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T. David Gordon: “It’s like reaching the rich young ruler by throwing money at him.”

“It’s like reaching the rich young ruler by throwing money at him,” is the apt comparison of T. David Gordon in response to whether or not church music should be “seeker-friendly.”

In an interview with Christianity Today‘s Mark Moring that springs from his book Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns, Gordon makes the case for traditional worship. Among other points, Gordon argues that Christians should cultivate tastes contrary to the trends of popular culture. He says,

Unless an individual chooses to listen to different kinds of music, the only thing that individual will hear (most of the time) is pop. Sure, one’s sensibilities can be shaped deliberately, and many of us have developed tastes that we once did not have. (I spent years cultivating a taste for Brahms, whom I now love, and I spent about two years cultivating my appreciation for jazz.) If I did not believe that sensibilities could be cultivated, I wouldn’t have written the book; it is, in some senses, a plea to shape them differently from the way commercial pop culture shapes them. But for people who do not take ownership of the cultivation of their sensibilities, other cultural gatekeepers will shape them for them—and in this case, they will shape them to prefer pop.

One more gem is at the end when Gordon is asked about the virtue of blended services:

I approve blended approaches only when the alternative is a split church. It’s better to blend than to split. But better yet to be entirely unconcerned about whether a hymn sounds contemporary. No other generation was so concerned, and there is no good reason for ours to be so. The commercial forces that shape pop culture should not be the arbiters of how we worship God.

HT: Michael Riley and cross-posted at Immoderate.

About Ryan Martin

Ryan Martin is pastor of the First Baptist Church of Granite Falls, Minnesota. Prior to that, he served as the associate pastor of Bethany Bible Church in Hendersonville, North Carolina. He is on the board of directors of Religious Affections Ministries. Ryan received his undergraduate degree at Northland Baptist Bible College, and has received further training from Central Baptist Theological Seminary of Minneapolis, Minn. (M.Div., 2004; Ph.D., 2013). He was ordained in 2009 at Bible Baptist Church of Elk River, Minn. (now Otsego, Minn.). He has a wife and children too. Ryan is the associate editor of Hymns to the Living God (Religious Affections Ministries, 2017). He contributed to the Jonathan Edwards Encyclopedia (Eerdmans, 2017) and is the author of Understanding Affections in the Theology of Jonathan Edwards: "The High Exercises of Divine Love" (T&T Clark, 2018).