Posted on November 11th, 2011
I’m on vacation, and catching up on my Instapaper queue. Hence, my discovery of a 2009 piece at Gottesdienst Online by Fr. Heath Curtis titled
“Frivolous, Disorderly, and Indecorous.” I like his redefinition of “traditional” worship advocacy as the Reverent Worship Movement. The real issue, he articulates well, is not a matter of styles or preferences, but that contemporary worship is offensive, both to broken sinners but especially to a holy God.
And that, of course, is why the Contemporary folks think the Gottesdienst Crowd to be worse than a bunch of young fogey sourpusses. It’s not just that we are square: we are narrow minded and tryannical, desirous to force all people to go along with our style when acquiescing to a different style would bring more people into the Church. No wonder they have an S.O.B. award.
But that is not so. What we are saying is something much more strident. We are accusing the Contemporary Worship Movement of being frivolous, divisive, destructive to evangelical decorum and good order, and offensive. And that is not a matter of style. It is a matter of being soaked in the language, practices, and culture of Scripture and then asking: “Does this ceremony, this order, this song, fit that? And among those that do fit, which is most beneficial to unity in the Church?” It is about looking around at the Church after 40 years of this Movement and asking, “Is the Church more united today than she was back before this started? How many parishes have been divided and relationships broken because of this Movement? Have our Lutheran churches become more or less Lutheran in their language, doctrine, and outlook after this movement?”
The issue is not keyboards vs. organs, contemporary vs. traditional. It’s reverent vs. irreverent.