London, Oct 19 : Churches should use the Beatles' hits in their services, for they are often more effective in expressing Christianity, says a leading bishop.
In a book backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, the Rt Rev Nick Baines, Bishop of Croydon says that the Bible has become banal and argues that pop music writers can communicate deep theological concepts in a way that is more accessible to the younger generation.
Although hundreds of evangelical churches have already turned to guitar-based songs instead of traditional hymns, the bishop suggests that clergy still need to be more creative in appealing to non-churchgoers.
Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan and John Lennon, who famously claimed the Beatles were bigger than Jesus, are among artists highlighted for exploring Christian themes in their music.
"For many people the language of the Bible has become inaccessible and yet pop song writers can make a connection with people because their language is fresh," the Telegraph quoted Baines, as saying.
"They are able to open our imagination to a way of thinking about God that we've become deaf to in church language.
"The Bible is an amazing collection of books that we've allowed to become banal. For many people it is a closed book and asking them to read it is a lost cause, which is a tragedy," he added.
Baines said that music is influential in challenging people to think of some of life's big questions.
"Songs get more into the soul than simply reading an ancient book. I hope that they would be awoken to God and it would lead them to want to read some of the stories in the Bible," he added.
In the book, called Finding Faith and described by Dr Williams as "profound and challenging", he reveals the impact that pop songs have had on his Christian belief.
"I have read the Bible through many times and I have enjoyed art all over the world... But it was a simple song from [Bruce] Cockburn's early period that gave me the words to hang all this together and provide me with a vocabulary for connecting the bigness of the universe with the smallness of men in a language of worship."
However, mixing popular culture with religious teaching has upset some traditionalists, who are also likely to be bemused by the bishop's comments.