"What Do People Want?" Or "What Will Best Serve The Gospel?"

One of the things you often hear Luther say is, “We don’t have a Word of God about that, but we have been given the gospel, and that’s to be the way of it.” And yet you may hear the insistence that proper church music is Palestrina, so we’ll have nothing but Palestrina here; or proper church music is guitars, and so we’ll have nothing but guitars here. One of the greatest temptations for those who love the liturgy is to slip into legalisms. And even though you see how astonishingly conservative Luther was with regard to the liturgy—pretty much the same old thing—he wouldn’t say, “That’s it! We’ve got it for good!” There is always what’s alive and growing in the liturgy. 

Now are we to ask, “What do people want?” or “What will best serve the gospel?” There are some kinds of words and music which impede or deflect from the gospel. There are some kinds of music which would work people’s emotions toward a programmed end—that draw people into paying attention to themselves rather than Christ-ward and toward his gifts. This is what the apostle is speaking about in 1 Corinthians. Each of those problems arose because people were being deflected from Christ. 

-Norman Nagel, Whose Liturgy is It?

HT: The First Premise

To read more on this subject, may I suggest:
Liturgy, Neither Alone Nor Neutral

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