Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Our Swiftly-Shifting Views of Worship:

I’m never more acutely reminded of the changing mindset of the Church than when I listen to hymns. It saddens me indescribably to see them being sung less and less often, and replaced by modern pseudo-worship music. Now, although I do personally prefer the sound of older hymns to modern worship, the musical style isn’t solely what I’m looking at when I make this critique. The negative impact this switch in music is having on the church is a message (both lyrical and subliminal) that seems to have been lost when we made the transition.

In the third verse of the hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers”, the last two lines read,

“We are not divided, all one body we,
One in hope and doctrine, one in charity.”

This line specifically lists doctrine as an element that binds Christians together. We are “One” in doctrine. But . . . are we? I cannot look at the church in America today and honestly say that we, as a body of believers, value the conservation of doctrinal purity. We’re grasping hungrily at whatever sounds right to us, instead of being so intimately familiar with the Word of God that, at the faintest hint of false doctrine, we immediately recognize it as such and reject it. Let us not be so eager to call everyone who claims “Jesus is my Homeboy” a Christian! By doing this, we are not being “seeker-friendly” by making the way to the Kingdom look more attractive, but instead making it much more difficult for anyone to see the true path. Does our worship music reflect our firm stance on pure doctrine, or does it skirt the details? Does it talk about nothing else but the fact that “God is love”, so as to avoid boring people, or turning them off?
When we read the lyrics of this specific hymn, it’s obvious (to anyone with an IQ that doesn’t make Forrest Gump’s look high) that it describes the leading of a Christian life as a battle, and the Earth as a war-zone. We’re “soldiers”, as the title tells us. I charge you to find one popular modern worship song that sings of the battle that is our faith . . . and sings about it with joy and thankfulness! For that matter, find one that sings of the importance of sound doctrine. Not only the importance of it, but the unity it offers! “One in hope and doctrine…” Doesn’t culturally-popular Christianity like to tell us that the way to create unity among believers is to not discuss controversial topics? Not disagree with others over “little details”? I love how John McArthur put it when he said this:

“Hymnology is tied to theology and where you have depth you have height. Where you have a shallow theology you have a shallow hymn knowledge. Where you have a superficial understanding of divine truth, you have superficial expression of it. But where you have a people who have come to grips of divine truth and who have grandiose and glorious thoughts about God produced by an understanding of the profound realities of divine truth, they're not content with a shallow expression. We love the old hymns because they are profound. They have a certain poetic genius that reaches into the depths of our theology and gives it expression. We don't need to be seduced by a sort of a saloon melody. It's enough for us to sing great words; we don't need a mantra to induce an emotion. Our thoughts of truth and our thoughts of God catapult us into lofty hymns.”


In all honesty, trashing modern worship music is not a personal vendetta of mine. I truly wish to see God’s Truth relayed in the music that we raise up as humble offerings to Him. Of course there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with the word “modern”. After all, every style of music was “modern” at some point, right? Here’s the thing; the vast majority of modern worship music is set to, as McArthur put it, a “saloon melody”. The vast majority are so scant of verses and substance that they end up resembling chants rather than songs of praise. For instance, we sang a song in church last Sunday entitled “His Grace Covers Me”, and it went like this . . .

Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound
Amazing love, Now flowing down
From hands and feet That were nailed to the tree
As grace flows down and covers me

(repeat)

Chorus:
It covers me
It covers me
It covers me

Verse

Chorus:
And covers me
And covers me
And covers me
His grace flows down and covers me

Combine these virtually substance-less lyrics with dipping, swelling, reverberating music, and you have a recipe for an utterly self-focused “worship” session.
To help put things in perspective, let’s use the general outline for a song of adoration about someone else. Say . . . any old generic love song. Even many of these dime-a-dozen floozy-tunes have the right idea, to a certain extent. The lyrics of said songs do not repeat lines about a lover’s forgiveness/ kindness over . . . and over . . . and over. They do not, in general, speak solely of how very much the subject of the song loves the singer, but rather how much the singer loves the subject of the song. These love songs are completely focused on the person that the song was written about; how beautiful her smile is, how gently he speaks, or (…ehem…) how big her booty is. Yes, they aren’t the best that a song can be (by a long shot), but at least their content is focused on the person being worshipped, and not the person doing the worshipping.
Have we forgotten that worshipping the Lord isn’t for our benefit? Although it ultimately is beneficial to us, when this becomes our primary focus we miss the point entirely. No matter what postmodernists try to tell us, worship is not about us “experiencing God”. We worship to glorify the Lord . . . to speak words of adoration about our Savior. He deserves no less; indeed, He deserves infinitely more! Why is it, then, that we don’t see a worship session as successful unless it evokes the correct emotional response from the worshippers? Incredibly dramatic musical arrangements, created to evoke said deeply-felt emotional responses, are (at best) unnecessary and (at worst) a egotism-inducing. When we’re caught up in emotions and feelings, our mindset tends to automatically become more self-focused. Saint Augustine seems to hold this view himself, as evidenced in book X of The Confessions, when he writes,

