Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Problem with Praise Teams

T. David Gordon has a great post asking if praise bands are serving a biblical purpose in the local assembly.  Here is what I consider to be his thesis statement.
For traditions that regard the church as an institution (not as a voluntary society), then that institution must do what it is instituted to do; it must “devote” itself to the purposes for which it was instituted.  Working within that tradition, then, we ask whether that assembly is required to sing audible praise to God, and if so, how it is commanded to do so.  That is, if an audible thing is required, then there would be an audible test of whether the required thing were done (as with the visible test of the cherubim woven into the curtain of the tabernacle).
Gordon then lays out the scripture texts pertinent to these three areas with a summary of how they are presented in a corporate context.  In addition he tests his thesis by visiting two assemblies—one with and praise band and one without—with a uniquely qualified individual to get her perceptions.  Her observations are telling.

The author avoids stereotypical questions of style to lay out what should be the basis and attitude of worship music.  Believe me when I say the critique is valid.  We use a praise team every Sunday, and playing half-time, I experience both sides of the issue.  Instruments are to accompany vocals, not lead them.  And the song leader's task is to keep everybody together by starting starting on pitch and with good tempo, not by overpowering through amplification.

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