I admit that I have some struggles regarding music in the church. Now before I go any further, I want you to let you know this is not about worship style or musical instruments. I am all for contemporary service as well as blended. I am for the use of musical instruments in a church service. Now we have gotten that out of the way, I would like to share my struggles regarding music in the church.
The first would be solos. If you have to Southern Baptist churches like me, you know there are at times someone coming up to see a solo whether it is a hymn or a contemporary Christian song. The people singing these songs will get a round of applause or an "Amen" from the congregation. My problem is when people get more out of that than the preaching of the Word of God. My problem is when the congregation gets more excited about the person singing regardless of the song rather than meeting God through the preaching of the Word.
My wife is great singer. I love hearing her sing, but I get anxious when she sings at church because they tend to think she has the voice of an angel. Granted I do say that to her but not in a way that I fall at her feet. The songs she selects have great messages but I feel people were more in tuned with her voice than the actual song.
My second issue is the content of the songs. Have you ever thought about what you are singing theologically? I don't think many in the church do. I have find myself at times during worship not singing songs because I am not liking what I am reading from the lyrics. I am known for not singing songs that I find theologically troublesome. Above All is a song made popular by Michael W Smith which sounds beautiful but one point of the songs makes it sound like Jesus took our sins in our place because He was thinking about us. That is not how I read the Bible. I read the Bible that He willingly and submissively endured the wrath of God on our behalf for the honor of His Father, which is contrary to what another song by Jason Crabb teaches us about the cross of Christ.
Finally, where the song came from. Let me put it this way, you can go to almost any church and they might sing at least one song, if not more depending on their worship style, from Hillsong Church. Sure Hillsong has released many worship anthems over the years. They are the ones that gave us Shout to the Lord after all. Hillsong's worship songs seem really strong lyrically and possibly theologically but there preaching is not. Hillsong is known to proclaim the prosperity gospel and has watered down the gospel message. Now I know as I write this I have made some of you very angry because I am speaking about Hillsong, but hear me out before you shut me out.
I truly believe that there should a marriage between the song portion of the service and the preaching. Not saying you should have songs all about the grace of God if you are preaching about grace. What I am saying here is that solid worship flows from solid preaching. Can you imagine going to a church service where the singing was great but the preaching was off and vice versa? I have been to a few where there was great solid preaching but the worship was more self-centered than anything. One discussion I had with fellow believers in Christ is when you sing a song from a church with questionable theology, you just opened the door for that theology to come into your church. The same could be true on an individual level. I think the church needs to be careful with where a new worship song comes from. This is also true for those churches that do solos. I remember years ago working the audio for a church I was serving and the solos was singing a song that did not mention Jesus or relying on him, but it did talk about keeping the faith which was not about the Christian faith. The song was called The Climb, which was made popular by Miley Cyrus in the "Hanna Montana Movie."
Some of you will disagree with me on these issues and that's okay. Some of you may share in my concerns for music in the church. Some of you are in a church where Hillsong songs are sung and the church has a clear conscience about it even though they do not agree with Hillsong's teaching. Regardless of where you are in this issue, I think one thing we can all agree on is we gather together to worship the Living God who deserves all our worship by giving Him the best we have.