved me to learn that I was in theological disagreement with you. I am glad to hear that’s not the case. The situation is certainly complex and I fear that while we bicker over which acceptable alternative would be best our current leadership is likely to do something truly regrettable w/o asking any of our opinions.
    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  39. Matt wrote:“Now what have I written that led you to assume that I believed that music, apart from God’s Word, has a promise of the Holy Spirit attached to it? Where have I advanced a theological argument to save Classic 99 from sale?”

    I didn’t say you did. I was just restating my points.

    TW

  40. I just surfed into this blog after a couple of weeks of absence and am a bit amused by this discussion. Perhaps we should do as the confessional Reformed suggest in their RPW and sing only “inspired” songs during worship (i.e., the Psalter). Oh, and forget instrumentation – instruments could be viewed as idols 😉

  41. I Don’t think the discussion is about music in worship.

    TW, I’m pretty sure you’re right.

    Now, giving Uwe the break he deserves for writing and defending while under the weather, I think he can safely back away from his “I guess the Holy Spirit didn’t consult the Confessions” throwaway and see that no one is saying “the Holy Spirit can’t use music” in bringing His Word to work, etc., but simply that one cannot ascribe work to the Holy Spirit apart from the Word. “A Mighty Fortress” brings comfort and strength by its application of the Word, but the music is a vehicle for the Word to that end. (In fact, Bach’s re-treatment of it weakens that effect, but that’s really neither here nor there.)

    EJG

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