We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Some Thoughts About “Contemporary” Music in Worship

How many seeker-sensitive and market-driven churches would lose their audience if they dropped the rock music?  What you win them with is what you win them to!
“I challenge those committed to the contemporary philosophy to give up rock music for one month and serve the Lord without it.  If you need rock music in order to enjoy and serve the Lord, you have a serious problem.”  David W. Cloud, O Timothy, Vol.20/No.5, p.6
“Dr. Johnson once said, that if he were allowed to make the ballads of a nation, he cared not who made the laws.  It is true in a more important sense that he who is permitted to make the hymns of a church, need care little who preaches, or who makes the creed.  He will more effectually mold the sentiments of a church than they who preach or make creeds and confessions.”  Albert Barnes, Barnes Notes on the New Testament, Ephesians-Colossians.
“Regardless of whether the words are, ‘party till ya puke’ or ‘Jesus loves me,’ when the bass is so powerful that car alarms have been known to go off, do the words really make a difference?  Okay, so now that the volume’s been turned down, find out if the Christian words really have a message that glorifies God.  I believe the music itself should be tested as well. How will Christians be noticed if they look - and sound - just like the world?”  Will Humble, Bay City, TX.  Letter to editor of New Attitude Magazine, June-August 1993.

6 comments:

Steve Bricker said...

You reminded me of this past Sunday. I did not sing for the whole meeting because there was nothing worth singing. That was the first time it had happened--hopefully the last.

Everyone else seemed to be getting into the music, though, and that's what counts. Right? Appeal to the senses and emotions so everyone feels good about being there.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

How sad. The "music" and songs were one of the reasons we departed that assembly back in 1998, and still refuse to visit.

Ralph M. Petersen-Always Right; Sometimes Wrong! said...

Just today I listened, politely. to a guy talking up his church for having (on purpose) four different venues so that they can tailor their worship styles to the musical tastes of their members. One of those venues was called, "The Edge," and, of course, consisted of edgy, headbanging contemporary music.

He talked about some of the older, traditional members who think that, just because they love "How Great Thou Art," kids should love it too. Can you imagine that?

I lead the singing in my church. Last week one of my daughters asked me if I might choose "How Great Thou Art" because they are teaching it to my grandchildren. So Sunday we did sing it. As I looked out over the congregation, there were all eight of my grandchildren (the youngest are three-year-old twins) singing their hearts out with smiles on their faces.

Children can be taught to like good, edifying music.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Ralph,

Good for you!

Kids wil "like" what they are taught to like. If you feed them garbage, they will eat garbage. If you feed them nutrition, they will eat nutrition. This idea of pandering to the lowest common denominator is ruining our children's walk.

072591 said...

There are two very serious flaws with this mentality.

1) You are judging the bulk of the contemporary worship music against the best of older hymns - the ones that have survived. What were the bulk of the songs back in the 1800s?

We have a natural tendency to romanticize the past, but there was serious outrage to "Oh, What a Friend We Have in Jesus," in the 1870's, showing that music has always ben contentious.

2) The bigger flaw, and I pin this one on music directors in churches today, is the assumption that a Christian song is automatically a worship song. This brings a lot of songs that are, in and of themselves, good songs, but being brought into an environment to which it was never intended and evaluated under an inapplicable standard.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

072591,

Well, the context of two of the quotes is about the rock and roll and other nonsense type.

I have previous posts which speak of some of the great new stuff (as by Townsend, et al) as well as some bad older stuff.

The other citation just points out that music is so powerful that whoever controls what is taught in the hymns controls the theology!

You last point is one I have made many times - just because it is a good song that doesn't mean it is good for corporate worship.