Singing Worship Songs From Questionable Sources.
Following are sermons that will help in understanding how to navigate with wisdom and discernment this week’s topic and other difficult subject matters that may come up in decision making within the church and for us individually as Christians:
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Singing Worship Songs From Questionable Sources
Should a church sing songs or hymns written and composed by questionable sources? Is it edifying of the church to sing songs that have been written and recorded by those with whom we might disagree? Examples of this might include: churches or ministries with whose theology or practices we do not agree; those who espouse a truncated view or distortion of the gospel; or maybe individuals themselves, who have walked away from orthodoxy all-together. What about the individual believer, does it make a difference what songs they hear and sing along with, in their car, home or elsewhere?
This week on the Straight Truth Podcast, Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot dive right into the subject matter of the songs we sing as Christians. The main focus, is should we sing songs in the church by artists or ministries that we deem questionable?
Dr. Caldwell says what's important when we ask this and other questions like it, is that we remind ourselves of what is the standard for our singing. The standard and ultimate source, for all our singing, is the Word of God. The real measure for what we sing is not someone’s theology they espouse, the popularity of the author or song, nor the beautifulness of the composition; the measure comes from the Scriptures themselves. In singing a song from a questionable source, it does not mean that we endorse everything about them. He mentions that we probably sing a whole slew of songs from people whose lives we could probably find something with which we disagree.
A Matter Of Wisdom
He further helps us by expressing that this is a matter of wisdom, one that requires discernment. He uses the example of recommending books to others to read. Just because you might quote an author or recommend their book to someone, does not mean that you agree with and endorse everything about them. That book could be a gateway that leads to things that are harmful and unbeneficial to them. We have to use good judgment here, possibly recommending a different source that would be more safe and solid. Likewise, the songs we sing should help people to think and act biblically. Therefore, we must choose our songs wisely. Just because a song comes from a questionable source, it does not automatically mean that we cannot sing it. The standard for what we sing is not the perfection of the person who wrote or arranged the song.
Dr. Philpot mentions the context of where and what we sing, he asks if the places we sing have importance? For example, he asks, when we listen to music and sing along in our cars, our home, at other venues, or even in the church, does it make a difference? Dr. Caldwell says that everything that is done in the Lord’s Church is a teaching moment. What takes place in our cars, our home, and elsewhere is more about the individuals’ walk with God and understanding as a believer. In the church, there is corporate accountability, over individual accountability.
We Must Be Regulated By The Word of God
In the church, we must be regulated by the Word of God. Song choices need to be biblically true, and theologically faithful. We want to sing songs that communicate biblical truth in clear, uncompromising, beautiful ways. We need to sing songs where the lyrical content honors the Word of God and is consistent with the Scriptures, songs that enable the Word of God to dwell in us richly. These ought to be the standard for every church. What we sing must be true, if it is not, then we ought not to sing it.
Dr. Philpot brings up another question, asking if edification involves minimizing distractions. What is meant by this? When the church gathers, we have a responsibility to edify and build up those around us. We gather to minister to each other and the Lord, and to worship and glorify God. In this context then, should we consider not singing songs, while theologically rich, because the congregation might be distracted by the unorthodox beliefs or fallenness of the artist or ministry group? Would this possibly be unedifying to continue to sing them? Two songs and the authors are discussed as an example.
Where Wisdom Comes Into Play
Dr. Caldwell says this is where wisdom comes into play. These are matters of judgment that are going to require mature, well-informed decisions that take into account a whole host of things. We must choose what is best for the Lord's Church. There may be times when we need to set aside a song or songs for a season due to the distractions that can come to mind because of certain things that are newly associated with them. Taking this action may be the most edifying thing to do. However, in the end, the standard and the source for all our singing is truth, as it's revealed in the Word of God.
About The Straight Truth Podcast
The Straight Truth Podcast: Christian Opinions in an Increasingly Secular World. Join Dr. Richard Caldwell, Dr. Josh Philpot, and their guests as they discuss news events, current affairs, and cultural issues from a Biblical point of view. Find the truth at www.straighttruth.net
The Straight Truth Podcast is a weekly opinion show hosted by Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot. Straight Truth is available as an audio podcast on iTunes or as a video podcast through YouTube or Vimeo. The duration of the podcast is approximately 10 minutes. We release new episodes every Thursday.
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