Recently, I ran across a new podcast called “The Cross and the Jukebox” by Dr. Russell Moore (Dean of the School of Theology at Southern Seminary). While I was in seminary, I took Dr. Moore’s Systematic Theology class. I loved his class because he had a way of helping you to think about something in a way you’d never thought of before. I also looked forward to hearing Dr. Moore when he would serve as guest host of The Albert Mohler Radio Program. When he would host, he often played country music before / after the commercial break. He would then spend a few moments breaking down what the song “really” said and discussed it’s theological implications.
I believe one of the main responsibilities for the worship leader is to be discerning when it comes to what we are singing in corporate worship. Over the years, I have heard people tell me things like, “I just heard the most spiritual song I’ve ever heard!” Many times, they were referring to something they heard on the radio that contained the words “God” or “angels” or “love.” I really appreciate Dr. Moore’s insight into the real meaning behind these songs. Although he is talking about secular radio, I believe it has some bearing on what we do as worship leaders. There is a great need for us to “raise the bar” when it comes to teaching our people and selecting songs with God-honoring lyrics.
Here are a few excerpts from Dr. Moore’s January 14th blog post introducing, The Cross & The Jukebox. (to read the whole post, click here.)
“When I used to guest-host the Albert Mohler radio program, I would frequently start and end each segment with bumper-music and spend a few minutes talking about what was really going on in the song and how it related to our topic. Since then, I hear from people all over the place who want to continue some of those discussions.
More importantly, I think lyrical music can often get to the bone of what’s really going on in hearts, minds, and culture than abstract discourse can. Our neighbors are often more honest about what they really think and feel when they’re singing than when they’re talking. And so are we.
That’s why, I think, the Apostle Paul interrupted his interrogation by his critics at Mars Hill by quoting their poets. What Paul was doing was not so much “building a bridge to the gospel” at that point as saying, “You don’t really believe what you’re saying. I’ve heard your music. Now let’s talk about Jesus and the resurrection.”
“The Bible tells us the world is made up of theologians, some of whom acknowledge the Creator and some of whom don’t (Rom. 1). We need to pay attention to the theologies of John Calvin and John Wesley, yes. But sometimes we also ought to pay a little bit of attention to the theologies of Johnny Cash.”