Theologian and seminary president Albert Mohler says he would recommend that churches avoid singing music from "theologically aberrant" movements and instead embrace songs that are "tested" and "true."
On May 20, Mohler, the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, addressed the issue on his podcast The Briefing. He was answering a question from a listener who asked if it is "wise to sing songs in worship" that come from "theologically aberrant movements – or churches or movements that teach false doctrine."
Mohler began by noting that when Christians sing hymns, "we are thinking of the words of the hymn" and "not particularly the hymn writer."
Referencing songs from theological aberrant movements, Mohler said: "I would avoid that music."
"For one thing, I like to sing historic Christian hymns. In worship, I like for worship to be organized around historic Christian hymns that have stood the test of time. Now, there's some new hymnody that is being written, and we love those hymns as well. Hymns such as In Christ Alone – they are just as theologically vibrant and rich. And frankly, they have already passed the test of theological orthodoxy and the love of the church.
"But there are other songs that simply don't meet that test," he added. "A lot of them, I think, are simply going to pass off the scene. And some of them, as you say, come from very problematic sources."
More significantly, though, it can be difficult to distinguish the song from the songwriter when singing modern music, Mohler said.
"When we do know the source, and we know the source is theologically problematic, it becomes honestly pretty difficult to sing that song without thinking of the theological associations," he said. "So with reference to that, I would say don't use it in worship. Move on. Find a song that's tested, true, and truly testifies of the greatness in the glory of God."
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.