One question I like to occasionally ask myself (and our lead team) as we lead the musical portion of our worship services comes from theologian, John Frame, who asks, “Does what we sing help our people think more – or less – theologically?” After all, I have no interest in our folks leaving thinking, “Wow! What great music!” My goal is that they leave, almost off-balance, due to a head-on encounter with Christ, hence thinking to themselves, “Wow…what a great God.” Music, in and of itself, won’t change anyone. Christ, on the other hand, sets people free.
All of that said, my friend, a friend of mine sent me the following quote from a resource of his regarding the rich history of hymns: “Did you know, by the way, that the hymns of the church throughout history were intended primarily for that purpose — to teach and reinforce sound doctrine? … These songs weren’t just to dance to. They were to learn from.”
Singing has been a spiritual discipline used to know God and His Word on a deeper, more mature level since ancient times. In Deuteronomy, God instructed Moses, “Now write down this song and teach it to the Israelites and have them sing it, so that it may be a witness for Me…” (31:19) Jesus (God with skin on) closed the Last Supper by (you guessed it) singing a hymn. (Mark 14:26)
I definitely believe it’s possible to dance a little while, at the same time, having your heart & mind engaged with sound doctrine & theology. But, nowadays it takes a lot of sifting through the “chaff” of what has become a behemoth of Christian Worship Music to find those songs that best make this possible.
Just my opinion, nw