Why I Value Contemporary Worship Music

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Brenda T's picture

He also values the sermon preached at his church by a female staff member, preaching in a hippie costume, preaching in a straight jacket, preaching from inside a silo, preaching in camo fatigues, having people leave communion bread pieces on a ledge, and daring someone during the sermon to eat a donut with ketchup and other stuff dumped on top.

It's difficult to take someone like this seriously. Although I must admit that the title of his blog certainly does demonstrate truth in advertising.

 

http://desperatepastor.blogspot.com/2013/06/why-i-value-multi-sensory-pr...

Robert Byers's picture

Perhaps we could summon Nadab and Abihu to evaluate his theory that how we worship is not a "hill to die on."

Jim Barnes's picture

Brenda T wrote:

He also values the sermon preached at his church by a female staff member, preaching in a hippie costume, preaching in a straight jacket, preaching from inside a silo, preaching in camo fatigues, having people leave communion bread pieces on a ledge, and daring someone during the sermon to eat a donut with ketchup and other stuff dumped on top.

It's difficult to take someone like this seriously. Although I must admit that the title of his blog certainly does demonstrate truth in advertising.

 

http://desperatepastor.blogspot.com/2013/06/why-i-value-multi-sensory-pr...

 

His affiliation with Cincinnati Christian University prompts me to ask if he believes in baptismal regeneration.

 

Greg Long's picture

Thankfully this thread is not about women preaching, nor preaching style, nor baptismal regeneration, nor the emergent church. But if no one wants to evaluate the substance of his arguments, that's fine.

Would you suggest that if a pastor is KJVO, has evangelistic crusades with goldfish swallowing to attract people, and believes women can't wear pants, that I must automatically disregard his position that only conservative music is pleasing to God?

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Todd Bowditch's picture

Did you interact with his statements on music? or merely with his biography?

Dismissiing a person's thoughts because of some other aspect of his life is widely considered to be an "ad hominem" fallacy. Fred Phelp's advocates biblical inerrancy....but that doesn't mean that I dismiss it as illogical.

 

The blog writer demonstrates an understanding of the strengths and weakness of ancient and modern music in Christianity. You don't have to like him personally, but you may want to interact with his thoughts.;

 

And Robert, Nadab and Abihu directly disobeyed a command of the Lord concerning the exact composition of incense in their worship. In what way has God stated the specific stylistic requirements for music? I'm sure it would be a valuable study to compare God's prescripted worship music from the Law with the instruments and "stylistic" choices of the Monarchical Period....It may be further informative to look for pianos and organs in Biblical requirements for worship. And (for fear of completely bathing this paragraph in sarcasm) I suppose that we could find a strong New Testament precedent for using English and American folk songs in worship.

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

Brenda T's picture

Would you suggest that if a pastor is KJVO, has evangelistic crusades with goldfish swallowing to attract people, and believes women can't wear pants,

It also would be difficult to take someone like this seriously. 

Brenda T's picture

This blog post appears to be the exact same one (word-for-word) that he posted three years ago. He just changed the title, even though they both start with the claim that this overheard music conversation happened "a couple of weeks ago."  Yes, it's a minor thing, but could we at least be told it's a re-post and that it didn't occur just a couple of weeks ago? That would help lend some credibility to the matter.

http://www.desperatepastor.blogspot.com/2010/03/sing-new-songor-not.html

Todd Bowditch's picture

Brenda T wrote:

This blog post appears to be the exact same one (word-for-word) that he posted three years ago. He just changed the title, even though they both start with the claim that this overheard music conversation happened "a couple of weeks ago."  Yes, it's a minor thing, but could we at least be told it's a re-post and that it didn't occur just a couple of weeks ago? That would help lend some credibility to the matter.

http://www.desperatepastor.blogspot.com/2010/03/sing-new-songor-not.html

I believe that this qualifies as a "red herring" fallacy. The timing of the original post does not affect the legitimacy of its material.

Very likely the author experienced a situation very similar to the events that spawned the original post three years ago. Remembering that he had written on the topic a scant three years ago, he merely reposted it in its entirety (with a blatant disregard for those of us that might misunderstand him based on our attempts to psychoanalyze him after a single link to his blog). Or maybe, the author unintentionally reposted the material because he had the same experience and then wrote the blog post, not realizing that his subconscious was causing him to replicate his prior work. Its also possible that he meant to write something completely different, but that his internet went screwy and posted a ghost copy of his old post instead of the new material that he had written. Or, someone could have maliciously hacked into his computer and reposted the three year old blog post in a desperate attempt to discredit him. Or, his house might be close to a rift in space and he could be caught in a cycle of living out parallel universes in which he blogs about music...his only way of stopping the cycle being to duplicate a blog post so that the feeling of deja vu would enable him to break the cycle the next time around. I think we can all agree that the first explanation is the least likely.

