Music: What does God think


Music: What does God think

The charismatic infection of a Baptist church rarely occurs as a frontal assault. Usually charismatics are able to infiltrate a church one by one, and often hide their true beliefs, or at least some of them, until they are established within the congregation.
Sometimes, charismatics, and their principles, are hidden within a “Trojan Horse.” One of the most effective charismatic Trojan Horses is that of Christian contemporary music.
We should pause here to say that we are not against all Christian contemporary music. The term “contemporary music” refers to any music that is being written today. Some Christian contemporary music is well-composed, with words that are doctrinally correct and that lift the soul to a better understanding of God and Scriptural principles. Such music is quite suitable for worship.
However, much of what is called Christian contemporary music, while being quite contemporary, is not quite Christian, either in music or words, or if Christian in words, so trite as to be both useless in promoting Christian principles and annoying to the ear accustomed to good music. Much of Christian contemporary music is not suitable for worship in a Baptist church that honors the Lord and desires to do His will.
The problem many Baptist churches face is that some members, who either have no understanding of the place of music in our church services or who are simply carnal, want the wrong kind of contemporary music to be used in the church services. The music they favor lends itself to doctrinal laxness, an ecumenical spirit, and opens the door for charismatics, who thrive in such an atmosphere. Too many Baptists pastors, having little or no background in music, do not appreciate the dangers of the wrong kind of music in the church services.

While the author is primarily a theologian, he also has more training in music than the average pastor. In fact, for the first three years of his college experience he majored in music, currently plays four instruments, and has been involved in both symphony orchestras and bands. Further, he was music director of two churches of good size, so he feels qualified to write briefly on this subject.

The Definition and Composition of Music

The best definition this author has ever seen of music is this: Music is the tonal expression of emotion.
Through music, we express our many moods and feelings. Music can therefore be used to inspire patriotism, express love of God, build loyalty to the church, and express the true love between a man and a woman. It can also be used to inspire rebellion in youth, instill a desire for illicit drugs, incite to sexual promiscuity, and entice to a favorable view of false religions.
What a piece of music accomplishes depends on its composition. The composition of a piece of music shows the intent of the composer, for the elements of the composition are all designed to produce an emotional response in the listener. The elements of music composition are:
1. Melody – the personality of the piece by which it is identified.
2. Harmony – that which provides artistic interest by supporting the melody.
3. Rhythm – a servant to both melody and harmony, it enables the music to flow smoothly from one measure to another, and gives pulse to the music. Good rhythm is largely unnoticed and essentially regular.
4. Dynamics – the loudness and softness of the piece.
5. Resolution – this gives a sense of finality to the phrases and to the piece as a whole.
Some may ask, “What forms of music are legitimate forms of music?” We would have to answer: All forms, for all forms of music express emotion through the elements of their composition. Therefore, there is no form of music that is not legitimate music.
This does not mean, however, that all music is suitable for either Christian worship or even Christian consumption, for there is some music has a purpose that is contrary to Biblical truth.
“Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up.” – Daniel 3:4-5. Here we have music whose expressed purpose was to promote idolatry.
Take note of this: There is no such thing as “neutral” music. Music can express love, loyalty, compassion, mercy, faith, adoration, anger, jealousy, malice, lust, hatred, carelessness, and any other of the full range of human emotions. Further, music can be used to manipulate the emotions and express morality, or the lack thereof.
Let us spend a moment on what we said above about music being able to manipulate the emotions. Some people say, “Music doesn’t affect me.” However, such people are only self-deceived. Ever notice how that in finer restaurants the music is soft, slow, and relaxing? Such restaurants try to promote the relaxed enjoyment of the meal. On the other hand, in fast food restaurants the music is usually loud, fast, and jumpy. The whole idea of the music in those restaurants is for you to “gobble and go.” The Nazi soldiers of World War II Germany were single-minded in the dedication to their nation and formidable on the battlefield. Why was this? If you ever listened to a German march you would know.

Music in the Bible

In the Old Testament, God commanded His people to worship Him with both vocal and instrumental music, “Sing praises to the LORD.” – Psalm 9:11. “Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.”- Psalm 33:2.
In the New Testament, the churches were instructed to use music as part of their teaching ministry. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”- Colossians 3:16.
The God who instructed us to use music in our churches also told us what kind of music is suitable. Both in the passage above and in Ephesians we have three types of music that are approved of God. “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”- Ephesians 5:19. Let us examine briefly the types of music God approves:
1. Psalms – these are Scriptures set to music. An example of this is the song, “Seek Ye First,” which is in the hymnal In Spirit and In Truth, published by the American Baptist Association:
Seek ye first the kingdom of God,
And His righteousness,
And all these things shall be added unto you!
Alleluia, alleluia!
2. Hymns – these are songs of praise and adoration. Songs like, “Holy, Holy, Holy,” “The Spacious Firmament,” “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty,” and “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise.” By the way, hymns are excellent vehicles for teaching doctrine, especially those in the above-mentioned hymnal, and children who are raised on them love to sing them when they are teenagers.
3. Spiritual Songs – these are gospel songs and songs of testimony and exhortation. “There is Power in the Blood,” “My Faith Has Found a Resting Place,” “Since Jesus Came Into My Heart,” and “Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus,” are examples of spiritual songs.

