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Unread 08-11-2021, 03:22 PM   #1
Leboman
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Worship Versus Theology

I asked this question in my journal but I thought I would put it here for the three or four people left here on CGR. Kidding.



When listening to worship music do you consider the theological beliefs of the people you are listening to? If so, is there a line in the sand when it comes to what an artist believes versus the songs being sung? Would you listen to a "worship" song from someone you suspect (or know) has false beliefs? Do you believe it matters what someone believes if they are producing music intended for worship?

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Unread 08-11-2021, 03:42 PM   #2
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I don't. I see it kinda like eating meat sacrificed to idols. I ask no questions. But if I knew or someone pointed it out to me, the I would likely have an issue with worshiping the way I should.
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Unread 08-11-2021, 03:52 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlj009 View Post
I don't. I see it kinda like eating meat sacrificed to idols. I ask no questions. But if I knew or someone pointed it out to me, the I would likely have an issue with worshiping the way I should.
If the faulty beliefs bleed into the lyrical content of the songs would that make a difference?
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Unread 08-11-2021, 03:53 PM   #4
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Let me also point out that some "worship" songs completely lack theological content. How does that play into it?
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Unread 08-11-2021, 03:56 PM   #5
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I tend to judge the product over the producer. But I'm sometimes bothered when a song is very successful despite the author's flaws. A song in the artist's context could be troublesome, so I have to look at the song itself.

On the other hand, what do we do with Ravi Zacharias' writings and work in light of his actual life?
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Unread 08-11-2021, 03:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leboman View Post
Let me also point out that some "worship" songs completely lack theological content. How does that play into it?
I know that I'm inconsistent about this, but I bristle at "worship" songs that have little or no theological content. It could be a single truth, but if it's not an "important" one, I'm not all that interested. Esau was a hairy man, but I find little value in singing about that in the corporate gathering.
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Unread 08-11-2021, 04:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony View Post
I tend to judge the product over the producer. But I'm sometimes bothered when a song is very successful despite the author's flaws. A song in the artist's context could be troublesome, so I have to look at the song itself.

On the other hand, what do we do with Ravi Zacharias' writings and work in light of his actual life?
Excellent points.

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Originally Posted by Tony View Post
I know that I'm inconsistent about this, but I bristle at "worship" songs that have little or no theological content. It could be a single truth, but if it's not an "important" one, I'm not all that interested. Esau was a hairy man, but I find little value in singing about that in the corporate gathering.
I think I have a new song idea.

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Unread 08-11-2021, 05:25 PM   #8
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Lyrics have always been important to me. I kinda understand liking the music but I don't know that you can really worship without the lyrics. At some point it seems to be about you instead of God. And so, if the lyrics represent faulty beliefs, it is a deal breaker for me.
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Unread 08-11-2021, 07:58 PM   #9
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There are stories about, for example, Robert Robinson, who wrote Come Thou Fount, and Without Him by Mylon LeFevre, about their contribution to Evangelical church music.

Often times we sings songs in worship by people who weren't exactly orthodox at the time of the writing. Many sermon illustrations come from very unorthodox sources.

Paul quotes non-Christian sources at Mars hill in Acts 17. But that doesn't appear to be a song.

What are we asking/requiring our worship attendees to sing? What are they "affirming" when they sing those songs?
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Unread 08-11-2021, 08:34 PM   #10
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I wouldn't personally want to make a habit of regularly using songs from a blatantly heretical or immoral source, but God has used and does still use imperfect people to make some pretty amazing worship music. I think it's best to put the most stock in the theological principles inherent in the song itself and let its lyrics speak for itself, with only a small but critical weight on the author's beliefs. For example, the wording might be beautiful, but it would not be good for my conscience at least to repurpose a song written by a Muslim to the god of Islam for worship of Yahweh. Maybe others have a looser conscience than I on things like that, though. I just wouldn't do it.
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Unread 08-11-2021, 11:00 PM   #11
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I think the content and intent matters. For instance, when the song "Healer" came out and it turned out the guy was lying, that was immediately thrown out. But on the other hand, despite all the flaws someone like Hillsong or Bethel might have, there are some songs that are rather inspired (they're definitely not all winners, and heaven forbid I ever hear a Hillsong Y&F song again).

I mean, if you were to dismiss music because of the flaws of the author, then I think that pretty much means the entirety of Psalms should be disqualified from the Bible.
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Unread 08-12-2021, 03:06 AM   #12
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Let me ask a followup question...

if

a) Not listening to certain christian music because of artists wrong beliefs

would that also require to

b) Not listen to any secular music, because of artists wrong beliefs

Just curious if the same standard goes for both. I can see a case for it and a case against it.

Personally I look at the song and the text, not really the artist. That being said, I tend to stop actively following some artists that I feel uncomfortable with certain theological standpoints and beliefs. But I don't make it a thing to investigate all artists I listen to and some I disagree with I still listen to (when it comes to Christian music). Some probably comes from my awareness that I am not very knowledgeable in many theological issues. I read my bible, but when it comes to original texts and some deeper stuff I am lost, so this makes it harder for me to say with certainty that I am right and they are wrong. I don't know if this makes sense. That is why I focus mostly on the song.

On the other hand I rarely listen to secular music. That makes it easier as I don't need to figure out if the text is something I can support and all that. I just stay away and save myself the work...
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Unread 08-12-2021, 08:07 AM   #13
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Quote:
if

a) Not listening to certain christian music because of artists wrong beliefs

would that also require to

b) Not listen to any secular music, because of artists wrong beliefs
That was my position in high school. I only listened to CCM. Now I hardly ever listen to Christian/Worship music, mostly because the genre has changed vastly in 30+ years and I'm just not interested. But that could be said about most music for me. Translation: I'm old.

But I would also make a distinction between
a) songs that the congregation sings during worship
b) songs that may be presented to the congregation as part of the service theme
c) songs that people listen to outside of the corporate worship gathering

I think all three have their place. That also means I believe a lot of songs we expect the congregation to sing are not appropriate for the corporate gathering. My opinion, of course; your mileage may vary.
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Unread 08-12-2021, 03:57 PM   #14
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I agree with you, which is also why I hate the idea of songs like Oceans being used in corporate worship.
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Unread 08-13-2021, 07:42 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Giga Hertz View Post
I agree with you, which is also why I hate the idea of songs like Oceans being used in corporate worship.
Indeed. The leader at my church is stuck on those type of songs.
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