Review of the First Few Days in Houston, by Pr. Rossow

Spirit if the Confessional Delegates – The spirit of the confessional delegates is as high as I have ever seen it. Everywhere I turn I see another friendly face and am introduced to middle of the road delegates who know its time for a change and are skeptical of the structure proposals. I encourage all of you reading this to ask God to bless our little ole’ Missouri Synod with convention decisions that preserve the doctrine and practice with which He has blessed us in His holy word.

Opening Divine Service – The internet is already buzzing with reaction to the curious Divine Service last night. I will leave extended commentary to our BJS worship guru and my convention travel partner Phillip Magness who will write an extended piece on it later this week.

One of the good things I can say about the service is that there was enough of the hymnal’s Divine Service in it that I did feel as though I had gone to church. However, there were so many gratuitous bones thrown to the culture during the liturgy that one was left with plenty of annoying after tastes when all was said and done.

The strictly Lutheran liturgical parts of the service were fairly well done but with too many added musical flair that was not necessary. The Lutheran liturgical parts had a sense of being more than arranged. They were “produced” and therein lies the problem. There is nothing wrong with orchestration and fanfare in appropriate parts of the liturgy but this was overdone. A simple singing and speaking of the hymnal liturgy with a fuller musical sound is appropriate for convention worship. We do not need production value added.

Then there is the issue of the gratuitous rock/pop music in the service. “Thy Strong Word” was done in a nearly heavy metal fashion and then there was a praise medley during the distribution that was also led by the “praise band.” When I go to secular pop and rock concerts I do not hear churchly music. Why is it that when I go to the LCMS convention Divine Service I hear rock and pop music? One observer rightly stated that the “mixture of the sacred and profane was disturbing.”

One of the more talented contemporary musicians was the female “lead.” She had an incredible instrument of a voice. The problem was her voice was sultry and sexy which style is of course, inappropriate for the divine service. It was highly symbolic of how contemporary Christianity has turned Jesus into an object of affection and relationship which has over-ridden the more godly and appropriate notion of Jesus as granter of objective justification.

The most disturbing thing about the worship is that during one of the distribution songs in the contemporary medley, a couple hundred people stood up and swayed to the music, some even raising their hands in charismatic style and as I like to call it, “waving to Jesus.” The song was the “Revelation Song” by Jennie Riddle which apparently is the new charismatic anthem and because of those narcissistic traits it is inappropriate for Scriptural worship.

President Kieschnick’s Sermon – The sermon was short on proclamation and long on description. Walther tells us to preach faith into the hearts of the hearers. President Kieschnick’s sermon was dominated by his continued attempt to impress people that he is confessional. Just as he did at the district convention presentations, here too he read off, in lifeless, wrote fashion, quotes form the confessions and from the liturgy. That was one half of the sermon; the other half was a couple of lengthy stories, one of them quoted from Guideposts, which in itself speaks volumes. They were not the worst stories one could tell from the pulpit but they could have been clearly made Christological, but sadly were not. The first story told of a Scottish soldier who gave his life for his platoon and yet it was not taken all the way by the preacher by portraying the soldier as a “little Christ.” The sermon was also not textual and it was hard to figure out how the specially chosen readings all hung together and also how they hung around the theme of forgiven.

There is much more to say about the service and the sermon but that will have to wait. Overall the spirit of the confessional delegates is off the charts. But of course the spirit of the delegates is meaningless when compared to the work of the Holy Spirit. May the Holy Spirit grant peace and truth this convention of us simple little Missourians.

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

Review of the First Few Days in Houston, by Pr. Rossow — 66 Comments

  1. I would like to point out quite respectfully and politely that what you write here-

    To all those concerned about YOUR worship and how it makes you feel, i suggest reading up on what Augustine had to say about music. And then ask yourself: is this about receiving God’s gifts or is this about my self-expression? Is this about proclaiming God’s Word, or is it about experiencing music?

    could be true for anyone-contemporary minded/traditional minded-could it not?

    Also, I would venture to say that what unites us with the company of saints when we worship is not the music but the lyrics, the scripture, the focus on our God, our Savior, and the gift of salvation that has been freely given to us.

  2. MARY :
    could be true for anyone-contemporary minded/traditional minded-could it not?
    Also, I would venture to say that what unites us with the company of saints when we worship is not the music but the lyrics, the scripture, the focus on our God, our Savior, and the gift of salvation that has been freely given to us.

