A Worship Music comparison

 

We shall look below at a hymn of old, comparing it to a present trend in "worship". But first let us consider the root causes of the present movement away from congregational singing to worship leader led music, with bands and teams. How did this trend come about? A recent blog by K.Lamm probed this topic providing valuable insight:


Prior to the Reformation, worship was largely done for the people. The music was performed by professional musicians and sung in an unfamiliar language (Latin). The Reformation gave worship back to the people, including congregational singing which employed simple, attainable tunes with solid, scriptural lyrics in the language of the people. Worship once again became participatory.....then more recently.....a shift in worship leadership began to move the congregation back to pre-Reformation pew potatoes (spectators).  What has occurred could be summed up as the re-professionalization of church music and the loss of a key goal of worship leading – enabling the people to sing their praises to God. Simply put, we are breeding a culture of spectators in our churches, changing what should be a participative worship environment to a concert event. Worship is moving to its pre-Reformation mess.

This insightful blog brings before us a disturbing trend where what is presenting itself as more "freedom" in singing worship is actually a return to bondage. Some of the key problems are:

 

  • The songs being presented are fit for bands and teams but not really suitable for congregations, whether cadence, or key, or structure.
  • People cannot hear each other sing, due to the volume of the accompanying music. The performers are dominant.
  • The people become more passive and allow the team to do the "worship". People are becoming a "laity" again -  spectators.
  • Singing is becoming a performance by a few, rather than a joyful united experience of a congregation. Worship leaders & teams replace the simple song leader, whose best attainment was to keep the song going on key and cadence, while fading into the background. The worship leader of today is prominent. Too often is seen more of them, than of Christ.
  • The understandable desire to include the youth has led to unwise ideas on what constitutes the singing aspect of worship, and their ideas are often heavily influenced by culture, rather than on mature biblical thinking.
  • Worship leaders ad lib, as if they alone are Spirit led, with regard to singing an extra verse, or some like variation.
  • There is a constant over-valuation in new choruses (a weakness of the hymnal was it got static with little new added). The constant introduction of that which is new, again leads to the elevation of the few who know them and the passivity of the many who do not.


In short, we see repeating in history the same principles that led to the rise of Rome. That is a broad brush to paint with, but Rome didn't come about in a day, it took small incremental steps in many areas. The distinction of classes within the body is one such area. Bad practice and ideas on the corporate singing aspect of the church can lead to a clergy-laity system. It has happened before. Many mini missteps lead to major problems.

Exposing lamentable things is the first step to correcting them. Let us now compare two songs:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • On the left:  Can be sung as a personal devotion, or a congregation setting. A-capella, or with instrumental accompaniment.
  • On the right: Must be sung with dim lighting & misty environment (pun intended). Requires the human "leader". 
  • On the left: Includes truths (teach and admonish/word of Christ aspect), uses the these to inspire the congregation together to uplift worship and thanksgiving for His person and work. Reverent. 
  • On the right: Destitute of truth, and Christ. This is the rhythm of heaven? Says who? God has a heart beat? Says who? What if lights are turned on? Depends on the cadence, crowd control mechanisms (harp & bowl hypnotic crowd control, lighting aura). Works on the emotions (in and of itself ok, but not in this context of manipulation).
  • On the left:  Directs the mind, and the heart, and stirs the emotions. Rejoices in what it has in Christ instead of something that is missing.
  • On the right:  Stirs the emotions and seeks to direct the heart toward God, though with questionable terminology and methods. Seems to be seeking what is missing in a mystical way.

Doctrine?

  • On the Left: Redemption, Substitution, Glory of God, Resurrection, Rapture, Millennium, Eternity, Trinity, and more
  • On the right:  Emotion, Feelings, Hypnosis

 

Again...........Exposing lamentable things is the first step to correcting them.