OK, I’ll admit it. I find modern Praise and Worship music doctrinally shallow. A lot of the time they just sing a chorus over and over until they begin to feel some sort of emotion [tedium?]. I love the sentiments in those songs. I love the fact that [originally] they were psalms and scripture set to contemporary music.
I can’t stand the fact that they’re doctrinally shallow. What do I mean by that? I mean that a lot of the traditional hymns convey a lot of our doctrine. We call this our liturgy. You can tell what a church believes by what it sings, for what it sings is most generally what the congregation remembers and meditates on. We put our doctrine to music for the same reason we use songs and rhymes to teach children the alphabet and such: music gets into your head. It is, in fact, one of the least acknowledged but most effective forms of meditation.
Also, modern worship [and I have much the same complaint about churches where special performances or the choir has likewise dominated the service in lieu of congregational singing] has, by and large, ceased to be worship. Its a spectator event. A rock concert. Entertainment in a sense. Congregational singing was participatory and therefore personal as well as corporate. We came together as the church to sing and remembered that we’re all in this together.
[It’s the sort of unity exemplified in the Lord’s Prayer:
Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.]
But we also sang hymns that were largely about God, instead of being sang to or entertained.
Our liturgy is our legacy. What will ours be?
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