The Queen of Repetition

I was talking the other day with a friend about the propriety of making fun of cheesy Christian music. We both agreed that there was a time when it was called for, and that there was a time when it was not called for at all. But where is that line, and how do we determine that line?

The principle first.

“I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: The humble shall hear thereof, and be glad” (Ps. 34:1–2, emphasis mine).

Whenever someone is praising the Lord, and they really are, the reaction of all those who hear should be gladness. My gladness in someone else’s praise is a mark of humility, especially if their manner of praising the Lord is not my cup of tea. That is the foundational principle, the one that Michal violated when she took offense at David dancing before the Lord (2 Sam. 6:16).

Nevertheless comma and at the same time, there are additional complications. When someone is offering praise up to God, and they are doing the best they can, is not their offering in the same place as the offering of the two mites from the widow (Mark 12:42)? But it gets complicated because it actually needs to be the best they can do.

“When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts” (Mal. 1:8, ESV, emphasis mine).

I have seen people offer musical sacrifices to the Most High that they would not dream of attempting on America’s Got Talent. Their theory appears to be, not that God is infinitely majestic and therefore worthy of our utmost, but rather that God is infinitely forgiving, and therefore the people of God must allow me to bask in the narcissistic spotlight—because God will accept anything. I am doing this in church, which means that people have to let me get away with anything. Otherwise they have a critical spirit.

Part of the issue is the differential between what the person could offer and what they are in fact offering. If a small child is jabbering praise to God from the high chair, only a Pharisee would be censorious (Ps. 8:2). But suppose someone who was capable of far better than that decided to jabber in order to save on all that rehearsal time. Now what? The problem with Ananias and Sapphira was that they gave a portion of their goods while pretending they were giving all (Acts 5:1-3).

The Lord can receive the humblest of offerings. But is it a mark of humility to latch onto simplistic music, and then stubbornly refuse to get any better over 30 years? I say this acknowledging that a pure heart and three chords is precious in the sight of the Lord, and high level performance can be obnoxious to Him. Who required you to fill up my court with divas?

“Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; For I will not hear the melody of thy viols” (Amos 5:23).

Life, in other words, is complicated. I hope you got a chuckle out of the cartoon, but also remember, at the same time, that the queen of all repetition is a song from the Bible (Ps. 136).

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Jonathan
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Jonathan

Probably the most moving weekly worship experience I have ever participated in was a Black Baptist church that sang “We Exhalt Thee” every single week. It’s already a simple song, and they repeated that chorus over and over and over again. But the power, the heartfelt truth, the unity that went into that weekly reminder was incredible. And they sang it really well. The choir and the instrumentalists in that church were extremely talented, and they even fit solos into the service well, though solos usually really annoy me. But there was nothing they did that was as powerful an… Read more »

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

While I’m not sure I’d identify it as “an experience of worship”, rubbing shoulders with enthusiastic or meditative singers can really be moving.

Some alarm in me rings when I hear the singing portion of your typical protestant assembly service categorized as the “worship” part.

insanitybytes22
Member

“Some alarm in me rings when I hear the singing portion of your typical protestant assembly service categorized as the “worship” part.”

Me too! I don’t get that.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Maybe has to do with “getting into the zone”.

The last couple generations have put a premium on swaying with the foetal rhythm of love and security.

It’s a consumer experience.

Not all bad, mind you.
It has its place.

insanitybytes22
Member

Sometimes I think we get into the zone and forget the whole part about what we are actually getting into the zone “for.”

While music can be worship, it often seems like preparation for something, but whatever we are preparing for is all but forgotten. It’s not all bad, not a complaint at all, I just think we’re forgetting some things.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

A couple years back I heard a snippet of Doug informing mommies & daddies that bringing & tending to their squirming, worming, whining little ones might probably itself be one of the highest acts of worship.
So keep it up.

Evan
Guest
Evan

lol at ‘getting into the zone’. Nailed it.

Bike bubba
Guest

Amen. Worship, in the Hebrew or Greek sense, is the prostration of a person before a lord–in our case, THE Lord. Now try to sing with your face in the dust. Breathe deeply–oh, your knees are in your diaphragm? Oops!

