LTRP Note: Sandy Simpson of Deception in the Church ministries has developed an interesting research tool for rating Christian worship songs. We hope this tool will help get many believers thinking about the kind of lyrics they are singing each week at church and what the messages of those songs really are. Sometimes they are pantheistic, sometimes contemplative and mystical, sometimes purpose driven – many times not biblical. And as Sandy points out, this is not a rating system for the actual music but rather for the lyrics.
By Sandy Simpson
This Worship Song Ratings page is here to help churches, pastors and worship leaders in choosing music for their churches. The ratings on this page are based solely on the lyrics of the songs we have rated, not the music. Music is a subjective thing for most people and hard to rate for everyone. But the lyrical content can be rated as to how well it upholds Biblical teachings … or not. Our ratings are based on a four star system as follows:
A rating of fours stars indicates an excellent song, one which teaches sound doctrine and accurately portrays a Biblical view of God.
A rating of three stars indicates the song is suitable for use in Bible believing Christ centered churches.
A rating of two stars means the song is only fair, usually as a result of having at least one lyrical problem or related issue.
A rating of one star means the song has seriously compromised unbiblical lyrics and should not be used.
A rating of zero stars means this song is not recommended for ANY use in a Biblical church.
The criteria for this ratings page stems from a proper exegesis of the Bible and the use of the core doctrinesof the Faith. You can also use the following articles as reference and ideas on how to test music in your church.
(1) You can make any song better by NOT repeating phrases in the song over and over. That can only lead to people zoning out and not really thinking about what they are singing. Sing more songs instead of singing a few songs over and over until people are numb.(2) Avoid songs that focus on self, repeating words like “I”, “me”, “my” and “mine” throughout. Choose songs that focus people on Jesus Christ.
(3) Test all music, both new and old. There are bad old songs and good new ones, and visa versa as you will see as you read these ratings.
(4) If a songwriter or music publisher is affiliated with a heretical or compromised church or movement, those false teachings will eventually come through in their compositions.
(5) Consider mixing up musical styles. A church can get into a rut focusing on only contemporary music just as easily as focusing only on hymns. Choose a mixture of new and old and different methods such as overheads and hymnbooks.
(6) Don’t foster the habit of having people clap on every upbeat song. That gets very boring.
(7) Consider, if possible, having more than one worship team in your church, especially if they have different styles. I know one church who had a jazz band, a contemporary band, a rock band, and a classical music group with violins, etc. I could add a lot more styles to that group including choirs, pipe or electric organ, folk, etc.
(8) Choose songs that glorify God, teach sound doctrine, teach about God’s character, etc.
(9) Establish a committee of elders, pastors and worship leaders to make sure good worship music is being used in your church.
This ratings page will be an ongoing project. Check back often for new ratings that have been added. If you have any songs you want rated you can submit them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope this page will be a help to many. Click here to continue.