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A leading Anglican thinker has described popular charismatic “worship songs” as impoverishing Christian liturgy.
Tom Wright, the former Bishop of Durham, is concerned that contemporary Christian music neglects the Psalms, something he describes as “crazy”.
Wright, now Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St Andrews, argues that many of the growing churches in the charismatic movement do not use the Psalms in daily and weekly worship.
“The enormously popular ‘worship songs’, some of which use phrases from the Psalms here and there but most of which do not, have largely displaced, for thousands of regular and enthusiastic worshippers, the steady rhythm and deep soul searching of the Psalms themselves,” he writes in a new book, Finding God in the Psalms. “This, I believe, is a great impoverishment.”
He continues: “By all means write new songs. Each generation must do that. But to neglect the Church’s original hymn book is, to put it bluntly, crazy.”
“To worship without the Psalms is to risk planting seeds that will never take root,” Wright argues, adding that he finds it impossible to imagine a “growing and maturing” Church without the Psalms.
Have your say: Charismatics’ neglect of the psalms indicative of deeper malaise, argues Abigail Frymann
Above: Modern music has attracted large numbers of worshippers to church but Dr Wright fears they are missing out