Modern Worship Movement

ValleyGal

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This is an interesting article about modern worship. I don't sing, except alone in my car when I am on the highway so no one hears me, but I do know that it's harder and harder to find worship music that is scripture-based and focuses on God rather than evoking a temporary emotional state. It's possible to worship God even when we don't "feel" it, or even when we don't feel close to him, we're upset with life, etc, and express worship as a matter of fact when it's focused on him rather than on this earth, this life, this self.

Here's what one worship artist says:
https://www.christianpost.com/news/...iDQ06npNI0OGW4CbP83Ubhw1HZuXTor424nHkMSKKxA1k
 

tango

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He makes many good points - much modern "Christian" music is either devoid of useful theology or, worse, full of either drivel or outright theological falsehoods. Much of it is little more than creating an emotional high that masquerades as God's presence, which then leaves people vulnerable to wondering why God's presence has been withdrawn from them when the reality is nothing more than the emotional euphoria has faded.

It is curious that he should then talk so highly of the song "Silent Night", especially in the context of the question "is this true?". We like our romanticised version of the nativity, with Mary and Joseph standing either side of the baby Jesus in a nice clean manger, with a token cow or sheep nearby. The reality is that a working manger wouldn't contain nice clean straw, the animals would have smelled like, well, farm animals and the night would have been anything but silent.
 

Lämmchen

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Lutherans have been fighting about modern emotional music with others for years now and one thing pastors are telling people is to listen to who is running the verbs besides the Jesus is my boyfriend garbage that is put out there ugh. As a Lutheran I expect deeply scriptural music and not weak repetitive songs that are good up on a movie projector screen (we use hymnals at my church).
 

vince284

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Of course, there should be checks and balances. Lyrics should be checked for sound doctrine, but a joyful sound can be music to God, a sigh a relief from a believer can say so much.

Singing connects us emotionally. Songs of celebration have the power to lead us to dance. Songs of lament have the power to lead us to tears. Music has a way of piercing into the deep parts of our soul, that assists in our expression and response to God and to the church.

https://www.samford.edu/worship-arts/files/studio/Why-Do-We-Sing-in-Worship.pdf
 

Albion

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Of course, there should be checks and balances. Lyrics should be checked for sound doctrine, but a joyful sound can be music to God, a sigh a relief from a believer can say so much.

Singing connects us emotionally. Songs of celebration have the power to lead us to dance. Songs of lament have the power to lead us to tears. Music has a way of piercing into the deep parts of our soul, that assists in our expression and response to God and to the church.
But in worship, we ought not to be pleasing ourselves rather than praising God or affirming our devotion to Him, etc.
 

psalms 91

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Praise we give to God and He inhabits the praises of His people and worship is when God works in us and does many marvelous things
 

vince284

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But in worship, we ought not to be pleasing ourselves rather than praising God or affirming our devotion to Him, etc.
I agree, I didn't say anything about pleasing ourselves in this context. However, how do we know God accepts any of our songs. Which sounds are more righteous than others? There will be a New Song which only a few will be able to learn. Revelation 14:3

https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/A-New-Song
 

Albion

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Praise we give to God and He inhabits the praises of His people and worship is when God works in us and does many marvelous things
That puts a charming face on those terms, but neither definition is correct.
 

psalms 91

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That puts a charming face on those terms, but neither definition is correct.
Hmmm the bible says He inhabits the praises of His people so argue with that and as for worship I know that is wjhen God has done many wonderful things for me and others so I guess I dont accept that as wrong either.
 

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However, how do we know God accepts any of our songs.
We know that He accepts His own Word found in scripture because it feeds us (giving and strengthening faith) so songs that are from scripture (without botching and inserting theology that isn't there) is acceptable to Him.
 

vince284

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We know that He accepts His own Word found in scripture because it feeds us (giving and strengthening faith) so songs that are from scripture (without botching and inserting theology that isn't there) is acceptable to Him.
So how do modern "emotional" worship songs botch up theology? Maybe that's too broad of a question. Name 5 modern worship songs that God would hate. Personally, I like two hymns very much, How Great Thou Art, and It Is Well with My Soul, and they were totally emotional songs when penned.
 

