Among Protestant churches, the Lutheran tradition has the richest heritage of music for worship. It is based on the assumption that music is a profound means by which we enter God’s presence and render our liturgy of thanksgiving to God. Bringing together insights first developed by Martin Luther and practices that have grown out of almost 500 years of Lutheran worship, this article describes why and how music is used in Lutheran worship.
As time went by sectarian differences became less important and denominations cooperated for such causes as evangelism, social action, and missionary activities.
The opportunity for social gatherings had a powerful appeal to people who were starving for companionship. They were stirred by the evangelistic drive of the preachers, who encouraged emotional expression. The same exhibitions of tearful remorse and exuberant joy that appeared in England under Wesley’s preaching and in the Great Awakening in America appeared on the frontier. Out of the conversions of the camp meetings, the churches gathered recruits and the morals of the region showed dramatic improvement.
The English Government compelled the colonial Government to be more hospitable to persons who did not conform to colonial Congregationalism. In 1691 the original charter of the colony was taken away and a substitute provided. By that time Baptist and Episcopal churches had been founded in Boston.
The most famous document from the Assembly was the Westminster Confession of Faith. It was strictly Calvinistic and as such not only met the needs of English Presbyterians, but it was adopted by the Church of Scotland to take the place of the Scottish creed of 1560. It became the basis of Congregationalist creeds, and it was the model for statements of doctrine by English and American Baptists.
William Brigham Tappan, an influential leader in Sunday school work in the Congregational Church, was born in Beverly, Massachusetts in 1794. As a young man he taught school in Philadelphia. From 1826 until his death he worked for the American Sunday School Union as a manager and superintendent.
Jeremiah Eames Rankin, a Congregational minister and educator, was born in Thornton, New Hampshire in 1828. After graduating from Middlebury College in 1848 he became a pastor at various New England Congregational Churches.
Ray Palmer, a Congregational minister, was born in Little Compton, Rhode Island in 1808. At 13 he became a clerk in a dry goods store in Boston where he joined the Park Street Congregational Church. That church’s pastor, Dr. S.E. Dwight, discerned his promise and took a deep interest in him – helping him get into Phillips Academy, Andover and later Yale College.
Thomas Toke Lynch, an English Congregational minister, was born in Essex, England in 1818. He was pastor of a small church at Highgate until illness forced his retirement for three years (1856-1859). He resumed pastoral relations in 1860 with his former parishioners – who completed a new place of worship (Mornington Church) on Hampstead Road, London in 1862.
Joseph Hart, a Congregational minister in England, was born in 1712 to pious parents. He was well educated and was for many years a teacher of the classics. As a young man he renounced religion but, at the age of 40, began reading the Bible and found the peace he sought.