WHI-1341 | The Theology of Christmas Carols

Sunday, 18 Dec 2016

PROGRAM AUDIO & RESOURCES

Have you ever taken the time to really listen to and think about the lyrics of the various Christmas carols that you hear on the radio and in the shopping malls at this time of year? On this program the hosts will do just that as they consider popular songs like “Jingle Bells” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” to more traditional carols such as “Away in a Manger” and “Silent Night.” Finally, they’ll explore the theology expressed in the world’s first Christmas carols recorded for us in the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke. The theology of Christmas carols is our theme on this episode of the White Horse Inn as we continue our series on “The Incarnation.”

 

Guest Quote

“Hymns have always shaped the theology of the church. In the ancient church, in the early Christological debates, so often the hymns provided the raw material for the creeds. And so, it relates so much to what we sing around Christmas time because we’re singing about these Christological topics, the incarnation of Jesus Christ, who Jesus is. And so really, we don’t want to be over the top, but at the same time, I think people recognizing that this is theology and what we’re saying, what we’re singing is meaningful and it teaches. It’s catechizing us. It’s catechizing our children. We have to take that into account.”

–Adriel Sanchez

 

Term to Learn

“Moralistic Therapeutic Deism”

When Christian Smith and his fellow researchers with the National Study of Youth and Religion at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill took a close look at the religious beliefs held by American teenagers, they found that the faith held and described by most adolescents came down to something the researchers identified as “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.” As described by Smith and his team, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism consists of beliefs like these: (1) “A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth”; (2) “God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions”; (3) “The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself”; (4) “God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem”; (5) “Good people go to heaven when they die.” That, in sum, is the creed to which much adolescent faith can be reduced. After conducting more than 3,000 interviews with American adolescents, the researchers reported that, when it came to the most crucial questions of faith and beliefs, many adolescents responded with a shrug and “whatever.”

(Taken from “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism—the New American Religion” by R. Albert Mohler, Jr., published on The Christian Post, April 18, 2005)

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