This document is the result of many years of training, and several degrees in the field of music, not to mention a ton of research in that field. This qualifies me to write as an expert in that field when addressing the musical theory portion of this paper. I have also spent decades studying the Bible in depth to always make sure I get an accurate Scriptural standpoint on any subject that I write. This holds true for this subject. I have observed first hand the effects of this music on people and the church. This justifies the Scriptural defense that is presented. If you find your blood starting to boil as you read what I have written, stop to consider from where that anger originates. As will be seen, there is a spirit attached to certain kinds of music that is evil in its intents. It influences the people that listen to that music to feel rage, lust, etc. (I almost got beaten up in a church parking lot once over my stand on this issue.) Satan also hates it when God's truth is spoken, and will have the rebellious heart rage against that truth. If you find yourself feeling these things, ask yourself why you are feeling this and take time to pray about it.
As a peace offering to those who fit the above description, please realize that this paper is primarily addressing the music that is being used in church worship services. What you listen to on your own time in your house, car, etc. is your own business and is strictly between you and God. However, when something is brought into the church, it is being forced upon everyone there, whether they agree with it, or think it is sinful. That is an entirely different matter. To offend a brother in this manner is not only unacceptable, it is a sin, and for that reason alone, this music should not be used in any church where there are congregants that object to it for conscience' sake. That is why I have written this paper, to make that point understood. This paper was originally written in chapter form, and as I merely copied it into the blog, it will be presented in the way originally written. May God open your hearts to the truth.
Is It Really Christian Music?
Years ago I began to see a trend taking place in the churches. It seemed to follow the same pattern from church to church. The pattern was basically as follows:
1. Start with a church with solid doctrine that has two Sunday services, a mid-week prayer service, and sings hymns at these services. Pews are supplied with Bibles for the visitors, and communion is a regular occurrence in the Sunday morning worship service. Music is provided by organ/piano with a songleader conducting from the pulpit. Special music might be weekly, but it generally consists of the choir singing a hymn or hymn arrangement, a soloist/duet/ trio/quartet, who stand behind the pulpit and sing a simple hymn or arrangement accompanied by the organ/piano. Sunday evening services are more casual spending more time in congregational singing and often allowing the congregation to choose at random hymns that they would like to sing.
2. 1st step - Younger/less mature Christians are allowed to start bringing choruses into the evening service alongside hymns as the hymns are too "hard" for them to sing and understand, and they really don't like them.
3. 2nd step - Some choruses make their way into the morning worship service to also accommodate these same people. Special music starts singing hymns with taped accompaniment in the morning service.
4. 3rd step - Some young people want to play their instruments along with the congregational singing in the evening service.
5. 4th step - Young people form a worship team to lead the congregational singing in the evening service. Young people prefer choruses and so that is what is sung at the service as they are choosing the music. People start singing light CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) music with taped accompaniment in the morning service.
6. 5th step - Young people want to bring this upbeat music into the "dull, stuffy morning worship service" to give it some life. Permission is given to let them have a short time of extra singing before the actual service starts, while service is maintained as usual. Special music has become performance/entertainment oriented.
7. 6th step - Worship team moves into the morning worship service being careful to maintain a few hymns along with the choruses.
8. 7th step - Worship team adds more band members, more amplifiers and drops the hymns. Special music has become strictly entertainment oriented.
9. 8th step - Church adds holiday dramas, musical presentations to morning services. Concerts are becoming more of the purpose for the evening service.
10. 9th step - Worship team starts getting more rock and roll oriented in their performance. Special music also becoming very rock and roll oriented.
11. 10th step - Church changes worship service to "seeker service" as the entertainment is bringing in unsaved people.
12. 11th step - Church decides to be non-offensive towards seekers and decides to remove Bibles from pews and have communion either at evening service or during the week. Church consists of worship team performing, drama presentations, and a non-threatening spiritual message of some kind.
13. 12th step - Mid-week prayer service is replaced with some sort of "worship" service for the church members to replace the worship service which has now become the seeker service. Sunday evening service has also become a time for dramas, musicals, concerts and karaoke night (for would-be performers for the morning seeker service).
14. 13th step - Church drops many doctrinal standards in favor of tolerance and unity. May incorporate unscriptural behavior and extra-biblical revelations.
15. 14th step - Apostasy. Ichabod written over the door.
It took me a while to pinpoint the root of this pattern that allowed Satan entrance into the sanctuary. It was almost unconsciously that it took root in my mind. The realization of what the pattern was and where it began came when I saw a church take that first step. A friend of mine and I were discussing it, and without thinking I told her that I could tell her exactly the course that the church was now going to take. She laughed as I roughly outlined the above steps for her. Several years later she was in amazement and labeling me a prophet as the church did indeed take the course outlined above. I then saw this happen in several churches over the course of several years. Some took longer than others, but they all ended up pretty much in the same place. I felt led of the Lord to sit down and write a very lengthy letter of concern to the elders when I first saw it begin in my own church. One elder was taking it under serious consideration as I had incorporated a lot of statistics, information and Scripture to defend my position. Unfortunately, he was only one among the many. The rest dismissed my letter out of hand, and in fact began to view me as a divisive person in the church due to this stand. Since that first original letter, the Lord has continued to supply me with more and more information to defend this position. The letter has grown over the years to this present research paper. I write and share this in the hopes that those who read it may come to a realization of the cancer that is infesting the church and cut it out before Ichabod is written over their church door.
So, What's the Problem?
"Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things become new."1
When one finds a new life in Christ, he becomes a new person. New in this sense does not mean that he receives a new body or identity. Rather it refers to the new character that has been born. A spiritual person now resides within the old sinful body, replacing the old sinful person. The new creature desires the things of God. The old sinful desires are replaced as the new character takes root. Therein lies the problem. We are a new creature with new desires trapped in the old sinful body that still lusts after the flesh. Scripture teaches us, "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would."2 Paul told us of his struggle in the letter to the Romans, "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man; but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members."3 In Scripture, we find the remedy for overcoming this dilemma. A disciplined life of holiness and resistance to the world and its temptations.
God has instructed us how to proceed in the matter of disciplining ourselves in holiness. In Romans, Paul wrote, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be ye not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."4 "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."5 "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts."6 "Let not sin, therefore, reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in its lusts. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin, but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."7 "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world."8 Many of these are negative instructions, what not to do. The first one, however, presenting ourselves a living sacrifice, is a positive instruction upon which we can actively work.
"But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit; and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."9 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness.."10 The first step in the ordering of a Christian life is to seek after the spiritual and the truth. To seek to be spiritual without seeking the truth is not consistent. Seeking the spiritual is seeking the truth. Our first priority, then, is to seek after spiritual truths and apply them to our lives.
The second concern should be our mind. "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;"11 "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."12 We have to discipline our mind to reject thoughts that do not belong there and replace them with thoughts that are pleasing to the Lord. These thoughts would include things that are honest, just, pure, lovely, and things that are of good report.
The last concern is our body. "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts."13 "For bodily exercise profiteth little, but godliness is profitable unto all things."14 These verses tell us that our body is of the flesh, not the spiritual, therefore it is not redeemable (until the resurrection) as are the spirit and mind. The only thing we can do with the body is what Paul did. "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."15 We are to fight against our body's natural inclinations toward sin and subject it to our spirit's will, which is to please God.
The evidence that we are disciplining our spirits, minds, and bodies (in that order) is found in the fruits of the spirit. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, (self-control); against such there is no law."16 We are also told where we stand should we not heed God's instructions, and continue to feed the flesh. "Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?"17 "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he."18 "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."19 While mammon may refer to money in this verse, the principle is still the same as shown by previous verses. If we are serving the lusts of the flesh, we cannot be serving God. If we think and lust after the flesh, we are not spiritual but carnal. "For if ye live after the flesh ye shall die; but if ye, through the Spirit, do mortify (to kill, or to control one's passions through self-denial) the deeds of the body, ye shall live."20 To live in holiness, one must willfully and deliberately turn from that which is of the flesh. The consequences of not doing so can be eternal, not only for yourself , but for others you may lead astray. The object of this paper is to show that the music that is so loosely termed "Christian" today is, in fact, not serving God and Christendom, but just the opposite.
Before it can be discussed why the CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) of today is not really Christian, we must discuss what Christian music should be. If one were to count the number of references to music in the Bible, it would amount to more than five hundred. Clearly music is important to God. Many of these references speak of singing a new song.21 This is the same word that is used when God says "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you."22 Since the new heart and new spirit are not to resemble the old heart and old spirit (dead in sin), it stands to reason that the new song should also have a new nature and new character that matches the qualities of the new heart and spirit, not the old qualities of the old songs and the old spirit. If music is to be godly, it must have godly characteristics. At this point many reading this might yell, "Are you crazy? Music is totally neutral! It's the lyrics that are godly or ungodly!" Really? An interesting article, printed approximately forty-five years ago, was given to me when I began writing this paper. The author is unknown. The sentiment is insightful and it provides a place to jump-start this discussion.
Worse Than Marijuana
"Man's ingenuity in devising means of enslaving his brain is clearly the handiwork of the Devil himself. Marijuana, LSD, opium, alcohol, heroin, and tobacco are horrible enough; but there is another menace even more widely distributed and more devastating in its effect, and no steps have been taken against it!
This menace is an agent that has unpredictable effects on people, sometimes causing unrealistic euphoria and sometimes fits of deep depression. Police files and history books throughout the world are full of cases where its use is connected with killing and suicide. It was used in Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia and Communist China to rouse the populace to murderous fury. There are reports that the Viet Cong use it before engaging in battle. Under its influence, virgins have fallen prey to seducers. It is habit-forming; millions of dollars are spent annually to obtain it; having experienced it once, people will seek it again and again sometimes several times a day. Those deprived of it will often try to make their own. It lures the unwary into joining far-out cults. It attracts the young, turning them against their elders.
Heavy users suffer noticeable physical symptoms: Some sit and stare for hours with glazed eyes: others fall into fits of frenzy and hurl their bodies this way and that; yet others clutch each other lasciviously and move about with a peculiar, lurching gait.
Moral philosophers as far back as Plato have exposed this menace and have warned that society will never be healthy until it is outlawed. But is has persisted, because its devotees are fanatical and some of them are in high places. For fear of retaliation, therefore, I must ask you to withhold my name. Nevertheless, I demand to know why no civilized country in the world has outlawed music."
Is there a problem with the music today? Should it be an issue in church? This is a question that plagues faithful Christians these days, and rightly so. It has become one of the major dividing lines between Christians. Music is wrongly being judged on the way it makes people feel, not on its acceptability to God. Those who are uncomfortable with the new sound, and dare to speak out, have found themselves vilified and rejected by the majority who believe that as long as it works for them, it is perfectly acceptable. The problem seems to be that due to a lack of musical and Scriptural knowledge on the subject, people find themselves unable to defend their position. As the church has already descended into apostasy from which it will not recover until the return of Christ, it is hopeless to think that this information will bring the church back from the abyss on this subject; however, it will give individuals a rock to lean upon as they take their stand against it.
1King James Bible, 2 Corinthians 5:17
2King James Bible, Galatians 5;17
3King James Bible, Romans 7:22-23
4King James Bible, Romans 12:1-2
5King James Bible, 1 John 2:15-16
6King James Bible, Romans 13:14
7King James Bible, Romans 6:12-13
8King James Bible, James 1:27
9King James Bible, John 4:23-24
10King James Bible, Matthew 6:33
11King James Bible, 2 Corinthians 10:5
12King James Bible, Philippians 4:8
13King James Bible, Romans 13:14
14King James Bible, 1 Timothy 4:8
15King James Bible, 1 Corinthians 9:27
16King James Bible, Galatians 5:22-23
17King James Bible, Romans 6:16
18King James Bible, Proverbs 23:7
19King James Bible, Matthew 6:24
20King James Bible, Romans 8:13
21King James Bible, Psalms 40:3, 96:1, 98:1, 144:9, 149:1, Isaiah 42:10, Rev. 5:9, 14:3
22King James Bible, Ezekiel 36:26
What Exactly Is Music?
"The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation."23
To begin, it is important to know exactly what music is. It falls into several categories. Some like to classify it as a science, because of its intricate vibrational relationships. This is one aspect of music, and is relevant to the information contained herein. Some like to classify it as an art. This would seem to be the category that most people like to place it in, as supposedly art is not "bad" or "good", but subjective. As we will see, the concept that music is amoral is erroneous, and it is crucial that this be understood. Ultimately, the fact of the matter is; music is a language, and it does convey a message. While music can, and does communicate a level of intellectual information, there is simple and complex music; it is most importantly a language of emotions which communicates a great deal of information to the listener both through body and mind.
