Arminian Today

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Listening to What We Sing

I was not shocked recently when a once popular Christian band came out in favor of same-sex marriage.  I had first heard of this band when secular radio stations begin playing their music so I too bought their tape (remember those?) and begin to listen to them.  I was a young man then and even then I was stuck by how shallow their lyrics were.  Their musical talent was good but their lyrics were very shallow and lacked any theology at all.  I finally had the chance to see them live at a local college bar where I thought they would have a prime opportunity to share the gospel with these lost college students pouring into this bar to hear these guys sing.  They band never shared the gospel and even held up his drink (which could have been just a coke) and dedicated his songs to his drink.  The students in the bar all held up their drinks (which most were not cokes) and yelled like crazy.  Not once did the band preach Christ that night.  Not once.  And I was not shocked.  Their shallow lyrics had already informed me that they probably were a very shallow “Christian” band.

I am convinced that most people fail to listen to what they sing.  They think that a song sounds good but they don’t realize that the lyrics could even be anti-Christ (2 John 7).  Even in many so-called “worship” services, the music is not God-centered nor even biblical.  It may sound good but the words themselves are not even close to sound doctrine.

I fear that we are too often focused on sounds rather than words.  For the disciple of Jesus, we must take the Word of God and examine all things (1 Thessalonians 5:19-21).  The Bible is how we can know truth from error (Hebrews 5:14).  The Bible feeds our hungry souls (Matthew 4:4; 1 Peter 2:2).  Yet we often fail to take the Bible and examine what we are listening to.  Philippians 4:8 is often used for what we watch but we should also use the Word of God for what we hear.  What are we singing?  What are they saying?

1 Timothy 4:16 tells us to watch our lives and doctrine closely.  Titus 2:1 tells us that we are to teach that which accords to sound doctrine.  Does this not apply also to music?  Does this not also apply to what we sing?  Of course it does!  All of my life as a disciple of Jesus is to revolve around what the Bible teaches.  The test for a song must not be “does it sound good” or “is it popular” but is it biblical?  Does the songs that I am singing and listening to exalt Christ?  Do they promote holiness?  Are they focused on Christ and exalting His work among us?  Does this song that we are singing exalt sound doctrine?

Sadly, most modern worship songs seem to promote humans or love or just a therapeutic view of God rather than sound biblical teaching.  We tend to sing 7-11 songs (the same seven words eleven times).  We sing a song because Hillsongs sings it but we never question the theology behind the song.  This has led to pragmatism when it comes to singing praises to God.  It is now not unpopular to have a guy (or gal) standing on a stage full or smoke and rock music and they all are decked out in blue jeans.  They “worship” leader comes out on stage and proceeds to lead the mindless people in a set of songs that never focus on the gospel, never exalt Christ in His truth, never point the singers to the glory of the King, and lack in sound doctrine.  Does the “worship” leader get rebuked?  No!  They get to make an album and we buy it up!  The “worship” leaders I have met often are very shallow theologically and have no true depth in their lives for Christ.  They just know how to sing (a few of them) and know how to play an instrument (either guitar or electric piano).

My point here is not to start a music war.  We all have different tastes and styles.  In reality, a guy with blue jeans on can be more biblically focused than the guy in a suit.  The way one looks is not really my point here.  My point is that we are so biblically illiterate I fear (from poor theology in the churches to shallow, topical preaching) that we never question what we sing.  This should not be.  We must test everything by the Word of God (Acts 17:11) and we must throw out that which does not exalt Christ in His truth.  Ephesians 5:18-21 should be our guide for this.  Ephesians 5:18-21 reads:

18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Notice that Paul the Apostle tells us that our songs should be to the Lord (v.19) and should give thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (v.20).  This is true worship.  This is how we truly exalt Christ in His glory (John 4:23-24).

So listen to what you sing and pay attention to words.  They matter.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

05/01/2014 at 8:30 PM

4 Responses

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  1. May I ask which band this was?


    05/02/2014 at 11:42 AM

  2. There is nothing like a good old hymn to make liars of all of us. “Thou shalt not bear false witness” would cancel out most of our songs.


    05/06/2014 at 10:48 AM

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