Can we all just agree that Hillsongs is officially beyond the pale?
A few days ago, a Hillsongs rendition of Silent Night appeared on my News Feed. However, it was not Silent Night as your grannie knew it. It was sung to 1920s Jazz music and accompanied by Flapper Girls. It was from their Hillsongs 2014 carol service which was hosted at Wembley. (Hillsongs have since shut down the official version, but it can still be accessed here).
The Hillsongs’ version of Silent night is just wrong in so many ways. One of the subjects I teach is media studies, this means I teach students to analyse media. When studying a medium, it’s important to ask questions like:
- What are the connotations?
- Does the music compliment the lyrical content?
- Is the on screen activity suitable for the genre?
- What tone is being conveyed?
Let’s just say, Hillsongs’ version of Silent Night fails on every account. 1920s Flapper Girls, set to rip-rocking Jazz music just doesn’t fit with SILENT night. Further, it doesn’t fit with Christ. As a production it is tacky (even artistically it just doesn’t work); as an act of worship it is abhorrently fleshly (can we still use that phrase?) – and quite frankly it’s just disappointing.
Let’s just think about the connotations in this video for a moment. What are the connotations of Flapper Girls? According to Wikipedia:
“Flappers were a “new breed” of young Western women in the 1920s who wore short skirts, bobbed their hair, listened to jazz, and flaunted their disdain for what was then considered acceptable behavior. Flappers were seen as brash for wearing excessive makeup, drinking, treating sex in a casual manner, smoking, driving automobiles, and otherwise flouting social and sexual norms.”
Says it all doesn’t it? And you didn’t need the explanation to see that is the image that the video was conveying. Let’s look to the scriptures to see how far this vision of worship and womanhood falls from the biblical pattern:
“Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness…” (1 Tim 2:9-10)
It’s clear isn’t it? Not only does this Hillsongs presentation fail in in terms of media and art, it fails biblically. This is the opposite of biblical Christianity. For too long Hillsongs have had a reputation for being cutting edge Christianity – they are not cutting edge, they are worldly.
Ironically, Hillsongs is associated with the classical Pentecostal denomination, the Assemblies of God, yet I’m sure if the early AoG pioneers could see this production they would weep, wail and call for repentance. Are there no prophets left in the Pentecostal movement? Where are the men of God? Where is the Holiness? Where is the fear of God? Where is the Christ-exalting reverence which marked the early Pentecostals? I think it is high time that the Assemblies of God got their house in order and rediscovered church discipline. Where are the AoG leaders who care about the honour of Christ?