Man was created in the image of God. Parts of that image are spirit, body, intellect and emotion. All were originally good, but since the fall of man, all have come under the curse and have deteriorated. There is an evil spiritual world. We are born with a dead spirit and sinful nature. There is such a thing as an ill, or "bad" body. We all get sick and die eventually, or we can use our bodies in sinful ways. There is such a thing as a perverted mind that thinks up sinful things, or corrupts good things. Most importantly there are such things as bad emotions; emotions that are spiritually harmful and actually fall under the name of SIN. We know that music can be intellectually "good" or "bad". There are rules for composition that dictate whether it is a superior or inferior piece of work. That is partly what music education is all about; teaching these concepts. Some of these rules are found in the Bible. More to the point; if music is an emotional language and emotions can be harmful, and even sinful, then it follows that there must be harmful and sinful music. The question is, what constitutes this type of music? To find the answer to this question, we must look to the source that dictates the absolutes we must live by in a world of relativism - God's Word - the Bible. Are there guidelines for determining "good" and "bad" music in the Bible? Absolutely!
Does the Bible illustrate music as a universal communicator that transcends the spoken and written word? Yes. One need only look to the book of Daniel. When Nebuchadnezzar made the image for all to worship it says," Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of music, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up."24 They all understood that they were to be of one mind at that moment, and worship the idol. It was a non-verbal (notice the list of instruments) communication for the people to be of one mind and action. No words were needed to convey the message. The excuse that "the music is unimportant, it's the words that count" is a delusional justification to accept that which is unacceptable. The music itself is not only a communicator; it is by far a greater communicator than the words. God felt music was an important enough issue to reference it several hundred times in His Word. If He thinks it that important, should we not give it some consideration ourselves?
Today people listen to music in their homes, cars, work places, play places, and churches. You can't enter a store, restaurant, or practically any other place without being assailed by some type of music. It seems that silence is not acceptable anymore. Consequently, your body, mind, spirit, and emotions are being constantly assaulted with some form of musical communication. Often we have no control over what that communication is; but where we have the choice, we should choose that which is elevating spiritually and intellectually, and pleasing unto the Lord. Especially when it is the music we offer Him in worship.
The world recognizes that music has a spiritual value, and physically affects the mind and body. Many books have been written by non-Christian authors outlining the effect of music on people. It has reached such a level of development scientifically, that a whole field of study called Music Therapy has been developed, and is currently being used by many hospitals, with amazing and sometimes frightening results depending on the method used. The idea that music affects the body, emotions, and even morals is not a new one. The ancient Greeks realized the power of music long ago. They had a name for it, "The Doctrine of Ethos". This was the doctrine that music was not neutral or passive, but affects character, and that different types of music will determine what that character is. In essence, music affects the moral qualities of an individual. "How music worked on the will was explained by Aristotle through the doctrine of imitation. Music he says, directly imitates the passions or states of the soul - gentleness, anger, courage, temperance, and their opposites and other qualities; hence, when one listens to music that imitates a certain passion, he becomes imbued with the same passion; and if over a long time he habitually listens to the kind of music that rouses ignoble passions, his whole character will be shaped to an ignoble form. In short, if one listens to the wrong kind of music he will become the wrong kind of person; but, conversely, if he listens to the right kind of music he will tend to become the right kind of person."25 Plato said, "Let me make the songs of a nation and I care not who makes its laws."26 These are strong words, yet one might say that they are not from the Bible or a Christian source, and are therefore irrelevant. What do Christians say? John Calvin agreed when he said that we should know by experience that music has a secret and incredible power. Robert Berglund in his Philosophy of Church Music stated that "the notion that there are neither right nor wrong styles of music used by the church today seems indefensible in light of the obvious stylistic meanings and the contradiction to the changed life premise of Scripture."27 Is there "bad" and "good" music? Music that influences us to good or evil, or can even shape our minds? Is there anything in the Bible to back up these strong statements? Yes, I believe there is.
23King James Bible, Exodus 15:2a
24King James Bible, Daniel 3:7
25Grout, Donald Jay. A History of Western Music. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.;1973, Pg. 7.
27Berglund, Robert. Philosophy of Church Music. Chicago: Moody Press, 1985, Pg. 12.
Isn't Music Amoral?
"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."28
The argument is that notes are amoral. An F or C does not have a good or evil intent. The same could be said of the alphabet; however, we know that the letters of the alphabet are used to form words. Words can curse or bless. Paints and marble have no moral status; however, a pornographic painting and nude statue do. The same holds true for music, and the Bible demonstrates this for us.
In Exodus, there is the story of the golden calf. Moses had been away from the camp on the mountain top receiving the Laws of God. When the people became impatient waiting for him to return, they had Aaron make them a calf of gold to worship. As Moses descended the mountain with Joshua, they heard the rowdy crowd in the throes of their pagan worship. "And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp. And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear."29
You might say that this is the Bible's description of the first rock and roll. For basically that is what it would be. Rock and roll has its roots in the African continent's music culture. It is highly rhythmic, repetitious and loud. We can assume this "music" was rhythmic as they were dancing to it. (And one gathers this was not a chaste dance). It was also very loud, as the "noise of war." Notice Joshua's use of the word "noise" instead of music. This shows that it was a cacophony of sound, and therefore lacking in any noticeable melody. Moses could detect that it was not "noise" but "music". What enabled him to do this? It is true that God told him that the people were sinning in idol worship, but pagan worship, without exception, seemed to be accompanied by violence, or a total lack of moral restraint, or both, so it didn't necessarily follow that they would still be making music and dancing when Moses arrived. Pagan worship music is of such a kind as to encourage and heighten these emotions and behaviors, so there could easily have been war in the camp by the time Moses arrived. So what told Moses it wasn't war? Possibly the pattern of the "noise" told him it was singing and dancing. Fighting, and all else would have random sounds. Something in this noise told Moses that it was not battle. As there was apparently little to distinguish it from the sounds of fighting, one can only assume it was the repetition of sounds, or pattern that gave it away.
Was this music neutral? Was it spiritually uplifting? Hardly! It only compounded their sin, for which they were severely punished. Is this the type of music they normally used in their worship? No. Joshua would have recognized it otherwise. Once they had chosen to sin, the music proceeded from the passions or emotions they were experiencing. It imitated or was imbued with their moral decision. It was not the music they used to worship God. In fact, it was obviously very much the opposite. It was a manifestation of their depravity, and in playing this music they created a vicious cycle. The state of their hearts created the music, and then in listening to it, the music drove their hearts further and deeper into the sin of rebellion and idol worship. Thus, the Bible does teach that there is a music that is a manifestation of, and encourages sin. All the words of Scripture are there by design and for a purpose. These two short verses are no exception. They are there to enlighten and teach us. They give us an idea of the type of music that is associated with sin. Loud, rhythmic, lacking in melody and most probably repetitious.
If the Bible teaches that there is a music that is "bad", does it also teach that there is a music that is beneficial and spiritually uplifting? Again, the answer is yes. Saul had sinned against God when he did not slay all of the Amalakites and their animals. For this sin of disobedience and rebellion against God's instructions, the Holy Spirit was removed from Saul and he was given an evil spirit to plague and torment him. It is interesting to note at this point that God equates rebellion with witchcraft, "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry."30 Not taking heed of the lessons given in Scripture, and stubbornly declaring one's own choices as valid as God's, especially when shown otherwise, is rebellion and idolatry (worshipping self) at the highest level. To get back to Saul, he was being troubled by an evil spirit. His servants, who obviously understood that there is "good" and "bad" music, requested that he allow them to search out a musician to help him. "And Saul's servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee. Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp; and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well,"31 "And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him."32 This is tremendously important in its message. According to God himself, not only can the right kind of music restore one to physical and mental health, it also has the ability to drive away evil spirits. And this is just the music itself; no words!
Now we must look at the type of music this was. It was played on a harp. The harp lends itself to a certain type of music by virtue of its composition. It is never loud. It is never cacophonous. It is not capable of a heavy rhythmic beat. It is really only capable of a gentle, melodious sound. We can see that this is the exact opposite of the music the children of Israel were playing and singing in the desert when they worshipped the calf. It is important to understand what type of melodious sound was being used here, though, as it is possible to use the harp to play evil music as well. New Age music uses the harp to play music that has been constructed in a different way, whose effects are very detrimental. This would not be the type David was playing since it had the power to heal physically and mentally, as well as chase away evil spirits. That is a lot of power. David's music was a "good" kind of music whose construction was obviously based on God's principles, as testified by its correct kind of power. The only other thing with that power that we have at our disposal is prayer, and the Word of God.
If it is true that music can chase away spirits, it must be assumed that the opposite is true; music can be used to summon spirits. Is there any evidence for this? We don't need to look farther than our own day and age to answer this. The story was told to me by a pastor, that while he was in seminary, he was accompanying a young Haitian man who was new to the school. As they approached a room, the young man overheard a student listening to some contemporary Christian music; such as is played in church all the time these days. The young man stopped in his tracks and grew very upset. When questioned as to what the problem was, he asked why someone would play Satan's music there, of all places. Not understanding what he was talking about, since this was "Christian" music with "good" lyrics he was asked what he meant. He then explained that the rhythm or beat belonged to Satan. In voodoo, they use particular rhythmic beats to summon up particular demons. Different demons have their own beat. Imbuing the music with the heavy rhythmic beat is, in essence, calling up on the telephone and issuing an invitation. Each demon has their own "telephone number". Imagine the shock and surprise in realizing that the words made no difference whatsoever. As ignorant as Christians may choose to be on the subject, rock and roll musicians aren't. Famous rock musician Little Richard agreed with this when he stated "My true belief about Rock 'n' Roll - and there have been a lot of phrases attributed to me over the years - is this: I believe this kind of music is demonic....A lot of the beats in music today are taken from voodoo, from the voodoo drums. If you study music in rhythms, like I have, you'll see that is true..."33 Jeff Godwin, author of Dancing with Demons gives shocking evidence that many (and he lists them) rock musicians studied the ancient beats of satanic worship to enable them to write their rhythms. So music is much more than something nice to listen to. It is, among other things, a power, for good or for evil. Since it is a power or weapon, we must be sure we are using the right weapon. "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds."34 We must be sure not to try to use carnal weapons in the Lord's work or in our lives. Even more blatant in their demonic connection is New Age music. Many of this music's composers have no reservations about saying that they have merely channeled the music from their spirit guide. Make no mistake, this music is being directly composed by demons. Many of them are attributing their music to the same spirit guide, a demon named Khudhumi, who supposedly is in charge of all music. There are increasing reports of demonic attacks when people listen to this music. Santana recently put out a new album called Supernatural, in which he states "I walked into the studio and as soon as Wyclef saw my face, he wrote a song. He kept looking at me. The next thing you know, it's like I'm watching this guy channeling." "I got my instructions, as most people do, in dreams or meditations." "I trusted my inner guidance." "We are going to spread, through these songs, a spiritual virus..." "When the sound is true and comes from somebody's heart, it rearranges the molecular structure of the listener."35 Santana knows from whom the music comes, and what its purpose is. He's very forthright about it. If only people would listen to these rock musicians who are being extremely truthful about the source of their music and beats.
It should come as no surprise that Satan would use music for evil. Not only is he in the business of corrupting anything good in God's creation, he himself is a musical being. (This in addition to the musical instrument that we all possess, called the voice.) This fact has been lost in the newer translations of the Bible. In the King James Version, it says "...the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou was created."36 This has been updated in some newer versions to say "sockets and settings", (which is an incorrect translation), but the fact is, a tabret, or toph in Hebrew, translates as tambourine. Satan has a musical instrument, a percussion instrument as a literal part of his body. Does it not follow that he would have an affinity for music and try to corrupt it in every area? He is also the Prince and power of the air. Since music is carried on air waves, Satan can use and control it for his purposes.
28King James Bible, Matthew 6:24
29King James Bible, Exodus 32:17-18
30King James Bible, 1 Samuel 15:23a
31King James Bible, 1 Samuel 16:15-16
32King James Bible, 1 Samuel 16:23
33White, Charles. The Life and Times of Little Richard. New York: Pocket Books, 1984, Pg. 19.
34King James Bible, 2 Corinthians 10:4
35Campbell, Mary. Santana Seeks To Spread 'Supternatural' Healing and Hope. The Times-Herald Record, 23 September 1999, Pg. 48P.