    Absolutely. That’s the problem Augustine had. He venerated music so highly, yet he constantly worried about crossing over to the realm of worshiping the music itself rather than God’s word. We are all guilty of this, and again, it’s not a question of style. However, I see a lot of sentiment that places the focus on how we FEEL about a particular style as opposed to being mindful to the actual appropriateness of how it’s done.

    I think there’s a great misunderstanding among people who argue for contemporary worship and assume this new “regime” is going to automatically try to do away with everything you like. You think we want everything to be ONE WAY, that it has to be a certain style–German chorales and chant in the traditional liturgy with organ, the end. I agree that texts are more important than musical styles, but the problem is in how it’s done. I think most contemporary Christian music is just bad, boring pop music. But that’s not why I don’t want it in my church. The problem is the band on stage, putting on a performance, singing over the assembly and not encouraging them to sing, infusing the performance with extra emotion rather than letting the text itself be elevated. (But with a lot of Christian pop music I’ve heard, the lyrics don’t usually have much substance and are therefore unworthy of elevation.) Such a format openly flouts tradition, changes the focus of worship, and separates the local assembly from the communion of saints who’ve gone before us. Such things should not be taken lightly.

    Maybe there’s not ONE WAY to worship appropriately. But traditional liturgy has millenia of practice and more importantly, scripture itself (Old Testament temple worship; description of the end times in Revelation) to vouch for its appropriateness. What does praise band style worship have? 80-some years of radio and modern rock concerts?

  3. Matt Preston :
    There are arguments on both sides as to which way is the ‘right’ way to worship the LORD- but I think if we put all of our differences aside we would all see that there is not just ‘ONE WAY.’ The LORD meets us all in different ways. We have freedom in Christ. There are sinners on both sides trying to worship the LORD and create ways in which our congregations can worship Him as well. The problem is when we as prideful men get in the way of the freedoms in which Christ gives us.
    To say that there are lower forms of worship is very insulting and degrading to a lot of people in our Synod- and it shows a problem of pride in our hearts.

    I interpret this statement as rather prideful on your part. You assume you have a greater knowledge of our freedoms and what is okay and what is not.

    We see this as a matter of right and wrong. You see this as a difference of opinion. We can’t both be correct, can we? Each side views the other as prideful. Arguing over who is more prideful is skirting the issue and unproductive. I hope I don’t hurt anyone’s feelings over our difference in musical style preferences. But, with all due respect, I just can’t mind if it hurts your feelings that I think certain worship styles are inappropriate.

    We Lutherans believe in objective truth. That’s just the way it is.

  4. If we had uniformity in worship there would have been less criticism of, and fewer hurt feelings about, the opening service. With the diversity of practices we currently have it is impossible to have a service that would please everybody.

  5. I must say, I find the above train of conversation so curious. When I travel internationally, I find African Lutherans who dance, sway, beat drums, and express themselves physically during their worship. Never have I detected, as I observe, an iota of self-promotion on their part. Nor do I ever imagine they are getting carried away with their emotions and placing more emphasis on themselves than God. They are simply expressing themselves in a culturally appropriate way. Even died-in-the-wool Lutherans accompanying me exclaim that what they’re doing is a beautiful expression of their faith in God. What I can’t figure out is why some of those same Lutherans approach the subject of worship in OUR country with such rigidity. On that side of the ocean, it’s heartfelt and authentic; on this side, it’s self-serving, emotional, and simply the wrong style.

    I personally believe that all music is neutral. The Word, when added to the music, gives it its power (now there’s a Lutheran concept). Therefore, I believe that God gives freedom to his Church to express their devotion to him in whatever way is culturally relevant. In some places of the world, it’s Latin rhythms; in others, it’s country western; and in others, it’s in a pop-rock style. Yes, is it possible for someone to sing praise and worship music with incorrect motives? Absolutely. But the flip side is true as well — it’s possible to sing traditional hymns and never engage the heart or the mind. The problem is not with the music, but with the sinful worshipper, who must struggle with his innate desire to gratify himself.

    Though I have been talking about principles here, and have not been getting personal, I will say this for my “contemporary” colleagues: in my experience, I have never heard any of them saying to the tradionalists that they are wrong. And I just find that curious.

