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Friday, December 08, 2006

Almost Paradise

Todd Friel offered this most recent praise chorus on his show:
I'm all out of love,
I'm so lost without you.
I know you were right,
believing for so long
I'm all out of love,
what am I without you?
It can't be too late
to say I was so wrong.
At first glance, this looks pretty good. It uses words like "lost," "believing," and "I was wrong" (repentance even!). Though none of us want to admit it, we recognize this song from somewhere...Air Supply.

I admit, I once thought it would be cool to have "Every Breath You Take" sung during a church service (even though the song is originally intended to be about a stalker). I've since had a change of heart.

Do secular songs spun in a direction to be praise choruses really connect with people? Does it make us seem desperate to be relevant? Does it speak to the vague nature of many of our praise choruses?

Does my change of heart just mean I'm getting old and cold? (Or is it my theological attempt to protect from singing "Every Woman in the World" in heaven?)

20 Comments:

  • At 10:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Do secular songs spun in a direction to be praise choruses really connect with people? Yes, and that's the problem. It's called "deception", "vain myths", "hollow words". Pity the preacher who takes the people there.

    Does it make us seem desperate to be relevant? Yes! Rev. 3:18.

    Does it speak to the vague nature of many of our praise choruses? Without a doubt!

    We've chanted "Back to the heart of worship, it's all about you, it's all about you, Jesus" for so long that we've innoculated ourselves to any potential for real sorrow over "the things [we've] made it". We're still bringing nothing "more than a song", and secular ones to boot.

    Why don't we just start getting worship right? What ever happened to proclaiming the "sacred", the "holy" and the "almighty" nature of God? Perhaps then we would be more relevant, 'ya theenk?

    If worship is all about Christ, then why are we taking secular music and offering it to Him? Simple answer: because we really don't believe it's all about Christ! We think it is all about our experience. Causing an assembly gathered in Christ's name to offer poetry penned by pagans to express some emotional plea is somewhere between the error of Balaam and adultery with Jezebel.

     
  • At 11:08 AM, Blogger danny2 said…

    jason doesn't address the issue of secular songs in church, but i think you'd enjoy this.

     
  • At 11:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You're right. Jason's post is smack-dab on target.

     
  • At 1:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was fortunate enough one time to enjoy the lyrics of Amzing Grace sung with the tune and chorus of the Eagles' "Peaceful Easy Feeling." I'm too embarrassed to say where I was.

     
  • At 3:28 PM, Blogger Charity said…

    OK, breformed, stop mincing words and tell us what you really think. LOL. I have to agree (except for the part about Jezebel) . . . songs with vague, "feel-good" lyrics seem hollow and somehow not really centered on Christ. I love several of the newer worship songs ("Before the Throne of God Above," "In Christ Alone") that accentuate Christ's sacrifice and sovereignty.

    Maybe it's my carnal nature, but I still like singing some of the vague songs simply because I have a weakness for really cool-sounding harmonies. *sigh* I suppose I need to repent .. .

     
  • At 3:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The part about Jezebel is taken from the letter to the church at Thyatira (Rev. 2:20). People in the church are calling all forms of expression "worship". I believe this is, clearly, the kind of sin Rev. 2:20 is talking about.

    "In Christ Alone" is an outstanding song. The soul is deeply humbled when you hear it sung by 3,500 men as your carnivourous honey will get to do.

     
  • At 9:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Can someone help me out with the Biblical connection between "worship service" and "Sunday morning church?" I know we assume they're the same thing, but I'm having trouble finding it in my NT?

     
  • At 1:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I would, but Danny would delete my comment.

     
  • At 8:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Excellent question, Rev.

     
  • At 9:07 AM, Blogger danny2 said…

    rev,

    i guess we could refer to it as "the corporate gathering of believers evidenced in acts 2" if you'd like, but i find "worship service" whether a misnomer or not, to be a little easier.

    david,

    have i ever deleted you yet?

     
  • At 2:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Paul seemed comfortable using the word "assembly"- a whole syllable shorter than "worship service" and not made up.

     
  • At 7:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    No, you haven't ever deleted me. The problem is not being deleted; the problem is me giving you cause to do so. :)

    There are a host of things not "found" in the NT. But our lives are lived, as Christians, by the right division of the Word, as workmen that need not to be ashamed.

