Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Worship Music

Yes, it has been about six weeks since I posted. A lot has happened -- got caught in a RIF at work, and been very busy at the church. However, I read a short book on worship music while I was away...

The book turned out to be a bust in my opinion. Even though it had the endorsement of a man I truly respect, J. Ligon Duncan III, IMHO, this book was not very compelling.

Before I go much further, I want to say that I agree, by and large, with many of the arguments in the book; i.e. that CCM is inappropriate for worship, and that many (if not most), CCM/modern worship songs are insipid and totally narcissistic. Where I feel that the author went afoul of a solid argument is when he began with the mantra that 'drums' are somehow part of the devil's music.

Now, he did not say that in those words, but he intimates it heavily throughout. And the old boogie man of the 'backbeat' somehow conjuring up Satan in the church is simply not true.

His argument for using classical music is that it is so far removed from anything evil that it is safe to be used in the church - although, in it's day, this music too was frowned upon by many within the church.

This is written from a Western man's view of music - drums and music of the type that he disparages, are used in other parts of the world where people have always used drums as part of their heritage. they also do not have organs, pianos and the other western instruments.

As I said earlier, I agree that CCM has no place in the worship life of the church, and I am a staunch believer in hymns, and even Psalter singing, however the arguments put forth by Mr. Lucarini just don't hold water from a musical standpoint. I would have enjoyed a much more theological argumentation, as opposed to the almost 'mystical' perspective that a certain beat and instrumentation is inherently evil.

Sadly, as I work through the changes in our worship style; attempting to jettison some of the inherited CCM and replace it with more solid modern hymns and Psalter singing, these types of books are really useless. I am going to pick up Michael Horton's A Better Way. This was recommended by a pastor that I truly respect.

I have also found Hughes Oliphant Old's books to be quite useful -- his Worship book is fantastic, as is his Leading in Prayer workbook.

Books such as Dan Lucarini's simply provide no useful theological argumentation - but instead, rely on the same arguments that the CCM folks use to introduce the drivel that they call worship music. I think there is a better way, and I believe that we can use arguments that transcend the 'drums are bad' mentality.