Wednesday, February 15, 2006Glenn Lucke points me to these points concerning the Chuck Colson praise and worship dust up. First, Zach at Finding Rhythm offers this post questioning Colson's authority. Rhett Smith responds.
Let me address a few of Zach's points. First, Colson's past transgressions should have no bearing on his criticism of modern worship practices. None. Not a single, solitary bit. It is, at this point, completely irrelevant. Over the last thirty years, Charles Colson has established himself as a fine voice of reason in a murky age. That Zach Ling would even bring up Colson's past activity is a cheap shot.
Secondly, Colson made the comment that the praise chorus "Draw Me Close to You" could be song in a nightclub. I don't think Colson was implying that the music itself is bad. Maybe he was, but it did not seem to be his point. It seems that his crticism is in the lyrical content of the song. I concur with him, for this one song is a good example of the classic replace "Jesus" with "baby" formula for changing CCM into bad pop music.
Thirdly, Lind pulls out that boring and trite defense of worship music: Luther and Wesley. Says Lind:
"I find it ironic that someone with Colson’s sorted past has become so comfortable in the seat of judgement and has become so certain as to what’s best for christians everywhere to listen or sing along to (Heaven forbid we sing songs that could be sung “in a nightclub” as he puts it. Maybe Colson, the big lover of hymns, has either forgotten or is unaware that some of Martin Luther and Charles Wesley’s traditional hymns were adapted from music heard in taverns. Whoops!)."
There are so many problems with this line of thinking. The line between the sacred and the secular in older societies was not what it is now. Popular music in Luther's day was not as commercialized and watered-down as it is now. Likewise Luther and Wesley lived in a very homogeneous society. They did not live in an age of classical, jazz, blues, punk, country, rap and metal. It was not a stretch to imagine that everyone in church was already familiar with the music. Suggesting that it is now appropriate that all generations of the church be forced to sing a weak knockoff of U2 or Coldplay is silly and borderline selfish. Furthermore, it is faulty to believe that such music is attracing serious numbers of committed young people. I can think of at least one non-Christian who is a fan and friend of this site who is none too impressed by the rock and roll Jesus phenomenon.
Whatever one feels about Colson, he has touched a very serious nerve. Worship is not about us. It is, of course, about our Savior. Below that, it is about the Church before it is about ourselves. Whether in lyrical content or some other aspect of corporate worship, the wellbeing of the body is more important than the personal issues of anyone in the congregation. And of course, Chuck Colson's political sins of decades past should have no impact on his commentary today. It is immature and unwise to suggest otherwise.