Authentic Worship

True or False?

Slow down a bit and think about this one…



Vance Havner said the hymnal can make liars of large groups of people at one and the same time.

If it’s true of the hymnal, it would also be true of words and images on the screen when we sing together.

Are we liars when we sing?  

If so,  how do we address that? 

8 Replies to “Authentic Worship”

  1. klampert

    ooo nice new layout…

    Ok on that note…interesting post there. I don’t agree that it makes us liars. I think it makes us strivers. we are worshiping God because he deserves our praise with full thought that we aren’t even worthy of the words while striving to be what we know we should be.

  2. SLW

    Reading words aloud that another has written does not make one a liar. Is singing any different from reading aloud?

    Cannot the words of a hymn be instructive, informative, express a desire, a prayer? When chosen for Scriptural accuracy, hymns can add to our praise to God.

    I’ve heard before, from a song leader of a church service, that we should not sing words we do not mean or that are not true of us. Hmmm-m. That would make for a subdued, if not a silent, church song service, especially when we do not know in advance, in order to read the words, the songs that are chosen to be sung at a given service.

    It has been recommended that the words of hymns be read as part of one’s devotional time.

    I’ve read that Martin Luther’s confidence in the power of faith that comes from the Scriptures, was followed closely by his belief that the singing of hymns was most significant in motivating the believer. He said, “With all my heart I would extol the precious gift of God in the noble art of music… Music is to be praised as second only to the Word of God because by her all the emotions are swayed.”

    Let us continue singing hymns. ~~~SLW

  3. Phil

    Klampert, is it the singing of noble lyrics that makes us strivers? or is it perhaps something else? (I have an opinion – you know I do – trying to draw it out of you is all) 😀

  4. Phil

    My apologies for changing the title and related fields for this post. It was clipped and posted in a press-post site under “Humor”

    Authentic, sincere worship of Almighty God doesn’t belong in the Humor bin.


  5. klampert

    Phil…No I don’t think it does. But what I think is sometimes lyrics we sing can challenge us to strive more. I think lyrics can put words in our mouths when we didn’t have a song to sing.
    But I also don’t think every song needs to Have challenging lyrics or 5,000 words.
    I think where worship is headed now we are realizing we need songs for occasions, songs for emotions, songs for simplicity, and songs to challenge.

  6. Phil

    The key to Havner’s observation is the operative he chose, the little word “can”.
    It doesn’t always; it doesn’t have to. But it can.
    The worship pastor / worship leader / songleader has a responsibility to reduce or remove that possibility.

    I can remember times I chose not to use a particular hymn or chorus because its sentiments were not true of our congregation at that point in their walk with God. For me to have put words in front of them when I knew they’d be singing mis-truths would be irresponsible.

    Teaching hymns & choruses, Scripture-based texts, don’t present that risk. Lyrics that speak of worshipers collectively are less likely to, words like we and our being key indicators.

    First-person lyrics do pose potential pitfalls because I means I. It’s personal and singular.

    One of my worship leaders a few years ago (we had four at the time, of which I was one) came to me and asked if he could alter a text slightly. “When we sing ‘In all I do, I honor You’ there’s a strong likelihood that’s not going to be true of at least a few people at that moment. If we sang ‘In all I do, let me honor You’ it would become a prayer -an aspiration- and I would feel a lot better asking them to sing that than telling them to sing something that may not be true – at least not right now.” I agreed, and we sang it that way from then on.

    Frequently I’ve prefaced a song with a brief encouragement to let God do the work in our hearts that He wants to do while we sing. The invitation hymn “I Surrender All” nearly always needs a set up of that sort.

    There’s a biblical principle behind “don’t sing if it’s not true of you” in Matthew 5.23-24. If something in the text comes around in front of you while you’re singing, stops you in your path and says “You need to tend to this”, the principle is this: Stop what you’re doing (stop singing), tend to it, accept the Lord’s forgiveness (1 John 1.9) and rejoin the group. I’ve been singing with a worship team more than a few times, noticed a singer step back and lay out for a moment, then re-join us on the chorus or the beginning of the next verse. “You OK?” my eyes would ask, and for them to nod. After church they’d sometimes share with me that the Spirit had pointed something out while they were singing – while they were leading even – and they knew they had permission to deal with it on the spot. We all should. And we should teach our people that it’s all right – it’s biblical.

    A song can put us in a position to sing things that aren’t true but it doesn’t have to – it shouldn’t. The key is obedient living. (The Lord prefers that to sacrifice anyway).
    Something to think about…


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