    As workmen, we are part of a calling that is to be about the task of caring for the "household of faith". Church history shows that regular, repeatable "assembly" (using Brad's word) fosters the continuity required to pass the baton from generation to generation. Historically, going back as early as one cares to, we find the term "Lord's Day", suggesting that very practice. I would argue that it is impossible to foster the generational continuity Christ desires without sanctifying one day out of seven to "be still and know that [He is] God." It is a Shepherd's responsibility to ascertain this principle, teach it, and protect against compromising it.

    John used the expression "Lord's Day" in Rev. 1:10, signifying that a day was set apart for spiritual worship. We appear to be willing to abdicate the concept of the Lord's Day as a predictable, repeatable, sanctified day of worship. Resultantly, we should not be surprised when we find that worship is not happening in the daily lives of the sheep. We have also allowed worship to be defined primarily as the singing part of a gathering, instead of the preaching part of the gathering. Again, we should not be surprised at our frustration with immature Christians in our pews who devote 40 minutes to singing & announcements, and only 20 minutes to a "talk".

    It is not the lack of a specific NT connection between "worship service" and "Sunday morning church" that is the trouble. The trouble is the lack of firm shepherding that feeds sheep at predictable, repeatable times so that they become strong, mature, thinking, serious Christians instead of perpetual thumb-suckers and naval-gazers.

     
  • At 9:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    breformed, I was with you right up to the end of your comment. Your Scriptural defense of reserving the Lord's day for worship is very well articulated.

    But to end with petty name calling like "perpetual thumb suckers and naval gazers..." And we wonder why Christians have a reputation for just being mean spirited. I think Danny should have deleted at least the last line. So much for that whole "Love your enemy" thing.

     
  • At 8:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    If there was ever a mean-spirited statement, it was Paul in Gal. 5:12. What I wrote was not mean spirited. It was meant to convey the disastrous results of living in the gray areas of irrelevance by abandoning congregational worship of a higher order. That is precisely what we presently see in the church at large. I suspect you could have chosen to see it for that. Nonetheless, I apologize that this was perceived as mean spirited, and was not written with a more docile approach.

    I work around non-Christians full time every day; today, I will be at the AIDS Resource Center working around hostile non-Christians. I do not know any non-Christians who have the perspective that Christians are, as you assert, "mean spirited". I am aware that the popular post-modern Christian authors today are asserting this "mean spirited" characterization.

     
  • At 8:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    There is an ounce humor in this, FWIW. I learned "naval gazer" at BW3 from a pastor who shall remain nameless. I learned "spiritual thumb sucker" from Chuck Swindoll.

     
  • At 8:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My source for the "mean spirited" characterization is family members who have worked as waitresses for several years. They characterize the "after church" crowd as the worst group enter the restaurant. The more verbal they are about thier faith, the more likely they are to gossip about other church members, (yes, waitresses hear all that) be critical about the service they are receiving and leave a small tip.
    But the FWIW humor is well taken. It's pretty hard to peg Swindoll as mean spirited. (thought I think he is getting slightly more cranky with age) And as far as the BW3 pastor goes, well...

     
  • At 11:36 AM, Blogger Gary Underwood said…

    What makes a song "secular" or "Christian" anyways?

     
  • At 9:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "Secularism" strives to maintain neutrality (or ambiguity) in matters of belief. Perhaps the church at Symrna or Laodicea would accept secular music, while the church at Sardis or Philadelphia would prefer Christian music.

    If that is true, Sardis would appear to be alive with its music, but would really be spiritually dead. Laodicea would simply embrace the broad spectrum of what they deem to be relevant lyrical content, while actually being a regurgitant to Christ Himself.

     
  • At 9:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Typo: Smyrna and Sardis should be swapped in the first paragraph.

     
  • At 4:48 PM, Blogger Jamie said…

    Where are the churches that are singing the Psalms these days? I am sure that some good contemporary songs could be written that were word for word renditions of the Psalms. Then you would not have to worry about ripping off secular songs...
    And we could be assured that the people of God were learning and singing the mind of Christ.

     

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