An Interesting Question from a Reader – Why are those who Listen to Contemporary Christian Music Bolder in Their Faith? by Pr. Rossow

Here is a comment over on the “Sources of Contemporary Music” post that I thought deserved its own string. Richard, who appears to be a confessional Lutheran, in comment 6, says that it is a curiosity that he finds bold faith among his friends who listen to contemporary music. I have published below two of the following comments because they are very insightful. I will also include my own thoughts below. Here is Richard’s quote:

There is an interesting situation that the contemporary versus traditional controversy overlooks. Among my friends, all of whom are members of our confessional, liturgical LCMS congregaton, many who enjoy modern Christian music are actually those individuals who have what I consider to be the strongest, boldest faith. They listen to Christian radio when the other members are listening to secular music. They often home school their children or send them to parochial school while the rest submit their kids to secular eduction. They speak about Christ to their friends and neighbors.

In many cases the members who enjoy modern Christian music are those whom we are thrilled to have involved in the day-to-day life of the church. And they can’t understand how their life that is defined six days per week as faithful Christianity is rejected by the Pharisees on Sunday morning.

Kelly in comment 7 wisely responds:

Listening to secular music and having children in public school is indicative of having a faith that is not especially bold or strong? There you go.

By the way, if I have my “Kelly’s” right, she is one of the essayists in Jim Pierce’s anthology of confessional Lutheran conversion stories titled “Wittenberg Confessions.”

Lloyd Cadle then adds this in comment 12, again speaking wisely.

I have actually grown in my zeal for the Word of God and in my study of theology since I gave up Christian music many years ago.

Put me in the camp that would say, “I became a Christian and gave up secular music. I became a Lutheran and gave up Christian music.”

The poor theology found in the songs on Christian radio can really screw up your faith and your concept of the Triune God. It would take a heavy dose of Lutheran liturgy and songs out the the hymnal to get back on track again.

Dumb theology makes dumb Christians. (Please listen to Christian radio!)

I listened to contemporary Christian music for years (from age 16 to almost age 40) but gave it up when my Biblical discernment for good doctrine finally overcame my desire for a pleasing musical sound with semi-biblical lyrics. My answer to Richard is this. When you get beat up by the law all the time by Contemporary Christian music, which almost to a performance, demonstrates no proper distinction between Law and Gospel, you will start performing good works and give the appearance of a super Christian. (What is a “super Christian?”) The pharisees are not the liturgical folks, although there are certainly Pharisaical liturgical types. The pharisees are the ones doing the good works by motivation of the constant droning of the law in Contemporary Christian music and doing the pseudo good works of home schooling and shutting down those bad people like Abba, Chicago and The Who. (Thanks to Kelly for that last insight.)

For the record, on my short 4 minute ride to church this morning I heard a really “groovy” Abba song on the radio and turned to my wife and said, “You know, I think everyday should start with an Abba song.” Only after Luther’s morning prayer routine of course.

So there you go. Richard offers a provocative curiosity. Let’s see what you have to say about it.

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

An Interesting Question from a Reader – Why are those who Listen to Contemporary Christian Music Bolder in Their Faith? by Pr. Rossow — 44 Comments

  1. This is a very interesting & thought provoking question. Called hubby for input. Combined, such as it is, effort here.
    We lost our local CCM station the Fish, it was bought out by KLove. Shortly after, we all stopped listening. Very different animals, as we found out. There are still a few songs I like. I still kept some CD’s. God Reigns-Newsboys, I Want to Leave a Legacy- Nicole Nordman. And I do like some from Koine (WELS) & early Jeremy Camp, & whomever sings Shout to the North & the South,( but not in Church during a service, saints preserve us! lol)

    -Were my hubby, my boys, or I more bold & outspoken, while listening or after?

    For the my husband & I, after we stopped, our boys, before we stopped.
    Our boys, that’s a toughie. Could be age & phase. I know they hear CCM in WELS school, & I know they sing it in Church from time to time. Yes, I know…ug. But, they are down one children’s music/choir person & can only use tapes. They do sing both hymns & CCM.

