Music, Worship, Emotion

Interesting comments about music in worship by Greg Gilbert on the 9Marks blog:

I wonder if the whole “excellence in praise and worship music” phenomenon we’ve seen over the past few years—for all the good it’s done—hasn’t also had some less-than-desirable effects on young Christians. I wonder if it hasn’t created a generation of functional mystics who gauge their relationship with God by emotional experience rather than the objective reality of redemption.

Wow. ‘Functional mystics’? I love phrases like that!

Greg goes on to speak of the effect of excellent music at conferences had on his experience of worship. All good experiences. However, he goes on to say this:

But then I went back to New Haven, Connecticut. The praise bands were gone, I didn’t have a group of people who’d gone with me and shared that experience, and the churches had a piano and thirty people singing Isaac Watts hymns. That forced me to learn how to stoke the fires of worship with truths and words, and not just with excellent music. I’ve learned how to be emotionally affected by the excellent words of hymns whether they’re played and sung “excellently” or not.

This is a very important lesson. The truth of the gospel must reach us again and again, week by week. The experience of this must not be confused with mere emotional response to to music. This is not to say that worship is to be emotionless, but emotion in worship is to be gospel-driven.

…though, I wonder if I would make the same argument if I had an excellent band playing excellent music at my church (which I don’t)! The heart is deceitful above all things.

Read the whole thing. See what you think.

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Music, Worship, Emotion

2 thoughts on “Music, Worship, Emotion

  1. Dan B. says:

    Stephen,
    Thanks for the link to the article. The ARP church plant (they’re about 5 years or so old) that I’m attending is trying to explore what they want worship to be and I think this article is very timely.

    It seems very easy for the drive of “excellent” music to be more about the method or style of the music rather than whether it strives to glorify God or not.

    I think what we are trying to find is balance between timeless hymns and new writing that in the end most glorifies God, but this can be a hard process.

    Good post.

  2. Stephen says:

    Hey Dan, thanks for the comment. I agree.

    So you go to an ARP church. Is that the Associate Reformed Presb? I thought you were a baptist! 😉 Is that a recent change or have I got this wrong altogether?

    Well, we have baptists in our congregation too. It is great to share the same goals.

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