Tim Challies posted a blog about music and worship today that is relevant to all the music I listen to lately.
He starts by saying, "The prosperity gospel has not produced a new generation of great
Christian hymns. Neither have Positive Thinking or Progressive
Christianity." How true is that? I serve at LifeWay in a part of Atlanta where all the neighbors drink the Kool-Aid of prosperity preaching, positive thinking, and progressive Christianity. Jesus does not enter their songs once. The songs are about "me." This is my season. I overcame.
We also see that the same people who listen to this fake preaching and fake music still cohabit with people they are not married to, have children with them, look up horoscopes, and can't move away from the King James Bible. They have their traditions and museum churches, but they still have high crime, drugs, promiscuity, and they have more babies aborted than anyone else. Clearly, this positive thinking did not change their lives.
That's because it is not Christian. It's Buddhism with Jesus mixed in. The center is myself and the gods help me with my life.
Challies points to Colossians 3:16, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one
another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
with thankfulness in your hearts to God." One, this verse proclaims that hymns and non-psalms are good for Christian worship and do not break the Second Commandment.
Two, Challies breaks down this verse similarly to the way Charles Spurgeon would. First, to have proper Christian worship, the Gospel must be the basis of your song. What is the Gospel? His name is Jesus. The word of Christ must dwell in you. Our songs must focus on Christ's birth, death, resurrection, his salvation, and his sanctification. They must remember all he has done for us. It is not the Gospel if the songs are only about how I overcame all my problems. They have to be about Christ overcoming me.
Second, Gospel must dwell in you richly, in order for your songs to be appropriate for worship. The worshipers must spend hours a day in the Bible and meditate on him in every slow moment possible. They must take time out of the day to specifically search the Word and seek Jesus through prayer. We have no Gospel music without Christ. We have no Christian existence without his Holy Spirit guiding us all the way. We need his Word daily.
Therefore, let your songs be about Jesus and his life. There is no point for their being music otherwise.