    -Public school? No way, nothing to do w/it.

    I had a stronger base, than hubby. He attended LCMS graded K-12, I went to Public. It’s what you hear, watch, learn, & are taught at home & pulpit, folks.

    We had to pull our oldest, when in Kindergarten. Pastoral Hatchling stood up & said no that’s not right, God says in Genesis, and gave a Biblical explaination of Creation, during the “millions & billions of years/dinosaur chat” …we got a note sent home. His teacher wore a cross, which my 5 year old asked her in class, “You love Jesus, don’t you?! I see your pretty Cross.” She couldn’t answer him, another note sent home. It was their “special code” thing. Time to pull the #1 son.

    As this really, when ya come down to it, has alot to do with the Holy Spirit. What He is & isn’t, what He does & doesn’t, and His modus operandi is & what that isn’t. CCM is such a mish mosh, who knows from artist to artist, song to song.
    2 things that are in question w/CCM, off the cuff:
    -One is the role of teaching & preaching, who qualifies to teach & preach? Men’s & women’s roles.
    -role, duty, actions, place of the Holy Spirit.
    Both vary greatly, depending on Denomination. CCM, doesn’t explain or allow. It is general, non Denominational, which most Denominations, aren’t in their Foundations, Articles of Faith, or requirements for Authority positions in their respective Churches.

    CCM is about as non Denom & inoccuous, as ya can get. It has to be, to attempt to reach their target audience. Which leaves many a Denom, in a Theological no man’s land.
    It’s why, I think, it causes such strife. It’s always so general, when Denoms are so very specific.
    Conundrum, if ya ever saw one.

  2. I have noticed a not quite quiet assumption that good Christians and by proxy good pastors are going to listen to Christian Radio. I have a member who still does not believe I listen to alternative rock and classic rock stations and do not listen to the local Christian station. I don’t listen to Christian stations partly because most CCM is cookie cutter schlock, but mostly because it is theologically void or worse theologically damaging. Honestly there is better theology in Metallica than most CCM songs.

    Do watch the shots at home schooling, not everybody does it because it is the “Christian” thing to do. Yes there are a lot of those kind of people out there, but not all of them. My own family is one that does not do it because it is the “Christian” thing to do. We have our reasons but pietism isn’t one of them.

  3. I can relate to similarly emboldened Christians… but doesn’t the power goes to the Holy Spirit? Who am I to declare whether they’ve grown through their choice of music, through the Word, through the body & blood of Christ… whether they’ve worshipped contemporary or liturgically. Can you not have emboldened faithful Christians who walk differently?

  4. Ok, we listen to Christina radio. I cringe quite often, and maybe we are wrong in doing this but I rather my little son listen to that than some other stuff that we could be listening to.

    Hmm Pastor Rossow,
    Morning Prayer then Dancing Queen? kinda funny 🙂

  5. Andrew S,
    Considering what my boys hear on KLove, Abba looks like a cakewalk! The world…what it says, does & believes is easy to refute, it doesn’t pretend or come w/a moniker. CCM does. ABBA, Adam Ant, etc, that easy breazy. Confusing the Holy Spirit, across the airwaves, not so easy & not so easily explained.
    Besides, Pastor Rossow, never said it was Dancing Queen. It could have been Armando.

  6. “For the record, on my short 4 minute ride to church this morning I heard a really “groovy” Abba song on the radio and turned to my wife and said, “You know, I think everyday should start with an Abba song.” Only after Luther’s morning prayer routine of course.”

    Oh, man! That’s it! I am bringing some of my Metallica, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden CDs out this February to the BJS conference. You won’t want any disco after that! Ha!

    😉

  7. @Dutch #7
    Dutch
    The CCM station here is put on by a local Baptist college and it is a non profit. Like I said, there are plenty of cringe worthy songs, but with the age of my son I am ok with it. I know Pastor did not refer to Dancing Queen, but it is still a funny thought to me 😉

  8. Jim,
    I have the worst time, trying to imagine Pastor Rossow listening to what he chats on,
    & ….you listening to head-bangin’ core metal. Thanks, I’ll take Brit Invasion Duran Duran, Siouxsie & the Banshees, INXS, etc. Not like, we all aren’t dating ourselves here.
    But really….my boys like Duran Duran & their class knows far too many of their songs!