36King James Bible, Ezekiel 28:13
Then What Defines Christian Music?
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."37
What does Scripture have to say about music? Starting with the basics of a new Christian life, we know that "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."38 Does this refer to music also? God thinks so. "And he hath put a new song in my mouth.."39 "I will sing a new song unto thee, O God; upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee."40 "Praise ye the Lord. Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints."41 "Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth.."42 A few other "new song" verses are Psalms 96:1, 98:1, and Revelation 5:9.
The justification given for using the world's music, or sound in our worship services is the erroneous idea that it is to be used for evangelism. People will feel more comfortable, will be entertained, and because of this enjoyment will come to the services and be saved. Years ago, the thought was that you were to stand out as different from the world (as you became a new creature, all aspects of your life changed in reflection of this), and because of this difference, would attract people to the Lord. Which one of these approaches does the Lord endorse. Psalm 40:3 answers that question. The entire verse mentioned above says, "And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God; many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord." It seems the Lord feels we should use the second approach to our music. It is not to be used as an evangelistic tool. Any evangelistic side-effects will be the result of people hearing us use it in the proper way to praise God, not entertain.
In defense of this argument are the results of an experiment in this technique. "One of America's great evangelists, while not liking rock or folk-rock, did not want to shortchange the power of the Holy Spirit in reaching hearts and lives. So in a six-month experiment he put a folk-rock group on tour across the nation. Their response was fantastic! People in huge numbers came forward at the invitation. But while this evangelist normally figures that 15 to 20 percent of those who make public decisions will complete the follow-up course and go on with the Lord, he found that fewer than one percent of those who went forward at the invitation of the folk-rock group ever followed through."43 The result wasn't worth the disobedience.
If our songs are to become new, there must be characteristics of God's music that are different from the world's music. The question is, how are we to determine what they are? It is interesting to note at this point that there is a kind of music that is peculiar to the church alone. It is the four-part open chordal progression style that we more commonly call - gasp - the hymn. To my knowledge, there is not a place in the secular world where you will hear music of this style being used.
If music is to have the characteristics of God, it must, as we must, be Christlike in every aspect. This covers the areas of the music itself, the lyrics, the performance of the music, and the composers and performers themselves. God was very specific in his specifications for the design of the tabernacle and its rituals. That is because every part of it had to reflect the temple in heaven and God's glory. Since there is also a heavenly music, which we cannot know, we must discover through God's Word what rules must apply to the music we create. We need to discover what characteristics define the proper use of each of the above listed areas of music. We know that God is holy, love, truth, beauty and order, just to name a few attributes. This gives us a place from which to start our search.
The first step in looking for the characteristics of the right kind of music is to discover what is acceptable to God or maybe better, what is not acceptable to God. Romans 12:2, Ephesians 5:10-11, 1 Peter 1:13-16, and Galatians 4:9, help us with that. "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." "Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." "Wherefore, gird up the loins of your mind...as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance but, as he who hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation, because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." "But now, after ye have known God, or rather are known by God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements; unto which ye desire again to be in bondage?"
It looks as if the very first characteristic in establishing what is acceptable to God, is to NOT have it imitate the world and its music. Not only are we to avoid this type of music, we are to reprove what is not acceptable. This is not a comfortable position to be in, but quietly tolerating this music, while not enjoying it, is as unacceptable to the Lord as endorsing it. As a matter of fact, we are given a warning about this problem. "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."44 The idea that music is amoral, and therefore all is acceptable is a philosophy. It is a vain deceit, because they "...will not endure sound doctrine but, after their own lusts, shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth.."45 The music of today is based on the rudiments of the world, not the Bible. Tolerating it may lead to accepting it and being spoiled. The elements of the world are weak and beggarly, yet we will desire to be in bondage to them if we don't turn from them. Music has elements in its makeup that we will see can be either godly or ungodly. In our lust of the flesh, we actually desire to be in bondage to these ungodly elements of music unless we deliberately turn from them. Bondage is not too harsh a word here. It has been shown in studies that some types of music can actually cause the listener to be addicted to the music. And what of the poor souls who were addicted to the world's music before coming to the Lord? Are we doing them any favor by using that music in our praise and worship of God? Doesn't it send them right back into the bondage from which they came? Does it not have associations they are trying to flee? "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed."46 What is our responsibility in this matter? "..but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way."47 "But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ."48 The Scriptures seem to indicate that not only are we sinning against our brothers when we allow this music in the church, we are sinning against Christ.
What else does Scripture say that can help us determine what we should be looking for in our music? "..Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."49 God wants us to use our mind in our relationship with him and in the things we offer Him. He requires that what is offered to him have some intellectual content. This does not necessarily mean that it has to be a difficult aria or symphony; however, it does need to be written in a way that uses good composition techniques. (Which will be discussed later). This rule should not just apply to what is offered in worship, but in what we listen to for our own enjoyment. We are to use and guard our minds carefully, and this includes what is put into it for us to dwell on. "Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."50 Our music must reflect truth, be pure, lovely, of good report, and virtuous; because we spend most of our lives listening to it. Does this apply to the music being listened to by Christians today? A quote from a newspaper article by Donna Kato states, "In one study, adolescents interpreted heavy metal and Christian heavy metal music as both being about sex and violence because the sound was the same."51 This is a telling statement on the quality of music and what it is communicating to the mind.
"But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do; for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking."52 While this last refers to prayer, the idea carries over. God does not approve of vain repetition. It is mindless, meaningless, and can even be dangerous when coupled with music; which has already been shown to possess a power that can summon and banish demons. Contemporary Christian music, especially rock and roll, and even the simple Praise and Worship choruses sung in churches today are rife with repetition. It is most pronounced in rock and roll which uses a heavily rhythmic ostinato (a rhythmic or melodic phrase repeated over and over), however it can be found in the banal Praise choruses that have three or four words, with an equally brief melody line, that is repeated ad nauseam. So where is the danger? Besides having no intellectual value when used in this way, repetition is a tool of hypnotism. Mindless repetition lulls the mind into a trance, and due to its blank state and lack of usage, opens it up to demonic influence. This technique is the well known mantra style used by the eastern religions to bring on demonic visions, etc. Hypnotism is a power that allows for mind alteration and control. It can change a mindset and allow for all kinds of influences to penetrate a mind that might not otherwise be open to these suggestions. This does not mean that we cannot sing several verses of a hymn. That is not mindless repetition. There is a distinct difference in the use of the repetition. The occasional use of repetition within a piece, or repeating a through-composed piece has a totally different effect than short phrases being repeated numerous times without rest.
Both 1 Chronicles 16:29 and Psalm 96:9 talk about worshipping the Lord "in the beauty of holiness". God's music must be beautiful and holy. Think of how you respond when hearing the "Hallelujah Chorus" by Handel. This incredible piece so awed the King of England, not by its own beauty, which did exist, but by its very ability to open the door to heaven to let him experience God's glory and majesty; that he had to stand in reverence of the Lord. He was, in essence, joining the choir in praising God, even though he wasn't singing himself. He was transported beyond this world, not by virtue of the flesh, but by virtue of the direct spiritual appeal of the music. Today we see people "transported" all right, but it usually has to do with an over stimulation of the flesh. Many people believe that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." This is not true. God has set standards of excellence and beauty by which all things are to be judged. This saying was created to provide an excuse for those who choose that which is not excellent and beautiful, because of their rejection of God's standards. What you appreciate is a reflection of what you are. Dislike of great music or art does not make the music or art bad, it merely reflects your bad taste. Likewise, preferring poor quality or bad music does not make it good and acceptable. Taste does not define beauty or quality. God's standards do. The music you offer God in worship, is a reflection of what you think of God.
God is orderly. He is not the author of confusion. "For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all churches of the saints."53 Therefore our music must have an order to it that is outlined by Scripture. Much of the music today is nothing but confusion. The lyrics are unintelligible. The music is a cacophony of noises and sounds. Many times "musicians" are "doing their own thing" which they call improvisation, but what in reality is merely a misnomer for playing a lot of unrehearsed and irrelevant notes. This is hardly order.
So far we have discovered through Scripture that music must not resemble the world and its lusts; that it must have an intellectual base; that it must be beautiful and holy to appeal to the spirit within us, and it must be orderly. This last will now be addressed by considering the actual elements of music themselves.
37King James Bible, Philippians 4:8
38King James Bible, 2 Corinthians 5:17
39King James Bible, Psalm 40:3a
40King James Bible, Psalm 144:9
41King James Bible, Psalm 149:1
42King James Bible, Isaiah 42:10
43LaRose, Donald L. The New Sound in Religious Music. Baptist Bulletin, May, 1971.
44King James Bible, Colossians 2:8
45King James Bible, 2 Timothy 4:3-4
46King James Bible, James 1:14
47King James Bible, Romans 14:13b
48King James Bible, 1 Corinthians 8:12
49King James Bible, Matthew 22:37
50King James Bible, Philippians 4:8
51Kato, Donna. Study Shows Music Doesn't Damage Kids. The Times-Herald Record: 1 February, 1998, Pg. 53.
52King James Bible, Matthew 6:7
53King James Bible, 1 Corinthians 14:33
What Are The Elements of Music?
"Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord"54
There are three primary parts or elements to music: the melody, the harmony, and the rhythm. An in-depth discussion of the proper use of these elements is impossible as it takes years of musical training to grasp the rudiments and rules that govern composition; however, a simple analysis based on Scripture, that can be understood by anyone is possible, and that is what will be discussed here.
The melody should be the most prominent part of a piece of music. It is the horizontal aspect of music, and of the three parts is the one most readily identified by the mind. It appeals to the heart and spirit. People listen for the melody to identify familiar songs. It is the part of music that people can remember and repeat. Harmony is the vertical aspect of the music. It is the chords and accompaniment to the melody. It undergirds the melody and supports it. Music of this type is known as homophonic. A different type of music that also has harmony, but is not homophonic, is called polyphony. Polyphonic music is that in which there are several independent horizontal lines that run simultaneously. It will produce harmony, but it is far less noticeable as harmony, and is not designed to produce a homophonic sound, but rather create a sense of interweaving melodies. A familiar example that contains both of these types of harmony is the already mentioned "Hallelujah Chorus" by Handel. The last element is rhythm. This is the movement of music. It has no tonal value as melody and harmony do. Its purpose is to move the melody and harmony forward in time. The order of priority of these elements in good composition would be melody first, harmony second, and rhythm last. The Scriptures give us reasons for this order, and it has to do with the connection the three elements have to our physical and spiritual being. The idea of the mind, body, spirit to melody, harmony, and rhythm connection I owe to Frank Garlock and Kurt Weoetzel in their book Music in the Bablance.
Melody = Spirit. "..I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also."55 Ephesians 5:18-19 says that we should be "..filled with the Spirit, speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in you heart to the Lord." The melody is associated with the spirit and heart, which is the part that connects us to God. It is the part that we sing when we praise God. Melodies range from simple to difficult and they can be poorly, or well written. A proper melody should rise and fall, not rest statically on a single note; this can become hypnotic. It must have a sense of totality as a good story would, with a beginning, middle, and end; climax and resolution. It should elicit a proper amount of emotional response. People can write secular music, which while it may not be church music, may be acceptable for us to listen to in our daily lives. This is because they are using good composition techniques that rely on God's rules, and therefore reflect God's glory and greatness. Music that we offer to God should go one step further and have melodies that proceed from a right spirit; therefore, we must be careful to examine not only the music, but the composer of what we use in our worship and praise of God. This problem will be discussed later. New Age music is deceiving in this area. Many Christians who will not listen to rock music, are devotees of this new type of music. Because of its deceivingly relaxing sound, it is assumed it is all right. Its first problem starts right here with the melody. Unlike a proper melody, the New Age melodies tend to wander aimlessly up and down with no beginning, middle, end, climax, or resolution. It has no sense of tonality or base key, but is a repetitious wandering over the notes, with no perceivably recognizable melody. Try humming a New Age tune. It is impossible most of the time because of its mindless wandering. There is little, to no recognizable tonal center. It becomes hypnotic, and is actually conceived that way for that very purpose. Rock music also has little, to no melody line. It relies on repetition or use of noise (screaming) in its place.
Harmony = Mind. "..Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."56 After the spirit and heart, the mind is mentioned, giving it the second priority. Harmony is an intellectual exercise. Correct and well written harmony can truly only be written by individuals who have studied musical composition over a long period of time. Many people with no or little training think that they are capable, but an analysis of their music shows that they have no real knowledge of the rules or interrelationships of the workings of harmony.
