Author Ken Myers Addresses Music and Worship in Webinars From Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

FORTH WORTH, Texas (BP) — Christians must resist the cultural temptation to see musical expression and practices as beyond Christian discipleship and must see that the beauty of music “contains a summons” to glorify God, author Ken Myers said in keynote talks for The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s School of Church Music and Worship April 17.

Throughout the month of April, the School of Church Music and Worship has hosted scholarly presentations online through its “Artistic Theologian” website. In addition to paper presentations by faculty and students, these webinars featured two presentations by Myers, host and producer of the Mars Hill Audio Journal and author of such works as “All God’s Children and Blue Suede Shoes: Christians and Popular Culture.” Myers spoke on two topics: “Musical Discipleship in the Face of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism” and “Encountering the Really Real in Musical Beauty.”

Myers’ webinar was held as the school also launched new resources, including a revised website and a new issue of its academic journal. As explained in a campus-wide email, the website “has expanded to include resources that aid worship pastors and music ministers understand and implement local church worship that is biblically faithful, musically excellent, and ministry focused.” These resources include both scholarly lectures and articles as well as worship service orders, Scripture readings, prayers, songs, and more for local churches. To learn more, visit ArtisticTheologian.com.

During the webinar, Myers said, “The nature and the consumption of music today is generally assumed to be an expression of something that’s deeply personal, instinctive and beyond thoughtful discipline, and Christians typically believe about music the same sorts of things that their neighbors believe.”

Noting the harmful effects this can have on worship, as well as discipleship overall, Myers said that Christians “can’t avoid addressing the ways in which the practices of music form our hearts, form our affections.”

“Disordered musical practices make us love things that we shouldn’t while depriving us of opportunities for delight in the best that music can be,” he said. “The unique nature of music enables it to shape our affections and dispositions with an unparalleled power. And as a result of that, philosophers and theologians and teachers long believed that the shaping of musical taste was a significant part — in fact, a foundational part — of moral formation.”

“But for a host of reasons,” Myers continued, “the mid-20th century witnessed a remarkable abandonment of that concern. So musical affections, musical preferences, are now typically regarded to be self-authenticating, and any effort to shape taste is regarded as woefully elitist.”

Myers exhorted Christians not to allow themselves to be overly influenced by the culture, but to see how their faith encompasses all of life.

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Source: Baptist Press