  6. @kevin #55

    Show me the pop-rock style easily sung by a large group of unrehearsed amateurs–without a soloist singing loudly over them with a microphone–and I might pick up what you’re putting down.

    But then, I just don’t think I could get on board with the idea that all music is neutral. By that reasoning, putting “Jesus Christ is Risen Today” to a funeral dirge would be a-ok. Really? There’s no point at which the music selected might be…inappropriate?

    (Also, maybe you missed all the comments where your “contemporary” colleagues called Pastor Rossow prideful and hateful. Or does that not count since it’s not directly criticizing traditional music?)

  7. I was there and have many opinions, but my strongest one is, “Stop trying to write your own liturgy!” When you do you make asinine mistakes like inserting a Kyrie between Confession and Absolution. Do you understand what kind of distress that puts on a poor miserable sinner? Now I have to do something after my confession to be absolved? Are you kidding me!?!?

  8. @Susan (Gavin) Keller #53

    Susan,

    If you would look at what I said you would see I used the term ‘we’ which would include myself and therefore make all of us prideful. I don’t see what you see is prideful in my comment? The fact that I said we have the freedom to use any style of music in our services? As Lutherans we believe in Adiaphora which means that I and all people, like Paul, have the freedom to do things that are neither commanded nor forbidden in scripture. So I would ask you to show me in the Bible or even the Book of Concord where it says that there are certain appropriate genres of music for worship and others aren’t? If you cannot find that belief in scripture- then you MUST mind if it hurts your brother or offends him.

    You are right that we can’t both be correct Susan- but there has yet to be any doctrinal or biblical proof as to why this music is inappropriate for worship based off of anything other than what people think- which is a preference and/or an opinion.

    The Lutheran Augsburg Confession states that:

    the true unity of the Church it is enough to agree concerning the doctrine of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments. Nor is it necessary that human traditions, that is, rites or ceremonies, instituted by men, should be everywhere alike.

    Just because you believe something that somebody is doing to be wrong does not give you the right to disrespect or demean them. We are called to honor, respect, and guard each other’s hearts at all times- not just when we think it is appropriate to do so. This includes myself and anyone of us in this blog.

    I agree that we as Lutherans believe in Objective Truth and I cannot wait to meet Him in heaven. We also believe that Truth comes from the Word of God- not just when they are our belief about a subject- so we must use scripture to show that using a guitar and drums and culturally popular forms of music is inappropriate for worship.

    If there were certain music styles more appropriate and essential for worshipping God- that music would have had to have been preserved along with the Psalms so that we could create appropriate worship for Him. But instead the music has not lasted- just the words. And along with those words we see notes of them being sung to tunes like: Psalm 22- “The Doe Of The Morning”- I think you would have to agree with me that most of the psalm tunes hardly seem like a religious tune but rather a folk tune, a secular piece. Regardless if they were secular or not- we see here that what is more important is the text and the message.

    Susan you mention in your post that praise and worship only has about 80 years going for it, but I would remind you that there was once a time where all forms of music were at this st
    age. Does that mean the early church shouldn’t have used the choirs/organ/orchestra/band/piano/chants? It is the nature of creating new instruments and styles to praise God with. So I write this not to argue with you over it- but to simply point out that at one time every form of music and musical instrument was brand new to the church. Does a genre’s age make it bad simply because it is new? This is not the first time this argument has existed in the church- the last time we argued over new forms and instruments of worship was when the organ/piano were created.

    I don’t think you would find many worship leaders who would disagree with you that the words and musical structure of past praise songs were really bad with very weak lyrics- but I would add that this is the very reason why we must educate our people in Contemporary worship and why a lot of our Concordia Colleges are finally getting programs off the ground to help teach our new leaders being brought up about it. I also would argue that a lot of new worship songs have some great doctrinally sound lyrical content- including some from our very own synod.

    I also argue with you about the fact that it seems you are saying that there are no liturgical elements to contemporary worship. I am surrounded by many churches and worship leaders who use the very same liturgies out of the LSB but simply adapt it for their congregation- which is something I see traditional services do as well.

    Rather than argue about which style is appropriate for worship, I see the situation as this in our synod: we have two brothers in the family(synod)- the older one (only in the sense that it has been around longer like you yourself have said) that most people would term ‘traditional’ and the younger one that most would term ‘contemporary.’ For far too long I have seen the brothers fight with one another rather than love each other. We are a family (synod) – so we should start acting like it.

