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The Gospel Preached through Music: The Purpose and Practice of Lutheran Church Music

by Zager, Daniel

Item #: 992281 / 2013 / Paperback / 100 Pages

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Central to this book about church music is the premise that music itself is never neutral, that music always carries meaning—an idea that has been denied in certain quarters of the church for at least the past three decades. Prompted by the ongoing debates on worship and music and by the attitude that Lutheran church musicians must think more carefully about the purpose of music in worship, Daniel Zager suggests that we can learn much on this topic from Martin Luther and from the work of Lutheran cantors active during the first three centuries of Lutheranism.

This book aims to encourage a widespread recovery of and recommitment to the amazing potential of Lutheran church music, for, as Luther said, “God has preached the Gospel through music too.”

Daniel Zager, BMus, MA, PhD, is a musicologist and Lutheran church musician. He has served as organist and director of music for several Lutheran congregations; was a member of the Hymnody Committee for Lutheran Service Book; and has served as editor of CrossAccent: Journal of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians and of the Journal of the Good Shepherd Institute. He is Associate Dean and Head of the Sibley Music Library at the Eastman School of Music (Rochester, New York), where he also teaches courses related to sacred music in both the musicology department and the sacred music diploma program.

What Others Are Saying
For many, evangelism has usurped theology and has become the litmus test for all thinking and action in the church. Thus, worship and its music have to be overtly evangelistic to be considered authentic, rather than being understood as the outcome of faith and theology and therefore bearing an inherent and genuine evangelistic thrust. Is there something seriously wrong with the theology of the church when two distinct congregations are created that meet in the same building, each identified mostly by its music, one labeled “traditional” and the other “contemporary”? Such questions are often left unconsidered. Here Daniel Zager addresses them squarely and encourages us to examine and think through the consequences of our practices of music in church, to see how they can and should evoke marvelous unitive experiences rather than the divisions that seem to be all too common.
     Robin A. Leaver
     Institute of Sacred Music, Yale University

Drawing upon the seminal principles of music for Lutheran worship established by Martin Luther, Daniel Zager demonstrates through examples the manner in which these were practiced during the Reformation and in succeeding generations—all to proclaim the Gospel. Bringing these principles and practices into our present day, he challenges us to assess our choices of music for use in Lutheran worship relative to its role of Gospel proclamation. This book is a valuable resource for Lutheran pastors and church musicians as together they make choices for music in their parishes.
     Mark Bender
     Minister of Music
     St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and School
     Des Peres, Missouri

Many books about the nature and purpose of Lutheran music have been written in recent years. None are more clearly written or more forcefully argued than this little jewel. What sets it apart from others is the emphasis on the "tight connection" with the Gospel that the author believes music ought to have in worship. The Gospel Preached through Music is a "must have" for all Lutheran church musicians and pastors.
   Carlos Messerli
   Oak Park, Illinois

Item Number:
992281
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