Harmony must have a tonal center or key signature. It must have progression. That progression has rules that dictate what chords would be used within that tonal center and how key changes would occur via transitional bridges. It should not be a mere two or three different chords repeated over and over, but an interesting variety throughout the piece. It should have a climax and especially a resolution. Harmony has progressed over the centuries from chords with pleasing intervals of the third and fifth to the dissonant and strident harmonies of the twentieth century. The more tension filled and confusing the harmony, the farther from God it strays, "For God is not the author of confusion.."57 The use of particular modes or scales evokes different mood responses. Note the melancholy effect of the minor scales or modes. High and low notes have certain effects on the listeners. Somber music is usually low pitched, cheerful music is higher pitched. The use of some dissonance in relation to climax and resolution evokes emotional responses. Consider background movie music and how it is used to evoke an emotional response from the audience. All of these rules and effects must be carefully considered when writing harmony that is acceptable to God. Rock and roll uses three or four chords repetitively. This is also true for many simple Praise and Worship tunes and also some poorly written hymns. There is no intellectual interest in this type of harmony. In rock music there is also little melody to support, and hence no progression in mind. New Age music ignores these rules, especially it seems when changing tonal progressions. This seems to be the result of having no tonal center to begin with, and consequently there can be no climax and therefore no resolution. Ever notice how these pieces just end with no warning and leave you feeling left up in the air? Without a tonal center and progression, there can be no conclusion.
Rhythm = Body. "For bodily exercise profiteth little, but godliness is profitable unto all things..."58 "..present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."59 Our body is not to be a source of preoccupation with us. On the contrary, it is to be presented as a holy sacrifice which is acceptable to God and is considered a reasonable service. We are to offer our body on the altar. In other words, let it die to self. This is more easily understood when one considers that it is our body that still functions in the sinful realm. "But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members... So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh, the law of sin."60 "...abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul."61 "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would."62 Our body will always seek out sin. It wars against the spirit, mind and soul. We really cannot love and worship the Lord with our body because it is a sinful thing. That is why the Scripture in Matthew 22:37 didn't include it. The best we can do is bring it under subjection and sacrifice it on the altar. Any attempt to satisfy its lusts will result in sin.
Rhythm is the musical element that relates to our body. It is the physical movement of music. That rhythm has a direct bearing on our body cannot be denied if one simply walks into a dance. The people are not moving to the melody or harmony; they are moving to the rhythm. Therefore it is the element that we must be especially careful of, to bring under subjection to the other elements of music, just as our body must be subjected to our spirit and mind. In Music In the Balance by Dr. Frank Garlock and Kurt Woetzel, they equate the pulse of the body with the rhythm of music. If the body has a pulse that is too much or erratic, the body is sick. This translates to - if the rhythm is too much, or erratic, the music is sick. If there is no pulse the body is dead. Likewise, if there is no rhythm at all, the music is dead. If the pulse is under control, the body is well. If the rhythm is under control, the music is "well". Let's take that a step further, if the rhythm is sensual, the body will respond sensually. If the rhythm is violent, the body will respond violently. Get the picture?
54King James Bible, Ephesians 5:19
55King James Bible, 1 Corinthians 14:15
56King James Bible, Matthew 22:37
57King James Bible, 1 Corinthians 14:33
58King James Bible, 1 Timothy 4:8
59King James Bible, Romans 12:1
60King James Bible, Romans 7:23,25
61King James Bible, 1 Peter 2:11
62King James Bible, Galatians 5:17
Let's Talk About Rhythm.
"So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God...For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live."63
Not convinced that rhythm affects our body? Let us consider some examples. Listen to the following pieces: "O Sacred Head Now Wounded" by Hans Leo Hassler/har. by J.S.Bach, "The Stars and Stripes Forever" by John Philip Sousa, "The Blue Danube" by Strauss, "Begin the Beguine" by Cole Porter, a rock and roll song (your choice)*64 and a New Age piece* (Vanni or John Tesch will do). How does your body react to the different pieces? To the Bach chorale, there is probably no desire to move the body at all. There is definitely rhythm in the piece, it wouldn't move forward otherwise; however, the rhythm is totally and completely subjected or subjugated to the melody and harmony of the piece. The Sousa march makes an individual want to tap their toes. The rhythm is more pronounced; enough to get our extremities moving; however, that physical movement is not sensual, merely a toe-tapping experience. It is still subject to the melody and harmony. The Strauss waltz influences the entire body to want to move around the room in a whirling fashion. It has a pronounced rhythm that is equal in importance to the melody and harmony, and one must resist the desire to move the entire body; however, it still has not affected the sensual parts of our anatomy. When they begin the beguine, or cha-cha or any Latin rhythm, they also begin to move parts of the body that shouldn't be moving in polite society. The rhythm excites the sensual part of the body and entices it to move, and the body, separate from the conscious intellect, responds in kind, gratifying the impulse by moving those sensual areas. The rhythm has taken precedence over the melody and harmony, which, while no longer the overseers, still maintain their identity.
Following the progression, we find ourselves at rock and roll in which the appeal is strictly sensual and barbaric. The spiritual of the melody and the intellect of the harmony no longer exist; just pure rhythm - loud, demanding, overwhelming and completely overpowering of the other elements, to the point of their total obscurity. There is a demand from the music to move the body, and it deliberately accentuates the parts which should not be moving. The rhythm not only excites the sensual parts of the body, but so infiltrates the system, that a release of some kind is demanded for the sexual tension created by the driving rhythms. This is because the music has, at this point, bypassed the ears and gone directly to the sources. What is meant by this? Simply, with the ears blocked so that one cannot have sound enter through the ear, the body will still respond to sound vibrations. We not only hear with our ears, but with our bodies. The body will conduct the vibrations through the skin and bones. With the new electric and electronic instruments, and the loud drumming that sends strong vibrations into the air, our bodies respond directly to the music without the need to even hear it. Even deaf people can feel vibrations if they are strong, due to the decibel level, and rock music is very loud. An experiment run on hundreds of subjects showed that listening to rock music will cause the muscles in the body to go weak. The normal pressure to overpower a male deltoid muscle is approximately 40-45 pounds. Listening to rock music reduces this to 10-15 pounds of pressure. The music goes straight to the muscle. If it goes to the muscle, how about the genitals? Dr. Deforia Lane in her book Music and Medicine states the following data: "Music can trigger strong emotions, which affect the autonomic nervous system, which releases certain hormones and endorphins."65 The "tempo of music can affect sexual drive; a frenzied tempo and blaring metal guitars can physically excite the genitals."66 Allan Bloom in his The Closing of the American Mind says, "...rock music has one appeal only, a barbaric appeal, to sexual desire - not love, not eros, but sexual desire undeveloped and untutored."67 Listen to the opinions of a famous rock musician himself on the effect of rock music. "Frank Zappa, leader of a rock group called 'Mothers of Invention,' put it this way: 'The loud sounds and the bright lights of today are tremendous indoctrination tools. Is it possible to modify the human chemical structure with the right combination of frequencies? If the right kind of beat makes you tap your feet, what kind of beat makes you curl your fist and strike?"68 "In late 1969 and early 1970 a group of doctors researching a federally funded project determined that there is a direct relationship between hard-rock and premarital sex relationships. The study concluded that there is as much of a relationship between the two as there is between cancer and cigarette smoking."69 This does not refer to the effects of the lyrics, but the music.
New Age music uses these rhythms also, but in a subtle quiet way. The effect of the combination of bizarre melody and rhythm is the same as rock music, though. It alters the consciousness of the individual. It has also been found that a particular composer's New Age harp music has been known to increase the sexual appetite of the listeners.
On the opposite hand, the right kind of music can as Dr. Lane explains, "reduce blood pressure and heart and respiration rates; decrease pain perceptions, levels of fear, stress, and anxiety; increase feelings of self-worth and reduce depression; occupy some of the brain's neurological pathways and reduce the number of neurotransmitters that are available to transmit pain messages; reduce feelings of helplessness."70 A study actually found that "after classical music was provided in critical care units...the need for medicine to control pain decreased dramatically. Half an hour of music produced the same effect as ten milligrams of Valium."71 It also helped people with insomnia to be able to sleep. The flip side of this coin is that New Age music is being deceptively used in this way also. The claim is that New Age music will heal you. "Herbert Benson, M.D. of the Mind/Body Medical Institute at Boston's Deaconess Medical Center and author of Timeless Healing, The Power and Biology of Belief (Scribner, 1996), has studied the effects of chanting mantras on human physiology. He has found that by repeating a single word (such as 'om'), measurable changes are produced in energy consumption, respiration rate, heartbeat, pulse and metabolic rate. An increase in alpha brain waves, associated with daydreaming and meditation, also has been observed. His studies have further demonstrated that through meditation and relaxation, it's possible to improve immune function and alleviate and prevent heart disease, stroke and many other chronic health problems."72 "What's at the heart of sonic healing, says Jonathan Goldman, is vibration. This is backed up by modern physics, which has taught us that all matter - down to the organs of our body - is in a constant state of whirling vibration. 'Everything has a unique frequency, or vibration,' Goldman explains. 'Illness occurs when some sort of contravibration intrudes on the normal one. Sound can be used to change these disharmonious frequencies back to normal, healthful vibrations, thereby restoring health'."73 The article mentioned also continues to state that this therapy is increasingly in use in nursing homes, schools, prisons, day care centers, spas, doctor's and dentist's offices; besides the hospitals, where it is being used for: physical therapy with stroke and head injury patients, the reduction of pain in operating rooms, with chemotherapy patients to control nausea, and by psychiatrists to cure depression. It supposedly creates a life energy. A radio station in Los Angeles plays New Age music twenty-four hours a day. They call it "audio valium". Because of the demand for this music, many stations are changing their format to totally New Age music. Unlike the music of David, which actually did heal, and the classical music mentioned in the former musical therapy, this music is not healing. Demons are using it to gain control over the individual. If they need to mimic or even perform a healing to accomplish this goal of deception, they will do it. It is not the real thing. What is happening, is the music's repetitive nature is creating a hypnotic trance through which the demons can enter. It is true that our bodies react to the vibrations, but they are twisting the data to deceive people into using this type of therapy. When you see where it is being used, it is frightening. From our babies and toddlers, through the school years, to our geriatrics, people are being programmed. Even more frightening is the use of it in prisons. These already demonically controlled and influenced people do not need any more help in that direction. We are not safe from this even in our doctor's or dentist's offices where we go for healing.
Previously were listed a number of pieces to listen to that had assorted effects on the body. Which ones are acceptable and where do we draw the line? The first step is in understanding what constitutes the difference in the various rhythms. Rhythm is a series of accented and unaccented beats. A typical meter is four four time or four beats per measure with the heavy accent on the first beat, the lesser accent of the third beat, and the second and fourth beats being unaccented.
> - > -
1 2 3 4
This is the rhythm found in "O Sacred Head Now Wounded" and "Stars and Stripes Forever". Your body has a rhythm also. It is called your heart. Your heart is linked to your brain, and your brain always wants to accent what it perceives as the first beat of anything. To demonstrate this, try saying the sentence from the children's poem "MaRY had A litTLE lamb, ITS fleece WAS white AS snow" with the accent on the boldly printed syllables. It is very annoying to have the accents on the wrong sylLABle isn't it? While the rhythm grows more pronounced from one piece to the next, both of these are accented in such a way that the body is in agreement.
The Strauss waltz is in three four time. Three beats to a measure. The accent would fall as follows:
> - -
1 2 3
The accent is still on the first beat, and while it has a different feel than the four four time, (it makes you want to move your entire body), it is still in harmony with the body.
The beguine, as most Latin rhythms, is in syncopated rhythm. That means that while the first beat of a measure would still be accented, the other beats would be accented on what is known as the upbeat, or in between the beats as follows:
> - - > - > - >
1 (&) 2 (&) 3 (&) 4 (&)
This creates a tension in your body as it wants to feel the accent on the third beat. The resulting tension makes your body want to fill in what it needs to hear; and thus your body will move (on the third and fourth beats particularly) to complete the measure, so as to relieve the tension. The sensual sound created by the syncopation appeals to the sensual part of your body, and thus, that (the sensual part) is the part that wants to move in response to fill in the missing beats. This device is not detrimental when used sparingly within a regularly accented piece, it actually adds intellectual interest, and does not affect the body as the music itself quickly resolves the tension; however, continuous, consistent use of it throughout the piece is a problem as the tension is not resolved unless the body reacts.