    I am not worried about our new president because I respect the authority in which God has given the office of the president of our synod- and our now president elect says that he stands on scripture alone. He also agrees with the book of Concord. So contemporary worship has nothing to worry about until there is evidence in scripture that this is wrong and inappropriate to do.

    Until that is found- we should bear with one another the load of delivering the gospel to those who are lost, and building up the saints through discipleship. We should put down our swords and take arms to fight against satan and his demons.

    May Christ be with us all.

  9. Quotes from The Book of Concord:

    But as the different length of day and night does not harm the unity of the church, so we believe that the true unity of the church is not harmed by differences in rites instituted by men, although we like it when universal rites are observed for the sake of tranquility. So in our churches we willingly observe the order of the Mass, the Lord’s day, and the other more important feast days. With a very thankful spirit we cherish the useful and ancient ordinances, especially when they contain a discipline that serves to educate and instruct the people and the inexperienced.

    Here Paul is our constant champion; everywhere he insists that these observances neither justify nor are necessary over and above the righteousness of faith. Nevertheless, liberty in these matters should be used moderately, lest the weak be offended and become more hostile to the true teaching of the Gospel because of an abuse of liberty. Nothing should be changed in the accustomed rites without good reason, and to foster harmony those ancient customs should be kept which can be kept without sin or without great disadvantage. This is what we teach. In this very assembly we have shown ample evidence of our willingness to observe adiaphora with others, even where this involved some disadvantage to us. We believed that the greatest possible public harmony, without offense to consciences, should be preferred to all other advantages, but we shall have more to say about this whole issue when we discuss vows and ecclesiastical authority.

    Quotes from Luther:

    This I said to the preachers so that they may consider love and their obligation toward the people, dealing with the people not in faith’s freedom but in love’s submission and service, preserving the freedom of faith before God. Therefore, when you hold mass, sing and read uniformly, according to a common order—the same in one place as in another—because you see that the people want and need it and you wish to edify rather than confuse them. For you are there for their edification, as St. Paul says, “We have received authority not to destroy but to build up” [II Cor. 10:8]. If for yourselves you have no need of such uniformity, thank God. But the people need it. And what are you but servants of the people, as St. Paul says, II Corinthians 2 [1:24], “We are not lords over your faith, but rather your servants for the sake of Jesus Christ.”

    Where the people are perplexed and offended by these differences in liturgical usage, however, we are certainly bound to forego our freedom and seek, if possible, to better rather than to offend them by what we do or leave undone. Seeing then that this external order, while it cannot affect the conscience before God, may yet serve the neighbor, we should seek to be of one mind in Christian love, as St. Paul teaches [Rom. 15:5–6; I Cor. 1:10; Phil. 2:2]. As far as possible we should observe the same rites and ceremonies, just as all Christians have the same baptism and the same sacrament [of the altar] and no one has received a special one of his own from God.
    That is not to say that those who already have good orders, or by the grace of God could make better ones, should discard theirs and adopt ours. For I do not propose that all of Germany should uniformly follow our Wittenberg order. Even heretofore the chapters, monasteries, and parishes were not alike in every rite. But it would be well if the service in every principality would be held in the same manner and if the order observed in a given city would also be followed by the surrounding towns and villages; whether those in other principalities hold the same order or add to it ought to be a matter of free choice and not of constraint.

    Even heretofore the chapters, monasteries, and parishes were not alike in every rite. But it would be well if the service in every principality would be held in the same manner and if the order observed in a given city would also be followed by the surrounding towns and villages; whether those in other principalities hold the same order or add to it ought to be a matter of free choice and not of constraint.

    Quote of Chemnitz and Andreae from The Church Order for Braunschweig Wolfenbuettel in 1569:

    And while indeed the Christian church is not bound everywhere to one certain form of ceremony, rather Christian freedom has its place in this matter, as the ancients said: Disagreement in rites does not take away agreement in faith; but because it still brings all sorts of benefit that in ceremonies, so much as it is possible, a uniformity be maintained, and that such uniformity serves to maintain unity in doctrine, and that common, simple, weak consciences be all the less troubled, rather strengthened, it is therefore viewed as good, that as much as possible a uniformity in ceremonies with neighboring reformed (that is: Reformation) churches be affected and maintained. And for this reason, henceforth all pastors in the churches of our realm, shall emphatically follow this written church order, and not depart from the same without specific, grave cause.

