Church: UK Observations

The Worst Worship Songs Ever

At church on Sunday our service revolved around the theme of suffering and we sung a couple of songs that more or less made my toes curl – they seemed so trivial in the light of the amount of suffering in the world. At one point we actually sang a real hymn and the contrast in the depth and content of the words was huge. Anyway with those thoughts in mind, I’ve just discovered this great blog post by Alistair. It should be read by anyone who has the responsibility of choosing songs for church services – though I suspect that his views won’t find favour with some. I loved this comment about one of my bêtes noires.

Heart of Worship, by Matt Redman. Now Redman has written some amazings songs, no doubt, but this one is a stinker. I’ll cut to the chase:

  • “For a song in itself Is not what You have required”. Here we have the absurd situation that we are required to sing a song telling God that he doesn’t want to hear us sing the very song we are singing. Genius! Only a Christian song could come up with this logic.
  • “I’m sorry, Lord, for the things I’ve made it” Why in Flaming Hell am I apologising to God now? Rather than getting on with praising Him, the song makes you mumble a half-hearted apology about some supposed “thing” that we have made worship. I love worship. The only “thing” that gets in the way is the triteness of the lyrics we are forced to sing!
  • “Though I’m weak and poor…”. The irony of all those well-fed, Middle-Class White Christians singing such a line…

Let me hastily add that I don’t think the age of a Christian song is what makes it good – some hymns are stinkers too and some modern songs are terrific.

If you have any least favourite songs, why not stick a comment here.

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8 replies on “The Worst Worship Songs Ever”

I was involved in a discussion recently and we were asked to talk about “church programme”. Now I’m not exactly sure what we were supposed to be discussing about the church programme, but our little group seemed incapable of discussing anything but Sunday services and within that spent most time on music. It does seem to get people going!

In response to the comment about “Though I am weak and poor…”, in light of Rev. 3:17 (“Because you say, “I am rich and have acquired great wealth, and need nothing,” but do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked…”), I think that our attitude should be that we are weak and poor. I think the reference to weakness indicates that it is this sort of attitude that the songwriter has in mind (not actually thinking that he is monetarily poor). Just a thought.

In general, I don’t think that we consider many of the lyrics of songs today and that is sad. However, I am equally sad to be at a church singing theologically deep hymns about the joy of the Lord in a manner more fitting a funeral dirge.

I hate the song “Victory in Jesus.” But it isn’t really the song’s fault. It’s because it was the favorite song of my youth pastor when I was an impressionable teenager. He later ran off with the organist, and I’ve never quite been able to sing that song since then. (I’m an old lady now.)

When Matt Redman wrote “The Heart of Worship”, in the late 1990s, he probably was poor, and metaphorically if not physically weak. So he can hardly be blamed for writing this in a song which is at least in part a personal tesimony. See here for the story of the song, and here for more of my comments on it.

Glad you enjoyed my post. It was written as a bit of Friday afternoon fun, so please don’t take anything I said too seriously. But I was trying to make a few points, none the less. I totally agree “heart of worship” must have made perfect sense in its original setting. My question is the appropriateness of the church band blasting this theme out, with everyone being forced to apologise for something, and sing about not singing. Actually the one way this song would make sense would be if, as in Soul Survivor, it was sang acappella.

Wow… have you ever read matt redmans story of how GOD gave him this song….you should spend more time edifying and less tearing down. I am curious what church denomination do you belong to? and please dont be ashamed!!

you say you love worship,but what is it you love about worship if you actually think its just words.
a song in itself is not what God has required, its something sincere that comes from the heart.
get a clue bro

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