Lex orandi lex credendi

So last Friday I went to the commissioning service of Ko Tjeli as the new papa of FES. And, as we sang the songs during the service, I reflected and asked whether not the songs that we sing in the church are actually forms of theologizing as well. We might have associated “proper” or “formal” theologizing with exegetical or dogmatical works, but I think we should give more respect (and, on the other hand, criticism) to the legion of songwriters in the church. Their influence on the church, for better or for worse, must not be underestimated. Luther’s influence went beyond his sermons or writings; it includes his immortalized hymns. Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott, anyone? Perhaps that’s another reason Luther is (much) more popular than Calvin, aside from his primacy in the Reformation and that he is really good in preaching, another hallmark of Protestantism? Today, I guess there are many Christians all around the world who are greatly influenced by Hillsong for their faith. And, anyway, isn’t it appropriate that the talk about God is actually in the form of a talk to God, as is reflected with these songs? That the form of theology actually corresponds with the content of theology? And are not prayer and worship the appropriate responses to this revelation of the Lordship of God? Indeed, “we merely repeat the statement dogmatics is possible only as an act of faith, when we point to prayer as the attitude without which there can be no dogmatic work.” (I/1, 23) Or, to put it in the ancient words, lex orandi lex credendi — the law or rule of prayer is the law or rule of belief.

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