Someone appropriately said that when Lucifer fell from Heaven he landed in the church choir loft. There aren't a lot of choirs today, so today he might have landed in the midst of the church worship team somewhere between the drums and bass guitar.
Not all contemporary music is inappropriate and unsound. Not all of it is too noisy. Still, music in the church is the great divider and has created the worship wars.
I have just completed a two-week series on "Understanding the Times" radio and in almost 19 years, have never struck such a chord -- no pun intended.
My radio guests and I -- Pastor Brandon Holthaus and Eric Barger -- have dealt with calls and e-mail responses non-stop. Many people are heartsick about today's music in the church.
Some of the following issues were discussed:
- Today's music is, once again, the product of the church-growth movement. This is one way you grow a church: lights, smoke, sound, and "worship-tainment." Church growth is a part of seminary training just as much as theology!
- As a result, when the entertainment angle goes too far, church can seem like a performance at a local nightclub. Is this how a church prepares the people for the preaching from the Word of God?
- Some lyrics are out-of-control as well. Some songs sound more like a valentine love song. Some words are inappropriate. Some are embarrassing. Hear some examples: You are my desire/no one else will do/cause no one else could take your place/to feel the warmth of your embrace (Kelly Carpenter: Draw Me Close). Or, I wanna sit at your feet/lay back against you and breathe/feel your heartbeat/this love is so deep/it's more than I can stand (Kari Jobe: The More I Seek You.) Or, I want to look on the face of the one that I love/long to stay in your presence/it's where I belong/oh it's where I belong with you my love (Kim Walker: Jesus Culture). This is "theoeroticism" or romance to God and is inappropriate! Who sings, "In the secret, quiet hour, I want touch your face and know you more" in church?
- Some songs today represent outrageous theology as well. The popular song "Reckless Love" has 86 million listens on YouTube but is God's love "reckless"? God's actions were intentional and well planned when He sent His son to the cross. He knew us before the foundations of the world.
- How sound are some of the producers of today's music such as "Hillsong," "Jesus Culture", Bethel music, and music produced by the New Apostolic Reformation? The lyrics may promote troubling theology including the Prosperity Gospel and Kingdom Now/Dominion Theology. What good can come from an outfit that produces "Naked Cowbody," a Hillsong production in New York?
|Footage of Hillsong New York featuring "Naked Cowboy"
- Does some of today's music work people up, almost into an altered state of unconsciousness with repetitive words? Why must choruses be sung two-dozen times, inducing a trance-like look on the faces of many?
|Is this Bethel music at "The Send" worshiping God or working up people into a near frenzy with repetitive words?
- Should your church be endorsing the originators, writers, and producers of some of today's music if their lifestyles are questionable? If they won't take a stand on important issues such as LGBTQ? If you accept the art, aren't you accepting all of the artist?
- How worshipful is the music when ear plugs are distributed as you enter the sanctuary? What if the volume is above 80 decibels? Do you know that is hazardous to your health?
- Hear what happens to some people who speak up and try to stand against some of this. Why are they often shown the door?
- But it works! The church is vanishing in Australia -- except for Hillsong with 40,000 attendees! Maybe the ends justify the means!
- Do you know that every time you sing a song a church pays royalties to the producers of those songs? Should we be furthering the outreach of outfits that are not standing for sound doctrine and songwriters/producers who are not leading Godly lives?
We are to "come before His presence with singing" (Psalm 100:2) but with just any style of music? Does anything go? Is the music reflecting the majesty of God or just making us feel good? I s the music focusing on the truth of Scripture?
Could the great end-time falling away predicted in the Bible be hitting the music industry as well as some of our pulpits? Or are the critics of today's music being overly critical and legalistic? Too often today, anything goes if it works.
Hundreds will unsubscribe from these e-mails and more may stop listening to "Understanding the Times" radio as a result of this discussion. We counted the cost. We just find it troubling that some seem to be worshiping worship.
Due to volume, we cannot reply to every e-mail.
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