Thursday, August 31, 2017

Terrible Worship Songs; Should We Sing Them?

        Age-old hymns and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) are predominantly sung in the churches. Contemporary Christian Music is also labeled as “Worship Songs” or “Praise & Worship Songs.”

            Quite undoubtedly, young people are largely attracted to churches that sing contemporary worship songs. However, the detractors of worship songs claim that some of these songs are theologically incorrect and hence they should not be sung in churches.

            This is not an endeavor to establish or suggest the supremacy of either of these genres of Christian music. But is it possible to justify Contemporary Christian Music, even if it is not theologically correct, for the simple reason that it attracts young Christians to the churches?

            Consider two key allegations against contemporary worship songs:

            (1) Some songs do not mention God or Jesus e.g. “In the Secret” & “Draw Me Close.” If the song does not mention God, it’s quite easy to misunderstand the lyrics. These songs would make sense if they were sung in churches or clubs.

            Consider the song “Draw me close,’ “Who do you want to draw you close? Could be the Lord. Could also be your middle school crush.”1

            The song ‘In the Secret’ contains the lyrics, “I want to touch you, I want to see your face, I want to know you more.” Since this song does not mention God or Jesus, “It’s tough to sing lines like these when the song never mentions who you’re singing to, and this one never does. The vague lyrics could easily suggest a plan to sneak around and make out in the bushes or a desire to encounter Jesus.”2

            (2) Some songs contain faulty theology. The song, “When I look into your Holiness” contained the lyric, “when my will becomes enthroned in your love.” Our will cannot be enthroned in God’s love; instead HIS will should be ours. Hence, a more acceptable word “enthralled” replaced the contentious word “enthroned.” Our will can certainly be enthralled by HIS love, but it cannot be enthroned in HIS love.

            Another well known song that apparently contains faulty theology is, “Blessed be your name,” “the lyrics of the bridge (“You give and take away…”) are problematic.”3 The faulty theology is explained here, “The words “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away,” from the lips of Job, are not good theology.  They’re bad theology.  According to Job 1, it was not God, but the Devil who took away Job’s children, health and wealth.  God allowed it to happen, but when Job said these words, as the rest of the story shows, he was not yet enlightened about the true nature of where his calamity came from and what God’s will actually was for his life — which was for good, and not for harm.”4

            Poor theology could be excused but what about songs devoid of theology? A well-known song, Oceans (Where Feet May Fail), is a case in point, “The whole thing seems to live in this self-indulgent purgatory, without any concrete statement of faith, without any trace of the Christian story, beginning and ending in these dream-like sequences of possible drowning. And it’s simply not a congregational song. If you MUST sing it, have it be done as a prayer by a soloist.”5

            Are these allegations devoid of rationality? Should we continue to sing these contentious worship songs?

            First, should we not sing any song that does not mention God or Jesus? If we are literally bound to this rule, then we should protest against the book of Esther (in the Old Testament), for there is no mention of God in the book of Esther.

            If the worship song does not mention God or Jesus, would not the sole purpose for writing the song and/or the context in which that song is sung, provide the much needed credibility to that song?

            The contentious song, Oceans, written by Hillsong United, was written for the sole purpose of singing in the church to worship God. Isn’t this sufficient to prove that that song is a Christian song? 

            Likewise, even if the song does not mention God or Jesus would not the church in which it is sung offer clarity that that song was meant to worship and glorify God?

            Second, should a worship song that is theologically incorrect be discarded? A worship song should be discarded if it contains a heresy. A worship song should be discarded, if it denies the core tenets of Historic Christianity.

            If the worship song does not promote a heresy, it need not be discarded. If a worship song does not deny the core tenets of Historic Christianity, it could be tolerated or suitable changes could be made to that song (if possible).

            Finally, those who claim to have apostatized6 because of a theologically incorrect worship song would discover, upon sincere introspection, the underlying reason(s) that was/were the primary cause for their desertion. For instance, a deep disappointment in God or Christians could surface while hearing or singing a particular worship song.

            Therefore, it is that deep disappointment in God that motivated the apostasy, and not the worship song. A worship song, in itself, cannot be cited as the sole reason to reject Christianity.

            Satan has succeeded in making substantial splits in Christianity, let us not be his agent to divide the church anymore. Let us be channels of unity and peace in the church of Jesus Christ.

Endnotes:

1https://www.onfaith.co/discussion/lets-stop-singing-these-10-worship-songs?facebook_join=1#/_=_

2Ibid.

3http://www.patheos.com/blogs/ponderanew/2016/02/08/10-worship-songs-we-should-stop-singing/2/#MrvQMLLOUg7DEuEV.99

4http://www.patheos.com/blogs/bibleandculture/2012/01/24/good-grief-soundings-part-one/#PYCFjAGxD8hr1rbU.99

5http://www.patheos.com/blogs/ponderanew/2016/02/08/10-worship-songs-we-should-stop-singing/5/#Prb0QwOLVZUIqQwy.99


6http://www.nashvillescene.com/music/article/13056969/how-a-terrible-worship-song-drove-me-from-christianity

2 comments:

Denny Benjamin said...

Anna, There is a connection between soundness of the theology preached in a church and the songs sung there.

Pastors do more event management, selfies, excited inspirational talks, dress up like dandies, shave off hair from the sides, grow thick beards, etc. than proper exegesis. The Christian world has gone after corporate biggies to have them speak in their pulpits and rely on goalcasts and other inspirational videos to get ahead in life.

The most beautiful and precious life giving and life changing word of the true and eternal God is not preached in all its beauty any more. The christian world talks about great doctors, engineers, scientists, PhDs, authors, artists, etc. more than they would of a good and godly preacher who preached a convicting and uplifting sermon.

It is rotten at the roots. Love for God has waxed cold.

Raj Richard said...

Denny, What a sad state of affairs in the church of Jesus Christ, is it not? You have wonderfully articulated the malady plaguing the church today. I grieve with you, brother.