Worship is “both conservative and critical, centered and open, catholic and evangelical, free and bound, local and more-than-local, God’s action and our action.”
—Norman A. Hjelm, “From the Past to the Future: The LWF Study Series on Worship and Culture as Vision and Mission,” in Worship and Culture Foreign Country or Homeland?, 9
Music directors or song leaders need to have a pastoral approach to the whole church, exhibiting warmth and humility and being able to inspire confidence about singing together, learning new songs and enjoying the contributions of musicians and singers. The glory of the gospel is to unite peoples of every language and culture under the lordship of Christ (Eph. 2:11-22; 4:3-6,13; Rev. 7:9-17). So we should not be content with divisions created by different musical tastes and traditions. As we grow to maturity in Christ we should be looking for ways to express the unity that is God’s goal for us: in gospel action, in the exchange of ministries and gifts, in combined services and in the sharing of musical resources and experiences.
—David G. Peterson, Encountering God Together, 143
Different modes of external worship are as the furrows of the field; the field is none the less one because of the marks of the plough.
—Charles Haddon Spugeon
The unity of the Body of Christ is not a bland, undifferentiated uniformity, but a rich and manifold concord. Music is uniquely equipped to provide an aural image of this kind of community, in which union is not unanimity, nor multiplicity a cacophony. With every resonant sonority, music testifies to the possibility of this sort of life.
——Stephen R. Guthrie, “Singing, in the Body and in the Spirit,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 46/4 (December 2003), 645
We need to discover how Christians from different races and cultures have expressed themselves in song to God. Song structures, musical style and instrumentation will vary. Learning to enjoy such variety is a way of experiencing the breadth of Christian experience beyond the limitations of our own context.
—David G. Peterson, Encountering God Together, 139
Jesus’ voice is what counts, not ours; and His voice in “the great assembly” [Hebrews 2:12] is as rich and complex as the constitution of His people. There is a unity and diversity in the voices of His assembly which we would not be able to hold together on our own.
—Reggie Kidd, With One Voice: Discovering Christ’s Song in Our Worship, 145