Other than the preaching of God’s Word, the church has no more powerful teaching tool at her disposal than psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Scripture commands the people of God never to cease ‘teaching and admonishing one another’ with our music (Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:19). Chris Anderson has a passion for sound hymnology. He has given the church some powerful, doctrinally rich songs. This volume is a thoughtful compendium of biblical reasons why the teaching of sound doctrine through hymns is so vital to the life and well-being of the church. It is an important work with no parallel that I am aware of, and it meets a pressing need for the church of our generation.
Pastor, Grace Community Church of Sun Valley, California, Preacher on Grace to You Radio Broadcast, and World-Renowned Author
If you need help moving beyond worship songs with trite tunes and sloppy theology, Chris Anderson—a seasoned pastor, experienced church musician, and excellent hymn-writer—offers tremendous help. In his clear, wise, winsome, witty, generous, thorough, insightful, practical, thought-provoking, prophetic, Trinity-centered, and church-focused book, he offers numerous examples of the most biblical, beautiful, edifying, Christ-saturated, and God-exalting songs we should sing each Sunday. Moreover, and more importantly, he grounds his observations, examples, insights, and advice directly in what the Bible teaches about congregational singing. A treasure-trove of truths! A gift to the church. A magnificent must-read.
Douglas Sean O’Donnell
Senior Vice President of Bible Editorial, Crossway Books, and Author of God’s Lyrics
If there is one message this generation needs to hear, it is precisely the message of this book, written from the heart of an experienced pastor and gifted hymn-writer. Chris Anderson is in the great line of pastoral hymn-writers that have edified the church through sermon and song across history. His message in this book is simple: It matters what we sing! As churches, our songs should express the full menu of Christian experience, inspire us to worship our great triune God, and, above all, be full of biblical truth. Thanks, Chris, for this timely reminder!
Pastor, Kabwata Baptist Church and Founding Chancellor of African Christian University in Lusaka, Zambia
I read Theology That Sticks both as a pastor and as an adjunct professor of pastoral theology. In both roles, I have found a resource that I will reach for first on the topic of worship. Chris has skillfully culled works on this topic—past and present—and has produced a winsome yet meaty work that is now my favorite. The inclusion of ‘Bonus Tracks’ in the appendix is now a cheat-sheet for me on each topic as well. Having a pastor, not an academic, write this book is a win for us. It is church history, theology, and hymnody… with the smell of sheep on it.
Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church of Ypsilanti, Michigan, and Adjunct Professor of Pastoral Theology
Chris has given the church a thorough, theologically rich resource for recovering the glorious place of song in our worship gatherings. It’s a much-needed, practical, and reasoned challenge to remember what, how, and why we are called to sing.
Award-Winning Christian Recording Artist
Chris captures so well the urgency of corporate worship. It’s an unmistakable message that’s pastoral, winsome, and direct: What we sing about God is eternally important.
Music Minister, Grace Immanuel Bible Church, Jupiter, Florida, and Editor of Sing the Wonders and Psalms for the Church
Theology That Sticks is proof that Chris Anderson loves Christian music and theology. He has filled his book with biblical content about church music that interacts with a broad selection of theologians, musicians, and cultural commentators. Through winsome writing and well-placed questions, Chris helps his readers consider the critical nature of loving both music and theology.
Pastor of Church Planting and Revitalization at Gospel Grace Church, Salt Lake City, Utah, and Director of Plant4theGospel
Christians are a singing people. Our songs both express our devotion and shape us as disciples. Song selection, therefore, is a weighty task. In this warm, accessible, and persuasive book, Chris Anderson offers invaluable guidance on how to choose songs that exalt our triune God, edify His people, and contribute to evangelizing the lost. Packed with a plethora of insightful quotes and loaded with lists of hymns in every category imaginable, this volume is one I wish every pastor, church music leader, and believer would read. It gave me several new practical ideas for my weekly song-leading ministry, and more importantly, it spurred me to long more deeply for the day when all who trust in Christ will join our voices in the heavenly anthem that drowns all music but its own.
Author, Hymn-writer, and Director of Creative Resources and Training for Getty Music
Hymns are a gift from the Lord to the church. What Christian hasn’t had their heart stirred by strong doctrinal lyrics set to music that befits our holy God? Our brother Chris Anderson has reminded us why the church needs worshipful music that is a deep and powerful elixir for our faith. Filled with rich quotes, anecdotes, and biblical truth, the book continuously drew my mind to the great hymns of our faith over and over as I read. Every pastor and worship minister needs to read Chris’ helpful case for true worship grounded in the Word. For some it will act as a necessary spiritual alignment, and for others it will reaffirm their commitment to biblical worship in song.
Executive Director, IFCA International
I have always been amazed at how lyrics of a song will stick in my mind so much easier than memorizing verses. That’s one reason this book is so important. Scriptural, historical, theological, and practical, this book helps us all think about what we sing, how we sing it, why we sing it, and so much more. Chris brings clarity to a complicated area, provoking thought on how we can serve others well and worship God faithfully.
President, Cedarville University
This book was needed a long time ago! Songs that we sing during our worship services carry in themselves huge power to influence souls. Songs and hymns are ideas, amplified with music. This is why you cannot overestimate the importance of a correct approach to what we sing in our churches. Chris Anderson does an excellent job presenting this issue in colorful detail, with the convincing power of the Word of God. This is why this book will be helpful not just for pastors but for everyone in the church.