Forms of Music Not Suitable for Worship

Any of the forms of rock music are not suitable for worship in the churches of the Lord Jesus Christ. We say they are not suitable because of origin, composition, and effect on the listener.
Rock music has its origin in African tribal music designed to promote fertility rites and idol worship. When brought to America, it was mingled with jazz, blues, and swing music to produce what we now have as modern rock music. With such evil influences and evil associations, you would think that no Christian would want anything to do with it. Still, there are many who see nothing wrong with using rock music in church, especially to attract young people. What they don’t realize is that they are using the same music form that Satan uses to promote pre-marital sex, rebellion, and drug use among teens and pre-teens. And let us say something about using worldly music to attract young people to our churches. This author is old enough to remember when hippies were in style, and when their counter-culture was somewhat popular. Some Baptist churches, in order to reach the young people of their day, resorted to aping the hippie movement. It was thought that if we approached hippies using their language (“God can take care of your hang-ups”), music, and fashions, that we could reach them with the gospel and make good Baptist young people out of them. Christian coffee houses became numerous, and some churches even substituted “right on” for “amen” in their services. However, the results were, sadly, not what many wanted. Instead of winning the hippies to Christ, the hippies won many of the Baptist young people over to their philosophies and lifestyle. And why not? They were already half-way to the counter culture in their own churches. Have we learned anything from that experience of 40 years ago?
The composition of rock music is easy to spot. Rock music consists of a driving beat with the accent on the upbeat (backbeat) wedded with repetitive chord patterns in the harmony.
Remember that, earlier in this chapter, we said that the beat or rhythm is largely unnoticed in good music. Not so with rock music. The beat is upfront and in your face. It is designed to get people up and dancing, to move faster, drive faster, and eat faster. It produces a hyped-up, aggressive feeling in the listener. Good music has its accent on the downbeat. By accenting the upbeat, or backbeat, the effects of the driving beat are enhanced. Add to that the repetitive chord patterns, and you have a form of music that is both hypnotic and that jangles the nervous system. Rock music produces sensual feelings and an attitude of rebellion against authority.
When rock music is wedded to Christian words, the music contradicts the message. Having said that, much of the contemporary Christian rock music contains words that are contrary to sound doctrine and promote a self-centered, experience-oriented view. Because of its origin, composition, and effect, rock music is not suitable for Christian worship.
You will find that people who are regular listeners of contemporary Christian rock music are shallow in doctrine, rebellious to church authority, and interdenominational in view. These are not things we want to encourage in our churches. Yet these are exactly the characteristics of most charismatics. Contemporary Christian rock music prepares Baptist people to accept a charismatic mind-set, and sets the stage for charismatic infiltration into our churches.
Other forms of music that are not suitable for worship include jazz, blues, and swing, all of which promote a sensual mood. In our churches we want music that appeals, not to man’s base nature, but to the new nature that Christ provides.

Forms of Music Suitable for Worship

For the spiritual health of our churches we must have the following:
1. Music that is well-written, using all of its elements to create a suitable frame for the worship og God.
2. Music that matches, and bears out the mood of words that are theologically sound and spiritually uplifting.
3. Music that enhances the preaching ministry. Church music that does not prepare the people for the preaching of the Word of God is a waste of time. Music that prepares people for the ministry of the Word is most profitable, [NOTE: Too often I have heard this from Baptists: “The music service was so powerful, that we just kept on with the music and didn’t even get to the preaching.” What a tragedy! The Bible does not say “So then faith cometh by music,” but, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” – Romans 10:17. I would have a hard time believing that the Holy Ghost, who was the active agent in the inspiration of the Word of God, would lead us to leave off its preaching. God’s pastors need to strongly stand against anything that would downgrade the importance of the preaching of the Bible to God’s people and to those who are lost.]
Forms of music that accomplish the three items above are suitable for worship. Such music will promote doctrinal fidelity and spirituality in our churches.

The above: “The Trojan Horse at the door of your Baptist Church,” is chapter V of the book: “Wildfire, Tongues, Healings and the Charismatic Movement,” written by David E. Gonnella, (Pensacola: West Florida Baptist Institute Press, 2009).

