Church Music: Past and Present

Earlier this summer I was pleased to present two classes, or “toolbox” components for Animate, the summer program for teenagers and adults offered for many years now by Samford University’s Center for Worship and the Arts. The lesson on church music was presented live, but recorded to be available to participants at other times. The center has now released it free of charge online. The hour-long class is not a full historical survey but discusses a number of issues in the theology and history of music in worship. Among them are three historical debates.

  • Should music be used in worship at all?
  • What is the role of musical instruments? Specifically, should they be used at all, or if they are permitted should they only be used to support singing?
  • What texts should be sung in worship? Should Christians only sing what is in the Bible, or can they make up their own songs?

My other toolbox session was an extended discussion of how where Christians worship shapes how they worhsip. The full video is not publicly available, but you can see my shorter discussion of the same theme from the 2017 Animate here: “Spaces that Shape.”

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