When Fleming Rutledge and Clint Eastwood are in agreement about something then you have to stop and listen! Of course, it’s not the real Clint Eastwood, but it was hard to resist quoting Fleming Rutledge in juxtaposition to the latest Lutheran Satire video which features Clint Eastwood reading the lyrics of contemporary praise songs.
Here’s what Rutledge has to say in her most recent book Advent: The Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ:
“I am not alone in my concern that the church is in danger of losing its hymnody because of the widespread turn to contemporary, often inferior, music. The Christian songs that one hears so often in the services pitched to young people today present a problem; the endless repetition of banal phrases set to insipid tunes does not build up the mental furniture of newcomers to the Christian faith. The best of the older hymns (and by “older” I don’t mean nineteenth century; I mean the whole sweep of hymnody from the patristic period to the Reformation and beyond) are rich with biblical quotations and references. They teach doctrine to those who think they don’t care about doctrine. Many of the best hymns have plots: they begin with praise, then in the middle verse(s) evoke instability and danger, and finally in the last verse resolves into sheer affirmation, empowerment, and thanksgiving. A particularly good example of this is Charles Wesley’s “Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending.”” 1
And now for “Clint”:
- Fleming Rutledge, Advent: The Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2018), 29-30. ↩