Rock music carries this tension even further by switching the beats completely around. The second and fourth beats now become the strong beats, with the first and third being weak.
- > - >
1 2 3 4
This creates a tension in the body that causes an effect called switching. Dr. John Diamond, a medical doctor who has studied and written much on the effects of music on the body says, "..I have also demonstrated that when the weakening beat is played, the phenomenon called switching occurs - that is, symmetry between the two cerebral hemispheres is lost, introducing subtle perceptual difficulties and a host of other early manifestations of stress. The entire body is thrown into a state of alarm. The perceptual changes that occur may well manifest themselves in children as decreased performance in school, hyperactivity, and restlessness; [ed. note -might this be a cause of ADD?] in adults, as decreased work output, increased errors, general inefficiency, reduced decision making capacity on the job, and a nagging feeling that things just aren't right - in short, the loss of energy for no apparent reason. This has been observed clinically hundreds of times. In my practice I have found that the academic records of many school children improve considerably after they stop listening to rock music while studying."74 A very disturbing follow-up shows that once the brain is switched, music that is beneficial is no longer tolerated by the individual. Diamond says again, "It is as if his body no longer can distinguish what is beneficial and what is harmful. In fact, his body now actually chooses that which is destructive over that which is therapeutic. In this light, consider the millions of people who are exposed hour after hour to rock music and are thus continually switched and stressed. Turning down the volume won't help - the rock beat takes its toll even at low levels."75 (See New Age music below) This can be readily verified if one takes a person who has listened continually to rock music and asks them to listen to classical. The response seems to always be that the classical music, "gives them a headache." Further proof of the mind-altering abilities of rock is found in a study done by Dr. Joseph Crow. He found the "Rock is a use of music based on mathematical formulae to condition the mind through calculated frequencies (vibrations), and it is used to modify the body chemistry to make the mind susceptible to modification and indoctrination. Rock music can be (and is) employed for mind-bending, reeducation and re-organization."76 Another way to put it might be - brainwashing.
The fact that music actually does turn the order of importance around putting rhythm first, harmony second and melody last is verified by Gene Brier in his book A Conceptual Approach to Rock Music which instructs on how to write a good rock song. "Writing a good rock song is easier than you think. By following these procedures you will be able to assert you individuality and be creative. 1. Decide on a time signature. 2. Decide on a chord progression...You may change progressions but it's best to repeat the same one. 3. Write the melody. 4. Write the lyrics." What is laughable in this quote is the assertion that one can assert their individuality and creativity. Nothing is farther from those qualities than rock music. Notice the directions - pick a rhythm (rock has but one), pick a chord progression (this means three chords, the I, IV and V chord of a scale) and repeat ad nauseam, write some sort of vocal line to which you can add words. Since many rock songs are shouted, this third step is irrelevant in most cases. Rap music takes it one step further and eliminates the melody and harmony altogether. It consists solely of rhythm.
New Age music, though seemingly very different from rock and roll, actually uses the same rhythms very quietly in the background underneath the wandering melodies. That is partially how an instrument like the harp can be used in a detrimental way, which at first glance would seem improbable. This music will immediately relax an individual and put them into a state of "valium" pleasure. The mind is ready for infiltration. They don't try to hide this fact, in fact they advertise it. Some New Age music is proclaimed by the composers to send people into immediate trances. A New Age music production company says, "In 28 minutes with our music you'll be meditating like a Zen monk."77 The head of this company stated, "Our amazing sound track induces in you an altered mind state, intensifies psychic functioning, and causes peak experiences."78 They call it the lazy path to enlightenment. Another company, Potentials Unlimited, states, "Astral sounds - natural high sound waves - can carry your mind and body into a new universe of pure pleasure."79 They also claim that their music has been programmed by a team of psychologists to instantly relax the listener. "The astral sounds of this New Age music stimulate your inner ear and vibrate into your brain."80 The sound supposedly automatically stimulates a pleasure center in your mind bringing about a feeling of physical relaxation and mental peace of mind. Upon listening to their music, "some people hallucinated beautifully, seeing colors, lights, and faces pass before them as a magnificent colorful parade."81
So where is the line drawn? Obviously the first and second types of music are fine. The elements are in order, and there is no sensual stimulus. The third type of music, the type in which the rhythm is equal to the other elements, and the music makes you want to dance in a strictly chaste way, is acceptable in the proper place. Dancing is listed numerous times in the Bible, but without fail, when it is not listed as a pagan dance such as Salome's, it is always associated with some type of celebration, either personal or communal, and is usually gender separated. Some examples are: the bringing back of the ark of the covenant, David's victories, the crossing of the Red Sea, and the return of the prodigal son. It is mentioned many times as the opposite of mourning, so as to give it its context (celebration). It is never mentioned in conjunction with temple worship or synagogue services. While many churches these days have incorporated dancers into their services, it seems that the Bible teaches that dancing should be restricted to celebrations, and not brought into the worship services. When done by a few persons in a service, dancing becomes a performance (entertainment) regardless of the dancer's intent, and it becomes a distraction by removing the focus from worshipping God to centering it on the performer. This can be especially distracting if the dance is at all sensual, which these days is a distinct possibility given the music being used in the churches; not to mention the drapey, clingy apparel that some of the dancers are wearing while expressing themselves. Also congregational jumping and boogeying while "getting down" in the Lord can be quite arousing for some, when observing some of the more inappropriately dressed young buxom women. (We will not delve into the inappropriate, immodest and irreverent apparel worn in the churches these days in this piece).
To get back to the subject, the fourth, fifth, and sixth type of music is not acceptable for use in God's work or worship. Even using it in our daily lives is playing with fire. Its sensual appeal alone eliminates it entirely from being acceptable by God's standards. One of the quickest ways to teach someone what is acceptable in this area is to ask them, "Does it make you want to move? How does it make you want to move?" The answers should immediately solve the question.
63King James Bible, Romans 8:8,13
64*Warning: Listening to this music can be harmful to your physical and spiritual status.
65Lane, Deforia with Wilkins, Rob. Music and Medicine. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1994, Pg. 146.
66Lane, Deforia with Wilkins, Rob. Music and Medicine. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1994, Pg. 146.
67Bloom, Allan. The Closing of the American Mind. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987, Pg. 69.
68LaRose, Donald L. The New Sound in Religious Music. Baptist Bulletin, May, 1971
70Lane, Deforia with Wilkins, Rob. Music and Medicine. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1994, Pg. 144.
71Lane, Deforia with Wilkins, Rob. Music and Medicine. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1994, Pg. 145.
72Gerber, Subanne. The Sound of Healing. Vegetarian Times, March 1998, Pg. 68-73.
74Diamond, John. Your Body Doesn't Lie. New York: Warner Books, 1980, Pg. 164.
75ibid., Pg. 166.
76Quoted by Tim Fisher in The Battle for Christian Music. Greenville, SC: Sacred Music Services, 1992, Pg. 80.
77Marrs, Texe. Nightsounds-The Hidden Dangers of New Age Music.
Other Associations and Elements.
"Abstain from all appearance of evil."82
There exist other reasons for shunning certain types of music other than the failure to observe the rules of the three basic elements. One is association. Not only is rock music unacceptable for its incorrect order of construction and sensual appeal, it is associated with rebellion, anti-intellectualism, immorality, intemperance, violence, and the occult. William J. Schafer in his book Rock Music says, "Associated with rock, for instance, is a cult of irrationality, a reverence for the instinctual, the visceral - and a distrust of reason and logic; this form of anti-intellectualism can be highly dangerous, can lead to totalitarian modes of thought and action. Linked with this anti-intellectualism is an interest in the occult: magic, superstition, exotic religious thought, anything contrary to the main currents of Western thought. Also directly connected is an obsession with the unconscious mind; the force of drug culture has been its promise to reveal hidden instinctual man, to free in the individual from restrictions and limitations of his conscious mind and his gross physical body."83 We already have covered the fact that the rhythms in this music are derived from voodoo. This association is blatant.
That New Age music is unacceptable based on its elements has already been established. What about its associations? Star Crystal, a popular New Age album, is described by its publisher as thus, "Star Crystal reaches across the full spectrum of musical expression. From sublime introspective acoustic work to uninhibited joyful dance music."84 As to who is expected to enjoy this album, he says, "Pagans, witches, druids, and all forms of natural folk will enjoy this tape immensely. It is sure to be played and copied at circles everywhere."85 The circles mentioned here refer to witchcraft coven circles. It has been proclaimed by many a New Age composer that the music is "spirit guide" (demon) composed. Here is direct association with the devil. It has associations with the new "color" agenda: rainbow bridges (new world order), and color therapy, which is used in New Age to bring people under submission to demons. A well-known Christian publisher is putting out an album of "contemplative" or "meditative" (in other words New Age) music called Colors. Alice Bailey, a well-known occultist, said, "The mysteries (essentially the old Babylonian ones) will restore color and music to the world. The ground is being prepared at this time for this great restoration."86 Some Christian "meditative" albums simply have names that evoke associations. One has a name that sounds Hindu in origin. Another called Meadowlark, by Sparrow, makes the connection to the New Age obsession with the sounds of nature in their music. This comes from the environmental agenda that seeks to remind of us our connection to Mother Earth, otherwise known in New Age circles as Gaia.
Music that brings to mind smoke filled nightclubs with their sensuous ambiance and dance floors has an obvious association problem. Classical music is also not beyond this dilemma. While the rules used in creating this music are correct and based on Biblical principles, the non-music associations can make it unacceptable. Berlioz's "Symphonie Fantastique" is about a witches Sabbath. Wager's Ring Opera has an occultic storyline. Although over time, the association has been forgotten, even some hymns would be ruled out if we were to look into the history of the music source.
Should we avoid this music simply because of its associations? The Bible says, "Abstain from all appearance of evil."87 We are contaminated by its very associations, much less the actual effects the music has on us.
Although the three main elements of music: melody, harmony, and rhythm, are the major considerations when looking at a piece, there are other elements that need to be examined as to their appropriateness.
The next element to be discussed is dynamics. We know from Scripture that the music used to worship the golden calf was loud and that the music that sent the demon on his way was of a low intensity. Does this mean we can only have music that is pianissimo (very soft)? Not necessarily; however, again there are some rules that must be applied. Common sense tells us that music that has a decibel level so loud that it gives us actual physical pain in our ears, is too loud. Our bodies are supposed to be temples and should be cared for as such. To deliberately inflict upon ourselves pain, tinnitus, or even deafness is not a godly or holy thing to do, and is completely unnecessary anyhow. Music cannot truly be enjoyed at that level, as the subtleties of nuances cannot be heard when there is only one level of sound. Dynamics are used for effect. One does not sing about "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" in a sotto voce (subdued tone) method. We sing it out triumphantly. Contrarily, "O Sacred Head Now Wounded" should be sung pensively.
Well, that's fine with voices, but what about instruments, you say? At what limit do you set their number and volume, and should they even be used in a worship service?
Beginning with the last question first, yes. According to God, instruments may be used in the worship service. Wind, string, and brass instruments are all mentioned in the Bible as being used for worship of God in the temple. However, in the percussion area, we only find mention of cymbals, and the tabret and timbrel; these last two being known today as types of tambourines. Notice that there is no mention of drums such as the piercing snare or booming bass. The tabret, timbrel, and cymbals, or reasonable facsimiles, are as much percussion as God wants in His music. This seems to follow what we have already learned about the elements of music, as the order of importance is delineated for us. Melody instruments abound; rhythm instruments are subordinate. An orchestra and chorus were considered such an important part of worship, that the temple employed full time musicians who did nothing night and day except practice the music to be used in worship. "And these are the singers, chief of the fathers of the Levites, who remaining in the chambers were free; for they were employed in that work day and night."88 But what of the volume? Wouldn't that create the same sound as the rock bands of today? No.
There is a vast difference between acoustic and electric instruments. Electric instruments have amplifiers that send out vibrations at mega levels of sound. One instrument at the correct setting can drown out hundreds of singers. A three member worship team composed of keyboard, electric guitar, and drums, which seems to be the minimum any church has these days, is so overpowering as to completely obliterate the singing of the congregation. Unless you know the words, you certainly can't make out what the people are singing. A jumbo jet will produce a decibel level of approximately 120 decibels. A rock concert is usually in the 130 to 140 decibel range. The medically accepted level for decibel tolerance is 90 decibels. It is obvious when sitting in the churches these days, that the worship teams are playing at a far greater decibel level than 90. The sound also bypasses the ear as we learned before. The electronic vibrations are sent out over the air waves to penetrate right through our bodies without waiting for our ears to funnel it through our brains.
