I missed the music wars of the '80s or whenever they were. I wasn't a Christian and the idea that Christians would have been fighting over music styles would have been ridiculous in my mind... as a non-Christian, more evidence for the "pie-in-the-sky" superficiality of Christianity.
But now I'm a Christian. And all around me, I see the remains of the music wars that preceded me. There are the scars and tenuously held together congregations that split or nearly split. There are services traditional and contemporary. There are the die-hards that organize their small little ranks for raiding parties, surprise attacks at this or that members' meeting before running back to cover. It's an interesting new world to me.
I'm a professed ignoramus when it comes to music and the history of music, but I'm committed to learning... and by God's grace am doing so. So, this post is less opinion or guidance and more an invitation to discussion. How does what we've said thus far about the two cultures (God's and man's) shape something like music selection and singing in the gathered church?
A few preliminary thoughts/questions that I'd love your counsel, correction, response to, etc.
1. I'm a regulative principle kind of guy. Does the two cultures view require that? If not, why not and how do we discern where we are in this tension between the cultures of God and man?
2. I think there is greater priority for the church gathering together as one body over the local church segregating itself into different services based upon music styles. That seems to me to cede way too much over to the culture of man. Surely our preferences for something like music should not be determinant when it comes to when and how we gather?
3. Culturally speaking, does our two cultures view argue for a "mere" expression of cultural/ethnic distinctives in the public services (especially in areas quite diverse)? Is less actually more on this point? My sense is that simpler musical forms and less cultural distinctiveness (or at least some attention to balance) make the public service more permeable. Is that true of anyone else's experience? How are folks striking "balance" on this if at all?
Let me know what you think. I'm a neophyte in this arena and therefore am tremendously blessed to be colaboring with a worship pastor like Dave Jorge!
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