Monday, October 15, 2012

Is That Song Theologically Incorrect or Just Theologically Incomplete?

I saw a great post on worship today from Zac Hicks calling on us to distinguish between those songs that are theologically incorrect, and those which are theologically incomplete. As Zac points out, "Sometimes in our zeal for truth, we blur that line and dismiss songs with a prophetic kibosh, branding them with the scarlet letter of "bad theology" when the truth is that they are not wrong, just incomplete."

Far too often this is more a reflection of our biases than our gospel fidelity. Zac argues that by differentiating between theologically incorrect and the theologically incomplete, we can guard ourselves from this, understanding that whatever songs we sing in worship, we need to use them in their proper doxological context.

He goes on to elaborate on the benefits of making this distinction:
The incomplete-wrong distinction opens up new possibilities for engaging songs that seemed to be ruled out before.  It becomes more about weight and balance within a whole service (or within a whole series of services).  This distinction also allows us to assume a more humble posture with our brothers and sisters from traditions which differ from ours (and God knows we could use more humility!) without compromising on what we feel is solid, biblical truth.  It seizes on 1 Corinthians 13's encouragement that, within the body of Christ, "love hopes all things."  So before you dismiss a song outright because you believe it's "wrong" (which it still might be), stop and ask yourself if this song wouldn't be more "right" when given its full doxological context. 
Click here to read the whole post, and if you are involved in the planning of worship services, I strongly recommend that you to regularly visit Zac's blog.


jbboren said...

Not only interesting, but pertinent. And what happens if we sing a song that might have a small theological problem, is not in the public domain, and we 'fix' the problem? (In other words, we change the lyrics.) Bob Kauflin talks about this on his blog today. In effect, we are breaking the law by correcting the song. I asked about church/state issues on his blog in the comments section and am waiting to see if he replies. If the government steps in and does a corrective action when a church violates copyright law, is that a violation of the separation of church and state, even if done for a legitimate reason, like correcting bad (or incomplete) theology?

Hmm. Big can of worms. Good post, Pete.

Pete Scribner said...

Interesting questions, JB. I'll have to check out Kauflin's blog and see what kind of feedback your question gets.