Thursday, April 02, 2009

Theological Accuracy and Authenticity

Often, what we look for in sung worship is "authenticity" - we want it to be genuine and to sound as if it is emotionally consonant with the sentiments expressed and what we should be feeling. And what we look for in preaching is often theological accuracy and soundness.
But it occurs to me that actually, the reverse is probably more important. Songs and hymns are the best way to learn theology, because the words stick in our minds in a way that just doesn't happen with sermons (well, usually - I can think of a few exceptions). The things we believe are heavily affected by the words we sing, so it is important for them to be theologically accurate. And (as Jonathan Edwards said) the key thing about preaching is the response it produces in the hearer at the time, and the transformation it effects in their life by the power of the Holy Spirit. So authenticity in preachers is essential too.
Of course, what is really needed is both theological accuracy and authenticity in both spoken word and song...
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