Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Stop the Hillsongization!

Oh come, let us sing to the Lᴏʀᴅ;
    let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
    let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!  (Ps 95:1-2)

My wife and I have noticed that, more and more, our congregation does not sing much.  Oh, we have a band with guitars, keyboards, drums, etc. and lyrics displayed overhead, but few besides the band members actually sing.  Why is that?  The answer is rather obvious: the songs are not meant to be sung.

Recently, I discovered a post written by Jonathon Aigner addressing this phenomenon plaguing local assemblies.  He made two points that I found particularly useful:
  • Do music that is meant to be sung, and in a way that encourages healthy, hearty singing. – In other words, stop trying to sing instrumentally-driven music.  Instead, use what is accessible for large groups with simple rhythms and melody lines.  Let’s face the facts.  If band members, with past musical training, have trouble singing the song, how much more those in the pew?
  • Stop the Hillsongization of congregational singing. – Hillsong United has become quite the phenomenon to the point that one is not certain if the band is a result of the church or the other way around.  In either case, for some reason they have become the standard by which all other praise/worship bands are measured, and that is bad news.  First, people have begun to place a priority for the music style and experience over the message.  Second, Hillsong is a cesspool of heterodox teaching, which comes out in their music.  Of all the music I have heard that was produced by Hillsong, I can count on one hand those that were biblical—and have fingers left over.  Those who emulate or perform their music should stop immediately.*
I recommend the whole piece.

The church needs to recover something that has been dwindling for some time.  In 2008, Michael Raiter was sounding the call, and two years later, T. David Gordon wrote a book on the subject.  Worship is not a spectator sport, but it is increasingly becoming so.

*  Glenn Chatfield has had several good discernment posts with examples of the corrupt teaching at Hillsong church.  Also, read his thoughts on the general topic of music in worship.


Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Good article Steve, and great link to the "Hillsongization" -- I will include it in my next "Random..." post.

And thanks to the links to my blog!

Steve Bricker said...

Glenn, I like sharing the good stuff.

dave b said...

They probably blare the music so loud that kids growing up under this type of music are essentially deaf by 10 and couldn't be taught to sing if they wanted to.

Steve Bricker said...

David, while reading your comment I chuckled to myself, because many of these churches sequester the kids in nursery or Children's Church, so we can be thankful that they are able to keep their hearing though they may eventually lose what little faith they had.