On the other hand, acoustic instruments are not amplified and the sound waves are picked up by the ear first and channeled into the brain. A single trained soloist can be heard over a symphony orchestra. The reason for this is because of the way acoustic instruments work. At the dedication of Solomon's temple there were one hundred and twenty trumpets plus a choir of singers, cymbals, psalteries and harps. According to 1 Chronicles 23:5, there were four thousand instrumentalists employed by the temple. If one is to believe Flavius Josephus, the secular Jewish historian, there were 200,000 singers at the event. That makes 204,000 musicians, 120 of whom were playing trumpets. One might think the noise was deafening. Actually not. With acoustic instruments, and the voice also falls into that category, volume does not increase proportionately as it would with electronic instruments. In his book Psychology of Music, Dr. Carl Seashore explains this scientific phenomena. "The addition of one or more tones of the same intensity tends to increase the total intensity in the volume, but only to a slight degree. For example, if we have a piano tone of 50db and we add to that another tone of the same intensity, the combined effect will be about 53db. If we add a third tone, the total intensity is likely to be 55db. Thus the addition to the total intensity decreases with the number of units combined; and in every case the increase is small in comparison with the original intensity of one element."89 It seems the more instruments added, the less the increase in volume.
Does this mean that no electric or electronic instruments should be used? An electric organ or electronic keyboard that mimics an organ or piano, and is kept at an accompaniment level does not seem to be a horrific compromise. The use of drums and electric guitars might be another matter. One has to look at the evidence provided so far and make a decision based upon the facts and the Scriptures. As Paul said, "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient; all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not."90 We need to seek the best in what we are doing and using, not the worst.
82King James Bible, 1 Thessalonians 5:22
83Shafer, William J. Rock Music. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1972, Pg. 76.
84Marrs, Texe. Nightsounds-The Hidden Dangers of New Age Music.
85Marrs, Texe. Nightsounds-The Hidden Dangers of New Age Music.
87King James Bible, 1 Thessalonians 5:22
88King James Bible 1 Chronicles 9:33
89Seashore, Carl E. Psychology of Music. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1972, Pg. 135
90King James Bible, 1 Corinthians 10:23
What About the Lyrics?
"Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer. . . My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly."91
Having covered some of the basic elements of the instrumental music, it is now imperative that we address the verbal side or lyrics of the music. As long as they mention God, or something about God, or reference God in some obscure way, it's okay, right? Wrong!! To address this issue, it is necessary to first understand what the purpose and proper use of the music is.
What is the proper use for music? What is its purpose? God answers that for us too. Ps. 7:17 says, "I will praise the Lord...and will sing praise to the name of the Lord most high." Ps. 9:11, "Sing praises to the Lord, who dwelleth in Zion.." Ps. 27:6, "...I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord." This instruction of using songs to praise God can also be found in Judges 5:3; 2 Samuel 22:50; 2 Chronicles 20:22, 23:13; Psalm 21:13, 30:12, 47:6-7, 57:7, 61:8, 66:2, 68:4, 75:9, 92:1, 104:33, 108:1, 135:3, 146:2, 147;1, 149:1; Jeremiah 20:13; and countless other verses. Our songs are first and foremost to praise God. We are to tell of His greatness, to praise His name; to tell of His mighty power and works. Every other purpose for music is secondary to this one. Bach made a wonderful statement when he said, "The end of all music is the glory of God."
Other proper uses for music include, but are not necessarily in any particular priority order, teaching and admonition - Ephesians 5:19, celebrations of thanksgiving and praise, as already mentioned; and healing of mind, body, and spirit, - e.g. David playing for Saul. Listening to music for enjoyment can be considered as part of this last category, since the right music refreshes and restores our physical and mental health and can uplift our spirit.
Evangelism is one purpose that is being touted today as being the ultimate use for music. It is supposedly the way to reach the unsaved for the Lord. Many pastors feel the need to give in to the new "Christian" music, and styles of worship; as they believe it will encourage and bring in the young people. They feel that if they can get them in the pews, they will hear the Word of God, and all will be justified in the end. Where does the Bible teach that the end justifies the means? Where does it teach that satisfying the lusts of the flesh brings honor to God? The fact that some people are saved at concerts, or in a church that enticed them to attend because of the music, does not give validation to the procedure. The Lord saves people in spite of our wrong behavior and decisions, not because of them. As quoted earlier on, "And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God; many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord." Psalm 40:3 shows us that when we focus our musical efforts on praising God and pleasing Him, people hear and are saved. Not because they are entertained, but because of the awesomeness of God and who He is. There is absolutely no Scriptural basis for using music as an evangelistic gimmick. As already used above, another word that can be substituted for evangelism in this respect is the word entertainment, for that is what music used as an evangelistic tool actually is. The Sunday evening/Holiday Sunday-concerts/musicals are nothing more than entertainment. While entertainment in and of itself is not necessarily sinful, we should not be substituting it in place of worship of God and study of His Word. Nowhere do we read in Scripture that the temple musicians put on concerts for the entertainment of the masses, especially on the Sabbath. Likewise we need to be very careful about using music for this purpose in the church. Lest you pat yourself on the back and say, "But we don't use rock music, we use praise and worship music. It's different, it's acceptable." A rose by any other name.... In other words, semantics. Calling the music by another name doesn't suddenly make it acceptable. It is still generally being composed with bad rules - melody, harmony and rhythm, trite lyrics and is not edifying in terms of the maturation process either mentally or spiritually.
Some people think music is merely a filler to the main event, or sermon, in a worship service. They don't care for the singing and are quite content to only tolerate that section of the service. This is as bad an attitude as believing it should be the entertainment. God requires us to worship Him in song as evidenced by the many Scripture references above. Music is as important as prayer. It is a means of praising Him, and He requires us to participate fully in it. There are hundreds of verses in the Bible where we are told to sing praises unto Him. To ignore these commands is just plain disobedience. Some will sing the praise songs, but detest the old hymns and refuse to sing them, citing as their reasons that the songs are boring, hard to sing and hard to understand. Shame on them. Shouldn't this tell them right away that there is something wrong in their growth process? These songs are harder to sing. They do not rely on the redundancy of repetition to carry them. You must concentrate on learning a lengthier, more complicated melody. They have harmony which requires listening skills. They have deeper theology which requires meditation and analysis to think through; no mindless chanting of lyrics. The vocabulary is of a higher intellectual standard. Boring? Not at all. Merely intellectual both musically and theologically. The indolent will always find good hymns beyond their ability.
Now that the purposes for music have been established, the subject of lyrics can be addressed. Just as the nature of music has declined over the centuries, which is not unexpected due to the nature of the curse on the world, there is a similar deterioration in the lyrics.
God gave us 150 songs or psalms from which to get our lyrics. These are songs written by God. You can't get better than that, and yet there is barely a church in existence that sings them. Besides the psalms, there are other songs in the Bible. The song of the Red Sea, the song of the saints in Revelation and others. The nice thing about God writing the lyrics is that you don't have to worry that the focus is on the wrong thing, or that there might be a human doctrine incorporated into it that is less than correct. The best lyrics for songs come straight from God's Word. Originally that is what the church sang. "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."92 The three types of songs we can sing are the psalms, with which we are familiar, hymns - which, given the Greek translation seems to indicate songs that celebrate and praise God, (like the Red Sea song), and spiritual songs - which seem to deal with spiritual matters; most likely quoting Scriptures, since that is what the verse above says, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly."93 Those songs that do not use lyrics from the Bible must limit themselves to dealing with praising God; spiritual matters possibly such as redemption, discipleship, sanctification, guidance, comfort and strengthening, and etc.; teaching about God - His attributes and His works; and songs of admonition, which would include warnings of God's judgment and calls to repentance. One must be very careful in the spiritual matters/teaching about God categories, as much erroneous doctrine can be incorporated when man starts putting his own interpretation on the Scriptures to music. Also the theology can become childish and trite, becoming milk instead of meat (which is all right for children's songs, but not for adults). It is much safer to stay with the Scriptures as written, especially when one considers that "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."94 Also God's Word does not return void. "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth; it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."95 Even though we are not to deliberately use our music to evangelize and convict, God's Word is able to, because of the power of God and the Holy Spirit. If we would only learn to stand aside and let God work, He can accomplish far more than we can. Unfortunately, we always want to be in there doing things our way, which generally accomplishes little to nothing. We are more of a hindrance to God than a help in this respect.
At this point, it may be wondered that with all of the possibilities covered above as to what is acceptable for use as lyrics, where would the problem be? Surely the songs written nowadays would fall into one of those categories. Not necessarily. We use words all the time to imply or intimate things without really actually saying them. Gossips are very good at this technique. Unfortunately this technique is the absolute opposite of what we should be doing with our lyrics for this music. We should be boldly and clearly proclaiming God's Word, who God is and what He has done. There should be no doubt left in the listeners mind as to whom or what the subject of the song is. That is getting to be less and less the case these days. Needless to say, the focus should always be on some aspect of God. This is also not always the case.
One thing that seems to be lacking in lyrics these days is the focus on the Triune God. Most of them are focused on self. This has not happened overnight. Originally the hymns that we are familiar with were written in praise of God. Look at the first Protestant hymn "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" by Martin Luther.96
A mighty fortress is our God, A bulwark never failing;
Our helper He amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe-
His craft and pow'r are great, And, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide our striving would be losing,
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God's own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus it is He-
Lord Sabaoth His name, from age to age the same-
And He must win the battle.
And tho this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph thru us.
The prince of darkness grim - We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, For lo! his doom is sure-
One little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly pow'rs - No thanks to them - abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours thru Him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God's truth abideth still-
His kingdom is forever.
What a hymn! It praises God, it teaches about God, it teaches doctrine, it has excellent music. The lyrics continue from the first verse through the last in a progressive thought that prohibits singing random verses.
That was followed by the re-emergence of the Psalms - being set to either music composed by people of the era or pre-existing church chants - for congregational singing. The Pilgrims' hymnal was a Psalter, and it was a staple of the church for many years. It has fallen into disfavor now, and you will rarely find it in churches. How sad that the Word of God set to music is considered too archaic for our times.
If we travel down the road two hundred years from Luther, we find the greatest hymn and church music composer of all time, Johann Sebastian Bach. His chorales are the epitome of what music written for God should be. The purpose for his entire existence, according to him, was to write music for the glory of God. The music is excellent with wonderful chordal progression and movement in the voices. We only have English translations of these songs, but one of the more well-known ones is "O Sacred Head Now Wounded."97
O Sacred Head now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns Thy only crown,
How art Thou pale with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish which once was bright as morn!
What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered was all for sinners' gain:
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! 'Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace.
What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest Friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever! And, should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee!
The lyrics of this song are so poetic and beautiful in their unfolding. One feels the majesty of the sentiment as it is sung. It is a love sonnet to the Lord.
Following Bach finds us at the Wesley brothers with songs such as "A Charge to Keep I Have" and "Depth of Mercy".98
A Charge to keep I have-
A God to glorify,
Who gave His Son my soul to save
And fit it for the sky.
Depth of mercy! Can there be
Mercy still reserved for me?
Can my God His wrath forbear
Me, the chief of sinners spare?
While there is still four part harmony, they are in a simpler form and the lyrics are about our duty to God, and our sins and need for repentance rather than solely praising God. They teach and admonish, but the focus is slowing turning from God to us and the music is moving away from the excellent style of the previous centuries to a simpler four part harmony. The lyrics have lost some of the poetic style that made the former two songs so majestic.
Move another hundred years down the road and we find "Jesus Loves Even Me" by Philip Bliss.99 The message is becoming far less intellectual in theological content, the focus is turned to self and what Jesus does for me, not I for Him, and the music is, well, simplistic at best.
I am so glad that our Father in heav'n
Tells of His love in the Book He has giv'n.
Wonderful things in the Bible I see
This is the dearest, that Jesus loves me.
I am so glad that Jesus loves me;
Jesus loves me, Jesus loves me;
I am so glad that Jesus loves me,
Jesus loves even me.
Another hundred years brings us to "Heaven Came Down and Glory Filled My Soul" by John W. Peterson.100
O what a wonderful, wonderful day - Day I will never forget;
After I'd wandered in darkness away, Jesus my Savior I met.
