Thursday, June 9, 2011

Shawty, should we have rap in church?

The man who wrote the linked blog is one of my newest friends on facebook.  He set up a Reformed network there and I am enjoying his articles.  I read his article today on Rap in church.  Should it be there or not?  Although I agree with what Mr. Cruz says mostly, I do disagree with this article overall.

He takes the traditional Calvinist view that if you can't find a worship form in Scripture, then we should not use it.  Here I find I'm more liberal than I think I am.  I take more Luther's view: if it's not forbidden in Scripture, then go ahead!  Psalm 150 is all about instruments used to worship God: trumpets, cymbals, harps.  If they had been invented, I'm sure the list would include electric guitars, drums, and bass.  It might have even included rap.

Now, as for corporate worship, rap is mostly solo.  I cannot participate in a rap with other people.  It would work as a solo but not as a group worship song, although Kirk Franklin seems to pull it off.

That aside, there is a lot of wisdom in Calvin's position.  Today we have electric guitars, big screen TVs, lights, action but very few people making commitments to the Lord.  People leave church with teary eyes but go back to their everyday lives on Monday.  Some go on to sinful lifestyles and still think they are following the Lord.  As a volunteer at a pregnancy center, I can tell you that most of the single, pregnant women who live with their boyfriends outside marriage think they are Christians.  They claim Jesus as Lord but all of a sudden he's not Lord of their sex lives.  They mostly go to churches with high emotion but little Scripture exposition.  I still maintain that rock music and even rap are alright in corporate worship and should be used, but it should not be the whole thing.  Preaching the Word should be the focus, not the cool gimmicks.

So, two people in my church want us to get a big screen TV for the sanctuary.  Remember, we still meet in office suites and our sanctuary is as big as the Starbucks dining room where I write this.  I do not think that now is the time for a big screen TV.  Now, one of the supporters is my Dad and the other is a man who also attends a contemporary church along with our church.  My Dad just does not understand that the Holy Spirit does not need our help inspiring people.  There is a time and place for videos, but not yet.  If the Holy Spirit doesn't inspire someone in our church by his own means, then no emotional video will.  Churches rely too much on getting people emotionally high, may I say buttering up its attenders, and not simply letting the Word speak for itself.  So no, for the sake of being a frozen chosen Presbyterian, I don't think we should have video in the sanctuary.  I have not problem with power point or maybe an occasional video, but we don't need a permanent TV.  Look, for my last teen Sunday School I used a video on my own 13 inch TV.  There is a time and place for it.  Our sanctuary is to small and does not need a big screen TV.

One more thing: My Dad has been reading Desiring God by John Piper.  He told me last night that Piper would disagree with me.  I doubt that.  Having a hedonistic love for the Lord has nothing to do with showing a video in church to prep people for the sermon.  It has everything to do with God changing our hearts.

That still doesn't change the fact that i'm having skits in church the next four sundays for VBS.  Is this different than video?  What do you think people?  Peace out!

UPDATE: Last night I attended my small group Bible study in this youth trailer in Grayson.  In that room was a big screen TV on which power-point slides of song lyrics were posted.  I did not find it at all over-emotional or distracting.  So, I suppose TVs in church are fine.  We just have to beware of too much emphasis on emotion and not enough emphasis on Scripture and Christ.

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