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Why One Worship Leader Won’t Sing Hillsong Songs

What role does music have in your congregation? Does a song carry morality with it? Or is it just words set to music?

On Tuesday, a worship leader explained on his blog why he won’t sing songs from Hillsong or Jesus Culture at his church. The blog post was taken down because the debate got pretty intense. But if you’re looking for the summary, he chooses to avoid songs from those two churches because of the theology taught by their pastors. Specifically what many determine to be the prosperity gospel.

His idea is that singing these songs endorses the platform, contributes financially to their goals, and contributes to the compromised philosophy.

Note: This is irrespective of theology contained within a particular song. It’s merely a reflection of the songs’ writers and their affiliations.

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this. I’ve also wondered how many churches have stopped singing Vicky Beeching songs since she came out as gay not wanting to associate with a lifestyle they don’t agree with or believe honors God. I also wonder how many of those churches name their series titles things like “Modern Family” or titles based on other pop culture trends.

At what point do we draw the line? If a worship leader has a moral failure or divorces his wife unrepentantly, does that warrant a removal of their songs from your song library? There have been a slew of moral failures among worship leaders I’m aware of that haven’t exactly made headlines.

I suppose the true question is this: how much of a song holds the mark of its writer? I think of songs like “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”, whose tune was a popular bar song. Does a song carry morality with it? Or is it just words set to music?

Again, I’m not sure I have a particular opinion one way or another on this. And I’m frankly not sure there is a right answer. But I think it’s a valuable thing to wrestle with these questions to evaluate and prayerfully consider the role music has in our congregations.

What are your thoughts? Where do you stand on the issue?

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