"At times it seems to me that I am paying {the songs of worship} more honor than is their due, because I am aware that our minds are more deeply moved to devotion by those holy words when they are sung, and more ardently inflamed to piety, than would be the case without singing. I realize that all the varied emotions of the human spirit respond in ways proper to themselves to a singing voice and a song, which arouse them by appealing to some secret affinity. Yet sensuous gratification, to which I must not yield my mind, for fear it grow languid, often deceives me: not content to follow meekly in the wake of reason, in whose company it has gained entrance, sensuous enjoyment often essays to run ahead and take the lead. And so in this respect I sin, and only realize it later." (In this passage, Augustine was writing about his thoughts/opnions on music as a means of worship)

None of this is to say that having an emotional response to worship music is a negative thing—far from it, in fact. The negative aspect comes from misaligned priorities of the worshipper. When our main goal is to use our voices to show adoration for our Savior, whether or not we feel particularly adoring and euphoric at the moment, then we will truly be worshipping. We will realize that this is how God intended our songs of praise to be sung . . . because our hearts are most joyful in the midst of glorious humility.



I Chronicles 16:8-9~
Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of his wondrous works.

1 Chronicles 16:23-25~
Sing unto the Lord, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation. Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvelous works among all nations. For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he also is to be feared above all gods.

Psalm 66:1-2~
Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Sing forth the honor of his name: make his praise glorious.

I Corinthians 14:14-15~
For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.
What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

40 comments:

如此的 said...

It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.............................................

作弊 said...

還是喜歡這裡-支持你........................................

寧年 said...

不斷的砍伐用的雖是小斧,卻能砍倒最堅硬的橡樹。 ..................................................

kariet_zeigler0802 said...

路過--你好嗎..很棒的BLOG.........................................

NylaWoodcock0502 said...

0401影音成人影片交流愛撫淫叫色情照片性愛圖片女生如何自慰激突成人論壇美女脫胸罩走光一夜正妹視訊情人性愛論壇85cc影城性伴侶85cc色情影片打手槍情色視訊聊天室色情a片色情色情圖片限制級照片色情電話520sex免費色情網情色性愛一夜情聊天網成人聊天網視訊成人台灣性網av一夜女情色av淫女免費視訊美女挑逗情色影音聊天作愛影片辣妹清涼秀美女做愛成人自拍貼圖成人資訊色論壇台灣色情成人網站色情視訊聊天露三點打砲情色性愛貼圖av成人網成人影片

Myrle14778 said...

0401影音成人影片交流愛撫淫叫色情照片性愛圖片女生如何自慰激突成人論壇美女脫胸罩走光一夜正妹視訊情人性愛論壇85cc影城性伴侶85cc色情影片打手槍情色視訊聊天室色情a片色情色情圖片限制級照片色情電話520sex免費色情網情色性愛一夜情聊天網成人聊天網視訊成人台灣性網av一夜女情色av淫女免費視訊美女挑逗情色影音聊天作愛影片辣妹清涼秀美女做愛成人自拍貼圖成人資訊色論壇台灣色情成人網站色情視訊聊天露三點打砲情色性愛貼圖av成人網成人影片

士軒 said...

Very good stories~~ Thanks for ur sharing~~!! ........................................

雅慧 said...

脾氣與嘴巴不好,就算心地再好,也不算好人~~~ ....................................................

淑惠 said...

辣妹走光正妹走光脫衣秀脫衣走光色情自慰自拍成人全裸打炮打手槍打飛機巨乳巨奶女優大奶性交性愛淫蕩淫慾淫亂淫婦淫妹淫叫淫水淫女情慾情色做愛限制級波霸口交18禁

FelixV惠萍_Ferrari said...

