Preaching and Sacred Music

Haddon Robinson writes of preaching, “A preacher can proclaim anything in a stained-glass voice, at 11:30 on a Sunday morning, following the singing of hymns. Yet when a preacher fails to preach the Scriptures, he abandons his authority.”

With these words Robinson places a filter on preaching. He is not suggesting that the only acceptable words in a sermon are the actual words of Scripture. For Robinson, preaching includes the reading of Scripture, but also includes much more: explanation, application, and even illustration.  The central issue is that each of the words spoken serve the task of bringing the Scriptures to light.

I believe a similar filter can be applied to sacred music. This is not to suggest that sacred music must be limited to the songs contained in Scripture, though these songs have too long been ignored. It is, however, to suggest that a central purpose of music in the church is to communicate God’s truth.

So, sacred music must communicate the truth accurately. Not unlike preaching, if sacred music is to move beyond the transient power of sentimentality, is must fully engage the power of God’s eternal truth.

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