Over the last couple of years, I have thought and written a lot about Christian music. One of the most important realisations I have come to over this period is Christian music has to be good music. I know. This is not exactly a shocking revelation. However, when you begin to think about the overall quality of contemporary Christian music, there isn’t really much quality control going on. Continue reading “Christian Music and Good Music”
In a previous post I argued that popular contemporary Christian music is not Jesus-centred but self-centred. I came to this conclusion by comparing New Testament (NT) hymns with today’s music and without question the former is Christocentric and the latter is egocentric.
By egocentric worship I specifically mean a predominant theme in popular Christian music where the primary subject of song lyrics is how God relates to and resolves the subjective concerns of the individual. What makes it egocentric is the focus on the individual and not primarily on Christ. Continue reading “Taking the ‘I’ out of Worship”
In the last couple of months, coming across the insights of Dr. Matthew Gordley based on his book New Testament Christological Hymns has really changed what I think Christian music properly is. Gordley’s work shows that there are shared defining features of New Testament (NT) christological hymns and NT hymns more generally. This critical study of NT hymns resulted in a quite specific conception for me of what good quality religious music is according to NT standards. I applied this biblical standard to contemporary Christian music and the differences between them were noticeable. Continue reading “Christocentric Worship and Christian Pop”
I have written many times on the state of contemporary Christian music. Overall I am generally not impressed with Christian music both in Ghana and internationally. While there is and will always be good Christian music unfortunately a large proportion of contemporary music is just not good enough. This assessment goes beyond my own subjective musical tastes and looks at the substance of the music, particularly the lyrical content. Continue reading “Recovering Biblical Music for Today”
When it comes to Christian music people usually do not use the more apt designation and prefer to call it “gospel music” or “gospel” for short. The Grammy’s for instance have a gospel category which all Christian music falls under. While its part of everyday parlance, I think there are a few reasons why the terms should not be conflated.
As I have been exploring the question of what music Christians should make, I have come to the conclusion that how Christians commonly categorise the music they make is inadequate. From hymns to gospel, Christian contemporary to Christian hip hop, the current genre labels we have are fine but they do not quite capture what Christian music is.
The reason why I think this issue matters is because music has always been an important part of the Church but music has radically changed in the modern world. Because of technological advancements music has exponentially become more accessible and more diverse than ever before. Also music is now a mass market commercial product which is a completely new development in the history of music. The New Testament tells us to make music to the Lord but what music is has in many ways radically changed and the contemporary Church in a media saturated world has to reckon with this.
A series of posts on the state of Christian music.