God alone is worthy to be praised
God alone is worthy to be praised. We are made to worship. If we really believe this, music will be a prepared offering, not a spiritual pacifier. As Austin Lovelace and William Rice write in Music and Worship in the Church, “Our gifts to the God who created us, sent his Son to us, and guides us by his Holy Spirit should be worthy of acceptance. If this be true, our gifts should represent some cost to us. A shallow hymn, a sloppily sung anthem, are hardly fit gifts to bring as an offering to God, for they cost us little or nothing. If more work is required to sing a better hymn or to prepare a finer anthem, should we do less than our best to bring a ‘living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is your spiritual worship?’”1
This attitude differs from our culture, which primarily sees music as a means of stimulating and/or soothing human emotion. It is largely feeling-oriented—which is too often our view of music in the church. The comments of several pastors I interviewed reflected this. A friend in Massachusetts felt music should prepare people for the message from the Word of God. Another pastor in Illinois commented that music should be contemporary in order to appeal to all types of people. Another spoke of the need to keep music plain so no one would be offended. A friend in California thinks music should “be exciting so people get excited about God.”
1 Austin Lovelace and William Rice, Music and Worship in the Church (Nashville: Abingdon, 1976), p. 24.
Bolinder, G., McKee, T., & Cionca, J. R. 1986. Vol. 6: What every pastor needs to know about music, youth, and education. Spine title: Music, youth & education. The Leadership library. CTi; Word Books: Carol Stream, Ill.; Waco, Tex.