Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Praise Publishing

Ran across a dilemma the other day concerning the music in our church, and wanted to throw it out there for discussion.  
As you may or may not know, the LCMS Commission on Worship decided to review the praise songs most commonly used in the church and stamp with their seal of approval 100 with acceptable lyrics.

But in considering these tunes in a vacuum, an interesting problem arises.  One of the major publisher's represented on the list is Hillsong Music, a church with its own publishing arm in Australia.  Some of the people represented by Hillsong are Reuben Morgan, Darlene Zschech, etc.  Where is this going?  The annual Hillsong Conference
welcomes Joel and Victoria Osteen as their special guests.  I don't think that I have to do much to explain that the Osteen's don't (or shouldn't) have much in common with LCMS theology.  So when we "approve" music like "My Redeemer Lives, Reuben Morgan", or "Shout to the Lord, Darlene Zschech", do we not also give approval to the publishing house that produces it?  We certainly do with our wallets.  Most CCM music is purchased with licensing sites such as CCLI, and those publishers are paid whenever we use that music.  
This is another consequence (I'm sure unintended) of working with publishing houses for whom we are unaware of theological standards.  Another example is the trouble that arose because of this years youth gathering in Texas when a Non-Lutheran "song leader" was asked to lead worship.  

Now... I'm willing to debate this in good faith.  If a LDS composer creates a choir anthem based on a hymn text that we in the LCMS use, is it acceptable for worship? (This is an actual example - not a hypothetical). 

I'd love to hear your thoughts.


clarinerd said...

Just read your post with interest. Music has very strong spiritual content on its' own without the words. It can either draw us towards God or away from God. Much rock music is about rebellion. Even the term 'Rock and Roll' is a slang word for sex, does anyone remember that? You can find it here: ( Is this really what we desire to use for Divine Service? I think we want to be very careful to bring a Godly music to Him who is above all others.

Orangetray said...

I really wish they would keep TLH in print. I hear settings 1 and 2, and I can see the music committee sitting around the table talking about how the music needs to be more “happy” and “accessible.” Are we Episcopalians? The Sanctus and the Gloria sound like a John Williams soundtrack, lacking the dignity and reverence of Setting 3. The TLH should be kept in print so that congregations have a choice. BTW I am 25 years old, precisely among the demographics I think they’re trying reach by Mickey Mouseifying this 125+ year old liturgy. I don’t need cheerful or contemporary, I long for the reverent and mysterious.