    Jim P….Judas Priest….hmmm. Pastor Rossow…..ABBA…..hmmm.

  9. @Dutch #10

    Dutch,

    I like some of the music from the groups you listed, too. Right now I am rediscovering the Rammones… so the Metal leather has been replaced with ragedy t-shirts and stained jeans. 😉

  10. A bunch of random thoughts on public school, Christian music, homeschooling and boldness.

    I spent most of my life listening to secular music, attended Lutheran churches that used the hymnal, was baptized as an infant in the 50s and attended public school. I have remained faithful and can’t imagine life without Christ. Most of my siblings didn’t fair so well as most have strayed off the faithful path (at least it sure seems that way). I was a typical quiet Lutheran when it came to being public about faith, but I was steadfast.

    About 10 years ago I left my hymnal church (ELCA — different conversation). Joined a large LCMS church where hymnals are not allowed (at least it appears that way!). Initially I ‘liked’ that big church because they were different (an apparently emotional) and didn’t pay close attention to doctrine. I did make that synod leap so I dealt with women’s ordination and 6 day creation, but missed other important things.

    And that’s when I got sucked into Contemporary Christian music. For about 6 years I only listened to CCM music. I did that whole “falling in love with Jesus” thing (woe was me). During that time I also homeschooled our son, and most of the people I ran with were non-denominational and Baptist types. Homeschooling did cause me to be start being more publicly bold, BUT not for the reason others were bold (or loud or whatever) — everyone kept talking about their kids deciding to be baptized (in the local swimming pool mostly or a tank). They dismissed infant baptism and I couldn’t explain infant baptism very well. So I set off on an Internet search and guess who I bumped into — Issues Etc! So it was Issues Etc that triggered my public boldness. It wasn’t Christian music or homeschooling.

    After about 6 months of listening to Pastor Wilken and discovering the White Horse Inn– I got bolder and louder and ended up leading a women’s study on Law and Gospel in the church that didn’t use the hymnal. In fact I was the only person (along with my helper Claudia) to behave like a Lutheran when it came to women’s studies in our rather large Lutheran church.

    I quit listening to Christian radio when I realized the theology was goofy. I can’t stand to listen to most CCM music. So Christian music did let me practice boldness as I listened to the lyrics and gave it doctrinal review. One year of Issues Etc finally made me bold enough to leave the non-hymnal church and join another church across town that uses the historical liturgy and the hymnal, BUT they also have Saturday night services that use the CCM music I can’t stand. (Another discussion).

    We stopped homeschooling and our son started attending a Lutheran school where I’m even bolder because I see so many Lutherans who don’t seem to know what and why they believe. Now I can’t stop myself. I managed to get into trouble often because doctrine matters. Many of the families at our Lutheran school are 2nd generation Lutheran school attenders and they all prefer Saturday night. So much for a K-12 Lutheran school experience grounding a person in Lutheran solid doctrine. (Another discussion)

    We listen mainly to classical music now — we have a 13 year old who can’t stand CCM.
    Our son will re-enter the public school arena next year — it will be the continuing faith instruction at home that helps him the most. Next year will be an interesting time. And I am so grateful for my community of confessional Lutherans on the Internet and the BJS chapter in our area.

    So I ‘blame’ Issues Etc and all the other confessional Lutheran pastors and laity who do radio shows and blogs for my boldness. All the books from CPH play a role too! CCM and homeschooling don’t get credit at my house!

  11. There’s a fine line between bold and brash. The “bold” CCM listeners who boldly listen to nothing else, boldly homeschool kids, boldly avoid any movie above PG, boldly say no to video games, etc etc etc may just be caught up in the joy of a rootless conversion a la Matt 13:20-21.

    Regardless, I think the parable of the sower is an excellent warning for those who claim primacy for contemporary worship.

