One of my Professors in college once said that most Christians are struggling deeply with their faith because they believe in a “canon within a Canon.” He shared this when talking about the 66-book Canon (or standard) of Scripture. What he meant is that most people cherry-pick verses from the Scriptures in whatever manner they like, and assemble the truths (apart from their context) into beautiful worldview bokeh that fit their taste.
This idea of churches forming a “canon within a Canon” has shown up in our singing as well. It has become our Achilles Heel, and become like a cannon (a gun) to kill the formation of robust kingdom worldviews and hearty truth-filled affectionate giants of the faith. Some churches stress God’s love to the neglect of talking of God’s justice. Some churches shout for God’s kingdom and yet fall silent when singing of sin and the cross. Some are infatuated with God’s reign, strength and power as Reigning King, and have overlooked his posture of a humble servant in the Incarnation through a helpless babe.
So how do we practically avoid forming our own points of emphasis regarding our “song-discipleship?”
Songs are to be sung in full scope of God’s story. The greatest story ever told is the story of God, as expressed in the complete narrative of the Bible. Therefore, every story and doctrine included in Scripture is intimately important to the world at all levels, and the Bible’s truths are inextricably linked to the whole. What happens in bad biblical teaching and bad singing is that certain doctrines that are savory and tasty to the general populous are elevated above less popular Biblical topics. If people are to truly edify and build each other up in singing songs, we must make sure and sing the whole history of God, from Creation to Consummation (beginning to end).
*For further reading in the Bible: Exodus 15:1 – 15:21
Learn how to share God’s story through song in a more total, textual, tonal and targeted way in this 6-Day Study, and at The Garden City Project. Accompanying this study is over 300-Hours of video footage from 150 of today’s top Christian thinkers on culture, creativity, innovation, and invention at www.makejesusculture.com.