THE REDEEMER CENTER FOR WORSHIP AND MUSIC
The Redeemer Center for Worship and Music exists to advance worship of the Triune God by providing training, resources, research, and edification in the history, practice, and principles of worship and music, all in accordance with Scripture.
Why a Center for Worship & Music?
When the body of Christ joins together in song, it joins many generations of saints who have gone before, and it also models the beautiful unity and diversity of the Lord’s church. Historically, music has been understood to have powerful effects upon the emotions and intellect. We instinctively understand this power; imagine a wedding, funeral, or even a movie completely void of music. And then imagine a funeral with wedding music, or a wedding with funeral music; we also possess an innate recognition of what is appropriate for various occasions. There have been many significant conversations over the centuries about music’s role in corporate worship. We worship a beautiful and glorious Savior, and the church bears great responsibility to ensure that all elements of worship—including music—reflect such beauty and glory. Music shapes and captivates us, so we must ask ourselves how music in corporate worship molds our understanding of God. Does this music point to Christ? Does this music cause God’s people to long for eternal glory? Music in corporate worship should glorify God and edify the church, and RCWM seeks to train men and women in this endeavor.
Who will come to the RCWM?
RCWM exists for seminarians, musicians, music directors, church leaders, and congregants who wish to grown in their understanding of music’s role within corporate worship. Those actively involved in church leadership may audit individual courses free of charge. Through Redeemer Seminary, RCWM will eventually offer a Certificate in Worship and Music, as well as a Master of Arts degree with an emphasis in worship and music.
Want to be a part of the RCWM?
The RCWM will be offering its first class this Spring. If you are interested in learning more about the RCWM or taking classes, contact Dr. Hannah Mowrey for more information at email@example.com to answer your questions.
Praise and adoration of the Creator will extend throughout eternity, as the heavens echo perpetual ‘Hallelujahs.’ God created humanity to worship him both now and for forevermore, and authentic worship constantly praises the character and glory of God. Christ reminds us that the greatest commandment is ‘to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ We worship that which we love, in an effort to know intimately the one we love. Music, as one important strand of worship, is an eternal calling. Not only does song touch and often fuse intellect, imagination, and emotion, but it is an everlasting form of worship that will exist forever. When those from every tribe, tongue, and nation join voices to praise God through song, they participate with angels in heaven and the saints who have gone before. As image-bearers of God, our highest and most lasting calling is to worship the Creator, and RCWM is committed to training God’s people specifically in the area of music, that they might know, love, and praise the Triune God to their fullest capacity.
The Scriptures are the infallible, holy, and inspired Word of God. The unified tapestry of Scripture culminates in Christ’s death and resurrection, as a sacrifice for the sins of his people. Throughout the redemptive narrative of Scripture, God reveals means by which to honor and worship his character. As the Bible presents beautifully multifaceted contexts, time periods, and people, RCWM recognizes that systematic and careful study of Scripture will inform and encourage a sound doctrine and understanding of worship and music, as correct theology informs all areas of life. RCWM seeks to train men and women in the components of worship and music through the framework of Scripture.
The church should never limit itself to one style or genre of music, as it seeks to worship the Lord in reverence and with beauty. RCWM understands that while history and tradition are not sacred, collective wisdom from the past should be carefully examined and thoughtfully considered. In his perfect wisdom, God did not give us knowledge of music’s sound in either the Old or New Testament, yet music was never a neutral action. Historically, music has been understood to have powerful effects upon the emotions and intellect; only in modern history has music been viewed as a purely subjective art form. The Scriptures abound with exhortations to sing and make melody; there are even references to ‘idle’ song. When the apostle Paul commands the church at Philippi to think on whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise, he does not provide a detailed list of every possible object or thought that could fall into these categories. Instead, he assumes that the church will prayerfully discern how to apply the teaching. This principle also applies to music, and RCWM seeks to enter into the church’s historical and ongoing conversation about the corporate worship of God Almighty.
Beauty and Excellence
God is beautiful. Authentic worship compels humanity to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord, as our Creator is the very fulfillment of ultimate beauty. The Psalmist cries out, ‘Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised.’ As God’s people seek to worship him with heart, mind, and soul, they endeavor to praise him ‘greatly’ and with excellence. This includes worshiping through skillfully and thoughtfully prepared music, all within the resources available to a particular congregation. Wisdom, discernment, and humility must accompany excellence, and God, in his infinite and unsearchable wisdom, bestows unique talents and gifts on each member of his church. Just as the church appoints teachers who are gifted and discerning communicators, so too should it seek qualified musicians who exhibit musical gifts and talents. RCWM acknowledges that music, when composed and performed well, reflects the character of God.
In accordance with the Core Values of Redeemer Seminary, RCWM operates under the Reformed confessions that summarize and explain the coherency, inerrancy, and infallibility of Scripture. The Reformers did not express a monolithic view of worship, and they often disagreed about the liturgical components of corporate worship, including hymnody, psalmody, and use of instruments. Yet they acknowledged that humanity’s innate creativity, as expressed through art and music, reflects the common grace bestowed by God upon his image bearers. Even those who do not confess Christ as Savior cannot help but give evidence to the creativity and goodness of God. Building upon the rich heritage provided by the Reformers, RCWM is committed to continuing this fruitful dialogue about worship and music, always submitting to the authority of Scripture.
RCWM does not teach one particular style or genre of music, while acknowledging that the truth and relevance of God’s Word never changes from one civilization or generation to the next. The kaleidoscope of humanity and the myriad of culture reflect the infinitely creative mind of God. Music and art express the faith and belief of a society, and while music (like any gracious gift from God) can be corrupted, all cultures possess the potential to create beautiful and excellent music. Humanity’s ability to mold and shape music to fit a unique and particular identity demonstrates the handiwork of God. RCWM is committed to studying and understanding the worship and music of various cultures and time periods.
Music is one of God’s great gifts to humanity, as it reflects the beauty and glory of God and ministers to our souls. The Psalm texts serve as poignant reminders that verse and music are closely associated with human emotion, conjoining mind and heart. RCWM recognizes that the language of music, with its ability to express undeniable beauty and communicate theological truth, has an evangelistic aspect.
RCWM desires to promote the purity and peace of the church by training pastors, musicians, and congregants in a biblically-based theology of worship and music, while understanding that there is a distinction between preference and principle. RCWM desires to foster a culture of learning and research through winsome and humble submission to the Word of God and to each other.