Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

God can do new things using whatever He wants to use, a reponse to Karl Vaters

   Sometimes you don't have to read an article to know you aren't going to agree with it..... such was the case with one that came up on my Facebook feed this morning: "Why God has never done a new thing using old songs." Too often people just respond to an article or blog title without actually reading it (happens to me all the time with my anti-Trump posts), so I decided to actually read the article first before commenting.....and it bothered me more after I read it. I commented a short comment saying why I disagreed, and now I am going to further comment via this blog post about why this article bothers me and why I feel this guy has it wrong:

1) The title. It makes a very wide and sweeping statement that the author has no way of proving or backing up with facts. Saying that God has never done new things using old songs is egotistical on Mr. Vater's part. Never? Really? Just how does he know this?

2) It limits God. God can use anything to accomplish His plan and purpose. He can bring about these nebulous "new things" Mr. Vater refers to, however He wants, using methods or songs as old as He wants. He is God, after all, and His ways are limitless.

3) To God there is no old or new songs. God is eternal. He sees the past, present, and future.....I don't totally understand that, but I have read and heard many people explain it in ways I cannot....... but if that is true, then He sees all songs in the same time frame.....not as old or new.

4) Worship isn't about us. Mr. Vater makes a big case for needing to have newer worship music for our youth, that we can't use yesterday's worship methods. we are losing the youth, and so forth.

  We aren't losing our youth because of our worship and music style or the songs we use. It is far more than that, and I don't believe it has much at all, if anything, to do with music.

 There are young people all across the globe who are meeting in secret to worship God. There is no hip worship leader with spiked hair, there are no loud drums, guitars, and keyboards to accompany a worship band that more performs for the congregation than actually leads worship.

 The answer is not to be more hip with cooler new songs and make our shallow Christianity even more shallow.

 If we are in church for the right reasons and worshiping God for the right reasons, the music won't matter..We have somehow gotten the idea that worship is about how we feel... passing that idea on to our youth is not the answer. More of God and a true relationship with Jesus is the answer.......not newer and cooler music and worship styles.

5) Jesus never repeats what He did years ago........really?! My Bible says that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.....so to say He never repeats what He did years ago doesn't go with the Bible.

6) While claiming to not hate the old hymns, Mr. Vater does a good job of making it sound like he does. If the newer songs are so much better than the old hymns, then why don't the new songs hang around? The hymns have been sung for years....... some of them a few centuries or more. The new songs don't last. There aren't many songs written in my 47 years that are used as much and have done as much as the old hymns. I can't think of many songs even 10 years old in any Christian music genre' that we still sing. They are written, used a lot, then fade into obscurity.

  One hundred years from now, the modern worship songs people are singing will have been largely forgotten..... but the hymns will still be sung. Disagree? That is OK, but let me throw something out there:

Seek Ye First, As the Deer, Majesty, This Is the Day. These are all praise and worship choruses written in the 70's and 80's.....around 40 years or so old. Occasionally a CD will come out of classic praise songs that have them on it, but most churches don't use them anymore. I doubt most teenagers have even heard them. They have already faded into the past and have been shelved to make room for newer and more modern sounding music.

  Twenty years from now, churches won't be singing the current Chris Tomlin or Matt Redman songs..... but Amazing Grace, The Old Rugged Cross, etc will still be sung. And that isn't to say these new songs are bad..... it is just the majority of them lack the depth that the hymns have..... and I believe it is because most Christians today - myself included - lack the depth and spiritual walk that the hymn writers had.... and the songs are being written to fill a CD, get another #1, and other reasons than to have music for the church to sing.

7) The "worship Jesus in any situation argument." This section really bothered me, so I will put the whole paragraph here:

"We sometimes use the term "mature believers," when we're referring to older Christians. But if we really are mature believers, we should be able to worship Jesus in any situation, no matter what the style of music is. Like the Apostle Paul, we should learn to be "content whatever the circumstances ." Or, as I once heard an older pastor say, "I've learned to worship Jesus in a style of music I don't like." Now that's a mature believer.

The styles and methods of outward-reaching churches cannot and should not be directed toward the long-time members. If we really are mature in our faith, we shouldn't need things to be done our way.
So who should our methods and musical styles be geared toward? How about new and not-yet believers? Especially the young ones. Those are the ones who are at risk and are leaving the church in record numbers."

   He seems to ignore his own advice.....while saying we need newer music and God can't use the old music, he is then saying we should be able to worship God in any situation.......unless that situation is old hymns, and especially if the audience is youth.

   I also take issue with the last part about our methods and musical styles should be geared towards any group.....again, he is missing the point that worship isn't about us and how we feel... it is about God. The methods and music shouldn't be tailored to reach a certain part of the congregation to make them feel good.

8) Old doesn't mean bad, new doesn't mean good.....or vice versa. I have heard some old songs that I wish I had never heard, but have been helped and encouraged by many others. I have heard some new songs that I wished I'd never heard and are more shallow than a mud puddle, but I have also heard some very meaningful ones.

  If a song is written to glorify God, there should be no time limit put on it, and there should be no specific audience for it to reach.

     Overall, this article showcases the shallow selfishness of we modern day American Christians, and our inability to address the real issues. We aren't losing young people because of our worship styles or music....and we won't keep them by changing those things. If a person of any age is in this to serve God with everything they have, and if they go to church for the right reasons.....music and worship styles will be far removed from why they are there.


  1. Thank you for your post. Karl Vater's article really sadden me. If he fully aware the history of Rev John Newton's deep love for his congregation, he will understand the reasons Olney Hymns were published. It was for his under-educated congregation to be able to praise God with simpler language yet biblical rich doctrine. One can almost trace Newton's conversion story in the prose in a very personal manner;therefore, all the "I"s and me were utilized. Amazing Grace was attached to his New Year sermon in 1773; it was widely known Newton often reflected on his Savior and his conversion. Contrary to Vater's believe, this hymn was overlooked during Newton's time. It was rediscovered in 19th century through a tune collector, William Walker, in the Southern plantations of America. With a new tune, New Briton, attached and a new sixth stanza, Walker republished this hymn. The hymn was reintroduced to churches and until today, it is considered the most sung hymn in America. It has blessed me tremendously as a believer.

    One other story came in my mind was regarding Fanny Crosby. God used Isaac Watt's hymn, Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed, to break Crosby's stony heart 143 years after it was penned.

    The main purpose of worship music is to worship God and secondly to edify one another (as to church). Never for entertaining.

    Thank you for your time!