We are most interested in what is the text is saying. (Eph 4:25; Eph 5:19)
We run this principle through a sieve of three cross-sections:
- Theological. Does the text accurately communicate theological truth? For instance, the substitutionary death of Jesus (At the Cross, In Christ Alone), the authority of God’s Word (Ancient Word), the sovereignty of God (Sovereign, Cornerstone), etc.
- Christological. Just like our preaching, we want the bulk of our songs to be explicit about Jesus. We do not want a message or song that could be sung in a JW kingdom hall or Jewish synagogue. (All I Have is Christ, Come People of the Risen King)
- Biblical. We want to reflect the emotional spectrums of Scripture: gravity and gladness, head and heart. Not all of Scripture is dripping with systematic theology. The Psalms are the hymn book of the church. Some chapters are mournful and others are exuberant with joy. Not every Psalm mentions Jesus explicitly. So when we sing, How Great is Our God, we attempt to couple it with a song explicit about Jesus.
Congregational worship is an expression of our unity in Christ. Specifically, we are affirming the truths that we are singing. (Eph 4:1-5)
I’d like to conclude with what I preached on January 25, 2015 as we talked about corporate worship:
“Grace Life, when we gather on Sundays as a local, visible body of Christ we have a high and holy calling: to sing to our God, to sing to one another. Like Moses, I feel like we should remove our sandals because the holy ground that we occupy is gospel territory purchased by our Savior’s blood. So sing! Sing off tune, sing on tune. Sing when you know the song. Sing when you don’t know the song. Sing when it’s your favorite. Sing when it’s not your favorite. Sing from your heart and for your heart. Sing for unbelievers. Sing for fellow believers. Sing with unbridled tongues and unbridled hearts. Sing because you have been called upon by your Sovereign Lord, your Gracious Father, and your Merciful King.” (sermon transcript of The Priority of Public Worship by Rev. Joel Mosier. January 25, 2015, pp. 5-6.)