Yesterday Christianity Today posted a question to stir up some discussion: Should churches ban Christmas carols with questionable theology? The title of the post brings up some fond memories for me: Away with ‘Away in a Manger’?
The discussion has been thoughtful at times, but what I found really interesting is the myriad of comments like these:
Hahaha- what a nonsensical article. What they should do away with are all those evangelical songs that focus like a laser on ME ME ME. Oh Jesus, I feel this, and my life has changed, I'm a better person, blah, blah, blah.
I wouldn't mind passing on the questionable lyrics in "Away in a Manger", provided that we also take a harder look at the theological mush that often passes as Sunday morning worship lyrics throughout the rest of the year.
Maybe we should go the praise-chorus route and only sing songs so utterly devoid of meaning that no one could possibly be offended.
So much (not all) of the current contemporary worship music is junk – literal, theological, musical, overly repetitive, shallow junk. Why not start cleaning the Lord’s House from some of those first.
There is one sense in which I agree with some of these comments. We should take a hard look at many of the lyrics in the things that we sing. But where I disagree is in saying that this is only the “praise-chorus” songs. There are just as many beloved and precious hymns that are theologically vapid.
And such blanket statements about contemporary worship music is irresponsible. I’ll take many of my Crowder and Tomlin songs over Fanny Crosby’s Keswick-laced songs any day.
I say the solution is to not give any genre of music a free pass, nor to demonize any genre, but to consider how all of them stack up theologically. Of course, it is also wise to consider the medium as well; leaving room for poetic license and not being a stubborn doctrinal Pharisee.