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“Heaven and Earth Collide”

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Hillsong Music’s Evolving Theological Emphases

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Hillsong Music has swept across the global Christian landscape, with many of their songs entering the liturgies of charismatic megachurches and small mainline parishes alike. The theological content of these songs comes under scrutiny for a lack of doctrinal depth and hyperpersonalism. This paper argues that between 2007 and 2015 the theological content of Hillsong Music has become increasingly “generalist.” Notably, this theological shift, as expressed in the hymnody, is embedded in a larger shift in Hillsong Church’s vision: from the local church level to a self-replicating global community. As the scope of the church has widened, so, too, has the theological scope of the hymnody. Methodologically, this project is an exercise in comparative discourse analysis, examining song lyrics, official statements from Hillsong Church, officially sanctioned blogs of the church, and dialoging with liturgical and hymnological discourse.

Affiliations: 1: Boston University, Massachusetts


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