  12. I think Richard’s question is flawed. Rather than try to answer it, I would like to ask another one. How do you define “strong, bold” faith? I don’t know what that means. In fact, I really shy away from talking about faith in terms of its strength. Either there is faith or there is not. And what faith there is is only of God. Can’t get much stronger than that! With Him we have perfect faith; without Him we are faithless. I think in many cases those who strike us as having a “strong, bold” faith seem so because of all the things they are doing. We make a judgement about their faith based on their actions. But I think that judging the “strength” of another’s faith is awfully dangerous territory. Faith has to do not with our actions but with God’s. We can try as we might to guard our hearts but we still fall into sin because of the evil within. And then suddenly that “strong, bold” faith goes to pieces as we realize our helplessness to protect it on our own.

  13. FYI,

    I hope I did not give the impression that hime-schooling is bad. I think it is great.

    Also – Jim Pierce – no need to bring your albums, I am a big hard rock fan. I just also happen to like pop, classical, country and jazz.

    TR

  14. @Dutch #7

    I have to agree with Dutch on this one. “Secular” music doesn’t try to preach Christ crucified to you…it’s just there to communicate the message the artists want to put out there while being entertaining. That doesn’t mean that all secular music is wholesome and God honoring…far from it. However, God does bring us entertainment through the vocation of secular musicians.

    CCM, on the other hand, is trying to communicate Christian truth…while being entertaining and relevant enough to sell records and that is the catch. If the point of CCM was just to entertain that would be one thing. Instead, many Christian musicians think of their music as outreach. To be fair there are some that succeed in communicating clear Christian truth. Unfortunately, and I base this solely on my contact with CCM for 9yrs now, you end up with vague spiritual statements, a mixing of Law and Gospel, and a fair amount of heterodox doctrine being passed along as “positive Christian hit music” and that is dangerous.

    Just last night I explained to some youth at my church that I tend to avoid CCM to some degree because of the non-biblical teachings that are passed off as correct. I cautioned them not to accept all that they hear on Christian radio stations. There is a false sense of security that can set in with CCM and many times the theology mindlessly memorized through catchy lyrics, melody, and beat is toxic. This is why children need to be properly catechized at home and at church starting from day one.

    Going back to vocation…it is not the vocation of a band of Christian musicians to preach to me. That’s what pastors are for. With that said we do have our Lutheran hymnody which is rich with good doctrine. But there is the rub…hymns are not primarily written to be entertaining…they are there to carry proper biblical teaching fit to be sung during worship and daily life. The message comes first, then the music.

    With CCM the question, I think, is often times, “how can we talk about God in our song but still have it rock out enough that people will buy it?” Relevancy/Entertainment is placed over faithfulness to the Scriptures. With Lutheran hymns (that are in our hymnals), and if I am wrong someone please correct me here, it seems that the point is to communicate Scriptural and doctrinal truth purely and if it happens to be a bear to sing…well at least it’s faithful to God’s Word. That is not to say that hymn writers don’t try to make the music pretty or get out the thesaurus and tweak some syllables and such but I digress.

    As to whether or not a Christian is more bold because they do or do not listen to CCM? It depends on the person. I would liken CCM, in general, to an energy drink…catchy flashy advertising full of caffeine, sugar, and questionable herbal ingredients. Lutheran hymnody, on the other hand, is like a pint of perfectly poured Guinness…centuries old, stout, and good for the heart.

  15. Perhaps those who enjoy listening to modern Christian music seem to have a bolder and stronger faith because they embrace a theology of glory (the theology of the cross does not seem to be very popular in modern Christian music). I’d be willing to bet that when these people “speak about Christ to their friends and neighbors,” they are really just speaking about themselves. They speak about how Jesus transformed their lives or about how they feel the Holy Spirit inside of them. Constrast that with someone who first and foremost sees themself as a poor miserable sinner deserving of God’s eternal wrath. When they speak of Christ, they speak of his death on the cross that atones for their own utter wickedness. To the unbiased observer, which of these people appears to have a bolder and stronger faith? Probably the former.

