Your Guide to Contemporary Christian Music

06/19/2008



By Dale Peterson

Thank you for choosing to worship with us today. If you are from a church that uses traditional hymns, you may be confused. Please take a moment to read through this guide to contemporary Christian music.

In our church you will not hear "How Great Thou Art," "Wonderful Grace of Jesus," or "Like a River Glorious." (Generally, hymns that have words like “Thou” are not used. They are too archaic and are normally replaced by words like “awesome” and “miry clay”). Yes, okay, we may do "Amazing Grace" or "Peace Like a River" at some point, but as a general rule we avoid songs with too many different verses or those that can't be played easily on guitar and drums.

If you are new to worship here, you may wish to know the reasons for this. One is that deep theological concepts do not belong in contemporary Christian worship. We frown on songs that change more than one or two words for each verse. For example, our version of "Holy is the Lord" consists of repeating that phrase six times per verse and then changing "Holy" to "Worthy," "Mighty," "Jesus" and finally changing "the" to "my." Isn’t that much simpler to sing and easier to remember? The twin goals here are a) repetition and b) chanting quality. We don’t focus on what we’re singing, but how we’re singing it. The main thing is to get that kind of tingly, "olive oily" feeling. Don't worry if you don't get this right away. It will come as you learn to disengage your intellect. Just free yourself. Immerse yourself. Relax.

Christian music guide

Nevertheless, a traditional hymn may sometimes be used. For example, we’re not averse to "Holy, Holy, Holy." You may be tempted to sing this as you would have in your former church, but please note that it is sung here with changes, mainly the fact that we repeat it several times and try to sing as slowly as possible, thereby emphasizing the funereal nature of the verse.

Repetition is very important in contemporary Christian music. We repeat: Repetition is very important in contemporary Christian music. Just because a song may have one verse and one chorus does not mean that you only sing it through once. Old hymns have several verses, each of which introduces a new theological concept, and are meant to be sung once followed by "Amen." This is no longer how it’s done. The correct procedure is to sing the identical verse and chorus at least three times. Often it is preferable to repeat the verse two times initially before moving on to the chorus.

Also the worship leader may want to repeat a verse or chorus found in the middle of the song. This is signaled by “calling an audible." When this occurs, the worship leader will say the first few words of the verse or chorus he will be singing next. Sometimes, due to the similarity of the verses, this may be confusing and the overhead projector may flash several pages of text until the correct one is arrived at. Don't panic, this is normal. Just continue singing as though you know the words and soon either the correct slide will appear or a new chorus will begin.

After the verse and chorus are sung at least three times, it is permissible for the song to end. However, the chorus must first be repeated in its entirety, then the last paragraph, then the last line. When singing the last line it is important to slow down a little and look upward. Raising a hand is permissible and often done at this time. This may take a little getting used to but don't worry, if you just join in, in a short time you won't even notice and soon you will forget that you ever did it any other way.

We are just really glad you chose to share the worship experience with us today. Thank you and we hope to see you again soon.

Thank you and we hope to see you again soon. Thank you. Thank.


Comments(282)

Anonymous | 12:49 am on 6/30/2008

You Christians mock each other. How do you think non-Christians will be attracted to your Jesus when all you do is make fun of how you (older or younger / traditional or non-traditional)sing to your God. This article by Dale Peterson is one of the reasons i do not join your faith and what you believe. How can you mock how one worships their God. What a turn off this article is. Shouldn't you be more loving like your Christ. I like your Jesus...not its followers.

budda | 10:47 am on 6/30/2008

Why do you think we are here sir? Because we are so enamored of the christians in our midst? Don't base your faith on people, sir, for people do surely suck.

If you like Jesus and if you follow his teachings, you just might be a red ne... sorry, a christian.

Connecticut Song Leader | 04:40 pm on 6/30/2008

Mr. Peterson's satirical, but sharply honed comments toward the "Non"-Christian Contemp(t)ory Music genre are well within merit. The vain-repetitive format of chorus structured lyrics and strains of "everything's alright" melodies used by the
"w(h)or(e)ship leaders" in some so-called churches today is more reminiscent of Korah and Dathan singing around a golden calf.

