Berean cogitations

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Playing secular music during church worship

Last year, I met someone who says that he regularly performs secular songs during church worship. Why? Because people enjoy them more and it helps attract large crowds. He mentioned the following as examples of the kidn of music that they play:

Jesus is Just Alright -Doobie Brothers
Maybe I'm Amazed -Paul McCartney
Vertigo -U2
That's Just The Way It Is -Bruce Hornseby
Shining Star -Earth Wind and Fire
Some Kinda Wonderful -Grand Funk
Born To Be Wild -Steppenwolf
Money, Money, Money -Abba
Footloose -Kenny Loggins

First, I question the wisdom of playing secular music for worship. A song like "Dust in the Wind" might arguably have a religous application, but that doesn't make it worshipful. Heck, if the song barely mentions God -- or doesn't mention God at all, not even tangentially -- then how can we claim that it focuses on the Lord?

Second, I think that most of the songs mentioned -- if not all of them -- are deeply inappropriate for a worship setting. "Money, Money, Money"? I suppose one could say that it's all about materialism, but that doesn't make it worshipful. I'm not saying that Christians should NEVER play such music in church, mind you. It might be suitable background music during a play, for example. However, when it comes time to worship, our purpose should be to focus on the Lord Most High -- not to play songs that simply have some spiritual application, no matter how tenuous.

I adopt the following rule of thumb: If a Buddhist, Hindu or atheist can play the song in the same heartfelt manner as a Christian, then it's probably not suitable for worship. Worship is all about the Lord God, and worship music should reflect this. Throwing in a few religious words or tenuous religious applications just doesn't cut it.