Friday, November 18, 2011

A USA TODAY article on church music

Here is an article in the USA TODAY newspaper.  The topic is basically traditional music vs. contemporary "Christian" music, and styles of worship.  The article I would say is quite objective.  Both sides of the coin are presented.  Ms. Grossman (journalist) even quotes David Cloud (which Bro. Cloud never said - come to find out there are some inaccuracies with the article.).  The article explained that 50% of Protestant churches (of the 14,000 which was surveyed) now use electric guitars and drums in worship, which was a jump from 35% in 2000.  Here are some of the reasons used by the CCM proponents in the article, and what follows are my own reflections.

1.  "Just because you don't like the tunes, doesn't mean it is theologically incorrect." -  Music isn't simply a matter of taste.  Yes, there is room for preferences, but when the music crosses Scriptural boundaries it becomes sin, and to indulge in it is sinful.

2.  "The Bible doesn't have an official soundtrack." - I wish it did.  It would make all of our lives easier.  The Bible does have guidelines, plenty in fact, and some of them relate to music both directly and indirectly.

3.  "...we don't worship music, we worship God." - I am not calling into question his motives.  I like it when people worship God.  God deserves our worship.  The Heavenly host is occupied with God's worship (Rev. 4-5).  The question is, does God receive the worship we give to Him?

4.  " long as people are worshipping [sic] in spirit and in truth, we can worship in any way that reaches our hearts." -  Worship isn't about reaching our hearts.  It just isn't about us period.

Music, as an artistic medium, communicates.  A song is controlled by the music, not the lyrics.  It really doesn't matter what the lyrics say because the music itself presides.  Bad music with good lyrics makes bad music.  Just like with mathematical integers a negative times a positive will always result in a negative.


Jack Lamb said...

I'll chime in on a couple of these:
3. "...we don't worship music, we worship God."
Then try using conservative music in your church for a month! See if people leave, then you'll know what they really worship!

4. " long as people are worshipping [sic] in spirit and in truth, we can worship in any way that reaches our hearts." - Worship isn't about reaching our hearts. It just isn't about us period.
Amen! Isn't worship about us yielding our hearts to God not reaching our own hearts?

Unknown said...

Thank you, Pastor Lamb.

JSavage said...

As long as we are in the world, we will be drawn to the world. It is part of our old nature. The biggest problem I see in the article is not from any of the CCM pastors. Their ideas and ideals are no threat to our churches. It is from the gentleman that said the role of church music is to "teach and edify believers, prepare our hearts to hear God's word." It is the philosophy that music "is a tool," or "has a job to do" that leads us down the wrong path in the first place. Music is a sacrifice of praise to God; nothing more. It is individual and corporate all at once. It is never the cause of worship, rather it is the effect of worship. We do not sing because we want to worship, we sing because we are already worshiping. When we use worship as a tool, things may go well for a time. Eventually the tool will break or become less effective. It is then that we try to find a better, more effective tool to do the job. What style of music does God prefer? The scripture is silent on this. Christian music has changed with the ages and will continue to. What we sing today may be vastly different from what our children will sing. Music is always changing. What doesn't change is that we are to be "unspotted from the world." This doesn't mean that our music cannot adapt to the ebb and flow of the time, It means that our worship should have no resemblance to the world. The Bible says we are to sing a new song, even praise unto our God.

Unknown said...

Right on, Pastor J. Savage. Furthermore, to go along with the "we sing because we are already worshiping" line, not only should our lyrics match the music, but, and more importantly our hearts should also match or reflect the message of the music.

JSavage said...

If our music is an outpouring of inward worship, our "hearts matching our music" should be automatic. No?