Limits and liabilities…(cont.)

To clarify: music in a local church is a relevant issue when it comes to outreach and/or personal ministry. The concern here is that we affirm & adhere to the biblical perspective of music in the church. The following observations are more of a prologue rather than a comprehensive outline for discussion on music in the local church:

1) The local church is a gathering of God’s people (i.e. those who have been saved through Christ Jesus).

2) A church’s worship–of which music is a form–is fundamentally a response/reaction to who God is and/or what He has done for His people.

3) Assuming #1-2 are true, music in the church isn’t about outreach. Outreach is horizontal (man to man) but worship is vertical (man to God).

4) So long as a church’s music ministry is about worship, it’s difficult to see how anyone but a Christian would be able to have a share in that kind of music.

As always, but especially on this topic, your comments are welcome.

Author: Jonathan P. Merritt

Happily married father of six. Lead pastor at Edgewood Baptist Church (Columbus, GA). Good-natured contrarian, theological Luddite, and long-suffering Atlanta Falcons fan. A student of one book.

5 thoughts on “Limits and liabilities…(cont.)”

  1. A local church is a gathering of God’s people. A church’s worship is a response to God. That being said, why do we operate two services. Sorry, I know it might be off subject.


  2. What about those that would argue that the type/style of music would attract those unbelievers to which they would hear the gospel through music? In other words, the music would do both vertical and Lord willing horizontal.


    1. Call me a contrarian or cynic but I’ve yet to see anyone make a compelling case that church music alone will draw unbelievers to the church (my understanding of outreach). An unbeliever just isn’t going to go to church for music. Why would he? The music doesn’t speak to his natural desires and even if he ignores the content (i.e. the lyrics) he’s not going to be blown away by the package (i.e. musical sophistication, technical proficiency) since church music just isn’t “built” for that kind of experience. Truth be told I think those who do come to a church for the music are either already Christians or have previously been churched. [we haven’t even asked if there’s any biblical evidence that a church’s music will (or can) serve this kind of purpose]

      As for the possibility of hearing the gospel through the music, I’d be interested in seeing a list of how many songs articulate the gospel message with the clarity & accuracy of the spoken word. I could be wrong but it seems that the overwhelming majority of church music assumes the singer/worshipper has some prior knowledge of the gospel (which is why the people are singing to begin with). I wouldn’t deny that evangelism is possible through music or that some may even be converted through the message of the music. For all its value & importance, music just doesn’t seem to be a primary means of evangelism in Scripture. Why would we assume that it is?


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