In his paper presented in July of 1996 to the Baptist World Alliance’s Commission on Worship, in Hong Kong, M.J.Quicke wrote:
The last 30 years have proved the most momentous period for music in worship with a dramatic increase in the variety and vitality … new music in worship coincides with the beginnings of charismatic renewal in mainstream Protestant denominations”
“Donald Gee … aptly described this movement as Pentecost outside Pentecost. Like many Baptist groups around the world, responses within the UK to this movement ranged from a fearful refusal … to an enthusiastic embracing of the movement”. …”It is important to distinguish between the impact of charismatic theology as compared with that of charismatic culture in British Baptist churches, for there has been arguably much less influence of the former than the latter with regard to worship”.
“In 1989 a survey of British Baptist churches found that 22% of them identified closely with charismatic renewal, but a far larger proportion, probably amounting to around 80%, has been influenced in their worship styles.”
“Commenting on the background to the Baptist Praise and Worship hymn-book (1991), the preface confirms that since the mid-60’s, “the ecumenical and charismatic movements had challenged many of the more rigid traditions of worship, and there had been an explosion of hymn writing”.
“We must be careful not to limit the impact of the charismatic movement to the issue of music in worship. However, the most obvious feature of the movement in these last three decades has been a new worship style. … The advent of new music and a much greater element of congregational participation has dramatically changed the culture and spirituality of many British church. … the majority of British Baptist churches now have songbooks which are additional to the hymnbooks, and many also employ an Over Head Projector to involve congregational participation … many fellowships have developed music groups in which there may be considerable musical skills, though not necessarily worship leading gifts”.
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About the situation in his country, John Simpson wrote:
“It is hard to find a congregation in Australia these days where the choice of music in worship is not an issue. The first signs of change appeared years ago when the green Baptist Hymn Book was replaced in numbers of our churches by alternative books. … Since those days, there has been a proliferation of new songs and the humble hymn or songbook has been superseded by the overhead projector in many places. Very few churches are buying the latest Baptist Praise and Worship edition. … it is not a matter of the new hymnology being better that the old”.
Simpson appointed to the really important matter, the meaning in worship, with these arguments:
“We lack clarity of purpose in our Sunday morning services. … we still have not understood the purpose and nature of the worship of God.”
“We are not sure whether we want to focus on evangelism or worship. … can two very different spiritual endeavors be accomplished at the same time? … Our approach to an evangelistic goal will be rather different from a worship experience.” …
“A single minded focus on a given form of music has significant limitations.
Given that the future of the church is seen to rely on the winning of a younger generation to faith, some churches have made it quite plain to all that their music is selected with them alone in mind. … all generations should be helped to understand each other’s needs.” …
“There is good and bad in old and new.
Some of the old hymns had great meaning in their day but the choice of language, the images and the underlying sentiments offer little substance now. … But some of the newer songs are no better. … There is a need for discernment and the exercise of courage in making assessments as to what will be uplifting for the people we know”.
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Milburn Price, american educator and guest lecturer in 1992 annual meeting of Baptist musicians of Brazil, presented also his opinions to the BWA’s Commission on Worship:
“An astute observer of Baptist worship practices around the world in recent years might say, “There’s trouble among Baptists”, related to the ways in which we worship in general, but particularly regarding the music which we use in our worship.”
“… I have heard of tensions which have surfaced in Baptist congregations in the United States, Brazil, Great Britain, Argentina, Australia, Nigeria, Sweden, Korea, and Canada.”
“… It is a struggle between those who prefer the music which has been traditional for a particular setting … and those who prefer new musical sounds, usually sounds that are strongly influenced by the music of popular culture. In churches in the United States, Great Britain, and others countries influenced by Euro-American cultural traditions, the traditional music may be of the Western classical tradition, others forms of church music influenced by that classical tradition, or various combinations of gospel songs and religious folk songs.”
“In churches of other cultures, the traditional music may be either music which, because of the influence of missions work, reflects Euro-American worship traditions, or it may include forms of indigenous music which have become customary for that culture.”
“We should treasure the heritage of the past.
The rejection of past traditions in music and worship which is found among some contemporary Baptists seems strangely dissonant with the celebratory tone of the psalmist’s affirmation that “my heritage is beautiful to me” (Psalm 16:6, NAS).
“… use of representative selections of music from the past reveals the ways in which faithful church musicians (as composers/ performers) and often pastors (as text writers) have expressed depths of faith through their creative gifts and, in so doing, have blessed their congregations by leading them in worshiping God.”
“We should be open to musical expressions.
… the early churches were expected to sing psalms, which provide a musical link to the heritage of Jewish worship. But they were also to sing hymns and spiritual songs – expressions of their new faith …”.
“Guidelines for Music Selection
… there is a difference between creative efforts toward crafting melody, harmony, and rhythm into a purposeful whole, and less satisfying efforts which rely upon cliche, weak imitation, rhythmic dominance, or decibel level for effect”.