If history is any guide, the issue of music in the church will be a controversial issue…always. Too bad. But, we pray for grace.
I read a great article yesterday on this topic. The author, Greg Gilbert, drew a wonderful distinction between “music” and “worship,” and asks some pretty pointed questions. A taste:
I think the entire evangelical world ought to put a moratorium on any kind of instrumental music, and just chant psalms in their worship services–for the next ten years.*
I’ve been amazed since becoming an elder in a local church just how dependent many Christians are on a certain style of music, or certain level of excellence in music. How many times have you heard someone say, for example, “I just can’t worship in that church.”? Or “I just don’t feel like I’m connecting with God there.”
Of course there can be a lot going on there, but I think that many times if you press in on statements like that, what you find behind it all is not very far removed from “I don’t like the music there.” People don’t put it that starkly, mainly because if you do it sounds silly. But I think that’s a lot of what people mean when they say, “I can’t worship there.”
Here is how a friend of mine summarized the article in a tweet:
Would you be able to function in a church that’s great in every way except the music? If not, you probably need to rethink “worship.”
Mr. Gilbert raises some good questions that should spur some healthy thinking. I’d love it if you’d go and read the whole article.