56 – Innovation or Manipulation? The Ethics of Using Technology in Christian Worship

Psalm 56

Psalm 56


“Hello and welcome back to the Balm in Gilead podcast, where we explore all things Christian music and worship. I’m your host, Bryan, and as always, I’m joined by my co-host, Grant. Today, we have a fascinating and thought-provoking topic to dive into – Artificial Intelligence and Christian worship music.

What happens when AI writes Christian songs? Can machines truly capture the essence of worship, or is there something unique about human creativity and expression? We’re excited to explore these questions and more as we delve into the intersection of technology and faith.

But that’s not all – we’ll also be discussing where worship comes from, and whether worship written by those outside the faith has a place in Christian worship. It’s a complex and nuanced topic, but we believe it’s important to engage with it as we seek to deepen our understanding of worship.

So grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and join us for this exciting and thought-provoking episode. Let’s dive in!”

(Yes, that’s written by ChatGPT, along with the title, and the excerpt. And the image #DallE)

Philippians 1:15-18

English Standard Version

15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. 16 The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.

Yes, and I will rejoice,

This, coupled with the idea that a song does not need to be born out of worship to be useful for worship (which is a form of mysticism), allows for the use of any useful song in worship (so long as it has been proven useful based on its own merit through discernment).

What We’re Listening To



Can AI/ML write a worship song?

write a worship song that focuses on lament turning to praise

Verse 1:
Lord, I come before Your throne
Heavy hearted, feeling alone
My tears fall like rain
As I cry out Your name
But in the midst of my pain
I will lift up Your name
My lament turns to praise
For You are worthy all my days
Verse 2:
I pour out my soul to You
My fears and doubts, my heart so true
I lay it all at Your feet
And trust in Your mercy sweet
But in the midst of my pain
I will lift up Your name
My lament turns to praise
For You are worthy all my days
You are the God who sees
You hear my every plea
In Your arms I find peace
My heart and soul released
But in the midst of my pain
I will lift up Your name
My lament turns to praise
For You are worthy all my days
So let the heavens sing
Of Your love and everything
For You have turned my sorrow
Into a bright new tomorrow.

The John Calvin “quote.”

“The Lord commands us to worship him in a simple and unadorned manner, not in ways that are flashy, showy, or designed to impress others. Therefore, we should always be wary of using technology or other means to enhance or manipulate our worship. Instead, we should focus on the pure and sincere worship of God that comes from the heart.”


ChatGPT, when asked, does give reference to Institutes of the Christian Religion Book II, Ch. 8, Section 17.

The Institutes of the Christian Religion Book 2 Chapter 8

17. As in the first commandment the Lord declares that he is one, and that besides him no gods must be either worshipped or imagined, so he here more plainly declares what his nature is, and what the kind of worship with which he is to be honoured, in order that we may not presume to form any carnal idea of him. The purport of the commandment, therefore, is, that he will not have his legitimate worship profaned by superstitious rites. Wherefore, in general, he calls us entirely away from the carnal frivolous observances which our stupid minds are wont to devise after forming some gross idea of the divine nature, while, at the same time, he instructs us in the worship which is legitimate, namely, spiritual worship of his own appointment. The grossest vice here prohibited is external idolatry. This commandment consists of two parts. The former curbs the licentious daring which would subject the incomprehensible God to our senses, or represent him under any visible shape. The latter forbids the worship of images on any religious ground. There is, moreover, a brief enumeration of all the forms by which the Deity was usually represented by heathen and superstitious nations. By “any thing which is in heaven above” is meant the sun, the moon, and the stars, perhaps also birds, as in Deuteronomy, where the meaning is explained, there is mention of birds as well as stars (Deut 4:15). I would not have made this observation, had I not seen that some absurdly apply it to the angels. The other particulars I pass, as requiring no explanation. We have already shown clearly enough ([[OSIS:Calvinst.1.11.12]]) that every visible shape of Deity which man devises is diametrically opposed to the divine nature; and, therefore, that the moment idols appear, true religion is corrupted and adulterated.

John Calvin, the real one

Link: https://www.relight.app/resource/Calvinst.2.8.17

Thanks for listening

The Balm of Gilead podcast is a member of the Tech Reformation family of podcasts. If you enjoy the show, please share it with others. We enjoy hearing from you, so join us on our Discord and let us know what you’re thinking. If email is more your thing, write to us at thereis <at> balmcast <dot> com. Thanks again and we’ll see you next time, Lord willing.

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