Sunday, January 28, 2007

Hymns and Sermons

A wise pastor once said, "Hymns are small sermons."

We should ask ourselves: if we wouldn't allow a particular teaching to be set forth in a sermon, why would permit it in a hymn?

The issue isn't usually (though there are exceptions) with hymns that have gone through a doctrinal review process, and are found in hymnals. It's with the ones folks want to use that they've heard, and think would be cool to use in church.

If a song didn't make it into the hymnal, there's often a good reason why it didn't. Of course, new hymns are being written all the time. Some of those will -- at some point in the future -- be included in a hymnal. But before using an untested song to be used in the Divine Service, ask: would I say this in a sermon? Or would I find this acceptable teaching if I heard a pastor say this in a sermon? And if not, why would we sing it in a song?

Just because a song has words like "Jesus" or "pray" or whatever doesn't mean it's good. Listen carefully. And when in doubt, leave it out.

1 comment:

Balaamsass51 said...

Ah, come on Jim. You know that if you say "Jesus" or "love" in a phrase it automatically makes that phrase ok and unassailable.

Now, where is that list of possible hymns for my daughters future (very far future) wedding? Something by John Denver or Barry Manilow perhaps?

After all, we already have a selection in the new hymnal from those good confessional lutherans from Taize in France.