    Quote from the original Constitution of the LCMS:

    Synod holds in accordance with the 7th article of the Augsburg Confession that uniformity in ceremonies is not essential; yet on the other hand Synod deems such a uniformity wholesome and useful, namely for the following reasons:

    a. because a total difference in outward ceremonies would cause those who are weak in the unity of doctrine to stumble;

    b. because in dropping heretofore preserved usages the Church is to avoid the appearance of and desire for innovations;

    Furthermore, Synod deems it necessary for the purification of the Lutheran Church in America, that the emptiness and the poverty in the externals of the service be opposed, which, having been introduced here by the false spirit of the Reformed, is now rampant.

    All pastors and congregations that wish to be recognized as orthodox by Synod are prohibited from adopting or retaining any ceremony which might weaken the confession of the truth or condone or strengthen a heresy, especially if heretics insist upon the continuation or the abolishing of such ceremonies. The desired uniformity in the ceremonies is to be brought about especially by the adoption of sound Lutheran agendas.

  10. @Scott Diekmann #59

    Scott I appreciate your posts using the Confessions and different quotes. I too agree that we should keep the liturgy in our services. But no where in these quotes does it say that we should have the same music- or even that we are required to use the Divine Service every week or else we are going against our Synod and more importantly God’s Word.

    It is important that we keep our doctrine and that we maintain our history- but that does not mean we must automatically use either of the Divine Services and the organ in order to keep those. Our doctrine is based on Scripture, Faith, and Grace alone. Music does not play into those things, but they can enhance them.

    If the argument against Contemporary music is that it is ‘uneducated’ and ‘dumbed down’ worship- then I stand by my previous statement that it is the church’s job to teach how to use this gift of music for good. We must educate our leaders on worship and how we can keep our ‘DNA’ as a synod- and we must recognize that our ‘DNA’ flows much deeper than what style of music we play. Music is a tool of the gospel- and when used correctly ‘pop-style’ can reach a group that relates to it- much like the organ and traditional music reaches a group of people as well. We are called as musicians and disciples of Christ to use all the tools at our disposal to reach those around us for Christ.

  11. @Susan (Gavin) Keller #56

    Susan,

    I assume from your posts that you are a musician as well as myself. Having studied the hymns, liturgy, and other forms of music- I believe you would have to agree with me that you can find songs of any genre difficult to sing. There are many times when I am in worship and the tune selected for the hymn that day has made it extremely difficult to figure out how the melody goes and makes it difficult to sing both for myself and the people around me. Even at the convention there was a hymn where half of the people were lost on when to come in and when to move to the next phrase. It is an unfair argument to single out one genre and say that this entire genre is difficult to sing and catch on to.

    And I could see lots of times when using a funeral dirge to Jesus Christ is Risen Today would be entirely appropriate for the setting in which it was placed. (My example would be in the beginning of Lent when we say good bye to the words ‘Alleluia’ and go into a time of realizing what the Lord’s death and resurrection has given us) That is why hymns are written in certain meters so that we can change the tune that they are sung with. Minor tunes allow us to go to a different place artistically and it effects God’s people differently- sometimes taking a song slower gives us time to really reflect on the words and the image that is being portrayed through the verse. Many times in churches I have attended the organist will choose to change the harmonic structure and overall BPM of a certain verse within a hymn in order to get this effect. I see it within hymn fests all the time as well. That is the beauty of music in which God has gifted us with.

    The difficult task is knowing when to use these tools that we have at our disposal within a service, and when not to.

  12. Hi Matt.

    I used those quotes in comment #59 because your quote of the Augsburg Confession in #58 only presents part of the picture. The quote you used is often quoted by those who use it to justify doing anything and everything in the Divine Service – not that I’m saying you are advocating such [bad] practices.

    I agree that contemporary music can at times stay within the spirit of our confession, but it seems to stray from it at times as well, mainly because of bad lyrics, but sometimes the music itself doesn’t really fit the situation. In those situations, contemporary worship needs a correction, something which I think you agree with.

    Maybe there are people out there who associate contemporary music, or rather the use contemporary music, as a marker for an underlying bad theology. That isn’t always the case, but sometimes it is. So I think the debate really isn’t so much about the music as it is about the theology which drives the music, and I think that’s where we get into problems.

