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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Noisy and Uncouth

Part 3 of RELIGIOUSAFFECTIONS.ORG blog series The Tozer Collection: Worship Music

Noisy and Uncouth

Religious music has long ago fallen victim to this weak and twisted philosophy of godliness. Good hymnody has been betrayed and subverted by noisy, uncouth persons who have too long operated under the immunity afforded them by the timidity of the saints. The tragic result is that for one entire generation we have been rearing Christians who are in complete ignorance of the golden treasury of songs and hymns left us by the ages. The tin horn has been substituted for the silver trumpet, and our religious leaders have been afraid to protest.
It is ironic that the modernistic churches which deny the theology of the great hymns nevertheless sing them, and regenerated Christians who believe them are yet not singing them; in their stead are songs without theological content set to music without beauty.
Not our religious literature only and our hymnody have suffered from the notion that love to be true to itself must be silent in the presence of any and every abomination, but almost every phase of our church life has suffered also. Once a Bible and a hymnbook were enough to allow gospel Christians to express their joy in the public assembly, but now it requires tons of gadgets to satisfy the pagan appetites of persons who call themselves Christians.

— The Size of the Soul

Gospel ballad singing is now quite the rage in the lower echelon of the entertainment world. Many of the shows beamed toward the paying masses are made acceptable to the religiously inclined by the introduction of a bit of tongue-in-cheek religion, usually expressed in these highly spiced gospel ballads, whose theology is a mixture of paganism and old wives’ tales and whose prevailing mood is one of weak self-pity. Such holy men as Elijah, Daniel, Ezekiel and John are turned into burnt-cork minstrels who are made to preach and prophesy for laughs…. Every word of Christ, every act, was simple, sincere and dignified. The entire New Testament breathes the same spirit…. It is significant that the two greatest movements within the church since Pentecost, the sixteenth century Reformation and the Wesley revival, were characterized by sobriety and sincerity. They both reached the roots of society and touched the masses, yet they never descended to be common or to pander to carnal flesh. The quality of their preaching was lofty, serious and dignified, and their singing the same.

— The Quotable Tozer

Many of our popular songs and choruses in praise of Christ are hollow and unconvincing. Some are even shocking in their amorous endearments, and strike a reverent soul as being a kind of flattery offered to One with whom neither composer nor singer is acquainted. The whole thing is in the mood of the love ditty, the only difference being the substitution of the name of Christ for that of the earthly lover.
How different and how utterly wonderful are the emotions aroused by a true and Spirit-incited love for Christ. Such a love may rise to a degree of adoration almost beyond the power of the heart to endure, yet at the same time it will be serious, elevated, chaste and reverent.

— That Incredible Christian

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