10 June 2007

So, What Do We Sing, Then?

John Frame, in his book Worship In Spirit and Truth, makes the following suggestion for worship music as it relates to the CWM movement, The younger generations should learn to sympathize with this sense of loss and to accommodate their desires to the spiritual needs of their father and mothers in Christ. But the opposite is also true: if the older do not bend somewhat, the younger will be deprived of their own language of worship - those forms of God's word intelligible to them, by which they can best grow in Christ. In this respect, both sides should defer to one another in love, in the Spirit of Christ (Matthew 20:20-26).

I once attended a church that accomplished this mix very well. Often the hymns were updated but at times they were sung as written. More than half the songs were contemporary and played with keyboards, guitars and drums (and often myself on harmonica, too).

Again Frame comments, To those who object to the use of guitars and drums in worship, I would comment that the instruments mentioned in the psalm headings look more like modern guitars and percussion than modern pianos and organs. I do not believe that we are limited to the instruments mentioned in Scripture, but in considering how to set hymns to music, the biblical instrumentation can give us some clues.

God's praise also included, as we have seen, dance and clapping. Some texts urge us to praise God with a loud noise or shout (Pss. 33:3: 98:4; 100:1), or with "resounding cymbals" (Ps. 150:5). God's approach is typically accompanied by loud noises (see Ex. 19:16; Is 6:4). From these data, and from instruments mentioned above, I would conclude that the ancient music was often strongly rhythmic and loud. ...Yet there are Psalms, and parts of Psalms, which by the nature of their words seem to demand a more quiet setting, such as Ps 23; 46:10; 131:1-3.

So, we see that music is varied and wisdom is required to determine how to use music in a worship setting.

Remembering the key text in all of this is 1 Cor 14, we should make wise choices in worship music so that no one is left out and the language of music is understandable to all who may attend.

1 Cor. 14:24-25
But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

No comments: