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A NEW SONG
PART 3

 

 

By Paul Proctor

February 13, 2004

NewsWithViews.com

Even if the "style" of music and the way it is presented in church and in worship didn�t matter to God and, just for the sake of argument, we agreed with Rick Warren�s erroneous statement, "There's no such thing as Christian music. There are just Christian lyrics", (which we obviously do not) we must realize that what is said lyrically in much of today's Christian contemporary and praise music is not all that biblical but is, by and large, purely emotional and therefore potentially misleading to those that embrace it.

With respect to discernment, (a spiritual quality many Christians seem to lack these days), it is vitally important that worshipers not only pay attention to what is NOT SAID in sermons being preached but also what is NOT SAID in songs being sung. Just as the purpose driven, seeker sensitive message lacks certain scriptural condemnations, declarations, requirements and directives that are inherently offensive to the lost, the new music that accompanies it, lacks most of these attributes as well.

It may surprise some that many of today's contemporary Christian songs and popular praise choruses are quite suitable for use by almost any of the world's religions. Like the church growth movement, the lyrical content is, more often than not, emotionally strong, theologically weak and largely ambiguous. Because such music verbalizes little more than fleeting emotions, vivid imaginings, poetic interpretations and felt-need affections toward a universal or generic "God", leaving out any potentially offensive doctrinal specifics � especially scriptural negatives like sin, repentance, shed blood, crucified, cross, etc., virtually any god or religion could be accommodated, worshipped and served by their use. This is not to say that all traditional hymns are scripturally accurate and edifying or that all contemporary music and praise songs are not. But the church and those in music ministry should note the clear and contrasting tendency of each.

In the following excerpt taken from an article published by the Pensacola Christian College, entitled: Why Sing Hymns? some very valid points were made:

"The trend today is to replace traditional hymns with contemporary praise choruses. This is not a good trend, especially for youth and new believers who need a strong doctrinal focus. Hymns present clear expressions of the knowledge of God and biblical truth. Col. 3:16 admonishes 'Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.'

Most contemporary praise choruses lack this emphasis. For example, a Muslim can sing many contemporary praise choruses and never utter a contradiction of his faith because praise choruses tend to focus on our affections for God rather than doctrinal truth. In contrast, a Muslim cannot sing a Christian hymn without professing doctrine that contradicts Islamic faith. Contemporary praise choruses often omit the identity of the God to whom it is sung, and they are so vague they could be sung to any false god. Even gospel choruses do not take the place of hymns rich in doctrine.

To discard hymns is not only unwise but also dangerous, for the identification and character of our Christian faith depends upon doctrinal distinctions. By singing hymns that are permeated with doctrinal truth, we help protect younger generations against the indictment: 'there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land' - Hosea 4:1.��

It is interesting to note that in a July, 2002 article written by Rick Warren, entitled: Selecting Worship Music, he addressed the divisiveness created by trying to incorporate differing styles of music into worship � something most churches are not prepared to accept � not yet anyway. They might, though, after reading what Pastor Warren had to say on the subject � considering his rapidly growing celebrity and influence over the 21st century church.

"In the first years of Saddleback I made the mistake of underestimating the power of music. Because we didn't have a lot of talented musicians we minimized the use of music in our services. I regret that now�The other mistake I made at the beginning of Saddleback was trying to appeal to everybody's taste.

We covered the gamut, from 'Bach to Rock.' often in a single service! We'd alternate between traditional hymns, praise choruses, and contemporary Christian songs. We wanted to make everyone happy so we used classical, country, jazz, rock, reggae, easy listening, and even rap. The crowd never knew what was coming next.

Do you know who we pleased? Nobody!

Do you know who we frustrated? Everybody!

It was like a radio station trying to appeal to everyone by playing every type of music. It doesn't work!

It's impossible to appeal to everyone's musical preference and taste. You can�t make everyone happy. Music is a divisive issue. Music styles separate generations, regions of the country, personality types, and even family members! So we shouldn�t be surprised when opinions differ in the church.

You must decide who you're trying to reach, identify their preferred style of music and then stick with it. Define your target, bite the bullet, and go for it. You're wasting your time if you're searching for a style of music that everyone in your church will agree on."

Do you realize the subtle implication here? By stating that we SHOULD NOT mix music styles in worship, (which most churches now do thanks in large part to the practices of men like Rick Warren and Bill Hybels) he is now suggesting that we choose only one style of music and stay with it. Funny � I wonder if he believed that back when the church sang only hymns?

Bear in mind, now, he didn't come right out and say, "get rid of the hymns" � at least not in the above article. He didn�t really have to. That would have turned too many against him. For some time now, churches have, however, been in a slow yet steady transition from the traditional to the "progressive", using both hymns and praise music for the sake of mass appeal. Knowing this, he only had to advise them to choose between the two and, in doing so, would cleverly relieve them of those pesky old hymns that edify the saints and give glory to God � all without ever having to actually say, "Get rid of the hymns." If you didn�t already know � that's called manipulation.

If you lure children to the dinner table with sweets � then tell them they have to choose between eating the candy or the creamed spinach� that they can't have both; what do you think they're going to choose? You certainly won't have to tell them to choose the candy; you only have to tell them to choose. Their sweet tooth will take care of the rest. Once they've eaten all the candy they can hold � does that mean they've had their dinner? At a seeker-sensitive, purpose driven church it does. You don't have to tell the lost to stay away from traditional hymns and King James Bibles � you only have to offer sugary-sweet alternatives. Then later, tell them they have to choose. They won�t just love the alternatives and recommend them to others; they'll proudly proclaim their abject hatred for anything else. Why? Because they were trained to�

So, now that the church is hooked on sweets, he's telling us we can�t have both � that we need to choose. Do you really think that churches will want to give up the candy of contemporary music now? Of course not! And the obvious choice will be to forfeit the scripturally nutritious meal that hymns offer in order to preserve the peace. You see, Warren ingeniously changed the controversial question from: "Shouldn't we add contemporary music to reach the unchurched?" to "Shouldn't we use ONLY contemporary music to keep the unity?"

It's just one more example of the dialectic being used to steer the church toward a one world religion through the manipulative process of gradualism � from questioning biblical authority and tradition � to practicing compromise � to total and complete capitulation.

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." � Romans 12:2

Related Articles:

Why Sing Hymns?
Selecting Worship Music

� 2004 Paul Proctor - All Rights Reserved

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Paul Proctor, a rural resident of the Volunteer state and seasoned veteran of the country music industry, retired from showbiz in the late 1990's to dedicate himself to addressing important social issues from a distinctly biblical perspective. As a freelance writer and regular columnist for NewsWithViews.com, he extols the wisdom and truths of scripture through commentary and insight on cultural trends and current events. His articles appear regularly on a variety of news and opinion sites across the internet and in print. Paul may be reached at [email protected]

 


 

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"Do you really think that churches will want to give up the candy of contemporary music now? Of course not! And the obvious choice will be to forfeit the scripturally nutritious meal that hymns offer in order to preserve the peace."