Laini asked some good questions in the comments to my last post about my rather emotional response to American Idol’s use of “Shout To The Lord.” Do I have a double standard? Probably.
I read a great blog this morning that expressed in much better ways than I could why it is so disturbing to me. The blog is “Worship Matters by Bob Kauflin, and here’s the post about American Idol.
Here’s the heart of the problem in Kauflin’s words:
when a Christian song receives national attention or reaches number 1 on the charts, it�s no clear sign one way or the other that the Gospel is advancing or the church is having more of an influence on our culture. It can just as easily be a sign that the church is being swallowed up by the culture because it�s indistinct from the world.
Here’s his response to the problem:
First, we need to do everything we can to sing and promote songs in the church that clearly, biblically, passionately, and faithfully proclaim the one and only Savior…Second, we we need to live in such a way that it�s clear being a Christian is more than giving money to worthy causes and being emotionally moved as we sing songs of every genre together. We want to do all we can to ensure that those who walk into our meetings see clearly that we�re not a local version of American Idol.
His first point refers to the generic meaning of the song. What would it have been like if they had sung “In Christ Alone” or “When I Survey The Wondrous Cross” or even “You Are My King”? “Shout To The Lord” (and “Amazing Grace”) are a little too vague to make a real statement about the gospel. They’re not bad songs; they just can’t be the only thing we sing.
The second point he makes hits a little closer to home. How much does our worship service look like American Idol? I don’t mean smoke and lights and funky hair. I mean do our singers reflect the heart of worship (humility, fear of the Lord, reverent joy, broken and contrite heart, etc.)? I won’t hide the fact that I am not a fan of American Idol (or most other reality shows) but I think that fans of the show would even agree that American Idol has as much to do with true worship as Babylon.
Kauflin also encourages everybody to pray that God will use this whole thing to bring people into the church, to open doors to the gospel, to bring true glory to the name of Jesus Christ, to bring more and more people to confess that Jesus (not just ‘the Shepherd’) is Lord. Ditto, Bob.
Read Bob’s post, it’s a lot better that mine.