Student Opinion-There’s nothing wrong with contemporary Christian worship music
Smoke machines, stage lights and questionable theology — are these what characterize contemporary worship now? Corporate worship has become a place of confusion, apprehension and criticism rather than the peaceful refuge of the Holy Spirit. The discerning believer now walks a tightrope of holding true to right theology and opening their heart for the Spirit to move and work in worship.
Is the way that contemporary churches worship actually glorifying to God? We as Christians must discern whether it is sinful to sing songs written by Hillsong Worship, Bethel Music or Elevation Worship – if a church with a spotty history can create biblically sound worship.
It is not unusual to stumble across a heated debate of such questions in Christian settings. It is good and right to wrestle with and seek clarity about these things. It is not good or right to condemn and shame a brother for disagreeing with your viewpoint.
We should make sure we are singing true things during worship and that the object of your worship is truly God, not the blessings he has given you. We especially need to be certain that we are not worshipping ourselves.
However, discernment is not cynicism. The words we sing are more important than the people who wrote them. Just because you may disagree with the theology of Hillsong as a whole does not mean they are incapable of writing lyrics that contain biblically-accurate truths of God — think about the solid gospel summary in their song “King of Kings.”
Even the renowned hymns of old were written by many different people from a diverse variety of denominational backgrounds. We don’t question the Anglican practice of infant baptism while singing along to “Amazing Grace.”
Are the hymns written hundreds of years ago more trustworthy and theologically sound? Yes. Are the songs written by the likes of Steven Furtick or Jenn Johnson still usable vessels of ascribing worth to God and drawing our hearts closer to him? I would dare to say yes again. I fear that our hyperfixation on avoiding sin in our worship is actually causing us to sin by quenching the Spirit.
God is able to redeem even the lowest and most wicked of situations to bring glory to himself and goodness to his people – look at the story of Joseph in Genesis.
Humans are sinful. Even our best attempts at righteousness are still filthy rags before the awesome majesty of the Most High God. All words less than the Word of God are exactly that: less than.
Yes, I believe that we should still be careful about what we sing to and about God. May we use the Word of God as the measure we judge all things against. But I also believe that we should allow worshippers to worship.
If a song brings someone to their knees in awe of the glory and goodness of God, who are we to say that it shouldn’t?
Worship is between the human heart and the Spirit of God. Praise songs are the vehicle, not the thing itself. If the Christian has a pure and humble heart with the desire to glorify God, then I believe their worship is a sweet-smelling aroma before the Father.
So, no, Bethel, Hillsong and Elevation are not my primary recommendations for rock-solid theology and always-dependable lyrics. But I do not feel justified in condemning all things that come from them. I believe in the goodness and power of God more than the fallibility of man.
The Lord is sovereign over all things, imperfect people and imperfect lyrics included. May he redeem and fulfill our every good endeavor and our every work of faith.
Ginion is an opinion writer for the Liberty Champion