Regardless, it does not affect his credibility in the least.

 

so....back to the content of his post?

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

Todd Bowditch's picture

Brenda T wrote:

Sometimes it is the extraneous things (plural, not singular) that lead a person to conclude that someone has "nothing to offer theologically to those who come through the church doors. . . ."

http://www.reformation21.org/counterpoints/wages-of-spin/look-its-rubbis...

Now I wonder what fallacy one will attempt to attach to that.

 

Context is king, my dear. That is a marvelous essay by Trueman in which he explains why liberal theology is bankrupt. A service that is not God-focused has no purpose. There is no condemnation of CCM in this article.

"What are surprising, therefore, are accounts of services where the theology is supposedly orthodox but the content is sheer trivia.   If God is awesome, sovereign and holy; if human beings are small, sinful, and lost; if Christ died and rose again by a most miraculous and costly act of grace, then this should impact the way things happen in church.  This is not to argue for a one-size-fits-all-my-way-or-the-highway approach to church.  Context and culture are important; but what is expressed through the idioms of particular cultural manifestations of the church should be awe, reverence, and, above all seriousness - not a colourless and cold miserable seriousness but a fitting amazement at the greatness of God and his grace." (emphasis mine)
 

I'm actually having difficulty qualifying the fallacy here... It seems to be a restatement of the ad hominem with undertones of a red herring. I think that there is a thinly veiled "appeal from authority" fallacy here. But that is not Trueman's fault because his essay doesn't really address anything in the conversation..I also detect a little bit of "false dilemma" because it is not required (and it is illogical) to entirely accept or reject anybody's opinions. I'm baffled enough to term it a "false appeal from red hominem" fallacy.

 

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

Brenda T's picture

I have been evaluating Bob Hostetler in his context.

And, save "my dear" for your wife, girlfriend, or daughter.

Todd Bowditch's picture

You are free to evaluate Bob in his context. I encourage you to do so. But that does not mean his opinion on every topic is incorrect. In fact, I would suggest that the actual content of the blog post in question is quite good. This is a fact that you have not bothered to discuss in your multiple comments thus far.

My discussion of "fallacies" is rather tongue in cheek; I hope that you have understood my comments as such. But I do find it odd that you continue to talk around the actual point of his article....How do you actually feel about what he says about music? Better...is what he says accurate? Does it conform to reality? Thus far, you have attempted to discount the claims of his blog post by attacking him. Enlighten us all by actually interacting with the content of his post.

And I also apologize, for the apparent offense rendered my the well-intentioned term of affection. I pray that our Christian unity is not strained by this conversation. It was merely a rhetorical affectation, not a serious statement of any undue familiarity with yourself.

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

Brenda T's picture

Saying it is difficult to take someone seriously, based on extraneous things, does not equate to full-scale discounting, dismissing, or attacking of the person. As you said yourself, I have "talked around the . . . article." If I haven't addressed the article specifically, I don't see how I could have dismissed or discounted the contents of it. As you pointed out, I have not discussed the contents. I'm still trying to get past all the other stuff and am finding it difficult to do that.

Please do not publicly accuse me of attacking Bob Hostetler when I have said nothing negative about him as a person. I have mentioned his ideas and practices, not him as a person.

Todd, I also find it difficult to take you seriously. You admit to using tongue-in-cheek tactics that, in my opinion, appeared to be in a condescending tone while at the same time claiming to use well-intentioned affectionate terms, but at the same time falsely accusing me of attacking someone. Very confusing.

I believe I best take my leave of this conversation.

Good day.

Jay's picture

Instead of tying ourselves in knots over the weird things that this guy does, why don't we talk about what he actually wrote?  It's entirely possible for someone to speak the truth without being 100% correct (or even 50% correct).  No one here, I think, would advocate preaching from a church setting in camos or in a wedding tux, endorse women preachers, or some of the other things that he did.

He wrote this on music:

This person regarded hymns as theologically, musically, linguistically, and maybe even spiritually superior to modern worship songs. I'm so tired of these arguments, I couldn't even summon the energy to participate in the conversation. As one who cut my teeth as a child on hymns, and as a Christian on "contemporary Christian music," the discussion (as is typical) largely missed the point.

Hymns are great. The level of erudition and expression in the hymns of Isaac Watts, Charles Wesley, and Fanny Crosby is unequalled in today's worship music. Because they are two different genres. Entirely. They are apples and oranges. 

In my experience, at least, hymns enable me to worship with my intellect, by and large. There are exceptions ("Great is Thy Faithfulness," for example), but generally speaking, when I sing a hymn, my mind is engaged with lofty thoughts and divine truths, but my emotions, not so much (except when a hymn awakens nostalgia in me, which though it is a form of gratitude, is more likely to distract me from worship than aid me in worship).