I think the singing portion ought better be called “praise.”

Eric Engerbretson
Guest
Eric Engerbretson

Almost everyone knows that the entire service, including the sermon, is worship. It is simply a colloquialism to refer to the musical portion of the service as worship, and the other parts as “message”, “announcements”, “administering of sacraments”, etc. It would be a bit unwieldy to be required to say the “the worship by announcements” and “the worship by sermon” when referring to those parts. ;¬)

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

These musings / proverbs are timely and valuable.

May I remind folks to step over to your Ask Doug videos as well for similar fare?
http://canonpress.com/video/

adad0
Member

So……….
Should churches put “wipeout”
In their hymn rotation?

????

John
Member

Depends on how long it is played.

adad0
Member

Now that you mention it,
I can think of a few churches where “wipeout” would be a correct theme for their “minstry”!

; – )

Dan
Guest
Dan

So perfectly balanced and even-handed in your approach to musical worship, Pastor Wilson. Kudos!

insanitybytes22
Member

Ha! I struggle more with really sensual lyrics, boyfriend music. I am totally all about being ravished, ruined, utterly consumed…by the Lord, amen to that! I’m with that,100%.

Just the same,try singing something like that while standing between two men you don’t really know! I’m rather shameless, but just the same, it’s a bit awkward.

Jill Smith
Member

I was just tripping down memory lane remembering that my parents met over a shared hymnbook at church. He was a Canadian soldier overseas, and she was an English rose. It seems so innocent and romantic. Please tell me that, somewhere, romance is still born between the pages of a hymnal.

Jennifer Alwine Miller
Member

I can prove it does! My husband and I got to know each other over a (mostly) friendly competition of Who Knows More Hymns. That was only 20 years ago, so yeah, it still happens. :)

Jill Smith
Member

Who won?

Jennifer Alwine Miller
Member

You know…I honestly don’t remember. We do still comment to each other in church when we sing a hymn one or the other of us doesn’t know, and the “winner” says “One more for me,” but neither of us knows what the actual tally is.

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

Ha! My problem with that stuff is that it that focuses attention on my feelings and reactions and instead of on Jesus. How can he ravish anyone who won’t even look at him?

insanitybytes22
Member

Good point. One problem is “ravish” has different meanings. I think God pretty well ravished the Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus once. :)

D. D. Douglas
Guest
D. D. Douglas

….but also remember, at the same time, that the queen of all repetition is a song from the Bible (Ps. 136).

Agreed. But the emphasis should be on ” *a* song”. Other psalms have some repetition as well, but in general the Psalms are not stylistically repetitive. The development of near-mindless repetitive chorus music in the last 35 years has been puzzling to me. How does one not go crazy in the midst of it?

John
Member

I used to attend a church where every Sunday they opened with 3 songs. It was 7 words with multiple choruses sung for 10 minutes per song. Then every week the pastor would get up at the end of the third song and declare how beautiful it all was and “Let’s sing that chorus again.”” Then we sang the chorus for another 5 minutes. 35 minutes, 3 songs. I didn’t last there too long.

Michael
Guest
Michael

Psalm 136 is certainly repetitive, but not only repetitive. It is clearly going somewhere, with the repetition being filled out and strengthened with the other 50% of the content. That’s what keeps it from being a mantra, which is what we often get a kick out of. Instead, it becomes a very thoughtful exposition of that statement “For His mercy endureth forever.”

D. D. Douglas
Guest
D. D. Douglas

I was thinking the same thing just as I was posting my comment….

Michael
Guest
Michael

Just saw your comment above mine. Guess I’m being repetitive :)

heymike3
Guest
heymike3

Excellent point as usual! And one which may well be applied to some of us internet commenters. Short repettious ‘texts’ may or may not be the best that we can do.

John
Guest
John

My biggest annoyance with modern worship songs, and often worship leaders, is their nonchalance of having plainly wrong theology within the music. They don’t seem to care because, hey, the congregation seem to like them and it’s not “too” bad.

It’s actually amazing how many modern worship songs have their roots in charismatic theology.

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

Although that’s a dangerous tendency: I’ve sung far too many John Wesley hymns badly bowdlerized by over-careful Presbyterians. Right theology is all well and good, but not in service to an ear of tin.