The traditional hymns written by Charles Wesley, Fanny Crosby, John M. Moore, Charles Moody, Ira Stanhill, and Alfred Smith, to name a few, and lead in congregatinal singing by Ira Sanky, Philip Bliss, George Shey, Alfred Smith (yes, writer and song leader) are filled with doctrine from the King James Bible. It is these hymns that bring conviction, not the "let's make you feel good" choruses of "praise." Not the rap, rock and heavy metal "non"-Christian devil influenced garbage being sold to the young people today.

Kudo's, Mr. Peterson...!

budda | 10:26 pm on 6/30/2008

I so badly want to believe this was sarcasm, Mr Song leader, but I'm afraid you were being for real. Please tell me you were serious, I'll print it out and tape it on our worship leaders mike stand if it is real.

Connecticut Song Leader | 03:56 am on 7/01/2008

Print it...tape it...kick the sand off your shoes as you then immediately leave the building and find yourself a good Bible believing church where the preaching of the Word of God is the priority, not the music.

BJ | 06:47 am on 7/01/2008

"Song Leader" I take that to mean you are in a church without a designated or paid worship leader. My guess is that you are in a relatively small family church with people of similar backgrounds. You could be a Campbellite. Oops I mean Church of Christ. "Bible believing church", "preaching the Word of God" are catch phrases thrown around to sound spiritual. The fact is even "Bible believing" churches where the "preaching (of) the Word of God" takes place don't take the Bible litterally. In fact no one can develop a belief system based on the Bible without interpretation.
You certainly can't develop a Biblical style of worship without speculation and assumption. There is no order of worhip laid out in the Bible for churches to follow. Therefore, no church can claim to be doing it the "Biblical" way. That leads me to believe that worship wasn't intended to be labled Biblical or non Biblical, but sincere or insincere.
I took from the article that the new, cool way to worship is not necessarily the best or most authentic style of worship. Neither is singing Just As I Am for 25 verses until someone breaks and heads to the altar so we can all get to Shoneys.
I would venture to say that after a few days most church folk could remember and sing the songs they heard in church, but could tell you little of what the preacher said.

Connecticut Song Leader | 04:40 pm on 7/01/2008

Hello BJ:

I can see you have given my comments some thought and I am most pleased that you chose to comment yourself. I must thank my friend, Dale Peterson, for his article provoking such activity.

Let me first address the issue of the "worship leader." The role of the "worship leader" is left to the one who is actually designated as the leader of the local church, the Pastor. The Pastor, also know as the under-shepherd (Christ is the Great Shepherd), is responsible, to God, to lead the worship service. The whole idea of coming to a building (the "church" refers to the Saints of the congregation, not the edifice occupied) is to worship (to adore; to pay divine honors to; to reverenece with supreme respect and vereration) God through Christ our Saviour. The final authority of what takes place during the service, how and when, includng the music used, is the Pastor. This is the only leader in the church. The deacons, elders, choir director, song leader, ushers, Sunday School teachers, bus workers, etc. though given limited authority or supervisory roles, are under the Pastor's LEADERSHIP. So, in response to your statement of my church having a paid "worship leader" is, yes.

A small church? Depends on your definition of a small church. My church is located in an area surrounded by suburban areas a large city. The average attendance on a Sunday morning varies from 240 to 350.

I like your point regarding the phrases "Bible believing church" and "preaching the Word of God" and I can agree that these two phrases can be thrown around on a random basis. I'm glad you brought this up. The only true way to tell if a church is preaching the Word of God and is a Bible believing church is to compare the doctrine preached against God's Holy Word to see the fruit/growth/spiritual maturity husbanded on a consistant basis.

A very good argument included in your response is that a number of churches do not take the Bible literally. Tell me, BJ, how else did God intend us to take it if not literally. What did God tell us, oh imperfect humans that we are, in Isaiah 55:8,9? "For my (God's) thoughts are not your (us) thoughts, neither are your (us) ways my (God's) ways...for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my (God's) ways higher than yours (us), and my (God's) thoughts than your (us) thoughts." That's argument enough for me to warrent taking God's Word word-for-word. Want to know word for word what God says? Get a Strong's Exhaustive Condorance of the Bible. Get a King James Bible and a copy of Dr. Mickey P. Carter's book, "Things That Are Different Are Not the Same (The truth about the battle for the preserved King James Bible)."