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So how do modern "emotional" worship songs botch up theology? Maybe that's too broad of a question. Name 5 modern worship songs that God would hate. Personally, I like two hymns very much, How Great Thou Art, and It Is Well with My Soul, and they were totally emotional songs when penned.
Why did you bring up hate? My post was about what God would find acceptable in response to what you wrote and that means that of course His Word fits the bill.

I used to have 2 choirs at my former church and I'd always look through the sheet music thoroughly and found that I mostly used the ones that were straight from scripture....

Peace I leave with you
My peace I give to you
Not as the world gives peace do I give my peace to you
Let not your heart be troubled...

Beautiful song and straight out of scripture. It feeds us. Can it spark emotion? Sure. But what's important is that it's feeding us.
 
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jsimms435

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I don't know that I have a huge problem with contemporary music except that I don't know the words to most of the songs and therefore it is a challenge to sing along.
 

ValleyGal

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Of course, there should be checks and balances. Lyrics should be checked for sound doctrine, but a joyful sound can be music to God, a sigh a relief from a believer can say so much.

Singing connects us emotionally. Songs of celebration have the power to lead us to dance. Songs of lament have the power to lead us to tears. Music has a way of piercing into the deep parts of our soul, that assists in our expression and response to God and to the church.

https://www.samford.edu/worship-arts/files/studio/Why-Do-We-Sing-in-Worship.pdf
Why would I need to be assisted in expressing myself to God or the church? Most of us are quite good at expression... and Romans 8:25-27 says "But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God." I can make joyful noises and laments all by myself. And when I am lamenting, I can express joy! Why? Because no matter what I'm feeling in the moment, I can take solace in Jesus because he is my salvation! Even in grief, he is my salvation.

You mention that "It Is Well" is one of your favourite hymns. It was written after a series of painful and unfortunate events in the author's life, including the loss of his children. He was taking joy in his salvation in the face of such incredible loss! He didn't need anyone to lead him into that emotional place. He experienced it! And we, too, need to experience such salvation to be able to identify with the emotion behind it. And if we identify with the song, no one needs to assist in getting them there.

I appreciate this comment from Tango:
Much of it is little more than creating an emotional high that masquerades as God's presence, which then leaves people vulnerable to wondering why God's presence has been withdrawn from them when the reality is nothing more than the emotional euphoria has faded.
There are a lot of songs that I really like on the radio... even the ones where theology might be a little twisted. But for worship... we need to be prayerful and discerning about what we are singing.
 

vince284

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Why did you bring up hate? My post was about what God would find acceptable in response to what you wrote and that means that of course His Word fits the bill.

I used to have 2 choirs at my former church and I'd always look through the sheet music thoroughly and found that I mostly used the ones that were straight from scripture....

Peace I leave with you
My peace I give to you
Not as the world gives peace do I give my peace to you
Let not your heart be troubled...

Beautiful song and straight out of scripture. It feeds us. Can it spark emotion? Sure. But what's important is that it's feeding us.
Hate is a strong word, but I don't think God has grey areas, no lie comes from the truth.

I asked for some "modern worship songs" so that I could read the words. I don't know the words to any worships songs and I really don't know the names of songs that are used in modern worship. I hear from time to time Christian contemporary songs being played on the radio, there again, I don't know the artist or the titles of those songs. As far as corporate worship, I wouldn't even know where to begin finding worship songs that sing heresy.
 

vince284

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Why would I need to be assisted in expressing myself to God or the church? Most of us are quite good at expression... and Romans 8:25-27 says "But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God." I can make joyful noises and laments all by myself. And when I am lamenting, I can express joy! Why? Because no matter what I'm feeling in the moment, I can take solace in Jesus because he is my salvation! Even in grief, he is my salvation.

You mention that "It Is Well" is one of your favourite hymns. It was written after a series of painful and unfortunate events in the author's life, including the loss of his children. He was taking joy in his salvation in the face of such incredible loss! He didn't need anyone to lead him into that emotional place. He experienced it! And we, too, need to experience such salvation to be able to identify with the emotion behind it. And if we identify with the song, no one needs to assist in getting them there.

