Church Growth: Music that Declares the Gospel

Posted: November 8, 2011 in Church Praise and Worship
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Praise and Worship for the Modern Age vs Church Growth
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Music that Declares the Gospel

In calling the church to market religion by relating to the world, the Church Growth specialist of today is in fact calling the Body of Christ away from the very belief system that creates true and lasting growth. As a result, the proclamation of the truths of scripture has become a rare commodity in a multitude of Christian circles even as the Church Growth “conform to society” agenda has been embraced with enthusiasm in church after church. The church’s light has been snuffed out. Hence in contemporary worship and praise music you have a difficult time finding the announcement of truth, expression of sincerity and declaration of true devotion that underlies so many hymns.

Take for example the great hymn It Is Well With My Soul. There is not a hymn to be found that better expresses the provision of God in times of overwhelming distress. It came from a period of personal despair that few of us could even imagine. In 1871 Horatio G. Spafford, a forty-three year old businessman, suffered complete financial disaster in the Great Chicago fire. Right before the fire he and his wife lost their son. Yet this was only the beginning of Horatio’s problems.

Filled with grief the family decided to go away on vacation in England to visit with their friend, Dwight Moody, as he conducted evangelistic campaigns. Horatio sent his wife and four daughters ahead on the SS Ville du Havre. In the mean time, he would follow in just a few days.

On its way to England, the ship that carried his family was struck by an iron sailing vessel and sank within twelve minutes. Two
hundred and twenty-six lives were lost in the tragedy, including Horatio’s four daughters. When the survivors were brought to shore at Cardif, Wales, Horatio was met only by his wife who declared, “Saved alone.”

Horatio set sail on the next ship to leave port. He then asked the captain to notify him when they had reached the point where the Ville du Havre had gone down. When the ship finally arrived at the place where the tragedy occurred Horatio stood out on the deck looking at that mighty ocean that claimed the life of his daughters. He returned to his cabin that night a man of greater faith than ever before as he penned those memorable lyrics: “When sorrows like sea billows roll. . .it is well, it is well with my soul.”

When you look at the praise liturgy that is coming out of our modern worship and praise song writers you tend to see more pop culture than depth such as this. The lyrical content therefore tends to be the same from song-to-song while focusing on a few common popular themes. A lot of this has to do with the lack of scholarship and depth. But it also flows out from musicians who have been convinced of the Church Growth Movement’s contention that the church has to relate to its culture at all costs if it wants to survive. And this translates into mediocrity as the message of the Gospel is dumbed down for the sake of the masses.

Stay tuned for more!

The preceeding blog is an exerpt from Don Wigton’s book “Holy Wars.” Click here to purchase:

For free praise music, charts and study helps go to the Wigtune Praise and Worship Sitehttp//


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