John
Guest
John

Agreed, both things should be considered. There’s definitely a balance.

My issue is when a real theological issue is brought up, and it is dismissed as just being a worship style.

Jill Smith
Member

I once read a question in a Calvinist Q and A about whether it was appropriate to teach the hymn “Jesus Loves Me” to one’s children. After all, the questioner wrote, He might not.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Not entirely untrue, sorta.
A great track I think it was Family Radio came up with years ago:
“Does Jesus Love You?”
The premise: If you don’t care about the answer, maybe He doesn’t or won’t.

Jill Smith
Member

But I would find it very odd for a young child raised in a Christian home to be indifferent about that. My own Snowflake used to ask me all the time if Barney loved her, and Mickey and Minnie loved her, and Sailor Moon loved her, and on and on. She would have been devastated by the possibility that there any little children whom Jesus does not love.

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

It would be devastating.

Clay Crouch
Guest
Clay Crouch

You’re kidding, right? Do you really believe that?

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Hi Clay,

Which of the devils bites his fingernails in angst over whether or not they are loved by God?

At God’s upbraiding, would Michael shrug?

Clay Crouch
Guest
Clay Crouch

You lost me there. I certainly hope you aren’t equating “devils” with little children. But then, I’ve read some pretty strange comments on this site.

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

A valid concern, en mon avis. After all, the view that all little children go to heaven is distressingly common in our day. The wonder of “Jesus loves me” (or, worse, “Jesus loves the little children”) is Christ’s unmerited compassion, not the universality of his affections. Better, I think, to sing what we like and then explain things. But I would want to be sure my kids don’t think they’re automatically under grace.

Jill Smith
Member

I would find that a very difficult explanation to provide children young enough to be learning this earliest of childhood hymns. Luckily for me, I do believe in the universal salvation of children who have not yet reached the age of accountability. After that age, my church would teach that while God loves everyone as intensely as if He had made only them, it is possible to lose God’s friendship through grievous sin. And, of course, it is possible to regain God’s friendship through repentance and amendment of life. But would you say to a child of eight who asked… Read more »

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

“The fact that you want Him to, dear one, is all the proof you need that He has put that desire in your heart and loves you.”

Jill Smith
Member

Nice! Actually, “dear one” is what I have always called her! Even when she shut down all five lanes of the southbound 405. Even when she brought a homeless boy and a homeless dog home on the same day. But not when she sliced up the kitchen curtains to make herself a Cinderella dress!

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

I would tell the child “No. Your efforts do not and cannot save you. Don’t think about it that way. Rather, think about what Jesus has done, and trust in his blood that paid the penalty for your sins.” Scripture summons all men to faith in Christ, and if a child hears that message and responds to it, and endures in that conviction, he will inevitably be saved. It is possible the child in question is not elect. But the only way to know that is if he rejects the gospel for his entire life. Until then, there’s nothing for… Read more »

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

Well, there is a certain human effort involved in producing a child …

Jane
Member

All the human effort in the world can’t produce a child, even though human effort is involved.

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

Very true!

Farinata’s answer seemed perilously close to entirely denying the “human effort is involved” part.

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

“hears the message and responds to it, and endures in that conviction”

You should have read more closely.

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

Sorry if I misinterpreted you. “Responding” and “enduring” do involve some effort, though … no?

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

Yeah, of course they do. “Work out your salvation, for it is God who works within you.” It’s just unhelpful to explain the gospel to children as though our effort is dispositive.

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

That’s what she said!

melody
Member
melody

When children learn of Jesus death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of their sin – because He loves them – from the time they are born, there is opportunity for complete understanding at a very early age. This can happen during the wiggly years from sitting on the front row with one’s parents every single Sunday. Then when it is a part of daily conversation of the parents it becomes a natural part of life. I was motivated to seek salvation at the age of 5 (more years ago than I will admit) in exactly this fashion. I have… Read more »

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

No argument from me. I am in favor of children repenting of their sins and being baptized, preferably in that order.

ashv
Guest
ashv

Yeah, you gotta wonder about those Reformed Baptist types….

insanitybytes22
Member

Complete rubbish, Jilly. Don’t listen to such foolishness. My favorite Calvinist guy says, “Jesus loves me. I have no idea if He loves you or not, but if you’re worried about it you might want to get right with Him.” I’m not sure how we wound up with this particular group of Calvanists who seem to believe that saying “God loves you” is some kind of heresy, but they are flat out wrong.

