A Follow-up to "Why We are Choosing to No Longer Sing Certain Songs" blog post
Back in February, I wrote how we at the Bedford Alliance Church are choosing not to sing certain songs anymore. The reason why we are doing this is because of the New Apostolic Movement Theology that has permeated modern day worship music. I do not want to rehash why the New Apostolic Movement theology is wrong and why churches like Bethel in Redding, CA along with Elevation Church in North Carlonia are dangerous because of their bad theology. I would like to update you on how we have decided to implement this within the Bedford Alliance Church and how these changes have been received over these past several months.
First, let me begin with the statement that the music team and I developed to help guide us as we pick songs to use here at the church. The statement says:
We, the music team of the Bedford Alliance Church, will strive to follow the following guidelines concerning the New Apostolic Reformation Theology as we select music:
1. We will avoid songs that promote and/ or teach the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) Theology
2. Songs copyrighted by Bethel Music or Heritage Music Group (Another label owned by Bethel Music) and/or written by official Bethel Music artists (i.e., Brandon Lake, Josh Baldwin, Cory Asbury, Jeremy Riddle, and Leeland just to name a few) will be heavily scrutinize making sure that NAR theology is not being taught. If NAR theology is found, the song will not be used.
3. If a song is copyrighted by Bethel Music and no NAR theology is found, then the song is able to be used (i.e., Hymn of Heaven).
Even though NAR theology songs are very popular right now, we will not feel pressured to sing these songs. Our number one goal as a music team is to pick songs that teach Biblically accurate theology, that help people understand who God is and how God has worked in the past, and how He continues to work now and forever more. May God give us wisdom as we seek to implement these guidelines as we pick songs whose messages are Biblically accurate.
One reason why making sure the songs we sing here during our Sunday morning worship service is such an important issue is because music affects us emotionally. This is why when we are having a bad day, we will turn on the radio, or start streaming music from Spotify, Amazon music, iheartradio, etc. to make us feel better. Music influences our lives, which is why people pay hundreds of dollars every year to go to concerts. This is one reason why we have to make sure that the music we are listening to have Biblically accurate lyrics and messages, or the songs will actually lead us away from the truth of God’s Word.
I saw this take place in my own life while I was living in Boston, MA. While I was in Boston (2004-2008) there was no Christian music radio station. I would drive about 20 minutes to the church I served as their youth pastor, and I hated driving in silence. I turned on the radio and found your average pop radio station. Over a year and a half I listened to that station and one day, as I was driving home a popular song came on. I starting singing with the radio, when all of a sudden, the Holy Spirit began to convict me of what I was singing. You see, the song talked about things the Bible says are wrong. The sad reality of this story, I didn’t even realize I was singing with the radio until the Holy Spirit came and convicted me. I was in seminary. I was supposed to be studying God’s Word, supposed to be growing in my relationship with God, but was hindering my walk with God because I was being affected by the music I chose to listen to. What we choose to watch on TV and the music we choose to listen to affects us more than we can ever imagine. That is why making sure that we sing Biblically accurate songs during our worship services is so important.
What has been the congregational response to all of this? Very positive. Over the past several months, after letting the congregation know about these conversations the music team and I were having, many people have seen the change in the music and have made comments to me about how the new songs are more meaningful. I had one person tell me that the newer songs are less “me” focus and much more God focus. The volume in the sanctuary has become louder, not because the sound people are turning up the volume, but because people are singing out more. One person told me that the depth of the song lyrics are finally matching the depth of the sermons. I could go on and on, but you can see that the people who call the Bedford Alliance Church their home church have fully embraced these changes in the music.
What we sing in our worship services matter. I’ve told our music team over and over that the singing time is just as important as the teaching time. When we team up good Biblically accurate songs with good Biblically accurate teaching, we cultivate an atmosphere where God speaks to us and where true lasting life change can happen. I am not talking about emotional hype or feelings that fade as soon as a person walks out the door and heads home from the Sunday morning worship service. I am talking about a time when we walk away from the Sunday morning worship service changed because we heard God speak to us and we desire to live holy lives pleasing to Him. God is at work in the Bedford Alliance Church and I am grateful for the music team who wrestled with this important topic and who desire to use their musical gifts and talents to help people build their lives upon the truth of God’s Word.