Is a choir needed to ‘lead’ worship? What choir was needed to aid the Savior and His apostles as they sung that hymn in the upper room, ere going forth into the Garden? (Matthew 26:30). What choir was needed to assist the apostles, as with bleeding backs they sang praises to God in the Philippian dungeon? Singing to be acceptable to God must come from the heart. And to whom do the choirs sing — to God, or to the people?
The attractiveness of singing has been substituted for “the foolishness of preaching.” The place which music now holds in many of our public services is a solemn “sign of the times” to those who have eyes to see. But is music wrong? Has not God Himself bestowed the gift? Surely, but what we are now complaining about is church-singing that is professional and spectacular, that which is of the flesh, and rendered to please the ear of man. The only music which ever passes beyond the roof of the church in which it is rendered is that which issues from born again people, who “sing with grace in their hearts unto the Lord.”
A. W. Pink (1886–1952)
About Greg Coleman
I am a Particular Baptist who affirms the absolute sovereignty of the triune Godhead in all things. The fullness of the Godhead dwells in the God-man Jesus Christ. He is the Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, Disposer and Judge of all that ever was, is now or ever shall be. Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and men. He was made to be sin for his people and saved them from their sins by his substitutionary, sacrificial death on the cross thereby satisfying the justice and wrath of God against them. The sufficiency of his death to the satisfaction of God’s justice is proven by his physical resurrection from the dead and enthronement in glory at the right hand of the Father. Jesus Christ is coming again to judge the living and the dead. Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.
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Today’s church has given itself over to gluttony and entertainment in the place of preaching God’s word.
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The choir is God’s original design for leading the people in worship. When there is an entire choir up leading, it takes the focus off of just one worship leader and helps us not to idolize an individual. 1 Chronicles 25:6-7 details that there were 288 highly trained and skilled Levitical musicians who played instruments and sang. Back in Chapter 15, verse 22 we see the first music teacher and choir director in recorded history, Chenaniah. We see the first choir robes in verse 27. Verses 19-21 gave instructions for the first church instrumental ensemble. While I was struck by the timelessness of your post, and I do believe that churches cross lines, hiring in ringers, using Nashville-recorded audio stems and all sorts of things, we should respect and appreciate the service of dedicated Christian musicians who have developed their skills to the highest level and use those gifts to glorify God and build up the church. Certainly, we should not have entertainment/consumer focused worship, but rather corporate worship. The people on the platform should be worshipping God first and ministering to others as they invite, encourage and guide them into an encounter with the Living God. One of the greatest things we regained from the Reformation, was the re-birth of hymn singing, congregational worship and songwriting in the church. Mr. Pink asks if choirs sing to God or to the people, the answer is BOTH. We declare truths about God through praise songs, singing about what he has done, to present the Gospel to people, AND we sing worship songs directly to our Father. This is the pattern followed in the Psalms and it is the instruction we are given in Colossians 3:16: “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”