You are correct as far as I can tell, that there is no specific order for the "Order of Worhip." But, if you read God's Word, you'll find that there is "Order to Worship." How the Pastor formats the service is his call....it is his specific and unique ministry to which he will answer to God.

BJ, knowing Mr. Peterson as I do, I can say with all confidence that you did understand the intent of his satirical but thought provoking commentary correclty, "the new cool way." It ain't always hip to be cool. It's more blessed to be warmed by the truth of the Word of God. Keep in mind, there is one interpertation, but many applications.

Sadly more often that not, people will remember a hymn more than the Preacher's message. But, if you're truly studying the Word of God, the driving point of Preacher's message will hit the target of your soul. Keep in mind, the music of the church service is a not the Sermon. The hymns are used to bring the congregation into a spirit of worship and to open the individual's mind, spirit and soul to the preaching of the message. The Pastor's message is the meat, the core, the lifeline of the church service.

Don't ever place music agenda above or as a segue to the preaching of God's under-shepherd. Church is not here for our entertainment. Too many of those so-called worship leaders are there to "watch me...look at me". They are not the "opening act!" There is no act.

Meet you at Shoney's....Dale's buyingy!!

BJ | 06:27 am on 7/02/2008

I don't think Shoney's will work. This might require an all night discussion. Maybe a Waffle House. Better yet Joe's Bar. Especially if Dale is buying.

Anonymous | 02:32 pm on 7/02/2008

I bet some of you saw the Southpark episode with Cartmen. The one where he decided that developing a Christian band will make him famous... Yeah, that is what this reminded me of. Freakin' sweet. Haha.

Ron | 08:10 pm on 7/03/2008

Very good Dale. I found your article interesting but the response is even better! I see you now have the "poker". GOSG

frankie | 04:20 pm on 7/16/2008

Sigh -- we've lost a lot when we lost the great hymns. Not only were they useful for those who cannot read, but they stick in your head, so while you're working in your garden or baking bread, you can sing some stirring theology and thus worship your Creator.

Praise choruses are probably no better or worse than the old hymns. Some hymns were not as good as some of the choruses. What's sad is that we completely lost one for the other. People had to learn to sing to really belt out the old hymns.

My mom had a habit of singing to people to comfort them -- especially if they were lying in a hospital bed. I suppose a praise chorus could be just as effective, but no, it wouldn't be as meaty.

Lon | 11:21 pm on 8/09/2008

Taking a stab at humor

I always read the door in Bible college. It was witty, edgy, intelligently irreverent...

It isn't easy trying to walk the thin line between humor and truth. If it is done poorly, it isn't really doing what is intended. Anger, confusion, and even laughter aren't always the best motivators. What it boils down to, is does it make us think about what is being said? Does it simply convey an agenda?
"The old hymns are better than today's music any day of the week."

My favorite songs are still those that ring scripturally true.

Mullin's "Creed" I'd throw on the overhead next to hymns.

There are some really good old hymns and there are some I'd like to see edited out of the next hymnal in favor of "Creed."

My two cents and nothing left in my wallet.

Peace

Lon

robemar | 08:09 am on 8/12/2008

While I enjoyed the article it is certainly true that hymns are not necessarily going to speak to everyone. Twinkies are good but steak is good for you - if you are ready to digest it.

Here's some prime rib:

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

MR

pigsey | 07:00 am on 8/17/2008

Were every stalker on earth a quail...what did he mean by that?