I appreciate this comment from Tango:

There are a lot of songs that I really like on the radio... even the ones where theology might be a little twisted. But for worship... we need to be prayerful and discerning about what we are singing.
Totally agree! Why does anyone NEED any style of worship, why is one worship better? Even wordless groans are interceded by the Spirit.

And of course "It is Well" was penned by Horatio Spafford in an emotional state, I assume he was expressing his joy in God. But Horatio FELT he had to write the song. I can't think of any original painting, music, meal, etc that wasn't created with emotion that is worth less than the copy made be someone just going through the motion.

However, for me, there is a time and a place for modern songs. But I'm not going to say my style of worship is better than someone else's, as annoying as it maybe to me.
 

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Hate is a strong word, but I don't think God has grey areas, no lie comes from the truth.

I asked for some "modern worship songs" so that I could read the words. I don't know the words to any worships songs and I really don't know the names of songs that are used in modern worship. I hear from time to time Christian contemporary songs being played on the radio, there again, I don't know the artist or the titles of those songs. As far as corporate worship, I wouldn't even know where to begin finding worship songs that sing heresy.
I don't listen to them enough to know names or songs or artists but I've heard them and the theology can be really awful.
 

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So how do modern "emotional" worship songs botch up theology? Maybe that's too broad of a question. Name 5 modern worship songs that God would hate. Personally, I like two hymns very much, How Great Thou Art, and It Is Well with My Soul, and they were totally emotional songs when penned.
But How Great Thou Art is a testimony to the nature of God and our approach to him. Just look at the title and the obvious meaning. It is not merely about getting glassy-eyed from repeating some mantra with musical accompaniment and thinking "I'm swooning, so this must be good."
 

tango

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So how do modern "emotional" worship songs botch up theology? Maybe that's too broad of a question. Name 5 modern worship songs that God would hate. Personally, I like two hymns very much, How Great Thou Art, and It Is Well with My Soul, and they were totally emotional songs when penned.
Try "No Longer Slaves" from Bethel (my thoughts in parentheses after each section)

You unravel me with a melody
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance from my enemies
'Til all my fears are gone

(What does this even mean? You unravel me with a melody? Huh?)

I'm no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I'm no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

(This part isn't a problem)

From my mother's womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I've been born again to a family
Your blood flows through my veins

(Your blood flows through my veins? This is either a metaphor for the sake of rhyming or it's simply not true)

I'm no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I'm no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I'm no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I'm no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

You split the sea
So I could walk right through it
My fears are drowned in perfect love
You rescued me
And I will stand and sing
I am a child of God

(God certainly has rescued us but I don't remember the sea being split open very often. I don't know about anyone else but I still have fears - it's a nice soothing thought that they can be drowned in perfect love but unless someone wants to claim they never feel any fears at all I'm not sure this line works either)

As far as emotional responses go, we can even take a verse that's theologically perfectly sound and turn it into more of an emotional experience than anything else. Take the verse from "In Christ Alone":

There in the ground his body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave he rose again
And as he stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am his and he is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

You'd be hard pressed to find much wrong with that, theologically speaking. But the way I've often heard it played in church the verse starts out quietly, with no instruments. Then at "Then bursting forth" the instruments all come in and, at one church I attended, you could predict when all the hands would go up pretty much to the second - it would be between "and" and "stands" of "and as he stands in victory". When you can predict with very high accuracy when all the hands will go up it's probably safe to say it's an emotional response rather than responding to the Holy Spirit, unless we want to argue that the Spirit moves in such formulaic ways it can be predicted so accurately.

There isn't necessarily anything wrong with an emotional response. If anything we should be concerned about the idea we can even remotely understand God's love for us without responding to it with some kind of emotion. The trouble is when songs are chosen to elicit an emotional response, when church consists of an hour of upbeat music followed by the suggestion (if not the outright statement) that the emotional euphoria people are experiencing is a mighty move of God, when people then try to recreate this "mighty move of God", and when people start to worry that God has apparently abandoned them yet again just as Monday morning starts and they wonder what they did wrong only to spend their time chasing the elusive high rather than seeking God.

If chasing the warm fuzzy feeling is all someone is about they might as well listen to "Ooh, Aah, Just a little bit" by Gina G and get much the same result. At least that way there's no pretense going on.
 
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