Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Lutherans and Hymns

Since my previous post, I've been pondering over many things concerning my church. As I explained, the church I attend is classified as orthodox Lutheran. Also the adjective "confessional" is used. I think that word is used because we speak one of the Creeds (Apostles, Nicene) during each Divine Service. They are printed in the Liturgy pages of our hymnal; the congregation speaks (confesses) them in unison. Maybe the word confessional also indicates a connection to the Lutheran Confessions....I'm not sure. The Lutheran Confessions, written by Martin Luther and his colleagues, are very important, as they contain the pure Lutheran doctrine, which pastors take vows to uphold. So, it does no good to attempt to present any arguments to them.....like if you read something in the Bible which you think could have a different interpretation. They interpret the Bible by way of the Lutheran Confessions. And I think also that's one reason why there's not alot of Bible study going on in orthodox Lutheran congregations. Our pastor likes to have "doctrinal studies", so people can brush up on proper Lutheran doctrine. And when I taught Sunday School, the materials suggested that people just read Luther's Catechism instead of the Bible. The Bible is too complicated, and too easy to misinterpret, I guess.

Also, the types of hymn lyrics sung are very important, for that is another form of confessing. Confessing falsehoods is not good. Hymns can easily contain false doctrine. That well-known old hymn "Amazing Grace" contains false doctrine, so I've heard. Some hymns contain too many "praise" lyrics, which falls under the heading of "theology of glory", I guess. Too much focus on the earth and humans and what they think they can do for God, and not enough focus on the Cross and what God through Christ has done for humankind.

Although I like singing the traditional Lutheran hymns, some of them can be difficult to sing musically. Some of the melodies are kind of plodding and just plain unmemorable. I can remember many of the hymns I grew up with, but most Lutheran hymns just don't stay in my head. Maybe its because I didn't learn them in childhood. "Train up a child in the way he should go......", as the Bible says. There, an important point for parents to remember.

Anyway, on that note, I think I may start another blog, one in which I'll post heretical hymns from the non-Lutheran hymnal I grew up with. They will be hymns that are uplifting for me, though maybe not teaching pure doctrine (as orthodox Lutherans would see it). As I've said before, I'm not a very good Lutheran......sometimes I wish to experience my faith, not just be told that I have it. Possibly that is a female thing, and maybe a reason why God does not want women to teach or have leadership roles in the church. Orthodox Lutheranism is very male and prides itself on eliminating feeling from faith, and that's fine. Faith should not be dependent on any type of feeling. But, I can't live in a box, or hold my breath between the times of being in a Pastor's presence for Word and Sacrament. I yearn to be encouraged and uplifted on a daily basis.

If I do start the hymn blog, the first post will be "Amazing Grace", since I had mentioned that hymn in this post. Hopefully, I can figure out what is heretical about it.

I found a book at Amazon.com entitled Worship Wars in Early Lutheranism. Its description is intriguing, but its $74 price tag is too high for me right now. Maybe someday I can find a used copy.

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