Leave a comment

Filed under Commentary

Today in 1846 – William Featherstone Born


Originally posted on Wordwise Hymns:

William Ralph (sometimes spelled Rolf) Featherstone lived with his family in Montreal. They attended the Wesleyan Methodist church there (now called St. James United Church). And there is some question about the years of his birth and death. Some list them as 1842-1870, others 1846-1873. It will be seen that in either case he died while still a young man in his late twenties.

Featherstone wrote the hymn My Jesus, I Love Thee when he was 16 years old, likely at the time of his conversion. He sent a copy to his aunt in California, and it was she who suggested he have it published. Reportedly, his descendants still treasure the original manuscript of the hymn.

A Methodist hymnal published early in the twentieth century has in interesting difference in the wording of the first stanza from what we’re familiar with today. It reads:

My Jesus, I love Thee…

View original 578 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Now I Belong to Jesus


james1948:

A touching story. A doctrinal song that can influence lives

Originally posted on Wordwise Hymns:

Words: Norman John Clayton (b. Jan. 22, 1903; d. June 1, 1992)
Music:Ellsworth, by Norman John Clayton

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Norman Clayton)
The Cyber Hymnal (Norman Clayton)

Note: Mr. Clayton composed the tune Ellsworth in 1942, and wrote the words for this fine gospel song a year later. He made it a lifelong practice to memorize Scripture and tried, each time he wrote the words of a song, to be sure that its message was clearly biblical. Clayton wrote hundreds of hymns (97 of them are listed in the Cyber Hymnal).

The Lord Jesus Christ, on the cross of Calvary, gave His life as a ransom; He paid the price to free those in bondage to sin and destined for a lost eternity. “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom…

View original 516 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

“Barroom Tunes”…Again!


Originally posted on Wordwise Hymns:

It’s a question I get a lot, so an article was needed on the subject. Were the tunes of our hymns originally used with barroom songs? A report in the November 30, 1993 edition of Christian Week celebrated the (then) thirty-year career of Larry Norman in contemporary Christian music. In the article, the writer, Ron Wall, made this statement:

“Like the hymn writers of old, Norman has used the music of bars and taverns to present the gospel.”

This is an oft-repeated claim. It implies that it was the general practice of earlier hymn writers to wed sacred words to secular tunes–and not just any secular tunes. The contention is that they purposely used the music of the beer hall crowd, so these people would be attracted to the gospel.

But is this historically accurate? It may be for some a comforting and convenient notion, but is it true? If not…

View original 954 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

He Was Wounded for Our Transgressions


Originally posted on Wordwise Hymns:

Graphic Bob and Christmas Book (2)HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church.

Words: Thomas Obediah Chisholm (b. July 29, 1866; d. Feb. 29, 1960)
Music: Merrill Everett Dunlop (b. May 9, 1905; d. June 15, 2002)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal (Thomas Chisholm

View original 771 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

THE SUBMARINE Church


THE SUBMARINE Church
Parson to Person
A minister once described his church as a submarine church. Perplexed, his listener asked what he meant. He replied with the following description. “We have submerged ourselves in our own little sea. We don’t like the trouble and misery that is so abundant all around our community and nation. So we decided to submerge ourselves to be safe from it all. So far, we are holding a record for staying submerged the longest. Once, A former pastor peered through the periscope and suggested the church should surface and engage the enemy. He was immediately tried for mutiny and dismissed. In time the air got really stale, but a committee was appointed to study it, and they concluded that that stale air was really good for you. So, the crew went through a well rehearsed routine regularly. They overhauled the kitchen, took stock of all the ammo on board although none of it was ever used. When another pastor tried to bring the vessel to surface, the entire crew got the bends, so continued submersion was necessary. The captain’s last log read, ‘submerged and continuing to practice drills. An enemy was sighted, but the entire crew demanded that there be no engagement, rather they should dive a little deeper to be in a safe zone.’ ” Today’s churches would much rather sing “Hold the Fort” than to “Storm the fort.” Sadly, the description of a submarine church is altogether to close to home for several. The Lord wants His lights to shine: to bear influence on the lives of others rather than melt into society unnoticed and be content with marginalization. So, in the words of the psalmist, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!” Think about it! When is the last time you took the initiative in a one on one conversation to let that person know that you love the Lord, and that the Lord desires that everyone should believe in Him? If you have not done this in a long time, try it really soon. Even if you fumble, you will be so glad you tried, and you will do better, and be more comfortable with it, next time. Each of us who knows the Lord is a lighted candle. The question is: will we let it shine in the candlestick or put in under a bushel (submarine)? The answer is obvious! If we really do have a one on one relationship with the Savior, we will burn inside to have others know the love, peace, joy, life and hope that we have.

