Music has always played an important role in drawing people to God. It’s also been a bone of contention. Strange but true!
Over the years there’s been a lot of talk about Christian music. The big question: what style of music is the most spiritual?
This question raised other questions: should we use western instruments, African instruments or Indian instruments? Should the style be loud and celebratory, or quiet and reflective? Are hymns holier than gospel rock?
Traditionally, people have found quiet and peaceful music to be more reflective and conducive for a spiritual setting. However, should that preference cause us to judge another style of music as inferior or nonspiritual?
Years ago when the church had glorious hymns, one man William Boothbegan to sing songs using popular secular tunes. Many eyebrows were raised. On being criticized for using secular tunes to attract crowds, he replied, ‘Secular music, do you say, belongs to the devil? Does it? Well, if it did I would plunder him for it, for he has no right to a single note of the whole seven.’
Over the last twenty years, I’ve visited many churches across Asia, America, Europe, Africa, and the Gulf. I found most of them using the contemporary style of music with guitars, keys and drums. So whether the meetings were in English, Afrikaans, Hindi, or Tamil, the music often had the western contemporary flavour. And the people looked content in their spiritual experience.
In India, the western contemporary style dominates the urban worship centers. Rural settings often use local, folk tunes in their meetings. In Delhi, over the last couple of years, I’ve had the joy of experiencing some wonderful Christian worship with the Indian flavour of the tabla, sitar and flute. Refreshing.
Sometimes I wonder, how would people from the Indian rural setting view contemporary Christian worship?—As a rock concert, I suppose.
But this very rock style helps many others connect with God.
I’ve realised one thing: No music style is more spiritual than another. Then what makes the music spiritual or Christian?—the words of the song and a spirit that glorifies the Lord.
The Bible says, ‘True worshipers will worship God in spirit and truth.’
If you have the truth and the spirit, that’s all you need for genuine worship. The style of music is irrelevant. So whatever your musical taste, focus on engaging with God and let’s refrain from judging other styles for worship.