Chapter 7 starts out with this statement:
“In the early church, singing and leading songs was a corporate affair, not a professional event led by specialists.”
The book traces the history of many of the musical aspects of church, such as the Gregorian chant, papal choirs, boys’ choirs, the use of instruments, the funeral dirge, hymns, and special music.
A few facts:
“During Constantine’s reign, choirs were developed to train and help celebrate the Eucharist.”
“The congregation of God’s people became spectators, not only in spoken ministry, but in singing as well.”
“The Reformers restored congregational singing and the use of instruments.”
“Through Calvary Chapel and the Vineyard, revolutionary musical changes took root in the church.”
“In many contemporary churches, the choir has been replaced by the worship team.”
Only a footnote is devoted to the “worship wars” in the church. Disagreement over traditional and contemporary music has caused division and far too many church splits in recent years.
The main argument against professionally led singing is that it “becomes more like entertainment than corporate worship.”
Personally, I have a great appreciation for talented musicians and a good song service. I think there can be a great deal of participation with musician-led singing. I’ve been in services where the audience is very involved and in services where the audience mostly watched the show. I’ve also been in small groups with spontaneous singing, although I must say that it is somewhat awkward for those who can’t sing.
The principle the authors suggest is “everyone actively participating together spontaneously.”
Is this realistic or doable? If so, how do you envision it? And what about the non-musical among us?