The problem with some worship songs

There’s far more to faith and Christianity than what goes on in our church services, but that doesn’t mean what we do together doesn’t matter. We should make sure what we do is right and honouring to God.

worship songs

An important part of what we do together is sing. But there’s a worrying trend in the worship songs of our churches that needs seriously to be addressed. There’s something we need to put straight:

Worship is about who God is, not who I am

Let me explain. There are lots of songs these days which are all about my feelings, what I want to say to God, and focus far too little on the important truths of who God is. We sing “I just want to praise you”, but never say why. That is not the purpose of worship songs.

The danger is that it puts us at the centre of what’s going on. Worship becomes all about me and my feelings,  and the whole thing is deeply egocentric. I run away with my emotions and forget that God’s nature isn’t dependent on what I feel. And worse, what if it makes people into liars? What if, that Sunday morning, I don’t “just want to praise [God]”? What if I’m not in the mood? Surely far better to declare biblical truths in song to God and to others and leave myself out of it.

Some may say I’m just expressing personal preference, but I’m not. I’m being biblical about worship. Just look at the Psalms (e.g. Ps 18:30; Ps 103:8). And we mustn’t forget singing is a command of scripture. In Ephesians (5:19), Paul writes tells his readers to:

“speak to one another with psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit”

Note the instruction is to speak and sing to one another. This isn’t about me getting carried away singing pretty songs to God. This is us coming together to sing truth to one another, to be stirred in our hearts by the Spirit to declare tunefully the wonder and majesty of God. That is true worship.

And let’s face it, there are other ways to declare our feelings and our personal devotion to God. In our services, we pray directly to God, and that is of course right and proper. It’s important to do that as a whole body. And in private, in our own daily walks, we will be about the business of prayerful adoration and cultivating a personal relationship with God. But it’s not necessary in songs.

But, before I finish, one final point:

Worship is me relating to God, not about Him alone

Let me explain. There are lots of songs these days which are all about God’s nature, who He is, and focus far too little on the important relationship we each have with Him. We sing “He is exalted,” but never say we are the ones who want to exalt Him. That is not the purpose of worship songs.

The danger is that it leaves us out of what’s going on. Worship becomes all about God and who He is, and the whole thing is deeply impersonal. I restrict my emotions and forget that I should respond emotionally to who God is. And worse, what if it makes people shut off from God in boredom? What if, that Sunday morning I am full of delight and love for God, but am not able to express it? Surely far better to give myself freedom to relate to God in song, not just recite facts about Him.

Some may say I’m just expressing personal preference, but I’m not. I’m being biblical about worship. Just look at the Psalms (e.g. Ps 18:1; Ps 103:1)  We mustn’t forget singing is a command of scripture. In Ephesians (5:19), Paul tells his readers to:

“Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord”

Note the instruction is to sing from your heart. This isn’t about me declaring lofty and abstract truths. This is me taking whatever is in my heart and pouring it out to God in honesty, and us coming together to do that together, to be stirred in our hearts by the Spirit to indulge tunefully in the wonder of knowing God. That is true worship.

And let’s face it, there are other ways to declare and be reminded of truths about God. In our services, we have sermons which teach biblical truth, and that is of course right and proper. It’s so important to do that as a whole body. And in private, in our own daily walks, we will be about the business of Bible study and seeking out truth. But it’s not necessary in songs.


So, hopefully that’s made it clear. There’s one right and biblical way to worship in song. Let’s just all be obedient and stick to it.


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  • Graham Criddle

    Hi David
    Some interesting thoughts there – but it looks as though you managed to duplicate some blocks of text!

    • Graham Criddle

      And then reading it again – you didn’t!

      • http://limpingintotruth.blogspot.co.uk/ Dave Criddle

        Hahaha! Those two comments have made me deeply happy!

        • Graham Criddle

          Pleased to be of service!

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