Friday, August 18, 2006

Preaching the Gospel Through Congregational Singing

Congregational Songs "give us language and opportunity," writes Mark Dever, "to mutually encourage each other in the Word and to call each other out to praise our common savior. One of the most important functions of congregational singing is that it highlights the corporate nature of the church and the mutual ministry that builds us up in unity" (The Deliberate Church, 116).

This was a revolutionary idea to me a few months ago. In the act of corporate singing we are calling out to one another much like the Psalmists did in the Old Testament, to worship God: Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! Sing to the Lord, bless His name; tell of this salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples (Psalm 96:1-3).

As you sing, "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me..." You are both reminding your brothers and sisters that God has saved sinners in the work of Christ on the Cross, and you are encouraging them that they are not alone in the Christian life. So Dever writes again that in corporate singing "We are encouraging each other, by the strenght of our voices, that we are not alone in our confession, but that everyone else who is singing is affirming the truth and significance of what is being sung" (120).

Of course our worship in song is to be primarily about God- the renewal of our covenant with Him, and the glorification of His name. But in doing this we should also be singing to one another, "Keep believing the gospel, friends."


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