Because I teach at a Lutheran high school that has daily chapel and singing is often used, I was immediately interested in what Rev. Futrell had to say. Because I've often heard people say that praise songs use a different style and there's nothing wrong with that, I was immediately interested in what Rev. Futrell had to say. Because I've often been critical of the false teaching or non-teaching of many praise songs used in contemporary worship, I was immediately interested in what Rev. Futrell had to say. Because people offer me eye-rolls of disagreement when I express my concerns with praise songs and that they should also teach God's Word in all its truth and purity, I was immediately interested in what Rev. Futrell had to say.
So what did he have to say? Here are some excerpts from his recent congregational newsletter:
- So, is there a Bible passage that tells us what we are to sing and why? Yes, there is. It’s Colossians 3:16. Colossians 3:16 is a verse within a long string of ideas that the Apostle Paul and Pastor Timothy bring up. Because that verse is just one in a long string of ideas, we often get lost in that maze of ideas. Colossians 3:16 states: 'Let the word of Christ inhabit you richly, teaching and correcting one another in all wisdom by psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, and singing to God with thankfulness in your hearts.
- Teach and correct: that’s what hymns are supposed to do. I know that sounds stodgy, maybe even boring. Most of us would rather have a good time instead of being taught, especially corrected. Hey, I didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday. Yet, that’s the purpose of hymns–if we are to take the Bible seriously.
- Jesus tells us that when a pastor preaches, he is to preach repentance into the forgiveness of sins (Luke 24:47). In other words, a sermon, in some way, is to convict you of your sin and turn you toward the forgiveness that God gives to you through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. Simply put, you come to church to get, and continue to be, saved. For that to happen, Jesus Christ has to be front and center, for He is the only One who saves us. That’s why the Holy Spirit points us to Jesus. And it’s only Jesus who brings us to God the Father. So, good hymns teach us about the fullness of our salvation in Christ. They even correct us from our mistaken notions about Jesus.
- I know it’s not as fun to sing hymns that teach and correct us. I admit it. Eating ice cream and cake for every meal would be more fun than eating vegetables. I hate vegetables! But I know eating one way would kill me while eating another way would bring me health. So it is in our spiritual lives.
- As your called shepherd, God has placed me here to help make sure you are fed proper spiritual nourishment. Part of this includes singing hymns that teach and correct you.
You can read the entire article here or listen to it here.