Great Stuff Found on the Web — Squandering the Treasure

Found on Gottesdienst Online:

 

By Larry Beane

992258One of the official publications of one of our LCMS Districts reports that a retired pastor has just been given an honorary doctorate from one of the Concordia universities owing to the fact that under his leadership, his congregation’s music “transitioned from the emphasis on traditional music and added a more Gospel oriented genre.”

Speaking as an adult convert to Lutheran Christianity from a different tradition, I will unequivocally state my own opinion that there is nothing more “Gospel oriented” than the traditional hymnody from our Lutheran tradition.  But my opinion pales with the historical and cultural importance of that of Rosa Young, the heroic 20th century black Lutheran who founded many Lutheran churches here in the South following the emancipation of the former slaves.  Miss Young wrote concerning our traditional Lutheran hymnody:

“Those words of praise to Jesus and the sweet German melodies made a lasting impression upon my heart. I thought then, and still think to this day, that the Lutheran melodies are the sweetest in the world. Give me my Lutheran melodies.”

This contrasted with the non-Lutheran hymnody that she described thus:

“They praise noise; they applaud and approve noise. If one wishes to succeed…he must be noisy. The more noise he makes, the more quickly he will succeed. One has to be a real novelist, keeping something new before them all the time.”

And again she praises traditional Lutheran worship as a “quiet, decent, orderly service” that causes the “Word of God [to be] sown in their hearts.”

The Lutheran Church is often called “The Singing Church” and Lutheran hymns are known for their theological rigor and their unequivocally Evangelical and Christocentric nature.  Our hymns are nothing other than the Gospel set to music – and that is our tradition from the ancient Gregorian chants, our 16th century chorales, and our modern hymns from within our formidable tradition.

In fact, our musical tradition is one of the greatest treasures that we have in our churches.  Invariably, churches that deviate from that traditional hymnody veer off into the shallowness, legalism, and self-centeredness of pop ditties at best, and heresy and false doctrine at their worst.

But we are now seeing our university system rewarding this abandonment of the most Gospel-oriented hymnody in Christendom with honorary doctorates, and an official organ of our church body calling this kind of thing a “more Gospel oriented genre” than “traditional music.”

What a sad betrayal of the legacy of Rosa Young.

For more information about this remarkable Lutheran, see this post by the Rev. Walter Otten, as well as Miss Young’s autobiographical Light in the Dark Belt.

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord, LCMSsermons.com, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at KNFA.net.

Comments

Great Stuff Found on the Web — Squandering the Treasure — 6 Comments

  1. Concordia Texas feels that we don’t need organists in the Lutheran church. So they let one talented organist on their faculty go, just as he was finishing his doctorate (which emphasized Lutheran church music) at the University of Texas at Austin.

    I wish you could have heard the doctoral recital! He had to choose music and defend his choices between playing them. The result was a very Lutheran sermon in a UT recital. Not the place to cheer, but we did so, silently!

    While CTX feels there is no demand for organists, UT has multiplied its organ students and has recently purchased another excellent organ which will be available for recitals.

    Did Texas District give the doctorate for “gospel music”? It would be in line with their pseudo baptist practice.

  2. check out all districts as the dp’s and cc’s do not cate about Lutheran and immorality as they sacrifice true churches,members pastors and their wives and families to life threatening circumstances—take a look at all dp’s

  3. One of the official publications of one of our LCMS Districts reports that a retired pastor has just been given an honorary doctorate from one of the Concordia universities owing to the fact that under his leadership, his congregation’s music “transitioned from the emphasis on traditional music and added a more Gospel oriented genre.”

    What District publication? What Concordia? What retired pastor? What kind of honorary doctorate?

  4. @Tom #4
    Pr. Dr. Ahlman?

    No, Dr. Jon Eifert.
    I’m not mentioning it because I want him “gone from here”; I emphatically don’t! Dr. Eifert’s talents on the organ are presently being used when substituting for our regular organist or elsewhere around Central Texas. Much as I (and Pastors I know) would miss him in that capacity, he should “have his own place.”
    Dr. Eifert’s wife, Mary Eifert, is our Day School Principal, BTW. That would require consideration (and involve more regrets here)!

    [I don’t know Dr. Ahlman personally, but I do know that Dr. Eifert is not the only man who has been “too Lutheran” for CTX.]

    (I am dimly aware of protocol for LCMS “called” personnel.
    Therefore, this comment was not approved by either Dr. or Mrs. Eifert.)
    I hope I won’t be in trouble for it. 😉

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