Why Singing Hymns the Traditional Way is Better than Singing the Pop Worship Way

Jonathan Aigner has some styrong opinions. Good to read and think through his ideas.


Worship IS Essential, But So Is Loving Your Neighbor

Since yesterday, when the President of the United States proclaimed churches to be essential, I have seen two major themes emanating from my Christian Facebook friends and pages I follow. Mind you, these are from professing Christians, not some outside news pundits or any other kind of outsider.

  1. Churches are, in fact, essential, and should be allowed to reopen, because the government can’t tell the Church what to do.
  2. Since Christians can worship anywhere, and since God’s work can continue in the world through the Church without official worship gatherings, said worship gatherings are not essential.

Neither of these is convincing in the least, for me, at least.

Regarding the first position, the COVID-19 crisis is a real thing. It is not a hoax. It is not a concerted effort to take away your rights and freedom. If you disagree, frankly, you’ve been listening to too many fringe conspiracy theorists. You have taken your position from nutcase Facebook status updates from people with some sort of persecution complex. Christians in this country are, by and large, not persecuted. These restrictions are in place because large gatherings pose a huge risk to the people in attendance, and to public health in general. There are documented cases of this happening, both present and historical. Perpetuating this fear is both irresponsible and lacking in faith in Christ, our living Head.

Read the rest: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/ponderanew/2020/05/23/worship-is-essential-but-so-is-loving-your-neighbor/

Hymns of Hope and Comfort: Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah

Guide me, O thou great Jehovah,
pilgrim though this barren land;
I am weak, but thou art mighty;
hold me with thy powerful hand;
bread of heaven, bread of heaven,
feed me now and evermore,
feed me now and evermore.

Open now the crystal fountain,
whence the healing stream doth flow;
let the fire and cloudy pillar
lead me all my journey through;
strong deliverer, strong deliverer.
be thou still my strength and shield,
be thou still my strength and shield.

When I tread the verge of Jordan,
bid my anxious fears subside;
death of death, and hell’s destruction,
land me safe on Canaan’s side;
songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to thee,
I will ever give to thee.

– William Williams, 1745

9 Reasons Every Church Needs to Sing Hymns

Part of an on-going discussion. I like almost all types and all can be used. Don’t like one form to be the sole medium.


When Music Equals Worship: For Musicians, Worshipers, and Worship Leaders

One of the most frustrating misconceptions borne out of the commercial Christian worship movement is the idea that music equals worship. This misconception can take on several forms, at least.

  1. That the music part of a liturgy, mass, or service is the “worship time,” and everything else the “preaching” or “teaching time.”
  2. That music activates deep emotions that become worship when paired with spiritual feelings.
  3. That music itself is a sacrament, ushering worshipers into God’s presence. In fact, I would argue that the contemporary church has made music into a substitute Eucharist.

As a result of these and other facets of the music/worship conflation, those of us who play a part in facilitating music for worship often find ourselves with titles thrust upon us, such as “worship leader,” “lead worshiper,” “Minster of Worship.” I’ve found that many of us, actually, are unsure as to what role we actually do play in worship, and when in the performance of that role we are actually worshiping.

Chuck King, a personal mentor of mine and the former Music Pastor of College Church in Wheaton, Illinois, wrote this column to his Chancel Choir a number of years ago. I’ve referred to it many times myself when trying to get my mind around how my job relates to the worship of the church, and my own personal acts of worship. I think it’s good reflection for this time of year, especially as many of us are heading into a long, stressful weekend in service of God and God’s people’s worship.

We enjoy a rare and glorious privilege . . . to sing God’s praises and his Word in the assembly of his people. But is this worship? Well, yes and no.

Music-making, even music-making that is supremely centered on the biblical revelation of our glorious God, is not by itself “worship.” Or at least is not by itself “authentic worship.” It may be idolatry, it may be self-centered, it may be culturally significant, it may even be extraordinarily emotional. But when is music-making worship?

It is no secret that those who prepare and “lead” also get the greatest benefit from their labors. There are three elements of worship in this task:

Labors: Our worship is our work at what we do for God’s glory. In a ver real biblical sense, Thursday rehearsals are a “worship time”! Worship is giving God his due with the devotion of our bodies, time, and energy.

Preparation: Our worship is what we do with our hearts and hands. “Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? He who has clean hands and a pure heart . . . [S]uch is the generation of those who seek him” (Ps 24). So for us it is not only the musical work, but our heart’s and our life’s connection to what we sing.

Leading: Making music in corporate worship is never for ourselves, but always to draw others into the joyous understanding of what we have learned and sing. Leading is worship when it is “the fruit of lips that confess his name” (Heb. 13).

Ours is a special joy and obligation. May we become “living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.”

Sing on!

Comment: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/ponderanew/2018/12/22/when-music-equals-worship-for-musicians-worshipers-and-worship-leaders/

No More We Doubt Thee: Why It’s Okay to Be a Thomas

I’ve always loved the story of Jesus appearing to Thomas.

Maybe it’s because of the skeptic in me. Growing up in the megachurch movement, I watched thousands of people around me every Sunday, swallowing a self-help gospel hook, line, and sinker. It wasn’t the Joel Osteen style, “you were born to win” sort of self-help gospel. I think that’s what it was so easy to digest to the usual churchy, Christian crowd.

(By the way, despite what the megachurch movement would like you to believe, they are jam packed with the usual church, Christian crowd, not by scores and hoards of newly attracted disciples.)

This kind of self-help gospel was a different style. It’s therapeutic quality was shrouded by claims of absolute morality, inerrancy of Holy Scripture, and the utter simplicity of the Christian life. It was out of this movement that a lot of the common quasi-spiritual cliches were born, catchphrases of self-reliance or pithy abdication, baptized with Christian culture god-language.

Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/ponderanew/2018/04/08/no-more-we-doubt-thee-why-its-okay-to-be-a-thomas/#Fva7buimu3UsRe2I.99

3 Reasons Contemporary Worship IS Declining, and What We Can Do to Help the Church Move On