你的選擇就是做或不做,不做就永遠不會有機會.............................................

韋于倫成 said...

免費a片觀看,凌辱人妻溫泉 豆豆聊天室 s383情色視訊大網咖 免費視訊影片 1111免費成人電影 嘉義視訊哈啦聊天室 絕色成人 av168成人 視訊聊天室aqaq hbo論壇 45av無碼a片 免費視訊聊天網 後宮電影電影院 免費情愛影片 成人免費視訊-玩美女人 dv影視免費線上 嘟嘟kk拓網視訊 sex888免費看影片論壇,18 成人 美女視訊免費看 sogo論壇a片線上看 聊天室ukiss 免費視訊ggo 飄蟲本土自拍論壇區 情趣 用品成人用品維納斯 666成人視訊網 dodo豆豆聊天室 sex888,sexy girl avdvd無碼情色電影 sexy girl免費aa片試看 sex999免費影片兼職援交 影音視訊免費送 300 點 色美媚部落格免費 18 成人dudu sex,h影片 視訊辣妹34c甜心寶貝直播貼片 18 禁亞洲名模瘋情 aio辣妹交友愛情館 李冠儀性感照 視訊交友icc 6k聊天館 免費影片觀賞,sex女優王國 環球辣妹聊天室2009情色文學168論壇 85街免費影片 a片商 成人貼圖站色情av片 sex520-成人網 視訊美女msvt s383情色視訊網 777美女dvd 台灣a片王-avdvd 視訊美女 寫真

730A_ngelinaRabideau0 said...

一個人的快樂,不是因為他擁有的多,而是他計較的少。..................................................

子ChristiLavigne11善 said...

Well done!............................................................

王周宏儒 said...

喘口氣,看個文章,謝謝您的格子囉~~..................................................

MinB2139 said...

路過--你好嗎..很棒的BLOG...................................................

千TatianaCallan惠 said...

你不能決定生命的長度,但你可以控制它的寬度................................................................

木堯木堯 said...

Poverty is stranger to industry.................................................................

哲維維 said...

知識可以傳授,智慧卻不行。每個人必須成為他自己。......................................................................

凱文凱文 said...

成熟,就是有能力適應生活中的模糊。.................................................................

明霖明霖 said...

成熟,就是有能力適應生活中的模糊。.................................................................

王名仁 said...

向著星球長驅直進的人,反比踟躕在峽路上的人,更容易達到目的。............................................................

胤綸胤綸 said...

很用心的blog,推推哦 ..................................................................

吳婷婷 said...

Nothing comes from nothing.............................................................

溫緯李娟王季 said...

希望我的支持可以帶給你快樂--加油.............................................................

吳婷婷 said...

良言一句三冬暖,惡語傷人六月寒。............................................................

楊儀卉 said...

看了你的日誌 覺得今天好充實 晚安瞜.................................[/url]...............

姿吟 said...

加油來給你灌水 .................................[/url]...............

林秋萍林秋萍 said...

很有趣~~感覺很好的blog,祝您人氣長虹............................................................

陳佑發 said...

寫文章需要心情~~期待你再一次的好文章...............................................................

錢靜怡錢靜怡錢靜怡 said...

臨淵羨魚,不如退而結網。............................................................

吳淑芬吳淑芬 said...

拒絕冒險和成長的人,終將被生命的潮流陶汰。.......................................................

淑吳玲 said...

百發百中不是一試就成的。..................................................

劉建黃志宇娥 said...

良言一句三冬暖,惡語傷人六月寒。......................................................................

萬建彰宇 said...

haha~ funny! thank you for your share~............................................................

偉曹琬 said...

要求適合自己的愛情方式,是會得到更多,還是會錯過一個真正愛你的人。..................................................................

家則治則治則治瑋 said...

人生像一杯茶,若一飲而盡,會提早見到杯底..................................................

宗王王王王王穎 said...

keep update, please..bless you!!............................................................

小草 said...

睇完之後覺得有d頓悟..感謝大大分享..˙ 3˙............................................................

玉韓韓韓婷韓韓韓韓 said...

路過留言支持~~~..................................................

璇陳陳陳竹 said...

生命如夏花洵爛;死如秋葉之靜美。........................................ ........................