In our Small Group meeting Sunday morning, conversation touched on this subject-- one which really needs examination in the Light of Scripture.
I've thought some about it prior to then, and have been thinking about it ever since. I encourage anyone and everyone to chip in their thoughts, especially those with specific Scripture in support of the viewpoint.
In my mind, the question revolves around whether musical offerings, especially non-corporate, non-congregational, thus either solos, trios, or choirs, require some degree of "quality" or "perfection" with respect to musical ability, ear-pleasing to the human hearers........or whether that is in fact, irrelevant, because the idea should be that of an offering to God, a sacrifice of praise.....and the fact that the singer is not "recording-artist quality" and may even be off-key and not particularly "pleasing" to our ears should not be a consideration.
Now, I am a great example of a non-starter when it comes to singing: can't carry a tune, even with a wheelbarrow. I have no desire to stand up on the platform some Sunday morning to sing a solo! I'm not overly convinced that solo or small group performances are a big contribution to corporate worship at all.....but to continue this line of thought, suppose we are having a time of testimony on Wednesday night.......or in our class......and rather than talk (or preach!) I am moved to "sing" a testimony? Songs like "And Can It Be?" and "There Is A Fountain" speak strongly of my personal view, my own experience, and I sing them all the time (when no one can hear but the Lord).....So, if I stand up in a group and squawk out a verse or two of a song like that.......it seems more like real worship than an orchestrated, pristine, rehearsed, "professional" rendition, though the latter would be more appealing to the ears of the congregation by far..........
There is great emphasis in music ministry (I speak as an outsider) on "quality" performances: timing, orchestration, overall pleasing to the human ear musicality. Defenders of this intense effort, in my experience, fall back upon the description of O.T. sacrifices to justify their position.....that the sacrifice be "perfect, spotless, not the lame or otherwise flawed." Is this proper exegesis? When we speak of the sacrifice of praise, is that offering to be "perfect, flawless" in the eyes of man?.......or the eyes of God?
To me, this looks like a case of man looking upon the outward appearance (outward sound)........where God views this offering of praise as it comes from the heart of the person singing.
Complaints about poor quality singing in "specials" are surely a product of the flesh: the music did not "sound good" to our ears. In all this, I am assuming that the lyrics are Scriptural. There is no defense for unscriptural lyrics, no matter how "well done" they are. So, what are we doing if we criticize or avoid altogether a singer whose "offering" is off-key or not too sound musically.......Can we say that because we were not thoroughly "entertained" that his act was not pleasing to God? On what basis do we, or does any man, judge the acceptability of a sacrifice of praise offered by another believer?
How much emphasis do we need (as a congregation) on musical praise being technically perfect to human ears?
Do we need to cull poor singers in our body to keep them out of the "limelight"......to keep the overall group from being subjected to "poor singing"?........
Do we need to eliminate all sorts of "performance" singing: solos, choirs, small groups? Have congregational singing only?
I look forward to your thoughts.