Roys Runts | 01:21 pm on 8/18/2008

Just be thankfull that you don't belongto a small RPC Church where all you can sing is the PSALMS with no music

Katey M. | 04:40 pm on 8/18/2008

I enjoyed the article. I've attended all kinds of churches, in many parts of the US (and even a few in the UK) and have been exposed to many kinds of worship services and styles of music. Unfortunately, there's no way to please everyone. (but if you're going to church to be pleased and patted on the head, then ... well, that's another article)
But for the most part, I am weary of the repetition, the drawn out endings, the 'chanting'... and I am just as weary of some of the hymns (mostly out of the early to mid 1900's) that are so "I/Me" focused and seem to have nothing to do with anything ("In the garden", "Showers of Blessing") and fluffy songs that just bug me ("I Know who holds Tomorrow")... they are *sort of* biblical, in that they are probably talking about God or Jesus... but more often than not (was this bcause of the world wars and the Depression?) songs were about how Nice Jesus is and how great heaven will be. very little of actual Praise being sung- Thanks, Adoration, Love, etc.
My personal favorite 'style' is a contemporary orchestration of good hymns- ones whose lyrics have substance and meaning, and are God/praise oriented, instead of self focused. Like:
"Praise to the Lord, the Almighty"

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near;
Praise Him in glad adoration.

.... (this song has way more verses than are usually printed in hymnals!) :) ....

Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him.
Let the Amen sound from His people again,
Gladly for aye we adore Him.
***

Yes, there are a few mentions of "me" in the song, but the focus of the song is on God and His might and power and love and care over us, and giving thanks and praise for it.

And, looking back on my favorite hymn from my childhood, I did actually get my understanding of the trinity from "Holy, Holy, Holy" : "God in three Persons, blessed Trinity."
It's not so hard to comprehend when you look at that statment.

I do love many of the 'modern' praise and worship choruses/songs
(Shout to the Lord, The Heart of Worship, Victory Chant, Lord I Lift You Name on High (overdone as it is)) but have felt bored and alienated when churches use repeat after repeat after repeat to sowly draw out the end of a song... and people's hands are waving in the air... and the song leader is saying stuff like "we love you Lord".. "you are worthy" etc., or a phrase from the song over and over again... REALLY- what is the purpose of that? to make you FEEL "spiritual"? To give you the warm fuzzies? I know there are people who are just so in the moment and really pouring out praise to their Lord that they can't help but close thier eyes for a moment, or lift their palms to the sky... but when it's encouraged and expected of the whole congregation, it just comes off forced and fake.
REAL worship is action- not warm fuzzies. "Feed my sheep... tend my lambs..." THAT's how to show your love to the Lord.

VenerableBean | 09:33 pm on 5/13/2009

Spot on Katey!

Worship is an ACTION. So we offer the BEST to God. The best music and the best use of language. I have worshiped regardless of how I felt when in church. A man loves his family by going to work and providing for them - regardless of how he felt that day at work. This is love, which is also an action and not a feeling.

I can offer someone dinner of a perfectly prepared healthy 5 course meal... or a Big Mac and Fries. Being low-brow is NOT more sincere. I hate this propensity of American Christianity to the low brow and meaningless. But hey, if it's goosebumps, it must be Jesus!

Christians were told by Christ himself to "do THIS in remembrance of me". Holy Communion was THE reason the Apostles and Baptized Christians gathered for worship in the New Testament. Worship was OFFERING prayers of thanksgiving, along with the bread and wine as THE commanded form of worship. Worship is an action which I must offer regardless of how much i enjoy it. What if what God commands of me does't entertain me? What if I don't like fasting, or offering solemn prayers over bread and wine? What if the solemnity of Holy Communion doesn't accommodate my love of Rock Music?

So, if enjoyment a fuzzies aren't the goal - then contemporary Christianity must look back to the first four centuries to see exactly what constituted worship. Without this historical context American Christianity will continue to produce pseudo-spiritual fads which die out every year, or two at the most.

I loved your thoughts on the power of some of the older hymns.

Anonymous | 05:32 am on 4/03/2010

EXCELLENT! SUPERB! MANY THANKS FOR WRITING THIS response!

AmyJoy | 04:02 pm on 8/21/2008

That's hilarious :) Very good Dale!

Karen | 01:46 am on 10/08/2008

You completely left out the part about repeating words until they have lost all meaning.

I try to keep in mind, though, that the service is not about what I want. If the praise choruses are helping other folks praise God then I don't mind singing them, possibly because we also sing real old hymns. With a pipe organ and everything. So there.

chris | 07:39 pm on 10/08/2008

OK, I must say: I'm the worship leader at my church and plan and lead the music described in this article. This was hilarious and right on the mark! Why can't CCM be more interesting and theologically meaningful?