  16. @Dutch #7
    I am not so sure how easy it is to refute what is preached in secular music, I have had former students sink into the darkest of pits while “enjoying” the likes of mudvayne and slipknot, but I do agree that it could go that way with ccm. This is the difficulty I have, if ccm leads to abandoning sound theology, yet still maintain faith, how much worse for those who lose their faith utterly.

    During my college years- pre Concordia- I was attending church every Sunday, but I was really into death metal and punk. I was allowing the music to alter my thinking and I was losing faith. I finally did abandon that music as I enrolled at CSP.

    The same can be said for types of ccm and types of secular music. The more garbage you put into your head, the more likely you will spew out garbage as well.

  17. I was involved with this music for many years. There is this kind of subculture that is cultivated by this music. They have their own “celebrities” and they have their particular “jargon.” They TALK a good talk. And there are certain ways of speaking that are just expected of people who want to be regarded as “good Christians.” This is very nuanced and hard to define, but it is there.

    Let’s bear in mind that the “simul justus et peccatur” axiom is not any less true of those that use lots of “God talk” and do so boldly. In my former evangelical parish, where CCM was the norm, the pastor’s wife was caught having an affair with the youth director and the worship leader was caught in an immoral situation with a minor who played in the praise band. All sins are forgiven in Christ, but “bold” expression of does not necessarily indicate a strong faith. It can simply be a reflection of the church culture in which people are immersed. Sin is always an issue, and for the “bold” it can become rather discrediting to say the least when they are caught in a flagrantly sinful situation despite all their pious jargon.

  18. I will agree that there is much about CCM that is a mile wide and an inch deep. Yet there are examples of very good CCM that focus on Christ, the Cross, and Baptism. I agree that you must take a great deal of time and effort to find them, but they can be found. I have and lead a praise service at our church and there have been many songs that I say no to because of the theology. We have to use our heads.

    Yet all of us can point to hymns in our hymnal that make us wince. I wince every time I am forced to sing “Just As I Am”. It was sung at almost every altar call in the Baptist church I attended as a youth. The point is that there is good and bad in all styles of music in church. Even though many of Steve Starke’s hymns are wonderful theologically, many are also not very musically pleasing, in my opinion and my organist. We have numerous hymns that are as one church trained musician described as the “road to nowhere”. We have an obligation as Pastoes to pass on the faith that has been delivered in word and song. Music has been and will continue to be important in the church. As more and more people are able to carry excellently produced music by the gigabyte in their pocket it will continue to be a struggle for the church. Instead of fighting the tide and stomping our feet that we don’t like this music because it does not measure up to our standard then begin to write CCM that does. Otherwise your arguements are more and more over style than content.

    Finally, I am more of an infrequent visitor and even more rarely comment on articles, but this issue of CCM in worship and contemporary worship is an issue that you will not be able to change. If there is a push on this from Synod then the churches who are doing this will simply ignore the recommendations because they are simply advisory. The pastors that support it will continue to ignore your arguments and pleas because they have moved onto other issues. We must come to a brotherly agreement to live and let live. The problem I see is that many who fervently push the historic hymns, liturgies, and traditional worship do not think that those who have contemporary, blended, or praise services should be allowed to continue in the synod. However those who practice contemporary worship, use CCM, and use contemporary liturgies have no problem with churches who choose to be traditional. Where can these two sides meet in the middle and agree that the other should be allowed to exist.

  19. To adapt a biblical parable– Two Lutherans walk into a church. The first stands up and proclaims,” I thank God that I proclaim Christ boldly by the loud “Christian” music with a Reformed or Evangelical slant that comes from my car radio; and that I pay high tuition to send my children to a parochial school that is within a short drive of my house, unlike that other Lutheran who listens to “worldly” radio and sends his kids to public school because he either can’t afford the tuition or he lives in a rural area where the church has closed all parochial schools.”

    The other poor rural Lutheran, who grew up in an area with no parochial schools and too far away from most radio stations to pick up any signals but “secular” radio, just quietly prays, “God be merciful to me, a sinner”.

    Which Lutheran walks out of that church forgiven?

