Post by charliedale on Mar 1, 2013 14:21:28 GMT -5
I recently made the unusual move of asking our Praise Team to not perform a particular song. It was the song that the guy from Hillsong wrote and sang when he pretended to have cancer.
In that instance, he deceived the rest of Hillsong, but I hear other rumblings of criticisms toward Hillsong in general. My google searches don't yield solid facts. People say they're heretical on their soteriology, but they usually don't get around to pointing out the heresy.
Do you have an opinion on them? Are their songs so far off that you would step in as pastor and ask the musicians to not use any Hillsong song?
Post by Mike Miller on Mar 11, 2013 16:56:08 GMT -5
Charlie, I've never heard of anything bad or heretical about Hillsong. I do know about that one guy, and I wouldn't want to sing his music, but as far as overall problems, I have to plead ignorance. We evaluate our music in worship primarily by the theological content. We're not just looking for songs without "bad" lyrics, but we look for songs with doctrinally rich lyrics. Of course, we also would not want to sing even theologically solid music written by heretics or immoral people, since we would not want that association, and we would not want to support their ministry. However, the issue we seem to deal with more than anything is related to the lyrics instead of the writers. One example of an issue with the writers/performers is with Phillips, Craig, and Dean. Since they are modalists who deny the Trinity, we will not sing their music, even if particular songs of theirs have good lyrics.
Oh, and my opinion of Hillsong music is that I like some of it. I honestly don't know of any of their songs we sing in our worship services because I don't know all of their music. So, if I found out that a song we sang last Sunday was from Hillsong, based on the knowledge I have at the moment, I would have no problem with it. If you come across any concrete information, please let me know.
Post by ronaldlaitano on Mar 12, 2013 16:03:05 GMT -5
Let me introduce myself, I am the Associate Pastor and Worship Leader at FBC Kenner, and I would like to humbly attempt to provide some clarity on the subject.
First, the name of the song written by the pastor who pretended to have cancer is Healer. Whatever "good" intention this man had is undermined by his deception. I, like you, would chose not to do this song because of this, as it would send mixed messages by seemingly ignoring deceit in the pursuit of a "good song". Another name for this is manipulation.
Now, there is a larger discussion to be had: in choosing songs for worship, are we obligated to know and consider the intention or motivation behind every song, and determine the song fit for congregational use based on this information? Short answer - depends. In this case (Healer), no, I would not use this song. And I could write more than you or anyone else cares to read about this, hence, I will move on.
To get to your main question: is Hillsong bad? -- No. However, there are certain things we must understand and be aware of about their philosophy of worship, ecclesiology, and basic doctrinal beliefs, that could potentially need clarification as we minister to our people with their music.
First, Hillsong is an evangelical community that leans to the charismatic end of the evangelical spectrum. They have produced wonderful songs for the church like: Worthy is the Lamb, Stronger, At the Cross, Mighty to Save, and Shout to the North, to name a few. Now, even though they are charismatic, I am yet to encounter any major doctrinal points of contention in their statement of beliefs, or even within their songs - and this, I believe, is the main issue you are wrestling with. Simply stated, if you are a methodist, presbyterian, lutheran, or southern baptist, be aware that some of the songs Hillsong compose are written from the Charismatic/Pentecostal perspective. Do we have theological differences? Of course. Are they heretics? no.
Second, Hillsong continues to influence worship leaders and church musicians, and their songs continue to resonate throughout the world - This is a good thing. However, I would make you (and other worship leaders) aware of two things related to their music. First, their music is written, designed, and aimed at stirring the emotions and passions of their congregations (and they are more effective at this than anyone I have encountered) --- and that's great!! Is this not the purpose of music and song? To stir our affections and move our emotions as we sing the truths of the gospel? However, we must always be careful not to be overcome with emotionalism, and Hillsong songs are incredibly effective at interweaving truths and emotional expression. Our job as pastors is to teach our people that an emotional outcry does not necessarily equal worship, but we should also not purposefully hinder or dampen our emotions toward God.
Lastly, let me re-emphasize something Mike said:
We evaluate our music in worship primarily by the theological content. We're not just looking for songs without "bad" lyrics, but we look for songs with doctrinally rich lyrics.
Our goal at FBC Kenner with any song we sing is: How does this song teach the truths of the word of God? Does Hillsong have bad songs? Of course. I love the hymns, but there are worse hymns in the baptist hymnal, doctrinally speaking, than some of the Hillsong material.
As far as Hillsong's soteriology, I plead ignorance as well. Like I said earlier, I am yet to encounter something heretical. It seems to me, that most people that dislike Hillsong do it because of two reasons: 1. They equate a more charismatic evangelicalism with herecy. 2. They believe all modern worship music is "improper for worship".
Post by charliedale on Mar 13, 2013 11:41:11 GMT -5
Thank you, guys. Awesome answers. The fact that I couldn't find where the people could say exactly what the soteriological problem was really speaks for itself. Ronald's last paragraph is probably true.
But the larger principles you brought out was even better than the discussion on Hillsong. Thanks.
Ron……where would you say that the modern "Full Gospel" choir scene fits in all of this?It is certainly emotional, but not sure of the "doctrinally rich" nature of the lyrics. Some of the Jazz Fest's favorite gospel groups utilize very good jazz and/or funk-driven musicians. Balancing "the way the music makes you feel" and the all-important message is tricky indeed. I think I have answered(for myself) the question I was going to ask: Know your audience(church members)…those to whom you market the church.