O what a tender, compassionate friend- He met the need of my heart;
Shadows dispelling, with joy I am telling; He made all the darkness depart!
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul,
When at the cross the Savior made me whole,
My sins were washed away - and my night was turned to day -
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul!
Do not think that I despise these songs, in fact I have sung them with great affection. However, it is simple theology, focus totally on self, and again is simplistic music. Not exactly the best we can give to the Lord. Coming up to the latter half of the 20th century we find the music mimicking the world more and more as it moves into pop and jazzy sounds, and then rock and roll to heavy metal and rap. The lyrics go from bad to worse as we see in the following songs starting with "All My Life" by Ralph Carmichael.101
All my life, thru the good and bad of life,
Whether I should gain or lose, still I choose to live my life,
Ev'ry moment: all for Thee, walking, oh so close to Thee,
While I'm learning ev'ry day, come what may, to trust in Thee
At his point in the song, knowing the music, I would put this in the Frank Sinatra genre. It is exactly the type of melody he sang (light romantic pop), and the words, as so far stated, are very similar to songs that he made famous. Hardly church fare.
One of the banal choruses that is consistently and repetitively sung in many churches is "Oh, How He Loves You and Me" by Kurt Kaiser.102
Oh, how He loves you and me!
Oh, how He loves you and me!
He gave His life, what more could He give?
Oh, how He loves you,
Oh, how He loves me,
Oh, how He loves you and me!
This chorus states 1) someone loves you and me 2) He gave his life for us. This could be about a war hero, a police officer, a fireman. Maybe giving his life didn't mean that he died; possibly he offered to take a punishment in our place. Maybe he went to a concentration camp to protect us. It is very vague about the circumstances and even more about who "He" is. This is not worship music, and if music was meant to evangelize, this certainly wouldn't do the job. The music in this piece is also trite and repetitive.
Here is the lyrics from a church choir song called "Jesus Is Still Wonderful!"
To be sung by men:
Things didn't go well at the office today,
I left there discouraged and blue;
The pay raise expected again was rejected,
Our bills are unpaid and the taxes are due!
To be sung by women:
The children were sick so they stayed home from school
And I was both mother and nurse;
I fought the infection with pills and affection-
Instead of improving, they got worse!
Jesus is still wonderful,
His love is still the same;
Yes Jesus is still wonderful-
O praise His holy name!
The world may frown, try to get me down,
But still I'll smile and sing;
For Jesus is still wonderful!103
Really? They are kidding, right? This is a worship song? What one sees here is a complete focus on self. There is self-pity, complaining, and resentment in the lyrics of the verse. Then this is supposed to be complemented by a banal praise chorus, which actually praises the individual for rising above the circumstances and not letting the world "get them down". This has not taught anything about who Jesus is, what He has done, what He will do, or what His character is. There is no instruction, no admonition, no praise (except of self), no Scripture.....nothing. It is a completely useless song in spite of the fact that the name of Jesus is mentioned. For all that it matters, you could replace it with any name.
A great deal of the time, there is no name mentioned at all. The above song "All My Life" only speaks of Thee, Thou and Thy. "Oh, How He Loves You and Me" has the same problem. This is bad enough, in that the "Thee" or "He" could be any person. Worse is when there is a reference to a source that is higher than us, but does not clarify that it is God. An example of this is the song "Master Designer" by Kurt Kaiser.104
Cotton candy clouds so fluffy and white.
Who put you there in a sky of deep blue?
Or do you just happen to float along
Pretty and white in the sky so blue?
So blue, sky so blue.
Tall mountain, deep valley, fast river, cool stream
Show grandeur and majesty in some grand scheme,
All of these wonders that we behold
Are only a part, it cannot be told
Be told, cannot be told.
Master designer, whoever you are,
All of this beauty both near and afar
Can't just have happened, the odds are too great.
There must be a plan, we're not left to fate,
To fate, not left, to fate.
All of this beauty is far too convincing.
Master designer your word must be true,
Of all your creations man is the dearest.
Help me to simply believe now in you.
In you, believe in you.
Now to be perfectly fair, this song is from a musical and in context may be sung by an unbeliever who is questioning these things in his search for God. The problem is, it has been taken out of context and inserted in a songbook designed to be used in church. Considering the text, this is a totally unacceptable song for Christians to be singing. Notice that the song spoke to the master designer whoever it is. In other words, the singer doesn't know who that is. It could refer to any number of "gods" that fill the pagan world. This song should never be sung outside of the context of the musical and yet some publisher thought it was perfectly acceptable to include it in the book with numerous other pop Christian tunes that are sung in church these days.
Next is what I call a great "Star Wars" song. It intimates a godhood and "force" flowing from us that empowers us to do miraculous things.
"There's a River of Life" by L. Casebolt105
I've got a river of life flowing out of me;
Makes the lame to walk and the blind to see;
Opens prison doors, sets those captives free.
I've got a river of life flowing out of me.
Spring up, O well, within my soul
Spring up, O well, and make me whole.
Spring up, O well, and give to me
That life abundantly.
If these lyrics are not bad enough, as we move into rock and punk/thrash music, we find a very disturbing violence entering into the lyrics. The following excerpt was taken from a book entitled The Battle For Christian Music by Tim Fisher.
"I want (my) head chopped off/ You'll see (my) body rot/
But then (I'll) reign with Christ/ And then you will fry.....
(This song ends with tortured human screams.)"106
How does this comply with the admonition that we are to dwell on those things that are pure, lovely, of good report, etc.? Granted, we may address the Second Coming of Christ in our music, but this does not dwell on that aspect. This smacks of sado-masochism.
Many times, what people feel is inappropriate as a congregational tune, is openly enjoyed as "special music". This is not a loophole to accept the unacceptable. Again, it must be reiterated that music has a purpose, and it church it really only has two purposes, praise and instruction/admonition. The lyrics must reflect God's rules, not our lusts.
91King James Bible, Psalm 19:14, Job 33:3
92King James Bible, Colossians 3:16
94King James Bible, Romans 10:17
95King James Bible, Isaiah 55:11
96Peterson, John W. Ed. Great Hymns of the Faith. Grand Rapids, MI: Singsperation Music - Zondervan Corp. 1968, Pg. 36.
97Peterson, John W. Ed. Great Hymns of the Faith. Grand Rapids, MI: Singsperation Music - Zondervan Corp. 1968, Pg. 116.
98Peterson, John W. Ed. Great Hymns of the Faith. Grand Rapids, MI: Singsperation Music - Zondervan Corp. 1968, Pg. 317, 233.
99Peterson, John W. Ed. Great Hymns of the Faith. Grand Rapids, MI: Singsperation Music - Zondervan Corp. 1968, Pg. 492.
100Peterson, John W. Ed. Great Hymns of the Faith. Grand Rapids, MI: Singsperation Music - Zondervan Corp. 1968, Pg. 473.
101Carmichael, Ralph, Comp. 100 Songs You Love to Sing. Waco, TX: Lexicon Music, Inc., 1975, Pg. 18.
102Kaiser, Kurt. Praise-Maranatha! Music Chorus Book. Nashville, TN: Maranatha!Music, 1983, Pg. 90.
103Quoted by Frank Garlock & Kurt Woetzel. Music in the Balance. Greenville, SC: Majesty Music, 1992, Pg. 162.
104Carmichael, Ralph, Comp. 100 Songs You Love to Sing. Waco, TX: Lexicon Music, Inc., 1975, Pg. 190.
105Casebolt, L. Praise-Marantha! Music Chorus Book. Nashville, TN: Maranatha!Music, 1983, Pg. 85.
106Quoted by Tim Fisher. The Battle for Christian Music. Greenville, SC: Sacred Music Services, 1992, Pg. 43.
So, You're a "Wannabe".
"And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the Lord had charged them, that they should not do like them."107
Having discussed the music and lyrics, there are now other matters that should be addressed; the actual performance of the music.
What is acceptable performance technique? The major concern is in relation to church services, as outside of church, it technically is entertainment (although the Christian should do all things with modesty). Who is supposed to be singing and playing all of this music? When it comes to congregational singing, everyone is expected to participate. This has already been addressed as a command of obedience. Next in line to be addressed are the choirs and orchestras. For obvious reasons, this is dealt with differently. First of all, the motive of the people who are volunteering is important. It is hard to see into the hearts of people, but sometimes people are obvious about their need to be noticed and congratulated on their talent. There should be no other motive except that of singing or playing to worship and serve God. If it seems that this is not the motive, the individual needs to be handled on a personal level. As to the musical groups themselves, it is not feasible in this day and age for the churches to have full time, trained musicians for their choirs and orchestras, as the temple did. The church might employ an organist or music director, but that is usually as far as it goes, and generally that is only in the big mega-churches who have the budgets for it. So what is the church to do? There are many people in the churches these days that have received a modest amount of musical training from high school or college, or in the case of vocal talent, those with a desire to learn. Usually an average size church has enough people who have some musical talent to put together a small choir or instrumental ensemble, should they desire to do it. Small churches may be limited to just the organist/pianist and one or two people with nice voices to sing solos and duets. Large congregations seem to be able to put together large choirs, full orchestras, and have a music director with both piano and organ accompaniment. No matter what the size, it should be stressed that it is mandatory that there be much practicing before offering the music to God. He expects the very best. That doesn't mean that a small church is required to do what a large church can. We are called to do the best of our capability. That may be mediocre in comparison, due to lack of trained talent, but God will accept that, if all has been done to make it the best mediocre it can be. What He won't accept is the attitude of "we'll just go up there and let the Spirit lead us" that many seem to take when they go up to play or sing. God demands that we give him the spotless lambs, not the blemished ones. That means faithful and diligent practice. Note how much the temple musicians practiced, "And these are the singers, chief of the fathers of the Levites, who remaining in the chambers were free; for they were employed in that work day and night."108 They practiced far more than an hour or two a week, which seems to be the absolute maximum one can expect from any church choir or orchestra. It is realized that since people are not employed as full time church musicians, it is hard to give more; however, many times not only is it much less, but it is done during the Sunday School service, right before church, or some other totally inappropriate time. We spend little enough time with the Lord as it is. Do we not owe Him at least the Sunday School/Bible Study time on Sunday, and come into the service preparing our hearts to worship, not dashing to the pew from practicing? "And whatever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men."109
What about solo or individual "band" performances? Isn't everyone entitled to an opportunity to "share" their worship offering? Technically yes, if that is what they are truly doing, sharing an offering for the edification of the congregation. This must be carefully scrutinized, though, to see that this is the motive; and that the offering is edifying, not just some wannabes who are using the church as their forum to have their fifteen minutes of fame with the music they love best. Music in church should not be allowed to become a concert performance, or nightclub act. It should be offered in as inconspicuous a way as possible, not as an opportunity for someone to have the spotlight put on them to showcase their talent. "And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted."110 "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."111 "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time."112 This seems to be less of a problem with choirs and orchestras, as the large group scenario does not lend itself to showcasing one person above the other, unless it is done deliberately. The problem manifests itself far more when it concerns a soloist or small "worship" team. These days, so many are wannabes. That is, they want at the very least to be noticed and praised, if not discovered and catapulted into fame. I know several "church soloists" who have recorded demos. What is their motive? And how about the soloists and groups who schedule concerts with all of the local churches and parachurch organizations? Are they really doing this because they are overwhelmed with the desire to share a song for the edification of the congregation or audience?
Because of this mentality, the "nightclub" style has been adopted in the church. This consists of the use of the microphone, not by virtue of its being there, which in big churches might be a necessity; but by its use as a means of intimacy with the congregation. It is held, and caressed like it is some, to put it politely, love object. The use of the microphone in this way creates an intimacy with the people listening. Instead of the usual distancing created by natural air waves, the sound is right on top of you, every whisper, every breath being heard distinctly as if done two inches from your ear. Most churches have invested in multitudes of stereo speakers, so there is no getting away from it no matter where you sit. This type of intimacy is very personal and sensual, as we normally only allow very intimate and select people to get that close within our personal space. Not only that, the intimate use of the microphone by the performer makes one almost feel like a voyeur of a sexual experience the way some people sing into it.
Added to this seems to be the physical gesturing/movement of the "performer" (Note the quotes around this word. We should not be performing, that's the whole point. We should be worshipping and offering a sacrifice.): the swaying (or worse body movements), the closing of the eyes, the hand gestures, the over-emphasized gestures in playing the instruments, and even sometimes the use of props to "act out" the lyrics of the songs. To what ends and purposes is this done? Is this supposed to direct our attention to God, or is the individual trying to draw attention to themselves? Honesty requires us to select the latter reason, as there is no reason why the music cannot be performed just as effectively without these "interpretations" or "spiritual emotings". Trained musicians will have some emotional input into their performances, but they have a far better sense of restraint to the occasion of the performance. Seldom do they have quite so much physical demonstration in their playing as do amateurs.
