So, my wife and I have been going back and forth for a while now about contemporary Christian music. She really likes it and has a number of artists she follows. I still listen to my copy of “Jesus Freak” by D C Talk and haven’t moved past it. She tells me that I am really missing out on some great music, and I say it sounds too much like every artist is trying to write the next big worship song.
We’re both right. There is some great music out there today. She just introduced me to a new song by Sidewalk Prophets called “You Love Me Anyway.”. What a great song!
Yet, too many churches put this music into worship, thinking that it will make them hip and relevant and enjoyable. They use music to entertain and bring people in, when they’ve forgotten that the true purpose of music in the service is to teach about and give praise to God. When the song is about us and not the Lord and what he has done, then it misses the point of the service. Sunday morning worship is the time in which God gives to us all of the things we need and desire from Him: forgiveness and the strengthening of our faith through Word and Sacrament.
Too many times the purpose of contemporary Christian music is to build up our emotions and uplift our earthly spirits. That’s a blessed and much needed thing throughout the week. When I’m feeling down or I need to get the blood going, I like to use music because of it’s cathartic nature. But I can’t rely on those emotions to get me through the crisis of faith when it arises. And they certainly don’t give me the faith I need, because that faith comes from Scripture directly, not the personalized, me-centered pop music of today’s Christian artists. “Faith comes by hearing” as Paul says in Romans; and he means the actual, true, inerrant Word of God.
So, I agree, the answer to the title of this post is, “No, contemporary Christian music is not trash. Shame on me for implying so.” But keep it out of worship and let it do the job it was meant to do (which is sell records…or in today’s world, downloads for iTunes). Sunday morning music must, as the old spiritual says, “Give me Jesus!”