Critical of Musical Criticism

We must think rightly about music, especially the music we use to shape our affections and to worship God, publicly and privately.  At the same time, I grow weary of what seems to be unending criticism on the kind of music we use in corporate worship.  An “anything goes” approach is simply not wise when it comes to church music.  But a “nothing but what my conscience dictates” approach is no better–primarily in a corporate worship setting.  Tim Challies included a good citation in today’s a la carte section, A La Carte (12/20).  The citation is good in principle,

I am coming to the understanding that nit-picking at music and especially music that encourages us to offer praise and thanksgiving to God and reflect on his greatness can actually discourage the praise we are commended to offer. This motivates me to ask a few questions with regard to why we find it necessary to be over-critical of worship music, to the extent that it can appear to have no redeeming value.

I went over to the full post.  The author, Lisa Robinson, continues,

The last question I’d have to ask is if worship music criticism does not point to a deeper issue and that of being critical in general.  While I can’t speak for individual motives behind each rendering of criticism, I have found with my own self it stems from a prideful arrogance that somehow my standard should set the precedent for how we worship God.  Yes, I stated correctly – pride and arrogance.  Not only that, we can come off as people without hope who find no beauty in the simplest of creation.  We should not be this way.

One can legitimately quibble with the author but her main point is worth chewing on . . .

So my critique is this – stop being so critical.  Worship God with music that honors Him with whatever lyrics are consistent with His character, from the simplest to the most compact.  Allow others to worship Him as well.  Don’t ruin someone else’s worship experience because you don’t think the song has value.  If it directs us to the Lord, that is all the value we truly need.

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