Anonymous | 11:58 am on 10/15/2008

CCM ... hmm hmm ...CRAPPY Christian Music?

Grunt | 09:24 am on 10/26/2008

I listen to Bluegrass Gospel every Sunday morning on the net. It's the original "U.S.A." gospel music and it sure is positive after a Saturday night of sinning. Wakes everyone in the house up too.

Anonymous | 02:00 pm on 10/27/2008

I could never put my finger on WHY the "contemporary" service at church grated on my nerves even MORE than the "traditional" ones. Thanks to this article, the cheesy conventions of contemporary "worship music" has been thoroughly deconstructed.

And I was the drummer in a "christian rock band". Of course, we didn't suck.

Anonymous | 02:07 pm on 10/27/2008

To be fair, the whole music question is a no-win situation for any thinking worship leader.

Option A: Traditional music. Thoughful. Reverent. Meaningful. Long. Boring. Empty pews. Hmm...

Option B: Contemporaty music. Upbeat. Poppy. Meaningless. Grating. Just like Donnie & Marie Osmond. Hmm...

Option A: No music whatsoever. Few enjoy the music. Few listen to the music. Few even 'get it'. So why bother? Because those few who do like it tend to be pretty darned vocal about how much they like it. I wouldn't want to be the guy that church elders complain to.

Luckily, it ain't my job to make those sorts of decisions.

the sav | 08:57 am on 11/16/2008

so funny. I call it 7/11 churches. seven words eleven times

bigargon | 11:09 am on 12/02/2008

I think the replies are more interesting then the articles.

I have been on a worship team at a Vineyard Church( now i work at the sound board). The Vineyard is one of the major "players" in modern worship. I agree that some of the worship songs can be trite, and more like hijacked pop songs. But also there are some wonderful songs that really praise God. Being brought up a catholic and having spent a couple of years in a Lutheran church, i have also experienced the dry monotone call and response hymns, which seem more like rote exercise and duty then true worship. again there are some powerful old hymns.

it comes two to two schools of thought.

1. singing songs about God
2. singing songs to God.

both traditional and modern have these elements. traditional has stayed more towards the "about God" side. While Modern heads to the "to God" side. I believe both have there place in Worship both honor God, its the extremes and the way we approach God that make all the difference. the "pop explosion" entertainment or the bone dry rote hymn is not really God honoring.

It's ever a fine line...while the "humor" of this article falls quite flat..it does make a good point how much of modern worship is "worship" or how much is feel good entertainment.

seth | 05:40 pm on 1/02/2009

i went to a contemparary christian summercamp last year and all through the 2hour wourship i thought how repedative ccm can be and how pointless and boring it can be.

Bobo the monkey boy | 11:37 pm on 2/05/2009

hey, I go to a 7 - 11 church. You know, 7 words 11 times. we sing without ceasing.
shandola caca nana

Melissa | 01:50 am on 2/06/2009

YOU're all forgetting that worship bands are musicians! They've been playing late on Saturday nights, and the reason they repeat verses is they're so tired, they've forgotten what's next.

Anonymous | 10:23 am on 3/12/2009

God never changes, but the generations do. The MESSAGE is sacred NOT the METHOD. I grew up with book worship and find comfort in a lot of the songs that taught me to worship as a child and as a writer, find that is that much more important for our new generations to have a worship experience they can identify with. I have to be careful not to exclude one generation or the other. We are one body and worship together.

Madison - Glass Bottom Boat | 11:05 am on 3/31/2009

I think that in the Christian world it's so easy to be a singer of the Lord, as people like everythin that praises the God! And how many themes there are especially for this type of music! I hope this kind of art will never die!

Miguel | 01:47 am on 4/04/2009

"And Can It Be"....
The ultimate hymn....
Not sung by modern congregations because of it's extreme pitch range...

But still an awesome song. One of these days I'll post an mp3 of my punk rock/Hillsong version of the song.
I can't get enough of Wesley's songwriting.
To think I'm a Calvinist. Isn't that strange?