  20. Pastor Rossow, I for one did not see anything negative about homeschooling in anything you wrote. I know how you feel about homeschooling!

    Revaggie wrote:
    “Do watch the shots at home schooling, not everybody does it because it is the ‘Christian’ thing to do. Yes there are a lot of those kind of people out there, but not all of them. My own family is one that does not do it because it is the ‘Christian’ thing to do. We have our reasons but pietism isn’t one of them.”

    We homeschool our children for a variety of reasons, one of which is that we think it allows us to better fulfill our parental calling to bring them up in the faith. But that is different from doing it because it is the “Christian” thing to do. We think homeschooling works best for our family. But it is not more moral or holy than other types of schooling. And I would agree that homeschoolers who think otherwise are fooling themselves. Likewise, if you listen to CCM because you just really dig it, fine. But if you listen because somehow you think it makes you more holy and immune to sin, you’re as misguided as the pietistic homeschooler.

  21. I was watching the news the other day and a reporter was interviewing a singer named Katy Perry regarding her song about kissing another girl. Would you believe that she started out as a CCM singer? If she hadn’t failed in that genre you’d probably see her today leading worship at an LCMS Youth Gathering.

  22. Andrew,
    I had to look up the bands you mentioned. I think they run along lines of M.Manson right?
    Ya know, it’s interesting. Tim mentions Katy (Hudson) Perry & look at Marilyn Manson. Supposedly Christian homes growing up. Katy still considers herself a Christian.

    -your child, or student can turn their back on their Faith & Christ. It can & does happen. Even to the best of Lutheran parents. It has alot more do with what goes on & is said or not done around them, music is just a symptom. There’s more symptoms, if you know the “illness”.

    -parents do have a certain amount of control over what their kids listen to. Even if they do not like the fact you do it.

    -in music, just like alot of things nowadays, we have to remember the difference between Faith & spirituality. They are very, very different,…so is the fruit they bear.

  23. @Mary Ellyn #14

    What a story. I am glad you are finding better peace and are being spiritually fed.

    You journey sounds almost cult-like. I think it may be too easy to get sucked into the new, different, exciting, fun style that CCM and CoWo can offer. I think emotions can be manipulated easier than logic (truth?) can be debated. To the extreme end are Jim Jones and David Koresh.

    For any support, I like reading Dutch’s posts. I always appreciate her experience and wisdom. She has seen things that could provide guidance in discerning church practices, and how to focus on God’s Word.

  24. Sojourner :
    @Dutch #7

    I would liken CCM, in general, to an energy drink…catchy flashy advertising full of caffeine, sugar, and questionable herbal ingredients. Lutheran hymnody, on the other hand, is like a pint of perfectly poured Guinness…centuries old, stout, and good for the heart.

    Too good to not repeat

  25. They aren’t more bold in their faith – the assertion is wrong. They are more emotive, extroverted, but that doesn’t mean their trust is greater, they are more well-grounded in the faith, or have discernment.

  26. @Shazam #23

    Dear Shazam,

    You seem to be genuinely concerned about the doctrinal content of your worship practices. I am very glad to see this. Is this concern found in all users of CCM in Lutheran congregations? Or most? Or some? Is it a concern that is really used as a criteria, or is it just used as a posture to ward off criticism?

    I am not one who is saying that “CCM folks” need to get out of the synod. I have said here and elsewhere that CCM needs to be used critically, on the basis of the Lutheran criteria. I think you agree with that. I have also said that if you dont’ want to BE Lutheran in your worship practices, then you should ask yourself why you are in the Lutheran church. That is a matter of personal integrity and honesty, which we would especially expect from our pastors.

    But this cannot just be a matter of “live and let live.” Synod does have oversight in worship matters due to LCMS Constitution Article VI.4 which says that conditions for acquiring and holding membership in the Synod include “Exclusive use of doctrinally pure agenda, hymnbooks, and catechisms in church and school.” That means, at the minimum, the congregations agree to use only “doctrinally pure” materials in worship. Those that don’t, put their membership in jeopardy de jure, if not de facto.

