19 April, 2007

Cotton Mather on Entertainment in Worship

Cotton Mather was dealing with a type of seeker-sensitive church in his day. He thought that the introduction of musical instruments (especially the organ) was a ploy to entertain the people and steal them out of the Reformed churches.

He saw the organ in the same way that many in today's churches see guitars and a drum set. I guess that many of us, upon reflection, need to reconsider our positions on these things. What is the difference between a guitar and an organ? Is there any difference?

If we believe in doing what God tells us to do in worship, should we not have all of the instruments that God says to use in the Old Testament and not one that was invented in the 1600s? Or should we reconsider the whole thing? Why did ALL of the Reformed churches sing a capella? What does God want from us?

"Attempts to propagate the Church of England among us, by a most conspicuous and marvelous blast of heaven upon them, do very much come to nothing. Even the organs introduced into the chapel in this metropolis of the English America, signify very little to draw over our people unto them." -Cotton Mather, in a letter to John Stirling, 1714.

1 comment:

Highland Host said...

Music must be an AID to worship, not a hinderance. Thus our Strict Baptist Churches refuse to have choirs, solos or such like on the principle that such artistic singing intimidates ordinary people and solos are more fitting in a concert hall than in the house of God (especially when the congregation cannot easily follow the words).

There is nothing wrong with unaccompanied singing, and many of our Churches keep it up. I can think of no more awe-inspring worship than the singing of the Psalms that I heard in the little Scottish Free Presbyterian Church in London's Varden Street in 2005.

[Note for those who don't know: The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland do not use any 'artificial aids' in singing]