Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What Is the Purpose of Singing in Church?

Quoting Dr. Mike Horton, co-host of the Christian apologetics radio program The White Horse Inn, on his October 26 visit to Issues, Etc.:
Paul says that the purpose of singing in church is so that the Word of Christ may dwell in you richly, admonishing and teaching each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs making joyful melody in our hearts to the Lord. So even the purpose of singing is to train our thoughts and our hearts toward the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Are we doing that? Are the prayers that we hear in church, the Scripture reading, public reading of Scripture, the benedictions, the salutations, everything in the Liturgy, not just the sermon, everything in the Liturgy pointing to the Triune God who has saved us in His Son? That’s the question we have to ask, even more important than whether we use organ or guitars, what our favorite playlist is on our iPod. The most important question is “Is Christ being deeply planted within our hearts, creating faith in Him, through this ministry of the Word, in everything that is done in the service?”


Brad Evans said...

I can't stand singing. I truly hate it. I hate listening to it and I absolutely refuse to do it, either alone or in groups, no matter the setting.

Scott Diekmann said...

That's a bad spot to be in Brad!

adam santibanez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
adam santibanez said...

No, it's not, Scott. I disagree with the modern idea that "worship" and "singing" are one and the same. They aren't.

We are told to the love our God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind. Not our voices.

The fact that it's not biblically mandated added to the fact that it's usually poorly written, cliche religious keywords on top of some irritating instruments (does anyone in this century STILL like the sound of an organ?) all in all just makes it an annoying, completely unnecessary evil in the modern church.

If I have the chance to come in after they've gotten the music out of their system, I usually do.

In my opinion, there needs to be more focus on making church be about a philosophical engagement of ideas (especially if we want Christianity to be able to keep up with the popular non-philosophy that's run rampant in American society in the last few years due to the rise of the New Atheists) which allow us to properly understand why our Teacher's Words are so true and profound.

If you've ever wondered why you feel so insecure when the topic of your faith comes up in a discussion of non-believers, know that it is precisely because of all the time you've wasted in the church "singing to the Lord". Rather than getting to know the Lord in a deep, intellectual, spiritually-fulfilling way, you've been taken in by the Worship Leader's nonsensical rhetoric about the importance of "worshiping".

The Lord wants us to have the hearts of children, not the brains of them.

Work toward church being a place where we go to learn (and not just the Bible!) and I guarantee you'll see a pivotal swing in the commonly held value of both religion and church.

-Adam Santibanez

Scott Diekmann said...

Dr. Horton's emphasis is not the music. He emphasizes the prayers, the Scripture reading, the benedictions, and the sermon as well - all of these should point to God's salvific work in Jesus Christ. These things teach that we're sinners in need of a savior.

At our congregation we sing the liturgy which has been sung by the Christian Church for centuries. We are singing back to God the words which He has given to us in Scripture. Some parts are spoken, some are sung. It's all Scripture. Yes, there are plenty of churches whose music, especially considering the lyrics, is a disaster. But correctly done, the music does teach, which it should do. Church should be a place where you go to learn, and most importantly, a place where you go to receive God's forgiveness in Word and Sacrament. And that Word can be sung! Pitting music against learning is a false dichotomy, although I understand what you're saying Adam. There are plenty of churches out there that I won't go to either because the music is all about me and what I'm doing rather than about Christ and what He's done. If it does teach, it teaches the wrong thing. Find a chruch that sings the liturgy, not one that's got a praise band. Then you'll be much more likely to learn the deeper aspects of Christianity in the church service and in what is taught afterwards as well.