Do you think music has become an idol in our churches?

(This is about what you THINK, not what you can prove)

Yes, in most churches
33% (8 votes)
Yes, in many but not most churches
38% (9 votes)
Yes, in some instances but not commonly
17% (4 votes)
8% (2 votes)
4% (1 vote)
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 24
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Ed Vasicek's picture

One of my main contentions about calling church music "worship" is that it become untouchable.  Who can be against worship?  Yet people can love music too much -- like any other love -- to the point that spiritual goals are a front for an idolatry.  Of course this can happen with any ministry -- the prestige of authority, the love of success in numerical growth -- the maintaining of traditions that comfort us -- these can all be blown out of proportion and become the focus.  Indeed, idolatry -- in the less literal sense of putting our interests above God -- is a constant temptation. So many things in moderation and balance are good, but so many can turn into idolatry. We all feel it.

When we hear of Christians being drawn to this church or that church DESPITE the doctrine or legalism or low standards but BECAUSE of the music (worship), this makes us wonder.  Have we inflated the importance of music, quoting Luther (and his view of the importance of music) rather than the Bible?  Do we make glorifying God the chief end of man based on the Westminster Confession (and not the Bible, Eccesiastes. 12:13-14), and then equate worship with glorifying God and then equate worship with music, thus making worship music the chief end of man?

It is a problem, but how serious and how common a one?  And how do we fight it?  How do we guard against it?  And how do other arts tempt us in this direction?  Your thoughts, please.



"The Midrash Detective"

RickyHorton's picture

Unfortunately, music has become the untouchable idol in many churches, and this applies to those from the extreme contemporary side all the way over to the extreme hymn only conservative side. You have the churches where you sing (or listen to a band sing) for an hour and have a ten minute ditty of a sermon. However, you also have the churches that have a three hymn then hour long sermon. Both of these services can treat their music as idols. My point is that the hymn only crowd can be just as idolizing of their music as the other end of the spectrum can be as well. The problem is when everyone has the "don't mess with MY music" mentality.

In our church, we have tried very hard to put the focus on Scripture and let the music revolve around it. We will have a theme and read Scripture on that theme in between our songs. The songs then address what the Scripture is teaching. Doing this keeps the focus where it should be....on God and Scripture. In my opinion, the style of music I like becomes a distant second issue if my focus is where it ought to be. I'll often pick songs that I just don't care for when it comes to their style, but I can sing it to the top of my lungs if I'm focused on what it is saying and how it fits the text. I would hope that others that don't like the styles I like could also sing at the top of their lungs when I pick a song that just trips my trigger. That will happen if our focus is on the right thing.

In short, if my whole focus is on the style of music we are singing at the expense of why we are singing or Who we are singing about, then it becomes an idol to me. I think one mark of a true church should be a bowing of my will and preferences to that of my fellow church members in areas of preference. I'm happy to sing along side the 80 year old man or woman in our congregation when we are singing their favorite hymn that I just don't care for (assuming it is theologically correct). I hope they do the same with me when we sing In Christ Alone or Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone).

rogercarlson's picture

I agree whole-heartedly with both you.  It doesn't matter if the music is contemporary or traditional, I have seen music idolitors on all sides.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Ed Vasicek's picture

It is interesting that nobody thinks (for sure) that it is NOT a problem.


"The Midrash Detective"