Please Me, O Lord is a great article in the current issue of Touchstone. Here’s a choice passage:
There is no move from soft rock or campfire chorus to Bach or Mendelssohn, from melody-line singing back to the four-part harmonies from which most of these congregations have fallen in a single generation. (Children in the Evangelical church where I was raised learned to read not only their Bibles, but also soprano, alto, tenor, and bass, from singing the parts with Mom and Dad. Now they just accompany, singing melody only, the principal musicians, which they once themselves were.)
They rarely move from skits and anecdotes to Augustine or Calvin, from entertainments to prayer and fasting, from “come to Jesus because he’s attractive” to “obey him, his apostles, and his apostolic ministers, because he’s Lord,” from affection for a cosmeticized Jesus to the fear of God.
I have noticed that “contemporary” worship is less participatory than the more doctrinally- and aesthetically-acceptable traditional variety — one spends a lot of time singing the melodies of refrains as a congregant in such a service. The “contemporary” texts are also horrifyingly theologically vague, inaccurate, or wrong. Certainly wishy-washy hymns to the Enlightenment like “God who stretched the spangled heavens” are obviously worthless, but a real concern comes from the under-the-radar heterodoxy of liturgical mercenaries. A prime example is the work of the whorish Marty Haugen, who has sold the same hideous setting of a “communion liturgy” (complete with explicit references to distinctively RC doctrine and practice) to churches in nearly every tradition.
I suppose that the difference between a liturgist and a terrorist is merely growing more apparent. Lex orandi, …