Leave a comment

Filed under Commentary

There’s a Divinity that Shapes Our Ends


John Adams: There’s a Divinity that Shapes Our Ends

John Adams 9LIBERTY LETTERS, 1776

Daniel Webster records that in 1776, while some men vacillated as to Independence, John Adams, the “Voice of the Declaration,” arose and stirred the hearts of his countrymen with these immortal words:

Sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish, I give my hand and my heart to this vote. It is true, indeed, that in the beginning we aimed not at independence. But there’s a Divinity which shapes our ends. . . . Why, then, should we defer the Declaration? . . . You and I, indeed, may rue it. We may not live to the time when this Declaration shall be made good. We may die; die Colonists, die slaves, die, it may be, ignominiously and on the scaffold.

Be it so. Be it so.

If it be the pleasure of Heaven that my country shall require the poor offering of my life, the victim shall be ready. . . . But while I do live, let me have a country, or at least the hope of a country, and that a free country.

But whatever may be our fate, be assured . . . that this Declaration will stand. It may cost treasure, and it may cost blood; but it will stand and it will richly compensate for both.

Through the thick gloom of the present, I see the brightness of the future as the sun in heaven. We shall make this a glorious, an immortal day. When we are in our graves, our children will honor it. They will celebrate it with thanksgiving, with festivity, with bonfires, and illuminations. On its annual return they will shed tears, copious, gushing tears, not of subjection and slavery, not of agony and distress, but of exultation, of gratitude and of joy.

Sir, before God, I believe the hour is come. My judgment approves this measure, and my whole heart is in it. All that I have, and all that I am, and all that I hope, in this life, I am now ready here to stake upon it; and I leave off as I began, that live or die, survive or perish, I am for the Declaration. It is my living sentiment, and by the blessing of God it shall be my dying sentiment, Independence now, and Independence forever.


Source: The Works of Daniel Webster, 4th ed., 1:133–:36 Adams speech was delivered before the Continental Congress.


Liberty Letters is a project of The Moral Liberal’s, Editor in Chief, Steve Farrell.

Leave a comment

Filed under History

Great God, We Sing That Mighty Hand


Originally posted on Wordwise Hymns:

Graphic Bob and Christmas Book (2)HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church.

Words: Philip Doddridge (b. June 26, 1702; d. Oct. 26, 1751)
Music:Germany, by William Gardiner (b. Mar. 15, 1770; d. Nov. 16, 1853)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note:…

View original 799 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Today in 1943 – Charles Tillman Died


Originally posted on Wordwise Hymns:

Charles Davis Tillman worked as a house painter, and as the traveling salesman for a music company in the United States. He also sang on a traveling peddler’s wagon advertising “Wizard Oil,” a quack medicine that claimed it could cure rheumatism.

A picture sent to me by a boyhood friend now living in Arizona. Lorne is waving from the caboose–though difficult to see.

In addition, early on, Tillman helped his father in evangelistic work, beginning his own career as a singing evangelist at the age of 26. He eventually formed his own music company and published 20 gospel song collections. He was the first to publish the spiritual Gimme That Old Time Religion, after hearing a black congregation singing it at a camp meeting in South Carolina.

Charles Tillman also wrote the tune for the song for which he is best known now, Life’s Railway to Heaven

View original 642 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

FREEDOM AND RIGHTEOUSNESS REQUIRES VIGILANCE


PARSON TO PERSON
FREEDOM AND RIGHTEOUSNESS REQUIRES VIGILANCE
As the United States of America wades deep into its third century of being a free and independent nation, it does so without the mainstream of its citizenry possessing the values and resolve that initiated it and supported it through tough, sad, hard, and happy times. That loss is fundamental, so fundamental that the nation as it was framed may not much longer endure. What happened? Think with me! Solomon wrote: “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.” Proverbs 6:6-11. The greatest gift a nation could hope to possess in war with another, would be to find them all asleep in the day of battle. Vigilance has its virtue, and sleep its calamity! In the spiritual warfare, the forces of evil have succeeded in rocking this nation to sleep on toxic materialism. When a majority of the population finds it more palatable to abandon its talent, mental acumen, self determination and personal freedom in favor of whoever will put the biggest check in the mailbox, the devil himself has no trouble garnering the necessary votes to rule. Even when it is known, but not fully comprehended that his rule will be enslavement. Such induced lethargy and sleep provided from the labor of others wins in the battle of preferences in an unprincipled people. This weekend, much celebration will mark yet another year to celebrate the founding of the United States of America. What a God-sent it has been to His people who for centuries yearned to be free to worship Him according to the dictates of their conscience and understanding of Holy Writ! However, judicial actions of the past half century affords much to lament in witnessing its decline. The shinning. global example of freedom and blessedness of this nation is a story of bloodshed, principle, dedication, and hard work. Let all who love this country stand fast in these things and be a part of its grand story. Let us all give ear anew to the words of the wise man who so eloquently penned, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” Proverbs 14:34

Leave a comment

Filed under Commentary