Bob Kauflin is “Director of Worship Development” for Sovereign Grace Ministries. He’s posted a top-ten list of things not to do when writing “worship songs.” (HT: Challies) The points are helpful but, from the point of view of the RPW, from the point of view of the Reformed Reformation, they aren’t radical enough.Who authorized anyone to write new worship songs, i.e. new lyrics by which God’s people should respond to his grace to us in Christ? Why doesn’t an attempt, however well intentioned, to write new words which God’s people take to their lips in corporate service to the holy Triune God, imply the insufficiency of the Word? Why isn’t God’s Word sufficient for responding to his grace?
I’ve argued previously that we need new tunes for the psalms. In Recovering the Reformed Confession We ought to sing all of God’s Word. In that case, what is the uninspired song adding to worship? With those caveats, Kauflin makes some helpful points. #4 is especially useful. One reason some old hymnals are frustrating, beyond the fact they are hymnals and not psalters, is that many of the melodies seem to be written too high and, if one doesn’t read music (as most congregants do not) and can’t sing parts then we have trouble.
Most of the other problems Kauflin highlights are swept away simply by refusing to sing non-canonical words in worship.