As a Lutheran, one of the greatest things I can be a part of is good, rich, Christ-centered hymnody in my church. You just can’t beat great meaty hymns like ‘A Might Fortress is Our God’ and ‘We Praise You and Acknowledge You, Oh God.’ Such rich great theology in every verse. How is it that not every single church does this? My thoughts (and I could be wrong) are that churches often care more about church growth than growing God’s kingdom. Now, I’m sure most of it is purely unintentional, but much of the so-called Christian music is far from Christian.
Many churches have 7-11 music for their hymns. You know what I’m talking about. The song is seven words repeated eleven times. Or even worse is the praise music. Have you ever noticed that Christian praise music is usually more about me than God? The lyrics are always along the lines of “God, I love you so much. I will do this for you. I am spreading your word. I. I. I.” Certainly is a lot of me for music that’s supposed to be singing the greatness of God. The thing is with both of these is that they’re extremely catchy and they sound very Christian, but they’re not Christian. And in many cases, it’s incredibly difficult to discern unless you know what to look for. The problem with this catchy sounding Christianese music is that it attracts people to the church, but it offers them nothing of substance. So if the pastor isn’t preaching the Gospel properly and the worship music does nothing to edify, what have you left? I used to attend an ELCA church that had absolutely atrocious preaching, but the hymns during the liturgy were so incredible that I continued to go knowing full well that the sermons were terrible because I was still getting good sound theology through the music, even if I wasn’t getting it through the pulpit.
If you worship music lacks substance (‘This is the Air I Breathe’ and ‘How Great is Our God’ come to mind) or what you do for God seems to be the main course of the song, it’s not Christian. Your church’s worship music should be a mighty steak, not a salad of iceberg lettuce.
We Praise You and Acknowledge You, O God – Lutheran Service Book 941
1 We praise You and acknowledge You, O God, to be the Lord,
The Father everlasting, by all the earth adored.
To You all angel powers cry aloud, the heavens sing,
The cherubim and seraphim their praises to You bring:
“O holy, holy, holy Lord God of Sabaoth;
Your majesty and glory fill the heavens and the earth!”
2 The band of the apostles in glory sing Your praise;
The fellowship of prophets their deathless voices raise.
The martyrs of Your kingdom, a great and noble throng,
Sing with the holy Church throughout all the world this song:
“O all-majestic Father, Your true and only Son,
And Holy Spirit, Comforter—forever Three in One!”
3 You, Christ, are King of glory, the everlasting Son,
Yet You, with boundless love, sought to rescue ev’ryone:
You laid aside Your glory, were born of virgin’s womb,
Were crucified for us and were placed into a tomb;
Then by Your resurrection You won for us reprieve—
You opened heaven’s kingdom to all who would believe.
4 You sit in splendid glory, enthroned at God’s right hand,
Upholding earth and heaven by forces You command.
We know that You will come as our Judge that final day,
So help Your servants You have redeemed by blood, we pray;
May we with saints be numbered where praises never end,
In glory everlasting. Amen, O Lord, amen!