I attribute it to the lack of quality songwriting these days.
Gone are the days when the enduring songs were written by Men who exemplified the faith in all areas of life.
Instead we popularize whatever junk comes off the top of the heads of our favorite evangelical religious superstars.

Official end of rant. Thanks.

Pigseye | 07:32 am on 4/07/2009

One of the main problems with pop music in general, and CCM music is for the most part no exception, is the lack of compositional understanding. The 1-4-5 or 1-5-2-4 chord formats are used add nauseum. the songs have the musical depth of say Joan Baez who basically uses G-C and D in all her writting. I am moved by some of the words by some of the more thought full song writers, Rich Mullins for example. There are many more. My problem as a real musician is their lack of ability to construct a song musically.
And worse now are the use of "power Chords" which basically means
2 or 3 note chords played using overdrive effects. While I like
all kinds of music, it seems like CCM is just another dummied down
format to showcase the modern 3 chord wizards. Most of these musicians would not know a major 7th flat 5th, or a 13th or 16th chord. If its not made by barring all the strings on the neck it just dosn't exist for them. If you are going to use the 1-4-5- format try blues, warning you have to have soul and depth to do blues. A minor blues would be good for say a topic like the Crucifixion but you can't sound like a 13 year old white boy trying to sing it. And don't use the word awesome.

Miguel | 08:08 pm on 4/22/2009

Um... There is absolutely no such thing as a 16th chord?
After the 13th you have officially used all the notes in the scale.

Pretty sure, anyways... I only have a B.A. in music and I got a "C" in theory.

But amen about the chord progressions. I think we should ask ourselves, instead of, "What style of music will fill the pews"
we should be saying, "How can we do the highest quality music that best uses the gifts God gave us?"

Sad fact of the matter is, that the easy songs are the answer to that question for many churches. Maybe the problem is the the public education system's lack of prioritizing music, and the Church is merely reflecting that.

Anonymous | 05:12 pm on 4/28/2009

I bet no one will read this, I know I stopped reading after about 10 comments of dribble, but maybe Dale will? I feel like he needs an explanation of the value of repetition. Speaking objectively, I think I'm smarter than just about anyone. But I'll tell you, I don't understand the words I'm singing. Or at least not fully. Let's take for example "You are Holy." Simple, right? Mindless to repeat? Well, aside from the fact that the Bible says that's what we'll be repeating all eternity, it's clear that we don't fully understand this concept. Does anyone really get that? I mean, really get it. God is Holy! He is perfectly set apart from us! Nothing we could ever do would allow us to compare to Him!

Now I can explore this theme in simple or complicated lyrics. So there is nothing I have against hymns. But if you cannot be moved by the simple statement "He is Holy," I would submit to you sir that you are in trouble.

PantherMartin | 07:57 pm on 5/06/2009

We are shown what works/is profitable in the singing of 'psalms, hymns, AND spiritual songs (Eph 5:19.) True emotion is good, while emotionalism is a brain dead crutch. Psalms like 'As a deer panteth o'er the waters' mixed with a spiritual song 'This is the day that the Lord has made' plus hymns which have depth of theology, are a balance. A farmer has three basic fertilizer ingredients; if he only uses only one, the crop suffers. Churches that don't follow the blend the balance their members suffer. When we are in the world we need a song in our heart, but modern CCM musicians seem more interested in exhibiting their skills and coolness than creating long lasting effect in the congregation. The world sees us as shallow, and for the most part our music reinforces that thought. So sad, but GREAT articles and comments- love it!

VenerableBean | 09:16 pm on 5/13/2009

All of this contemporary whooey is a joke. Stages. Rock bands. Big screens. Its all irrelevant to historic, biblical, creedal, Christianity.

From the very beginning Christian worship centred around offering the prayers of The Eucharist (the Holy Communion). It was THE reason to gather on Sunday with, originally, one of the 12 celebrating. It was all based on Jewish worship and was therefore liturgical, formal, reverent, and done while fasting.