Jill Smith
Member

I like your Calvinist guy!

john k
Guest
john k

“God loves you” may or may not be heresy. It has been put forward as an unqualified truth so often that many people now believe that we’re all in God’s good esteem, and we’re all headed for heaven. I’ve heard evangelicals say, “God loves you–he always has, and he always will.” How that is consistent with wrath to come, I don’t know.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

Your Calvinist guy is an honest Calvinist guy.

Jane
Member

If you’re a Christian, it’s totally appropriate to teach your children that Jesus loves them, because they’re included in His people. At the very *least* His corporate love for His people extends to them. If (God forbid) they apostatize later, you weren’t wrong for teaching them that, they were wrong for rejecting Him.

Jill Smith
Member

I think you are right about that. Sometimes I think the words are a little bit too personal for public devotion. And as ME mentioned somewhere here, the Jesus is my Boyfriend kind of song really embarrasses me.

bethyada
Member

I was going to upvote your comment, until the last line. Nothing wrong with Charismatic theology. Charismatic practice however…

John
Guest
John

I’m talking specifically about their theology surrounding the charismatic behavior. I often see songs about wanting fire to fall down, needing to invite the Holy Spirit into the room, etc. Things that are specifically charismatic.

bethyada
Member

Which may be more practice than theology.

I have the odd concern, but asking God to send fire is really just code for him to move in power by his Spirit. Not certain that is wrong theology.

We are better to assess theology from Charismatics like Grudem and Fee, rather than a worship leader in skinny jeans.

Gary Beecham
Guest
Gary Beecham

The problem is Grudem, Fee, and the Sovereign Grace crowd are a very very small percent of the charismatics. Driscoll used to call them charismatics “with a seat belt on” and most charismatics do not keep the seat belts on.

bethyada
Member

Yes, but Presbyterians and Baptists in the pews do and believe some odd things. And there are Charismatics calling out the excesses of other Pentecostals.

I have no problem calling out the errant behaviours of Pentecostal ministers, and charlatans. But to say that Charismatic theology is inherently wrong because of bad behaviour isn’t necessarily sound. We are to judge the tree by the fruit, but careful in what you identify the tree as. Pentecostalism is popular in a way that certain dodgy teachers are going to be attracted to infiltrating it. In Paul’s time men preached the gospel with wrong motives.

Capndweeb
Guest
Capndweeb

Bethyada, To which Charismatic practices are you referring?

bethyada
Member

What I am saying is that theologically the Charismatic movement is okay. It is mostly orthodox and the idea that the gifts of the Spirit continue to this day can be defended biblically. But the style of Pentecostal services can be problematic at times. Repeating a song may not be wrong, I have been in a situation where the singing continued and it seemed to be of God. But when the outcome of God’s stirring is imitated as if it is the same thing, then they are going wrong. Other items like speaking in tongues or prophesying in ways that… Read more »

Capndweeb
Guest
Capndweeb

Agreed. I did not mean to put you on the defensive, Bethyada. And yes, any church can stray off into things it should not. I hadn’t heard about music so loud it damages hearing. (Kind of an ironic sentence there, eh?) Anyway, despite the flaws in some individual churches, in the research I’ve done I’ve found enormous numbers of souls being saved by the Pentecostal/Charismatic church all over the world. There is a revival taking place, and I pray it would spread to here. Oh, I was in one Pentecostal church where the Pastor said if you were not speaking… Read more »

John
Member

The last Pentecostal service I attended multiple people came to the front of the church to receive prayer and were “slain in the Spirit.” They remained there for several minutes as the service continued. But I have to admit that my attention turned from worship to wondering when they would get up. And I always wondered how the women who were “slain” managed to fall with their dresses tucked discretely beneath them. Guess I’m just a non Charismatic ol’ pervert.

