Does What We Sing Matter to the Faith of the Church?

Since the 1970s we have had a raging debate about singing and music in the church. This debate has often come down to “traditional” music, or (old) hymns, versus “modern,” or popular music. The real truth is that the great influence on church music has been a combination of the charismatic influence, much of which is good in directing our hearts to God in personal praise, and the popular songs of television and pop-culture. This “performance” music is not good, at least in my view. Why?

People do not participate in “praying twice” (St. Augustine) as much as they watch and observe and see a professional production of varying quality. On contrast, pietism went right to the heart of people when they sang their faith. What happens if we cease to express our communion in the common faith in deep and thoughtful ways?

19 Comments on “Does What We Sing Matter to the Faith of the Church?”

  1. My observation – much of the mega-church music looks and sounds like a rock concert (sometimes including strobe lights and (holy?) smoke. Upside is participation. Downside is personal praise is sometimes overshadowed by onstage performance.
    I also observe we need to coach congregations on the difference between signing songs, hymns, etc about God and singing our praise-petition-declarations directly to God.

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