    I’ve seen churches whose musical practices reflected theology that was decidedly un-Scriptural, which can happen with both contemporary and “traditional” music, but it seems to be the case that it’s occuring more often in contemporary settings.

    Where you mention in #58 that you’ve seen brothers fighting over traditional versus contemporary, sometimes the loving thing to do is fight, a very Scriptural position to take. As Luther has very strongly taught, doctrine must be defended, even if it seems unloving to do so. I suspect you agree with my statement as well, but it seems to me in this thread you have underemphasized the threat to doctrine imposed by bad worship practices. There are a lot of churches in the LCMS whose practices demonstrate a corruption of doctrine, and in those congregations it’s often pretty difficult to give the music a passing grade while failing other aspects of their practice – the two usually are intertwined.

  13. @Scott Diekmann #62

    Scott,

    Thanks for your reply and let me say that I do agree with you- you make many wonderful points. I too agree that there are many times in our congregations where the selected music does not fit the
    ‘moment’ or ‘time’ or what have you.

    I am curious to discuss with you what things you see in ‘contemporary’ that are un-doctrinal as I respect your level headedness shown so far on the subject! (not to say others haven’t, just that you have shown to continue to talk)

    I put my idea forward that many of the problems I see in congregations with music in worship is because many churches settle for musician leaders who do not understand our theology most of the time. This is why I myself believe we should harness our energies in raising up and training musicians who do know our theology and how to utilize it within our congregations. What do you think about this?

  14. Hi Matt.

    I think there was a comment written by Cantor Phil Magness on a different thread (?) that you hopefully saw that made a lot of good points about music in general.

    I agree that part of the problem is musicians who don’t know our theology. Unfortunately, I suspect that the reasons those musicians are put in place is because of the pastor – and he does know the theology. The music should be in service to the Gospel, not to the “seekers.” As soon as the pastor decides to please the seekers, the musical battle has been lost, as has the Gospel. Then you end up with music that is often primarily about eliciting an emotional response so that the “worshiper” can “experience God,” rather than about teaching Christ’s doctrine.

    I’ve worshipped at the church Cantor Magness serves. I’m certainly in favor of that sort of music, which is in some ways contemporary.

  15. Hey Scott,

    I did see that thread! I do agree that the pastor does know the theology, and also that we should not tailor our worship to ‘seekers.’ The ironic part about that is that even most of the ‘baby boomer’ churches that went out and did that are now turning back and realizing the mistakes they’ve made. I think some of the causes of those decisions has turned the church into a consumer product actually. That saddens me deeply because, as you know and agree I’m sure, that’s not what Christ is or His Bride!

    I agree also that many elements of traditional worship, or even cantering, can in fact be done in a ‘contemporary’ way- though I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I hate labeling things like this because honestly no one can really stay true to the definition of ‘contemporary’ or ‘traditional.’ I prefer to call it worship, and leave it at that! 🙂

    Scott, I’m curious about your opinion on something you said in the last half of your second paragraph- the emotional response/Christ’s doctrine sentence. Do you think we should be void of emotion in our worship and just learn doctrine, or a tight tension between both sides? I am curious because I see the two walking hand in hand with each other. Music is emotional, and the way a beautiful poem can be sung to words can move my heart to tears. I see how there can be room for both in a service- teaching doctrine, and nurturing my emotions/soul/spirit/feelings with the love of God and His love for me. As a writer and musician I find myself many times mirroring many of David’s words to the Lord in song which are of desiring more than just a head knowledge of God, but also a heart knowledge. I mirror often times David’s words ‘My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.’ (Psa 57:7) And there are more songs of the church in the psalms that speak of a deep deep relationship of love and intimacy that are not purely doctrine driven. Even many of America’s early hymns. It comes from a place of already knowing the doctrine and responding to it with our hearts and emotions. I believe there is a way to bring both the doctrine and emotion to a happy middle tension which makes art messy and tricky.

    At least this is how I see it. What do you think?

  16. I agree with your last paragraph Matt. I often find myself arguing against emotions just because people use them to paint their own picture of God, thus creating an idol, which is mysticism. Emotions are a natural response to the great things God blesses us with. I also see worship services where the music is designed to elicit an emotional response that is too manipulative and theologically messed up; those are the things to avoid. As Luther says, music is the handmaiden of theology. If you can sit through the Divine Service without any emotion, you must be sleeping! Emotions and doctrine aren’t opposites.

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