Much of today's worship music, by contrast, does something else entirely for me. With some exceptions, these songs engage my heart and soul. They draw me into the presence of Jesus Christ. Some are theologically shallow--even questionable (but then so are some hymns, like "In the Garden" and "Gentle Jesus, Meek and Mild"). Some are repetitive, even annoying (a little like the chorus of "Angels from the Realms of Glory" and the chorus "Be Still and Know That I am God"). And some are confusing or vapid or even comical (sort of like the song I remember singing forty years ago...

But many modern songs are far more like Biblical psalmody than the hymns I sang over the years (and still sing and pray today). A great number are actually Scripture set directly to music, while others are thoroughly Scripture-based. For example, the song “Knowing You” is drawn from Philippians 3, and the words of "Those Who Trust" are based on Psalm 125. And it is true that many of today's worship songs are written and sung from a highly personal, perhaps narcissistic frame of mind (the personal pronoun "I" does dominate some of them)...but then, even the most casual glance at the psalms will reveal precisely the same thing.

Most hymns were written with different instrumentation and venues in mind; they are great for pipe organ, piano, and choir. An entirely different music form might have resulted if Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley had written for guitars and drums, as many of today's songwriters do.

Moreover, a hefty portion of hymns are songs of testimony ("Amazing Grace") or sentiment ("The Old Rugged Cross") or proclamation ("How Firm a Foundation") as well as worship ("Immortable, Invisible, God Only Wise") and prayer ("Nearer, My God, to Thee"). While that is true of modern worship music, it seems to me that a much higher percentage of the worship songs we sing in church are designed to lead me into God's presence, keep me there, express my heart in prayer, and commune with him ("Draw Me Close to You," "Blessed Be Your Name," "Breathe"), in ways that even the best hymns seldom do. 

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Easton's picture

"Context is king, my dear."

Brenda!  How dare you question male authority!

Next time, I hope you remember your place...

Todd Bowditch's picture

Easton wrote:

"Context is king, my dear."

Brenda!  How dare you question male authority!

Next time, I hope you remember your place...

 

I apologize for the offense given by my tone which was understood to be condescending by you, Brenda.
 

Easton, there was no intent of chauvinism in my comments. I think the fact that I have been polite and attempted to interact with Brenda based on her comments indicates as much. I politely asked for her to interact concerning the content of the blog because I actually value her input on this topic.

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

Todd Bowditch's picture

Jay wrote:

Instead of tying ourselves in knots over the weird things that this guy does, why don't we talk about what he actually wrote?  It's entirely possible for someone to speak the truth without being 100% correct (or even 50% correct).  No one here, I think, would advocate preaching from a church setting in camos or in a wedding tux, endorse women preachers, or some of the other things that he did.

He wrote this on music:

But many modern songs are far more like Biblical psalmody than the hymns I sang over the years (and still sing and pray today). A great number are actually Scripture set directly to music, while others are thoroughly Scripture-based. For example, the song “Knowing You” is drawn from Philippians 3, and the words of "Those Who Trust" are based on Psalm 125. And it is true that many of today's worship songs are written and sung from a highly personal, perhaps narcissistic frame of mind (the personal pronoun "I" does dominate some of them)...but then, even the most casual glance at the psalms will reveal precisely the same thing.

Most hymns were written with different instrumentation and venues in mind; they are great for pipe organ, piano, and choir. An entirely different music form might have resulted if Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley had written for guitars and drums, as many of today's songwriters do.

Jay, I appreciated these comments especially. I know there are a number of excellent hymn writers today (i.e. Keith and Kristyn Getty, Chris Anderson, etc.). Their songs are both doctrinally rich and beautifully written. I think that the modern church should be able to sing these hymns in their worship. I don't care whether it's with drums/guitars or pianos/organs...the church should be educated and edified by these hymns.

I think that the "narcissism" that he speaks of is found in many contemporary songs...and I find that to be detrimental. But I am reminded of my unhealthy fascination with the "gospel songs" from The Wilds. The content is often anemic and the focus is frequently and unabashedly person-focused. I shudder at the thought of the vigor in which I sang "Faithful Men" and "I Saw Jesus in You."

We need to carefully evaluate the content of our songs. We should not sing bankrupt songs and hymns, regardless of when they were written. But we should sing rich songs and hymns, regardless of when they were written. And I fully believe that God is praised and glorified by the congregational singing of his people, without respect for their chosen accompaniment.

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

Brenda T's picture

Jay,

No knot tying going on here. And, I did talk about what the guy actually wrote -- it just didn't pertain, yet, to what he wrote about music. But, thanks for the reminder to everyone. It's always good to talk about what people actually write.

DL,

I apologize for the sparring. I shouldn't have done that. And, I wish you wouldn't enjoy it when people do.

 

Todd,

I'm going to pass on continuing this conversation. I regret having ever instigated it in the first place. Nothing personal; I just think it's best if I drop out.