In this year of our Lord 2002, many issues beset the Church. Christians have always been called to interpret the ways of the world, and to live lives worthy of Jesus Christ, our savior and Lord. One of Christ’s commands was: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed with the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). Today in America, this commandment is more than usually relevant, with the rise of popular or mass culture, which of necessity affects many Christians. But all Christians are concerned with popular secular culture, whether or not we admit to or are an active part of it. We need to not only decide how to interact with popular culture on the most obvious level, but also what to do with it when it enters into our sacred places and worship services.
Popular music is one of the most pervasive elements of secular mass culture. It is heard literally everywhere, and lately has indeed begun to infiltrate our churches in the name of innovation and inclusivity. Some Christians rejoice, but others lament the accompanying loss of tradition and doctrinal standards. How should Christians react when drum beats enter the sanctuary? Should we allow one Sunday a month to be devoted to the singing of these "praise and worship songs," or would it be better to simply have multiple worship services each week, one devoted to traditional and one to contemporary worship styles? Or should we cling tightly to our organs and gospel hymns, in spite of dwindling attendance? While I dearly love the great traditional hymns, I feel compelled to argue that these more popular choruses, too, are acceptable in God’s eyes.
Praise and worship songs...
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Mosley, David L. “The Relationship Between Tune and Text.” Goshen College
Bulletin March 1992: 5-6.
Payne, T.L. “Music in the Evangelical Tradition.” Evangelical Dictionary of
Theology. Ed. Walter A. Elwell. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic Press, 2001.
Peterson, William J. “O What a Fantastic New Day for Christian Music.” Hymn
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