Capndweeb
Guest
Capndweeb

I do not know if being slain in the Spirit is a real thing, but if it truly is of the Holy Spirit, I do not want to be in opposition to it. I do not know, so I withhold judgment.

John
Member

Neither do I but my guess is, especially since the congregation is focused on the people sprawled on the floor and not on worshiping Jesus, that it is more of Benny Hinn than of the Holy Spirit.

Jill Smith
Member

David Wilkerson talked about problems with charismatic services where people were so carried away with Holy Laughter that preaching became impossible, and where people were down on all fours barking like dogs or slithering on the rug hissing like snakes. I’m trying not to be too judgmental, but how does their common sense not kick in and tell them that this is mass hysteria, not the work of the Holy Spirit?

Capndweeb
Guest
Capndweeb

Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth! Psalm 96:1. I used to attend a Missouri Synod Lutheran church. On the back of every pew there was a rack that held The Lutheran Hymnal–a book of over 400 songs all of which sounded remarkably like the very same funeral dirge. Next to every Lutheran Hymnal was a tiny little red paperback book containing 30 or so hymns entitled, “Hymns You Like to Sing.” (Emphasis mine.) We hardly ever touched that book. After over a decade singing “Chief of Sinners Though I Be” and… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member

Those two can be a little dreary, but how about “For all the saints”? Or, “He who would valiant be”? They have beautiful words and a nice, martial spirit. They actually make me feel more courageous–in the moment! I love many traditional Anglican hymns, and I am sorry to see them butchered in the name of egalitarian pronouns. There has not been a long tradition of Catholic hymn singing; even now, the choir members are often the only ones singing. I spent many years playing guitar and leading the weekly folk mass, and I cringe when I think of the… Read more »

Bdgrrll
Guest
Bdgrrll

How about “Lift High the Cross”, “I Am the Bread of Life”, and “The Church’s One Foundation”?

Jill Smith
Member

Love them all.

Capndweeb
Guest
Capndweeb

Please see apology after my original post on this topic.

Jane
Member

“A Mighty Fortress” dreary? On what planet? Maybe your pianist/organists need to take the tempo up. That is a THRILLING hymn!

“For All the Saints” is a favorite of mine, but our church never sings it. Sigh.

demosthenes1d
Member

I love “a mighty fortress” but “we all believe in one true God” is my favorite from Luther.

(We A-A-A-A-Alll BE-Eleive in One True God”

Capndweeb
Guest
Capndweeb

Ahhh, Dunsworth, you have hit the nail on the head. It’s all in the attitude with which the song is sung. If you exclude the Holy Spirit from any song, it will most certainly be awful. And yes, they were done with the big church organ plodding those songs out slowly and painfully. (By the way, when Martin Luther wrote ” A Mighty Fortress” he set it to a German drinking song.)

Jane
Member

The bit about a German drinking song is actually a myth. However, Luther wrote the tune himself. Musical ability was among his gifts.

Way back in college choir, we sang the hymn to the original Luther tune. It’s essentially the tune that is used now, but just a bit more lively. The rhythm is rather more complicated than even a spirited rendering of the tune we have in our hymnals.

Capndweeb
Guest
Capndweeb

Wow, Dunsworth, I did not know that! The drinking song thing was something I was told by the pastor of the church I mentioned. From what you say, it almost sounds as if Luther and the Protestant church during the Reformation was a bit Charismatic. :)

Jane
Member

It’s a widespread myth than many hymns were taking from drinking songs. I’m not saying there are none, but most hymn tunes in use today were written as hymn tunes. It’s partly a result of misunderstanding the mostly archaic term “bar tune” which refers to a common form that hymns often take. But it’s a reference to musical bars, not taverns.

https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/did-the-wesleys-really-use-drinking-song-tunes-for-their-hymns

Jane
Member

BTW, not endorsing every argument in that article, it’s just a good explanation of bar form and why it doesn’t mean “drinking song.”

Capndweeb
Guest
Capndweeb

Thank you, Dunsworth. Please see my apology right behind my original post.

ashv
Guest
ashv

Whenever I’m tempted to complain about my church, I keep in mind that they taught my 3-year-old son to sing “For All The Saints”. For a couple weeks he’d ask to sing it before bedtime prayers.

Evan
Guest
Evan

‘After over a decade singing “Chief of Sinners Though I Be” and “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”‘

I wish I could say that. One man’s trash, is another man’s treasure I guess.

Capndweeb
Guest
Capndweeb

Please see my apology above.

Evan
Guest
Evan

#iaintmadatya

Capndweeb
Guest
Capndweeb

I need to reply to my own post.
I was wrong to complain about these two songs. As the replies below show, those songs have encouraged, strengthened, and built faith in many Christians. I should not have grieved the Holy Spirit by disparaging that which that same Spirit had a hand in. I apologize and confess my error here and now.

deborah connery
Guest
deborah connery

Do these same principles apply to what we wear to church?

Jill Smith
Member

I think that is a really excellent question. In a way, they should. If there is anything in my life worth the trouble of ironing a dress and actually fixing my hair, surely it is public worship. Where I live in California, most people would say that nothing, including the Lord Himself, is going to interfere with their sacred right to wear yoga pants or jeans all weekend long. I have noticed that the exceptions are older Black ladies who look beautiful in dresses, hats, and gloves, and little girls in puffed sleeves and sashes. Catholics are regularly reminded from… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

I’m with you, Jilly. I’m all for “come as you are and wear what you have,” but Sundays are a special day, kind of like a date. We need to give Him our first fruits, our best fruits.

I’ve seen shorts, flip flops, people with a coffee cup in one hand and a cell phone in another and they aren’t poor, they aren’t new Christians.

Jill Smith
Member

I know. And I think it is good self-discipline to force yourself to make an effort now and then. I remember being scandalized by the first Los Angeles funeral I attended. Capris. Tee-shirts with flippant messages. Baseball caps inside the sanctuary!

sean carlson
Guest
sean carlson

During my military yrs my wife & I lived in Hawaii. Whatever is beyond “laid back” Hawaii is it. It severely tested our baptist sense of decorum when people showed up at church looking like they just left the beach.

bethyada
Member

It is all about the heart. If the Israelites offered there best lambs in order for others present to see what they gave God then I am sure God would say something about that too (Ananias). The problem was that they were keeping the best for themselves. The issue with clothing is it may be the best for the Lord, or it may be to be the best looking for everyone else. Peter warns women against externalities in dress and hair, and James warns against discriminating by appearances. If it matters to you to dress up for God then fine.… Read more »

lndighost
Member

It is all about the heart. But I have several issues with your last paragraph that I was hoping you might clarify for me. In the first place, you seem to be saying that a heart that wants to accommodate the stranger is better than a heart that wants to bring its best to God. You also seem to be saying that ‘growing the kingdom’ matters more than giving to God the best worship we possibly can. Finally, you seem to be making the claim that dressing casually for worship might somehow help to turn unbelievers into believers. Or do… Read more »

bethyada
Member

I think it is right to bring our best to God. Though that depends on what that means. Giving our best may mean praying for 5 hours not 15 minutes, but I don’t think that the latter is sinful because it is not the best. The issue of the Israelites was that they were giving the lame. God actually didn’t ask for the premium lambs, he asked for every 10th that went past. If the farmer swapped the tithe out for a lesser lamb, both became God’s. Of course someone could find their best lamb and give it to God,… Read more »

lndighost
Member

I take your point about tithing herbs while neglecting justice, but I’ve heard too many people making the spurious claims that 1) our worship should be geared towards accommodating strangers and 2) we can be welcoming by wearing dirty jeans to church. I think there is a real danger of a change of focus from God to the stranger. I agree that we can’t impress God by draping ourselves with special fabric. God looks at the heart, but here on earth we are all creatures of flesh. We are affected by appearances, and that in itself is no bad thing.… Read more »

bethyada
Member

I actually think clothes don’t matter at all. But to your point, why are they wearing dirty jeans and not just jeans? Because they want to look hip. So it is still an attitude of the heart.

Seriously, if you start up a church in a slum or rubbish tip, maybe everyone has one set of old dirty clothes. What do I care that everyone dresses like that for church? But dressing like that in the US, the motivation is entirely different.

