The WELS has begun a project to create a new hymnal. But in all of the information about it, I’m stumped to find any reason for it. Has anyone catalogued the deficiencies in Christian Worship which we would hope to correct? Or are we just trying to put out a new hymnal for the sake of putting out a new hymnal?
Our synod already suffers from a desire to constantly reinvent ourselves and be new, hip, and exciting. If the goal is to incorporate new hymns, wouldn’t it be better to simply release a new supplement, or at most release a new hymnal which is the same as the old one with additional hymns?
What is the goal? Change?
Luther in a letter Dr. Nicholas Hausmann on worship points out that changing the liturgy is fraught with peril:
Nor did I make any innovations. For I have been hesitant and fearful, partly because of the weak in faith, who cannot suddenly exchange an old and accustomed order of worship for a new and unusual one, and more so because of the fickle and fastidious spirits who rush in like unclean swine without faith or reason, and who delight only in novelty and tire of it as quickly, when it has worn off. Such people are a nuisance even in other affairs, but in spiritual matters, they are absolutely unbearable.
What makes us think that five hundred years after the reformation, we must release a new hymnal several times per generation?
I certainly think that there are deficiencies in CW which could be corrected, and a much stronger hymnal released, but it doesn’t look like that is the goal…