Friday Church News Notes, May 26, 2006, www.wayoflife.org fbns@wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143

In a recent article published in his “Ministry Toolbox,” Rick Warren, pastor of a large Southern Baptist church in southern California, gave the following rules for church music: Preview all the music you use; Speed up the tempo; Update songs; Encourage members to write new songs; Replace the organ with a MIDI band; and Don’t force unbelievers to sing.

Warren says:

“A song can often touch people in ways a sermon can’t. Music can bypass intellectual barriers and take the message straight to the heart. It’s a potent tool for evangelism. In Psalm 40:3 (NCV) David says, ‘He put a NEW song in my mouth ... Many people will see this and worship him. Then they will trust the Lord.’ Notice the clear connection between music and evangelism. ... Music is the primary communicator of values to the younger generation. If we don't use contemporary music to spread godly values, Satan will have an unchallenged access to an entire generation. Music is a force that cannot be ignored.”

If Rick Warren is right, I wonder why the book of Acts doesn’t contain any examples of the early churches singing songs to the people instead of preaching to them. A friend who used to be in contemporary churches made the following observation about Warren’s statements on music: “Psalm 40:3 is not an evangelistic verse. David sang his new song to the Israelites (this is a Psalm after all), not to the heathens hanging out at the local tavern. The Israelites constantly needed a reminder to put their trust in God because they were always straying away from the Lord. So Rick is off to a really bad start by misinterpreting the Scripture as his proof text. He then uses a straw man argument to scare us into rock music! ‘If we don't use contemporary music to spread godly values, Satan will have an unchallenged access to an entire generation.’ Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Really, Rick? So are we to believe that the preaching of the Word is no longer as powerful as a two-edged sword and therefore we have to resort to pop tunes to spread godly values? And if we don't use pop music, then our Lord is so weak that Satan will win the entire generation? 100% Grade A unbiblical thinking! And since Rick believes that only the lyrics matter, then he cannot possibly spread godly values with rock music because rock lovers agree that ‘I really don’t listen to the lyrics, man, I only dig the music.’ The sad thing is how few pastors challenge his weak ‘pop’ theology.”

I say amen to this.

Friends in Christ, beware of Rick Warren.