Pastor, Word of Grace Bible Church, Battle Ground, Washington, and Head of Word of Grace Ministries
We have used Chris’ hymns and writings in our ministry for many years and do it with great joy. I have always appreciated his careful, deep, theological, thought-provoking style. Whether I am leading a congregation in worship, preparing an arrangement with a small group, or recording for a publication, Chris’ theologically rich texts have impacted me in a profound way. In a similar way, Theology That Sticks will encourage you to think, consider, and evaluate your choices of hymns used in worship with God’s people. Let us not casually approach this highly important aspect of our ministry!
Music Director, Bethany Baptist Church, Brevard, North Carolina, and The Wilds Christian Camp
The spiritual health of any church can often be diagnosed by the songs it sings. Weak worship songs reflect shallow theology in the pulpit. But strong worship songs reveal sound doctrine in the preaching. Chris Anderson has provided us with a helpful resource in his book, Theology That Sticks, to help us navigate these often turbulent waters. Biblically based, doctrinally sound, and pastorally sensitive, this well-studied book on how our theology shapes our doxology is one I am certain that you will want to read.
Steven J. Lawson
President of OnePassion Ministries, Professor at The Master’s Seminary, Teaching Fellow for Ligonier Ministries, and Lead Preacher, Trinity Bible Church of Dallas, Texas
A healthy church is always a worshipping church—a church overflowing with joyful, expressive love and a desire for authentic ministry. To that end, Chris Anderson has done the local church a great service in Theology That Sticks. This book should be read by every pastor and worship leader, as well as every church member and worship team member. Chris does a masterful job of articulating the value of singing our theology in gospel-centered, corporate worship; and he equips church leaders and Christians with practical steps to building a deeply theological worship ministry. These pages will help you and your church take worship more seriously, creatively, and biblically.
Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Newington, Connecticut, and Author of Stop Trying: How to Receive—not Achieve—Your Real Identity
Since there are hundreds of outstanding hymns, the church should not be content to sing shallow songs that came out ten minutes ago (or ten decades ago) and that nobody will request to sing on their deathbed. Chris Anderson wisely and engagingly counsels us what to sing.
Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and New Testament, Bethlehem College and Seminary, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and a Pastor, Bethlehem Baptist Church
In my little corner of Christianity, we’re often known more for what we’re against than what we’re for. Anderson’s book gives us something we can really be for. Each chapter is full of helpful principles the believer can thoughtfully apply and be much the better for it.
Evangelist and A Cappella Recording Artist
Few gifts have been more mismanaged and misunderstood by the church than God’s good gift of music. What was given by the Lord to teach, unify, and strengthen the body of Christ has all too often proven instead to be divisive, as too many have focused on preference at the expense of purpose. In Theology That Sticks, Chris Anderson helps the church view music through a biblical lens and recapture the joy and blessing found in congregational singing. As he shows churches how to select songs that best teach sound doctrine and edify God’s people, Chris keeps the focus of this volume on glorifying the Lord rather than catering to man’s opinions. This book will instruct the reader in a helpful way and strengthen the local congregation that puts these truths into practice.
Pastor, First Baptist Church of Mustang, Oklahoma
Theology That Sticks feels like a little hideout from the worship wars, a rock of biblical common ground for us all, a feeling of rest from conflict. I don’t know if Chris set out to do this, but he sure seems to me to have transcended the worship wars. He has listed out in his clear, effusive style a long series of biblical truths that any serious Christian can and must incorporate into worship. He has helpful application sections at the end of each chapter, too, where he talks to musicians as well as to the people in the pew. And he’s a diligent collector of pithy wisdom from other Christian voices. During my years as a church music director, my church loved Anderson’s richly doctrinal, modern hymns. I’m not at all surprised that he had all this theology sticking in his mind.
Editor, Bible Study Magazine
This is one of the best, most balanced books I have ever read on church music. Chris challenges you to think through why you sing and what you sing in church and gives practical tips for each church size. He is passionate that God be glorified and that the same care given to the preaching of God’s Word be given to the congregational worship of God through singing. A must-read for any church leader!
President of Faith Baptist Bible College, Ankeny, Iowa
While godly worship is a wonderful end in itself, true worshipers of God eventually discover that worship produces transformative outcomes for the worshipers themselves. Enter Theology That Sticks, a thoughtful book bristling with biblical guidance designed to help Christians worship God with theological depth and power, in a way that both expresses and enriches the heart of the worshiper, redounding to God’s glory. Chris Anderson’s book is a timely arrival for students of Christian worship, be they worship leaders, pastors, or laypersons who desire to grow in worship. I recommend this book and trust you will be benefited by it as much as I have.
Pastor of Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church, Riverside, California, and Author of A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God’s Love
Chris Anderson’s book Theology That Sticks is a compelling, irenic call to examine and improve the church’s worship and life. Music matters, particularly the hymns and songs that accurately communicate the truth of the Scriptures by their lyrics and poetic structure. Chris gives practical, positive guidance for the church’s hymnology. In a day when ‘worship wars’ entangle the church, this book flies above the fray for the benefit of all.
David E. Strope
Interim National Representative, General Association of Regular Baptist Churches
Great hymns make our theology sing. They give voice to the truth and put the truth in the voices of God’s people. I am grateful for the chorus of theologians who are giving such care and attention to the hymnody of the church. This book will be a help to all who want to seriously consider this well-deserved subject.
Hymn-Writer, Pastor of The Trails Church, Celina, Texas, and Assistant Professor of Christian Music and Worship, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary