Singing is a spiritual exercise (Psalms; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). Few things can open up hearts to God like beautiful music and meaningful lyrics. The effects of music on the soul are nothing short of amazing. That is why virtually all Christian congregations feature music in their services. But what we sing about is just as important as the fact that we are singing. After all, singing the latest Taylor Swift song would not be deemed spiritual just because it was sung in church. Content matters. But not just any ‘ol content that mentions God will do either.
I have been increasingly concerned over the years with the lyrical content of mainstream “worship” songs. Many of our songs suffer from theological anorexia. There’s not enough theological content in them to make the Devil yawn, yet alone choke. They are so generic that one may have a hard time telling what God they are talking about (if God is even mentioned). Then there are the “God of my girlfriend” songs that are spiritually androgynous. One can’t tell whether they are singing about their love for God or their love for their girlfriend. Finally, there are songs some have called “7-11” songs: They contain seven words sung 11 times. If you want to know what theologically robust songs look like, get yourself a hymnal that’s more than 30 years old. They are pregnant with theological substance. (more…)