We play quite a lotta secular stuff at church, often with lyrics changed to Christian content. Which is great as many people recognise them and enjoy them

I see a lotta people here don't listen to secular music. So i just want to see what people feel in general about playing secular stuff in church?

Any comments welcome :)

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That's a good question.  There are great hymn composers of the past that has changed the lyrics of famous bar room songs and titled it "A Mighty Fortress is Our God", which, of course, was written by Martin Luther.  I have played a secular song as a birthday gift for a pastor.  "He aint heavy, he's my brother" was a very sentimental song for him.  And it was church friendly too.  But, overall, personally...I wouldn't encourage anything worldly into the sanctuary of God. In particular adding it to the worship score.  Anything that would run a risk of creating a vain melancholy feeling to a place where God and our spirituality should be the focus might not be the best idea. Since there are always plenty of time outside of church to engage in things that don't directly concern our faith.  But that's my conviction.

Bar form was not bar-room form, but simply a melody pattern which went, roughly, A A B -- in the case of "A Mighty Fortress", adding half of A again at the end.  It was not a song itself, but a way of designing a song, popular among the minnesingers of Germany from the 1200's on.  The term was a complementary way of saying the song was put together well (that is a generalization; a quick Wiki of "Bar Form" will get you more, much more than any of us would care or need to know.  I do believe (unless some scholar has refuted that, too) that Luther was happy to use common melodies for his songs.  Does anybody out there know if "Why should the devil have all the good music" still attributable to Luther? 

Well, I may not be too savvy on the details of "Mighty Fortress". But thank you anyway.  I was just concentrating on the question.  But as far as your inquiry, "Why should the devil have all the good music?", Well, I would suppose of how one is defining, "good music".  I guess in the same persuasion of when Jesus asked his disciples, "Why call me good?".

Perhaps who you should use as an example is Isaac Watts. He did take drinking song melodies and put christian lyrics to them, like "At the Cross."

"vain melancholy feeling" - is this an implication to the style of music? As in, no sad melodies? Just curious.

What kind of world would it be without music to produce sweet melancholy and sorrow?  My answer would be -- pretty dreary, without music to speak gently to our sadness or wash over our sorrows with great waves of passion and wisdom that others have been there before, that the Lord himself has been there. 

Jesus wept.

Hi Greg.  I agree.  Alot of great music came from the seat of our emotions.  But what I have hinted is why bring that in church when we can always have access outside of it?  I am not saying to do away with such music.  I myself still listen to such classics.  But when I have a need to engage God during corporate worship I go to church.  The rest of the week I can have the radio or my personal collection to attend to my extra-cirricular needs.

I'm not sure that the sad, the heartbreaking, the melancholy in music is extracurricular.  I'm not really speaking of "classics", but of any music, church music in particular in this context.  Think of "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross", which can be sung with equal effect in major or minor, but either way is full of sadness and deep emotion, ultimately working its way to joy.  Or, "Blessed be Your Name" (a perfect song for Lent) which explores both sides of our response to life, offering no conclusion at all but an exhortation to praise the Lord in everything!

Well, that and anything that would possibly remind us or attract us in some sense to a time of our past.  Don't get me wrong, memories are valid, but the risk of all of a sudden longing to relive them shouldn't conflict with what God's spirit wants to do within us in the area of worship.  But that's just my thoughts.

Excellent question.  This is a debate that has continued for centuries.  John and Charles Wesley would often (I'm told) bring the songs from the local pubs into their services after re-writing the lyrics - many of which are now all-time favorite hymns.  I recently had a member of our church leave us due to our use of the Cohen tune, Hallelujah - which we had put modified lyrics to. 

Many churches are using secular tunes or hit songs with great success.  Let us hear how your church approaches this issue.  We have decided that the music itself is not the issue.  It is how can any particular song be used in glorifying God. 

Here is a favorite worship song of mine. I sing it to Jesus. Remember, in heaven there won't be any secular music. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7sOkVql9S0


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