Luke records that the calling of Paul and Barnabas was the work of the Holy Spirit, and that it took place during the "liturgy". The text reads, "as they were 'liturgizing' (leitourgounton) before the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said 'Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul to the work to which I have called them'"(Acts 13:2). Luke was a physician and well educated. He must have understood what he meant to say about worship: namely, that the community was together in formal and ritual worship, accompanied by fasting, when the Holy Spirit spoke. So in A.D. 46, this early church was worshiping in a liturgical manner using a Christian form carried over from the synagogue. And this was within sixteen years of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The continuity of worship between the Old and New Covenants is very evident.

This is NOT evident on STAGE where musical entertainment that gives me a warm feeling is the goal. Contemporary Christianity has seriously erred and devolved in the last 100 years. If you really want to know what the Early Church did, start reading the first three or four hundred years of the writings and history of the church. You will have a whole new outlook on what and why the apostles wrote what the did in the Bible.

snew | 02:11 am on 6/03/2009

Do I really have to be sarcastic or satirical to post a comment - it's such hard work?

Regarding this (back on page 1 of comments):

"...I would suggest that it is neither the style, nor the repetition that is the cause, but the spirit of the worshipper that makes it vain... or not. Scripture says avoid vain repetition, not repetition. We know that all of our actions are to be done corum Deo, as worship - so if you cannot in good conscience praise God with contemporary simplicity, then don't. If you can't satirize or read satire with good conscience, in Love...then don't."

I just have one thing to say: wow. wow. wow. seriously. :)
OK - I have more to say:

Disengaging the mind to worship - is that such a bad thing? I mean, sometimes it's my mind that gets in the way of "seeing" and praising God (this is a biblical thought).

And sometimes - sometimes my mind helps me to see God (this, too, is a biblical thought).

So, I guess what I'm saying is sometimes I feel like a nut (I'd rather have Jesus) and sometimes I don't (Revelation Song).

Anonymous | 10:39 pm on 7/13/2009

My beef with CCM today is simple. It is creeping into our worship services at churches all over America, it all sounds the same and to me has no melodic value to it whatsoever. I personally enjoy the old hymns of the church and it is funny how when the church I went to used the old Hymnals during worship service, we saw some radical and miraculous moves of God in church. I'm just not buying this "idea" that the old Hymns are dead and un-annointed simply because Christians of today grip e that they are "traditional" and you can't have "religious tradition" in the church or God won't move. That is one reason I do not go to that church anymore. I am so tired and fed up with this "new thing" in the church where you have to be "Radial" you have to be "Extreme," you have to be "different," to be a "last-day" christian. God is just as much in a Billy Grahm service with singing, "Just As I Am," as he is in a modern day church using a Petra song like "No Doubt" as an altar call song. Just don't tell me that the old way is outdated and wrong!

A Disgruntled Christian

Stephy | 01:19 pm on 7/27/2009

So so true. I love this so much.

Stephy | 01:19 pm on 7/27/2009

So so true. I love this so much.

Karen H | 03:45 pm on 8/13/2009

Oh you guys, lighten up. I go to a contemporary service and enjoy it very much, but I most definitely chuckled at the satire, because really, it's true. I'm forwarding it to my husband, who runs the sound board for our church band, and to my son, who plays the guitar. They'll get a kick out of it.

If it brings people to Christ, I'm not bothered about it. And heaven knows that it's kept more than a few straying youth in church and brought some troubled ones back to the straight and narrow. Traditional hyms do that, too, and hooray for them! That's the bottom line, bringing people to Christ, right?

Anonymous | 05:18 am on 4/03/2010

I believe you have missed the point of worship. You say you "enjoy it very much." Who is worship "for"? We gather as the Body of Christ to WORSHIP GOD - not come to enjoy it - THOUGH, A BY-PRODUCT OF AUTHENTIC WORSHIP IS MOST LIKELY JOY.

Worship is not even EVANGELISM! Again, the purpose is to worship God and then be sent forth into the world to live as the people of God, the followers of Christ - THOUGH, A BY-PRODUCT OF AUTHENTIC WORSHIP CAN BE EVANGELISTIC. THE HOLY SPIRIT, AS I UNDERSTAND, BRINGS PEOPLE TO CHRIST. we are the living examples of a Christ-like life, sins, forgiveness, and all.

