Whose tradition? Whose Music?

Something to ponder. Does God value the worship music style of a particular time in a particular culture over all other expressions of worship from all other societies throughout time? If we express our praises to God through a poem or song today, is it really less acceptable to God than expressions of praise from a time gone by, simply because it is new and our own expression?

A loved one could express their love for us through a Shakespearean sonnet, but would we reject their own words because of Shakespeare’s amazing way with words? Or would we simply value their sincere words even though they are new and their own?

Any proponent of “historic” corporate worship will have to answer the question, “Whose history?” Much of what is called “traditional” worship is very rooted in northern European culture. Strict historic worship advocates may bind it(worship) too heavily to a past culture.
Do we really want to assume that the sixteenth-century northern European approach to emotional expression and music (incarnate in the Reformation tradition) was completely biblically informed and must be preserved?

—Timothy J. Keller, “Reformed Worship in the Global City,” chapter four of WORSHIP BY THE BOOK, edited by D. A. Carson. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002, p. 196. ISBN 0-310-21625-7.


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