Jill Smith
Member

I have always been told that New Zealand has the best lambs.

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

Our worship is never really good enough in itself. The thing that makes it pleasing to God is not our skill or fervor or sincerity or even our orthodoxy but the blood. Who are we to criticize another’s servant anyway? We can’t stand in God’s presence any more than the most tacky can unless God makes us stand. Still, skill, fervor, sincerity, and orthodoxy seem worth pursuing.

Capndweeb
Guest
Capndweeb

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. John 4:23

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

Amen. Regarding “seeking” though, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t mean “searching high and low to discover these elusive people”. I think he means “making the dead live just like I’m doing to you right now, woman of the well.”

Capndweeb
Guest
Capndweeb

“What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? Matthew 18:12 For thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.” Ezekiel 34:11 “I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment.” Ezekiel 34:16 I believe that “seeking high and low… Read more »

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

I think Ezekiel preaching to dry bones is more the model for evangelism. “Lost sheep” suggests to me someone who was in the church and wandered off. Rounding him up again is more pastoring than evangelism. Of course the message is the same in both cases.

Capndweeb
Guest
Capndweeb

Speaking of Ezekiel and the dry bones, and the theme of Christian music, here’s an excellent song by Casting Crowns on that very subject! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MWGJ5EFjkE

Christopher
Member

Also on repetition
Revelation 4:8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

insanitybytes22
Member

LOL! Well, I think we can make an exception for when you are truly in the presence of the Lord. Even if you are in church, in His presence, there may be a time and place for repetition. Just the same….

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

Three is good. Twenty three, not so much.

john k
Guest
john k

It’s hard for me to see how even the most talented Christian praise band can do music in a way that shows that congregational singing is more important than the instruments and singers on the platform. (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16) I see the secular band genre as meant to give people a feeling, and maybe have them sing a simple refrain once in a while, when the crowd is pumped. Lead vocalists display a lot of individual expression that people can’t do, and aren’t meant to do, like vocal fry. Christian worship bands fall into this model, and that’s fine,… Read more »

FeatherBlade
Guest
FeatherBlade

I wonder, actually, if a lot of the problem is that most modern Christian songs are written in the “individual meditation” mode, rather than the “group confession/adoration” mode.

Like the difference between imprecatory psalms and… er… non-imprecatory psalms…. one is more appropriate for worship in groups and one should be reserved for private devotions.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Making fun of something can be cathartic, but it doesn’t actually do anything. If you are concerned about the state of Christian music, the only useful thing you can do is to make better music, either directly or indirectly. If you can’t do this, because you have no money/talent/influence, then you’re better off just not worrying about it.

demosthenes1d
Member

You may or may not know if Doug’s contributions in this area. But it is safe to say that he has done quiet a lot to improve the quality and reverence of church music.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Didn’t intend to refer to anything or anyone specifically, just making a general statement.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

Or you can insist on using the better music that already exists.

Gary
Guest
Gary

Annoying things in worship songs, applied to the Psalms… a classic from a few years back.
https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/justintaylor/2014/02/11/annoying-things-in-worship-songs/

Gary
Guest
Gary

And yes, making fun of contemporary worship is so cliche we’re now making fun of making fun of contemporary worship.

sean carlson
Guest
sean carlson

Visited a popular local church. The band’s music was rock concert, eardrum busting high. Somehow they recognized this because at the entry one could pick up earplugs!

Johnny Simmons
Guest
Johnny Simmons

As someone in the…ahem, industry I think you touched on the real issue, which is narcissism. The conflation of worship and entertainment music has reached a point at which the man in the audience (and in my circles, they ARE called “the audience” fairly often) is the one being worshipped. It’s HIS perceived needs and desires (along with those of the leaders) that are driving the car.

BooneCtyBeek
Guest
BooneCtyBeek

The great hymn writers; Luther, Fanny Crosby, the Wesleys; wrote a copious amount of hymns. Very, very few have survived the vetting of the Church.

Might it be the same a century or two from now? The really great praise and worship songs or hymns will rise to the top and all the other will sink to the bottom.

David Trounce
Guest

Nevertheless comma, your speech recognition is starting to show