    I really hope that we are not at a pointing of division between those who DON’T care about the doctrinal content of their worship practices and those who DO. That would be a sad day for the Lutheran church, because in a generation those who don’t care about their doctrinal content in worship would not be Lutheran in any way, shape, or form. History tells us that is what happens, with examples in any number of church bodies.

    That is why I hope the Koinonia Project is embraced by everyone, as a way of bringing us back together as LUTHERANS. It is not a difficult thing to do, if people are cooperative and patient, recognize the authority of Jesus in His scriptural Word, and have a love for their fellow Christian.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  27. The road to eternal hell is paved with good “Christian”intentions. Expressing your experiences of God is not the same as speaking Law and GOSPEL. The Holy Spirit does not even speak of himself but only of Christ. I have reviewed the origin of this contemporary nonsense and have also concluded that its home is in American “enthusiasm” , the AOG. Shame on our clergy for being so easily mislead; they bear a greater burden of responsibility because they should know better.

  28. @revaggie #3

    I have noticed a not quite quiet assumption that good Christians and by proxy good pastors are going to listen to Christian Radio.

    LOL! I must know too many good Pastors (with varied musical tastes) to believe that one.
    Seriously, I don’t see “Christian radio” (excluding Issues, Etc and that sort) of benefit
    to our Lutheran Pastors. (I’m not listening to it either.)

    My children have it on in the car, and my grandson has some ideas that he did not learn in confirmation class. (At least, I hope he didn’t.)

  29. @Jason #29
    All my churches have been Lutheran! From an ELCA hymn singing liturgical congregation(with doctrinal problems) to LCMS CCM congregation (with doctrinal problems) to another LCMS congregation with a little of everything (and doctrinal problems).

  30. #23- You said, “The problem I see is that many who fervently push the historic hymns, liturgies, and traditional worship do not think that those who have contemporary, blended, or praise services should be allowed to continue in the synod. However those who practice contemporary worship, use CCM, and use contemporary liturgies have no problem with churches who choose to be traditional. Where can these two sides meet in the middle and agree that the other should be allowed to exist.”

    After spending most of my teen and college life heavily immersed in CCM and contemporary worship, and converting to the Lutheran church at 22 (7 years ago), I’m not sure that I’ve necessarily seen a lot of what you’re describing. First of all, the Lutheran church has always been liturgical and historical until very recently, so it’s disingenuous to talk about those Lutheran congregations who “push for traditional worship” as though they are introducing an innovation, or being controversial.

    Second, many of the Lutheran churches who have chosen to begin the innovation of heavily Baptist/Pentecostal-flavored CCM in the Divine Service *do* often have a huge problem with those who want to retain the historic practices of Lutheran worship. I remember sitting on a bus with several pastors’ wives at a national convention several years ago; I was probably the youngest person there. We had just been at a Divine Service and we were off to do some group activity. A woman who was probably in her late 50s or early 60s was loudly complaining about the service, talking about how archaic it was, and how it set the church back so many years after they’d made so much “progress.” This woman was in favor of moving CCM songs during worship where she could feel the Spirit, get inspired, wave her arms, blah blah… It flummoxed her to hear me say that I felt quite differently than she did.

    So yes, I’ve heard plenty of CCM-promoting Lutherans talk about how great it will be when all the stubborn traditionalists die off (like me?) so they can carry on with their methods. And goodness knows that, throughout my Baptist youth, there was a lot of this talk as well: hymns are old, boring, and promoted by stubborn people who hate change and the movement of the Holy Spirit, and who don’t care about the lost. To not go along with the will of your CG pastor is to be ostracized. In fact, I’ve heard people openly mock traditional worship *in the very same breath* that they use to patronizingly say that they’re okay with some churches to be that way; they just want their own say as well.

    Another trend I’ve seen is that even in churches that do seem quite happy to have both contemporary and traditional services is that the balancing act never lasts forever. In some cases, the new service dies; in many others, whatever seems easier, more fun, and more like the popular church down the street will inevitably take over, and the historic practices are lost from that congregation for good. It seems like the very best that can be hoped for is to have two congregations under one church roof, splintered on the basis of personal preference and often segregated by age. As a mother of toddlers, I find this especially tragic.

