The Manipulative Power of Worship Music

Posted by on Oct 27, 2011 in Worship Music | One Comment

One common argument I hear from both Christians and not-yet-believers is the idea that worship music can wrongly catch people up into a emotional trance or tizzy in which they too readily accept anything being said from the pulpit.

This is absolutely true.

But, removing music doesn’t solve that problem.

Consider Martin Luther King Jr.’s unique speaking ability. Is it manipulative? Absolutely. The cadence. The repetition. It’s breathtaking. It sounds so good that it immediately sounds right.

But neither does removing rhetoric solve that problem – in the sense that we might disqualify a pastor based on their speaking gifts, which might too easily manipulate the masses.

The problem only rests if truth is not being spoken. If our worship music soars with lyrics that simply aren’t true. If our pastors’ language stirs our hearts with words that are empty.

1 Comment

  1. Quinton
    October 27, 2011

    And I would add – why is this a problem? Ever? I think that human beings only have a problem with “manipulation” when they think it edges them into something they don’t want. At its core, you wouldn’t be sitting in the sanctuary in the first place if you didn’t want what church had to offer. Beyond this lies the false idea that somehow your getting “swept up” on a Sunday morning will ultimately affect how you behave at work on a Wednesday – against your will. Oh, how pastors wish this was true. The sad state of affairs in our world proves this to not be true. Good worship requires celebration. There is no reason to fear the emotion that rises. Again, the sad truth is that the opposite tends to be true. Stunning boredom.