"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious.... think on these things," Phil.4:8
There was a time when we Anglicans believed in singing theology. Yet today we have turned from substance to what Thomas Day describes as "feature-star solo performers and an almost exclusive diet of music by the latest trendy groups and the latest trendy 'contemporary' composers." We have abandoned the music of faith-language for the happy music of self-actualization. Amy Grant describes this church music as "songs that can go both ways..... God-girlfriend songs - meaning you are either singing it to God, or to your boyfriend or girlfriend." Just replace Jesus with Jim!
Eddie Gibbs points the way to such banality with the Church Growth principle: "A church should beware of pursuing personal maturity at the expense of ongoing evangelism, otherwise a communication gap will open up between the church and the community." We might well ask, what about "becoming mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ", Eph.4:13? As John Neuhaus puts it, "If we accept the proposition that evangelism as recruitment is the controlling purpose of the church, and if we accept that its purpose is to be advanced by marketing effectiveness in response to the popularly felt need for religious experience, then the implications for worship are clear enough." Banality - happy-clappy "consciousness-raising" choruses.
Gregory of Nazianzus, ca379, sarcastically noted of his day. "If he (the preacher) would please the multitude, he must adapt himself to their taste, and entertain them amusingly in church." He observed that "what belonged to the theatre was brought into the church."
Our move from hymns that proclaim reformation truth, evidences our move from that truth.