  31. Jim Pierce :

    “For the record, on my short 4 minute ride to church this morning I heard a really “groovy” Abba song on the radio and turned to my wife and said, “You know, I think everyday should start with an Abba song.” Only after Luther’s morning prayer routine of course.”

    Oh, man! That’s it! I am bringing some of my Metallica, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden CDs out this February to the BJS conference. You won’t want any disco after that! Ha!

    Wow. I have Metallica, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden (two of them) CDs on my I-Tunes. ;P

  32. @Shazam #23
    However those who practice contemporary worship, use CCM, and use contemporary liturgies have no problem with churches who choose to be traditional.

    I wish this were true! If it were true, there would not have been such a determined effort to ‘estrange, force or entice’ churches into the CoWo practices. Districts would be planting traditional churches instead of saying that all new starts would be “contemporary” or “Coffeehouse” type. District meetings would occasionally have Lutheran speakers on Lutheran topics. National Youth Gathering would not have been, as it has for about 20 years, an excuse to convert Lutheran youth to “decision for Christ” and entertainment [with the admonition to “Go home and tell your own pastor you want this.”]
    Ablaze and TCN would not exist; they certainly don’t exist to practice Lutheranism!

  33. @Helen #39
    You are so right on Helen. The contempos are out in full force this season. My question will always be this. If some are so determined to rock it on out in worship, accept Jesus as their savior, wear their cutoffs to worship even when it is cold, read tons of how to books for the downtrodden soul that has not been blessed with its first million dollars, then hop on around the corner from your stodgy LCMS church and you will find what you are looking for in at least a dozen churches surrounding yours. Or better yet stay in bed and watch a dozen flim flam preachers on Sunday morning TV who will make better promises than you could ever get from gasp a scripture reading or creed like some LCMS churches still seem bent on doing. And if you really want to woship, take some electric guitar lessons, get yourself a mike and a monitor, some of the latest cd’s from Nashville and join right in. After all loud worship is sincere worship. Heaven forbid there is a quiet moment for the widow, the sick and dying to find a bit of peace and comfort while in the SANCTUARY (sorry worship auditorium/basketball court). In other words, if you don’t like the way the liturgical high service treats you then skeedaddle because what you want is out there waiting for YOU. Please don’t shove it off on me because I have no where else to go. All my churches are being “reformed”.

  34. Thank you for the clarification on homeschooling.
    @23 & 37

    The biggest problem with any debate of any sort is when we try to lump each other into big giant umbrella groups (something I myself have been guilty of). There are people of all stripes on either side of the debate. I have a met people of all stripes in the debate common called the worship war. There are those who have fallen for the emotionalism=spiritual trap and that only in contemporary services can the Spirit be found. And there are those who believe that Christian worship only happens when accompanied by an organ. Not to mention the myriad of people who just never even thought about it beyond “I like it.” Then there are also those who do not think the question revolves around what is used to accompany the song, or if screens are used, or even if it is the traditional wording of Liturgy, but whether or not it is the Divine Service, is it God coming to you for you in His word and Sacraments. Is Christ crucified preached and proclaimed? Or are you given purpose-driven tidbits for a “successful life” and a bunch of feel good songs with empty songs about how much you love your boyfriend Jesus? Or on the other end of the spectrum are you doing it only for tradition’s sake. Do note I do not think tradition is a bad thing.

    Unfortunately, too many of us and I do include myself, have limited ourselves to arguing the stereotypes rather than actually addressing the individual.

    ps – @41 I have been to some very loud traditional services. Some organists are a little too enthusiastic about playing.

  35. @revaggie #42
    ps – @41 I have been to some very loud traditional services. Some organists are a little too enthusiastic about playing.

    Unfortunately true on occasion. That’s easier to fix, though.

  36. Our God Reigns #40,
    Thank you. See, I said I missed him, …Armando, Fernando…I forgot his name already!
    lol

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