Soothing Ourselves to Death
March 23, 2006
Chuck Colson has an important article in the current issue of Christianity Today called Soothing Ourselves to Death. Here are a few excerpts:
I admit I prefer traditional hymns, but even so, I’m convinced that much of the music being written for the church today reflects an unfortunate trend–slipping across the line from worship to entertainment.
This trend is evident not just in theater-like churches where musicians–with their guitars and bongo drums–often perform at ear-splitting levels. It’s also true of Christian radio, historically an important source of serious preaching and teaching. Several stations recently–many acting on the advice of a leading consulting firm–have dropped serious programming in favor of all-music formats.
What is the job of Christian radio, after all? To give people what they want, or–as with any ministry–to give them what they need. Music is important in the life of the church and can inspire us to focus on Christ. But it cannot take the place of solid teaching.
I do not think we need to choose between good music and good teaching, nor does Colson suggest that we should. In any healthy church, the music and the teaching will complement each other. We need more content-driven Christian radio, not less. Colson makes the point this way:
Sure, skits and catchy music are good tools for drawing people in, and good Christian music on the radio can inspire us. But these things aren’t an end in and of themselves; they should engage us in learning and applying truth.
Colson’s article will be met in some quarters with consternation, but he is 100% correct. The dumbing-down of evangelicalism can only produce a weakened church, and a weakened church cannot help a world that desperately needs to hear, “Thus says the Lord.”