In light of the wide exposure that the mass media have given, and continues to give, to rock ‘n’ roll, together with the ever-present phenomenon of secularization, it seemed inevitable that rock music would someday invade Christian circles—and it did. Its users call it “Christian rock.” Often it is called “contemporary Christian music”…. Some Christian rock songs have religious titles or themes while others focus only on love and romance. In regard to the later, there often is little or no difference in the lyrics of these songs from those of non-Christian rock music. Even selections that have religious titles or themes often reflect a theology that indirectly praises humans rather than God. For example, one song (“Cartoons” by Chris Rice) says it is great to sing “praise in a whole new way.” Continue reading
Too often forgotten by writers of praise choruses and other modern church music is the biblically mandated didactic role of church music. We’re commanded to be “teaching and admonishing one another in … psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” Few modern praise choruses teach or admonish. Instead, most are written to stir the feelings only. They are too often sung like a mystical mantra with the deliberate purpose of putting the intellect into a passive state while the worshiper musters as much emotion as possible. Repetition is deliberately built into many praise songs precisely for this purpose. Continue reading
… sacred music in our day does not wish to sound different from secular music; to the contrary, it intentionally emulates it, and attempts to sound exactly like it. But if worship is a sacred task, what is wrong with the musical aspects of worship sounding sacred?
— T. David Gordon, from Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns, p. 75