Keith Getty warns pastors about the dangers of modern worship by saying, “Love your people enough to care what they sing”
At a time when it almost seems cool to break down your faith, hymn writer Keith Getty is emphasizing the important role that theologically sound, Bible-based hymns play in building up the next generation of Christians.
In an interview with The Christian Post, the author of “In Christ Alone” complained about a trend that has been spreading through churches of all types, sizes, and types of people across the United States in recent years.
“I preach the Word,” says the pastor. Let everyone else take care of the rest. I’ll just focus on the sermon. Well, that’s just plain stupid. The Bible wasn’t written that way. “That’s not how the early leaders of the church did things,” Getty said.
Everyone from great reformers like Martin Luther and John Calvin to revivalists like Jonathan Edwards and Dwight Moody knew that, “Yes, you preach the Word, but what your congregation sings and how your services are set up, from the prayers to the Bible readings, is very important,” he said.
Getty said, “We have to be able to do that.” “But what if we don’t do that?” What will happen is that we’ll have a generation of kids who go to churches that are creative, fun, and full of ideas, but not deep. Or, people go to churches that are full of truth but so boring, loveless, and joyless that they don’t have any of the things that make Christianity attractive to draw people in. “The first thing that really gets their attention will make them leave.”
He also said, “It’s very dangerous.” I would tell any pastor or teacher out there, “Love your people enough to care what they sing.”
Keith and Kristyn Getty wrote some of the most popular hymns of today, such as “He Will Hold Me Fast,” “Christ Our Hope in Life and Death,” and “The Power of the Cross.” The Irish duo’s business, Getty Music, is made up of a publishing company for modern hymn writers, a record label, a touring company, and an online learning company.
Getty said that he and his wife want to use their platform to write “great modern hymns that would change the world for Christ.” They also want to help children grow and change while encouraging others to do the same.
Getty is the father of four daughters, ages 10, 7, 6, and 3. He feels strongly that children should learn Bible stories through songs when they are young. He said that the problems kids face today are “unprecedented” because of the rise of social media, and that means parents can “get away with less.”
He said, “I think we need to make sure that our kids know the Bible better than they know us and even better than they know their own jobs.” “I think they have to love the Lord with more passion, creativity, and imagination than they do Disney.” If we don’t put songs that make them feel so close to the Lord, “Frozen” will take them, and “Frozen” is against Christianity. “They are great songs, but they are not Christian.”
He also said, “I think we need to work harder to keep the unity in our families and, by extension, in our churches.” People keep saying that the church is falling apart, splitting up, and becoming chaotic, which is true. Look at the way people live in your area. What are you hoping for? Just look at social media. That’s going to happen. That shouldn’t be a surprise. But we’ve got to work harder. We have to pray... “We need to make sure that our families are more biblical than ever before.”
The Getty’s new album, Confessio: Irish American Roots, has songs with traditional Irish tunes, new songs, and hymns that have been around for a long time. “Pass The Promise,” the first song on the album, was described by Getty as having a “lovely kind of almost Appalachian simplicity.”
Alison Krauss (“In Christ Alone”), Sandra McCracken (“All My Heart Rejoices” and “Pass The Promise”), Kirk Whalum, and Dana Masters (“Amazing Grace”) are among the guest artists on the album.
Getty said that the old hymn writers inspired him to write Confessio. “We went back to Ireland and thought about the 17 centuries of Christianity since St. Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland,” he said. St. Patrick was, of course, a hymn writer himself. We thought about the 17 centuries that Christians have lived in Ireland, and we thought about all the pastors, farmers, merchants, and teachers who have faithfully passed on the faith over the years. Kristyn and I were completely shocked.
“We want to be a part of that legacy,” he said. We want to teach our children songs that they can carry with them throughout their lives through how we live, what we say, and the hymns we sing.
Getty said that he is worried about the number of pastors, parents, and teachers who blindly accept much of the shallow theological music that is being made today.
“Call it what you want, but at the end of the day, modern worship is mostly a business run by Wall Street,” he said. “None of us should act like this is a great Christian resource that we should believe without question.” In the history of the world, how many things have Wall Street made more godly? Many of these songs were written by people you wouldn’t want to teach Sunday school to your kids. Some of these people are great, but most of them aren’t. And we’ve got to be wiser. We have to take responsibility for our lives, realize how short they are, and give our children beautiful things.
The artist made it clear that he is not against the modern worship movement as a whole, saying that there are “wonderful” people who write and release beautiful music. But he said that modern worship music “shouldn’t be trusted” like the Bible or old hymns.
For example, the Psalms talk about many of the problems people face today, from doubt to sadness.
“So many of the questions and so much of the deconstruction we see online are from people who either never understood the gospel or never understood what the Psalms were good for,” he said.
“If they read the Psalms, they would find that most of their problems were already being dealt with by the Psalmists thousands of years ago. This is not something new that came about because we have the internet or artificial intelligence. “These things have been around since the time of the Psalms.”
Getty said that what we sing “deeply shapes” and affects us. He also said, “We’re worried that the next generation isn’t singing enough of the hymns that they will remember for the rest of their lives,” and they have such a great effect on our lives. That’s really what our lives are all about.”
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