Link | 08:56 am on 8/27/2009

haha this is awesome. i lead worship at my church and deal with this odd schism that is happening within music. they are some kickin' new worship songs but i do agree hymns have a place in worship music. they are so raw and blunt.....think we are missing that from the majority of music today

Bu | 04:39 pm on 9/10/2009

Nothing like Christian music to create an emotional response! But let me add fuel to the fire
First I would say that there are many churches today where there is more good theology in the hymnal than in the pulpit. And this from a pastor/theologian who has preached and taught for over 60 years The new music is called :Praise chorouses" he very title limits the scope of the message. Even pagans will praise God. There are many hymns in hymn books that are hundreds of years and have weathered the storms of time. Today we put the words on a screen and the hymn books get disposed of. I think much of today's music is motivated by publishers who know that few of these chorouses last, and it calls for a new productl. I believe in the joy of the Lord, but I have the emotional response to a good deal of today's music that it is superficial, and there are a lot of old songs that reverberate in my heart from days long pat. And at my age, I believe LONG is accurate. My children and grand children have the same love for the music of the past. God help us to preserve it.

Anonymous | 05:32 pm on 9/16/2009

I think it is petty and ridiculous to actually focus or make fun of something like this. Worship is worship, and usually worship is what YOU make of it. Quit focusing on the world around you and how "fake" other people worshiping might me, because obviously that means that you're taking the time to notice what other people are doing instead of being in communion with God.

As far as worship being redundant, I see it [sometimes] necessary. After all, a whole lot of the bible repeats itself and it is extremely necessary.

The same person that posted @5:32PM 9/16/09 | 05:45 pm on 9/16/2009

Going back to my statement of "worship is worship".....Yes, old hymns are lyrically better and contemporary christian can be a little painful to listen to....but if it's meant to glorify the Lord My God and lead me into communion with Him, then it is more beautiful than anything else. It doesn't matter if it's an old hymn, or contemporary christian.
Worrying about the way some things sound is important, however to let it get in the way of your time of getting into His presence is a little silly. Don't blame it on the worship, blame it on yourself getting in the way.

durb | 10:59 am on 10/13/2009

There are some great old hymns. There are some great newer worship songs. There are some really lame old hymns (just look through any hymnal). There are some really lame new songs. I've been in "high church" situations where the worship was dead and lifeless and where it was very meaningful and instructive. I've been in "contemporary settings" where worship was dull and repetitive, and where it was uplifting and God-exalting. Seems to me the point of worship is to honor God. It involves emotion and truth. "I will sing with my spirit but I will also sing with my mind. I will pray with my spirit but I will also pray with my mind." (1 Cor. 14:15). I have had meaningful times of worship in one room of 20 people with one acoustic guitar, with thousands in an arena, with hundreds in a "contemporary" setting. Seems like many of you just want to criticize anything "new" without considering that the Holy Spirit is at work in the lives of those believers that are taking part in any kind of worship. What attitude do you bring to worship? And how does worship enter your life? To just throw stones at others that do things in a more "contemporary" way is shallow and judgmental.
I love the words (some taken from Amos) of Jon Foreman's song "Instead of a Show" (no, it's not a "praise" song).
Of course it's probably too "repetitive" for some of you.
Like those pesky seraphim in Isaiah 6.

I hate all your show and pretense
the hypocrisy of your praise
the hypocrisy of your festivals
I hate all your show

Away with your noisy worship
Away with your noisy hymns
I stop up my ears when your singing ‘em
I hate all your show

Instead let there be a flood of justice
An endless procession of righteous living, living
Instead let there be a flood of justice
Instead of a show

your eyes are closed when you’re praying
you sing right along with the band
you shine up your shoes for services
but there’s blood on your hands

you turned your back on the homeless
and the ones that don’t fit in your plans
quit playing religion games
there’s blood on your hands

Ah! let’s argue this out
if your sins are blood red
let’s argue this out
you’ll be white as the clouds
let’s argue this out
quit fooling around

give love to the ones who can’t love at all
give hope to the ones who got no hope at all
stand up for the ones who can’t stand up at all
instead of a show
I hate all your show

Anonymous | 01:51 pm on 10/14/2009

This entire diatribe sounds strikingly secular, sans f-bombs. They will know us by our love for each other. Let it be that way.

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