I was happily pointed to some good comments on music in worship by J. Ligon Duncan III* (will an audio version of this be made available I hope?) at Bob Bixby’s bog by Greg Linscott; this post was later linked at Sharperiron. I find it interesting that these aroused such interest and approval from some corners, for they sound very much like what men like Scott Aniol and I are often saying, and Scott (in particular) receives a great deal of scorn for articulating conservative views.
One point I thought was good was #5. As recorded by Bob Bixby, it is
“Music style preference is often too important in an unhealthful ways [sic] for too many people. We [American Evangelicals] are the ones who came up with the sovereignty of style.”
In fact, I agree that this is a great danger. While those of us who are conservative are eager to be fed by traditions of great Christian hymnody all over the world, be it Lutheran or Wesleyan or Greek Orthodox or even Roman Catholic, American evangelicals have no appetite whatsoever for these great works of Christian culture. They, who claim to be liberal, are the ones who are enslaved, limiting themselves to a very narrow parochial slice of American pop. They are obsessed with making everything sound trendy and entertaining. This happens when fundamentalists take great hymn tunes and dispense of them to write something more “fundamentalist sounding,” or when the Desiring God Conference tries to sing “A Mighty Fortress is our God” in a “Praise and Worshippy” style and subsequently confuses not only every single conference attendee, but even the “praise team” (or whatever it’s called) itself (it was an absolute cacophony).
J. Ligon Duncan III is right. We should be cultivating ourselves, hungry to find the greatest hymns from the greatest traditions, and never letting a small stringent slice of a particular genre dictate all we do.
*I thought I’d throw into this post a link to the good list of books on Reformed worship that J. Ligon Duncan III posted here.