I think childishly about CCM = I am the weaker brother = ? (part I of III)

14 Apr

Perhaps in saying that the faith of a child clings to traditional liturgical forms (here and here), some may think that I am showing myself to be thinking like a child (i.e. childish, not child-like), as opposed to promoting faith like a child.  For the sake of argument, let me concede this – perhaps, the Church’s liturgical forms really do need to undergo radical transformations – including musical transformations – to reach people today.  In other words, if we were all keeping in step with the Spirit, it would be entirely natural for the ever-mission-minded Church of God to flee the temptation to cling to that which is most comfortable, and to always be singing “new songs” – both to praise the Lord, and, by pointing to the cross in a new and fresh way, to draw all people to Christ (John 12:32).  Perhaps it should be obvious that this is what God would have us do?

Yes, maybe it should be obvious to me that this is so (even if, for now, it definitely is not).  Therefore, if this is the case, it seems clear to me that I would be a “weaker brother” (Romans 15).  Again, for the sake of argument, let me list some possible reasons why it should be obvious that though God would have us do this (even if this weaker brother cannot see it): just because something is not explicitly commanded or modeled in Scripture (especially by Jesus and the Apostles), this does not necessarily imply that I should not do something – like radically alter the traditional worship forms that we have received; good Lutherans should note that C.F.W. Walther said that the ways the 10 commandments could be applied were multiple and, in effect, endless; we are, really and truly, free in Christ – we should feel free to do that which we sense we are being led to do – especially as it relates to God’s stated desire that all men would, through repentance, come to a knowledge of the truthHas He not bound all men over to disobedience so that He might have mercy on them all? (Formula of Concord quote)

All of these things I acknowledge – and all of these things, I think, could indeed be used in an argument for the importance of CCM.  Still, assuming that attempts to use CCM to help seek and save the lost are God-pleasing, does this mean that it should be done at the expense of the weaker brother (and perhaps – assuming I am among these “weaker brethren” – there are some who are weaker even than me…)?

Why, more specifically, might I be weak?  Well, when people insist that God is pleased when we change our traditional liturgical forms and music to connect with, and be relevant to the lost, I simply feel compelled here to not go beyond Scripture.  Now I agree that I should be zealous for the lost, and that I should imitate Paul, who desires that he might save as many as possible.  As I am a new man in Christ, I do desire this!  And yet, I do not interpret – I can’t interpret – I Cor. 9:22 the same way as do my CCM brethren.  I am not yet convinced that this is what God would have us do – at all!  Perhaps you might see me as a stubborn Recabite-man – one who does not believe that it is wise to abandon the forms that have grown up around His Word and Sacraments and alter them.  And music is prominent here as well: I do not think it wise for the Church to utilize music that seems to have been designed – albeit consciously or unconsciously, intentionally or unintentionally – to try to create a [Christian?], “worshipful experience” – for both believers and unbelievers – through the means of a song leader’s highly emotional self-expressions of worship to God  (even if one argues that Confessional Lutherans in the early 17th century opened the door to this when some among them argued – vs the pietists! – that the emotionally compelling Baroque Italian Opera music was a good way to “get people in the doors”!)

My view is that passion comes from the simple words God speaks and we confess back to Him (I include the Sacraments here).  Christ – that most wonderful and glorious Savior – is for me?!  Away with all adornments that would detract or distract from the passion-creating power of the “mere” words God speaks to us – and gives us to speak back to Him!  Or *anything* that might imply that they are not enough!  Did not God tell Gideon to send most of his army home?

Perhaps naively, I think that the services that we have inherited were largely the creations of humble, devout, and mission-minded brothers of the past – and that we should cling to what they have created.  And though I certainly do not want things to be confusing and inaccessible for non-believers who come into the Presence of the Lamb, I also think that Christian worship is ultimately meant for Christians – to speak to them of God’s judgment, His saving Presence, and the freedom we now have in Him.  We are to seek the lost sheep, but not at the expense of our own family (and be worse than a pagan) – we are, after all, to love the family of God before all others. The inheritance of that which is public worship is really for these ones – even as this is not to be at the expense of their outreach into the world!  This is what I believe.

Again, let me concede for the sake of argument: I am a weaker brother.

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Posted by on April 14, 2011 in Uncategorized


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