Table Scraps: Interview with Neil Grepke, author of Jesus is Better than Football


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After crunching the song, "Jesus is Better than Football," we gave the author of the song to come on the air and respond to our Praise Song Cruncher. In this Table Scraps, Pastor Wolfmueller interviews Neil Grepke, Lutheran School principle and hit praise song writer.


I see that Mr Grepke is worship leader at St John Lutheran Kendalville. Isn't that the church of Kent Hunter, of church growth fame?


A few comments

I thought I would give a few comments on this:

Mr. Grepke handled himself very well - and kudos to him for his good natured approach to this. Very balanced, very fair - I imagine if I were anywhere near him we could have many fine conversations - some that might get intense, but never angry - which is a lovely thing.

However, here are just a few observations and thoughts I had:

1 - "How Best". I think Mr. Grepke puts forth some very laudable goals, goals that tend to be well focused -- his definition of worship was spot on. And as such I don't think (and I know some would disagree with me) that we can say that the various forms of contemporary worship are "wrong". It shouldn't be a question of right or wrong, for the style is neither forbidden nor commanded in Scripture. The question should be, "How best" can we have a worship where the focus is clearly upon the fact that our Lord brings us life and salvation through His Word and Sacraments. Mr. Grepke himself pointed out some of the difficulties (band location, for one) - these are things to consider - if there is a difficulty maybe they don't fit as well for the desired goal, maybe they aren't the "best" thing to do.

2 - "Timeless Character". Mr. Grepke also pointed out how the song was designed for that Sunday to go along with that Sermon. I can respect that - I am a strong proponent of preaching being apt to the day - that Pastors are to preach to a congregation, and that the shape and character and thoughts and fears of a congregation change over time -- as such, in preaching the same Word, the same pericopes to that Congregation, there is going to be a very timely character, particularly in illustrations and the like. However, hymnody, while topical has always had more of a timeless character - hymns are things that could be sung in all times and in all places. Many hymns have been sung for over 1500 years (or 2500 years if you want to toss in the Psalms) -- they are something that Christians, in whatever time or place, can sing - they can add their voices to those of the angels and archangels and all the company of heaven.

This song doesn't have that timeless character - so perhaps, which a fine song (I get a kick out of it), maybe it isn't quite spot on for worship. Of course, it does have a different function - it is tied to the sermon. . . not congregational singing, so then perhaps some of that to-the-day character is appropriate. . . but then it deprives the congregation of their role in service of joining in the Church's thanksgiving and praise with all the heavenly host. I think it misses the target because of this - it doesn't fit that setting. (In fact, I think it is much more appropriate on You Tube as a thought piece, something to make people think, than it was in a worship service).

Just some thoughts from this way - and again, kudos for coming on Table Scraps!

Rev. Eric J. Brown

P.S. I see this website requires math to actually post. Well, now we all know why Evan never comments here. . .