"...the medium may well override the message, or worse, become confused with the message"

“I sensed that the congregation was almost superfluous to the activity on stage.” Contemporary Music: The Cultural Medium and the Christian Message
(HT: Paleoevangelical)

1589 reads

There are 5 Comments

DavidO's picture

Not sure if it's scary or awesome to hear CT say the things so similar to what you read at religiousaffections.org.

Aaron Blumer's picture


Maybe both.
Since I've got an optimistic side, I hope it represents the beginning of a trend of broader sensitivity to the relationships between culture, form and content in worship.

Brenda T's picture

Based on a call for contemporary music articles by CT back in March, I am pessimistic that they are intentionally publishing things that sound like what you might read at Religious Affections. The editor, Mark Galli, acknowledged that the recent music articles "display a bias for traditional music" and then followed that up with "This is unfortunate. . . ."

He then admitted that "We strove to find an article or conduct an interview that would give more space to exploring the gift of contemporary music, but we came up empty. . . . When it comes to contemporary Christian music, I have yet to find authors who are able to probe its uniqueness with the same depth and insight as those who relish traditional music."

All of Galli's remarks can be read here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/march/endworshipwars.html

Darren Mc's picture

The main advantage "traditional" music has is that it has the benefit of time to cull out all of the lesser quality songs from the collective memory of the church. If you look at a hymnal from 100 years ago, you will find a lot of contemporary (in the strict dictionary definition of the word) songs that I have never heard and are frankly not very good. No one sings the prohibitionist hymns of that era (with the possible exception of "Yield not to Temptation," but that one does not mention alcohol specifically), but they were immensely popular during that time. If you go back farther in church music history, the hymns Watts wrote about Christians rejoicing as atheists and Jews are cast into hell are not sung at all today either. In 50 years, the church will have been able to separate the "YabbaDabbahLujah's" from the "I Know My Redeemer Lives."

No wisdom, no understanding, and no counsel will prevail against the LORD. Proverbs 21:30

Aaron Blumer's picture


...I have yet to find authors who are able to probe its uniqueness with the same depth and insight as those who relish traditional music

I wonder why that would be.