Thursday, September 1, 2011

Congregational Singing ... to Build Up One Another

One of the complaints I have heard levelled against hymns is that they are about God and addressed to others as opposed to being addressed to God.

Two problems.

1) That's not true of all hymns by a long shot.  There's a good mix of both 2nd person and 3rd person hymns, just as there's a mixture in contemporary worship songs.  (See an older post on the subject.)

2) Even if it were true, so what?  Aren't we commanded to sing to one another?

18And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs ... (Ephesians 5, ESV).

The occasion of this post is Justin Taylor and Greg Gilbert's post on the subject.  I recommend reading it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Dear Kent,
Truly, I liked the thoughts from your cross referencing.
"When you sing in a congregation, you’re not just singing for yourself; you’re singing for every other member of the congregation, for their edification and building up in Christ, too. In I Corinthians 14:26, Paul tells us that when we come together, everything we do—including our singing—is done for each other. Singing hymns is not just an opportunity for each of us, as individuals, to worship God in our own way."
Often, Kent, I sense the Holy Spirit's nearness (James 4:8) when I am setting my mind on the Spirit (Romans 8:6) while Reading the Bible, praying, playing Gospel songs and hymns on a keyboard or instrument of some kind such as trumpet, researching a Biblical doctrine or topic (Acts 17:11), leading others in singing or merely entertaining myself (Ephesians 5:19). I have found NOTHING ELSE IN LIFE, can replace such joys. And the Bible calls it a "sacrifice." Wow! Let me at it (Hebrews 13:5)! Like Jesus,I MUST BE ABOUT MY FATHER'S BUSINESS (Luke 2:49)! Jesus in The Spirit -- no doubt relished singing sacrificial praise as well (Psalm 150); because the Lord ALWAYS PLEASED HIS FATHER (John 8:29)
On the keyboard and piano or trumpet, I sometimes up-tempo the great, majestic hymns of theology, or up-tempo Scripture songs such as "There Shall Be Showers of Blessing" and "One Day" (When Heaven Was Filled With His Praises)! This, I think might help satisfy both the young and the old- style music lovers together. God, I have learned, has not restricted Himself, necessarily, to any uniform reception of sincere worship (Jeremiah 29:13), only with the single exception that it MUST be through Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5).
Kent, as you know, I have worshipped in some churches that rule out all musical instruments with their worship in singing. I even knew one person who thought up-tempo music syncopation is somewhat irreverent. Neither me nor my Dad agreed with this. What does or does not effectively reach God's holy ears is not mechanics, but rather spiritually tuned hearts of a truly worshipful people. I don't question the sincerity or genuine adoration of such churches. Without question, their vocal harmonies are moving. There is certainly a place for that to be in the mix of some of the many "instrumental churches," or so to speak. But, still, when people eliminate the artistry of instruments completely, in contradistinction from Psalm 150, I feel they are missing out on a lot. --Dad