Speaking of trained musicians, most have far more respect for the intent of the composer of the music. Trained musicians usually play and sing what is written and in the manner prescribed by the composer. Amateurs - and this term applies event to those who earn millions of dollars entertaining the masses with their singing and playing, for they are still untrained, - hardly ever play or sing the music the way it is written. They have no respect for the composer's intent and written work at all. Most singers can't or won't hit the notes as written, preferring to swoop in and out of the notes only hitting the actual tone in passing. This is most often by intent, not by lack of ability. It is actually a technique that has been devised, again, as a sensual ploy. They take liberties with the melodies by inserting their own notes and variations. Again, this is saying that they and their interpretation is of higher precedence than the piece itself, which hopefully has been written by someone as an offering for the Lord, and is supposedly being offered as a sacrifice unto the Lord. The performer is supposed to be the vessel, the vehicle through whom this offering is to be made. We are not to use enticing methods to present the gospel, and certainly not to praise the Lord. Paul tells us "And my speech and my preaching were not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power."113 Our singing should be straightforward and honest (remember Phil. 4:8?) so that the Spirit may work through us. We should not try to use worldly wisdom and style to entice people. Likewise, the instrumentalist who sees the offertory and hymn accompaniments as occasions to demonstrate their showmanship and dexterity by playing grandiose arpeggios, and scales; or highly ornamenting the piece, are only looking for admiration of self. If they were truly impressed with the piece they were playing, they would play it as originally written to honor the composer's intent.
The last element of concern in terms of the performers, is their spiritual life. It is hardly fitting to have a non-believer playing or singing praise to the Lord for the rest of the congregation to worship with. It would be a lie. Likewise we should even be careful to be watchful of the lives of our Christian musicians, as one would their elders or pastors, to make sure they are living a life that is right with God. Sin is a hindrance in prayer, in worship, and in our relationship with the Lord; and while it is not possible to look into the hearts of people, we should have some church rules as to acceptable behavior. In other words, if they are playing or singing at the bars and nightclubs during the week, should they be playing in the church orchestra and choir on Sunday morning?
These rules apply to composers also. Who is allowed to compose? If one desires the best in composition, it seems logical that it is necessary to have people who have spent a great deal of time learning the principles of composition that reflect God's glory, do the composing. There are far too many "composers" these days who can't even read a note of music, much less write it. Nowadays it seems every church has several "composers in residence". It has been my experience numerous times to have a tape recorder thrusted at me with a request to transcribe someone's humming into manuscript, as they cannot write the inspired melody they have composed. And naturally it is expected that the harmony - which is not on the tape - will be added so they can present "their" composition. Even many multi-million dollar music stars cannot read music properly. If one thinks they have been given the talent to compose by God, let them follow God's advice and do as the temple musicians did. They studied their art for many years, and then they practiced it. Added to that is the same spiritual requirement that applies to the performing musicians. A right melody can only proceed from a right heart. We cannot serve two masters. It is not possible to be writing for the devil on Monday through Saturday, and write for the Lord on Sunday. That doesn't mean every piece written has to be for church. It means every piece written has to use God's rules.
What about the sincerity element? The composer is sincere in writing this piece of music even though it is completely at odds with the rules set forth. The singer is sincere, even though they are using all the wrong techniques and making themselves an object of attention. The instrumentalist is sincere, even though he is playing totally unacceptable music. As long as they are sincere, God will overlook everything and accept it anyhow won't He? WRONG!!! We do not choose what to offer God and tell Him that He must accept it. No matter how sincerely you are offering it, He does not like disobedience. This is stressed numerous times in Scripture. In Leviticus 10:1-2, "Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord." They were sincerely serving, thinking that they would offer the incense; however, no commandment had been given from the Lord as to how the incense was to be kindled. They were offering on their terms, not God's, and it cost them their life. It had the show of wisdom and humility but was "will-worship" as mentioned in Colossians 2:23. When David brought the ark of the covenant back to Israel, he had it put in a cart. When the cart was shaken by the oxen, "Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it."114 The result of this disobedience was "..the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error, and there he died by the ark of God."115 Uzzah was sincerely trying to prevent the ark from being damaged. He knew that what he was about to do was forbidden by God; however, he chose to do it anyhow. Possibly He thought that it would be overlooked since he was doing it to preserve the ark. His sincerity was not in line with God's law, though, and his disobedience cost him his life. In Numbers 20:7-13, Moses was not able to bring the children of Israel into the land because of his sin of smiting the rock instead of speaking to it. There is a price to pay for doing things on our own terms instead of God's, no matter how sincere, because God sees it as disobedience. "For I earnestly protested unto your fathers.....saying, Obey my voice. Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart; Therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant..."116 "Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the Lord, your God, and the Lord will repent of the evil that he hath pronounced against you."117 "But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness [He will render] indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil..."118 "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."119 Scripture could not be more clear about this. Our motives are irrelevant if our actions are disobedient. God wants obedience more than anything else. Will-worship is not acceptable to God. Sincerity doesn't count if it is disobedient to the truth.
An appalling habit that many churches have adopted in conjunction with the nightclub style of performance is that of applauding the performers. This practice is completely unscriptural and is totally unacceptable. Never do we read in Scripture that praise is to be given to the one singing the Psalms, or hymns, or spiritual songs. God alone is to receive the glory and praise. He will not give His praise to another. "I am the Lord: that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another."120 Applause is the world's way of acknowledging that they have enjoyed the entertainment, and that they felt the performer did a fine job and deserves to be recognized and praised. As entertainment is what most churches are offering these days, it explains why this is happening; however, it does not make it right or acceptable. When one sings a solo or duet, or even when a choir sings and/or orchestra plays, the piece should be an offering of worship and praise unto the Lord. The listeners are supposed to be taking it in, hopefully being edified by it, and in turn, offering it vicariously through their heart and mind to the Lord. Any lyrics should be very carefully chosen so that there is either praise that the listener can send on to God, or instruction that the listener can thank God for giving. A far more appropriate response is to say "Amen" as one would at the end of a heartfelt prayer that another has said, but the listener is in agreement with. The music, and inane and vague lyrics that permeate many songs today do not serve this purpose. They merely provide entertainment, and thus this new response to "special music".
A further issue that needs to be addressed is the prevalent use of recorded music. There are many very small churches in which there is no accompanist; or the pianist or organist is a wonderful servant of God using what talent they were given, but that talent is minimal, and they are unable to play anything but the simplest of tunes (and struggle with them). In cases like these one sometimes has little alternative but to use recorded accompaniment or sing accapella (which is perfectly acceptable). The best use of tape in these cases would be to find an accomplished Christian musician and ask them to record a simple accompaniment for you. Most of the time though, it has become the normal procedure, regardless of available accompanists, for people who are singing to get professionally recorded orchestral accompaniment tapes. There are several problems with this. First of all, we should remember that we are supposed to take care with who is playing unto the Lord. We have no idea of the spiritual status of the individuals involved in making the tapes. They are professional musicians hired to do the job.
Secondly, the Holy Spirit has an easier time of working through a live individual in which He resides, than He does through canned music. Thirdly, the point of any accompaniment is just that; to accompany, not to overshadow the music's message through entertainment. Robert Berglund addresses this very issue when he makes this observation, "So much of what is heard in church-related instrumental music today is approached only within the aesthetic context. Orchestra arrangements of hymns, whether symphonic or pop in nature, tend to divert the mind of the listener from the purpose of the piece (spiritual communication) to the pleasure motif (aesthetic gratification). Such elaborately recorded arrangements have obviously been conceived apart from the text and cater to the church public who often will not buy 'church tunes.' Hearing a song Monday through Saturday misused as a pleasure-centered experience on Christian radio and then trying to sing or listen to the same tune on Sunday as a vehicle for worship may be confusing at best and, more likely, non-functional. Certain reinforcement of basic textual ideas can take place in good orchestra settings...but often the average listener has difficulty making appropriate discriminatory judgments."121 Erik Routley, a church music history scholar wrote, "Artists who design their work so that thrill or sensation is its chief purpose are defective artists."122 Using these tapes to give the sensation of super-star quality makes the church performer just as defective.
Lastly, mention must be made of the use of overhead projectors. Projecting lyrics on the wall is a serious disservice to the congregation. People should be learning to read the music, with the notes in front of them. Words on a wall do not encourage this. Musical notes which were a very familiar friend to the past generations, have become an unknown quantity to the churchgoer today. Children are completely unfamiliar with what they are and how they are read. If never exposed, they will never learn how to read them, and this reduces the chances of having choirs in the future. Besides this, there is one very important consideration. How can we pass the music on to other generations if they have no understanding of the language in which they are written? Certainly not by rote, as many of the great hymns are no longer sung in church, and the church is the only vehicle for keeping them alive. If the reader has ever read the book Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, they would realize that what that society was doing to its books, we are doing to our hymns. We might as well be burning them. Also, years ago, not only were hymns written in four-part harmony, they were sung in four-part harmony because people not only learned to read music, they learned the harmony as well from hearing previous generations sing it. No one sings harmony anymore. Not only do they not know how, the new Praise and Worship songs aren't even written with harmony that is intended to be sung. They have melodies and simple chord accompaniments. How sad. All intellectual musical content removed.
107King James Bible, 2 Kings 17:15
108King James Bible, 1 Chronicles 9:33
109King James Bible, Colossians 3:23
110King James Bible, Matthew 23:12
111King James Bible, James 4:10
112King James Bible, 1 Peter 5:6
113King James Bible, 1 Corinthians 2:4
114King James Bible, 2 Samuel 6:6
115King James Bible, 2 Samuel 6:7
116King James Bible, Jeremiah 11:7-8
117King James Bible, Jeremiah 26:13
118King James Bible, Romans 2:8-9
119King James Bible, 2 Corinthians 10:5
120King James Bible, Isaiah 42:8
121Berglund, Robert. A Philosophy of Church Music. Chicago, IL: MoodyPress, 1985, Pg. 75.
122Routley, Erik. Church Music and the Christian Faith. Carol Stream, IL: Agape Publications, 1978, Pg. 85
"For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. . . Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."123
While not addressed in the evidence presented, there are other types of music which also present a problem when being used in church. Jazz is a forerunner of rock and roll. It uses continuous syncopation which produces a sensual sound. This problem has been addressed and there is no need to revisit it. It is also associated with a certain element of society which renders it unacceptable by association. Country and western music has changed over the years. It now contains the same rock and roll beat that one finds in these other types of music. Its lyrics generally deal with the issues of adultery, divorce, drunkenness and other ungodly pursuits. Both rhythms and associations make this a type of music that should be avoided for worship.
If it is not enough that this music tries to cover itself in Christian clothing, it seems that many Christians are trying to whitewash secular rock and roll as being acceptable for the Christian listener. Tolerance is buzz word for today's Christian generation. We need to learn to see the other's point of view, we are told. There seem to be few absolutes and little discernment these days as people know less and less about God's Word. The following is an excerpt from an article by James Riordan that appeared in Moody magazine. It is obvious that he doesn't know what the Truth - God's Word - is, as evidenced by his observations below.
"One of the greatest Christian values is truth. And in a world increasingly dominated by lies, truth is becoming all the more important. There are many recording artists who, though not Christians, could be called truth-seekers...Many of the artists who emerged in the late '60s or early '70's...still communicate some significant truths in their songs today. Some...frequently record uplifting, if not spiritually insightful, songs...consider these lyrics from Metallica's "And Justice for All" album:
When a man lies he murders some part of the world
These are the pale deaths which men miscall their lives
All this I cannot bear to witness any longer
Cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home. (from "To Live Is To Die)
These lyrics sound almost as if they came from a contemporary Christian band. Of course, not all Metallica songs are this compatible with Christianity. But even their most offensive and brutal songs (and there are many of those) are not mindless. ...some Christians [are] concerned about the issue of 'beat' as well....it doesn't work when discussing truth. ...While you may think you have nothing in common with the fans of MTV, you might be surprised at how many points of intersection there are between a committed Christian and people looking for answers from music icons. Perry Farrell used to be the lead singer and songwriter of Jane's Addiction, an alternative band that delighted in offending as many people as possible, but sometimes created interesting and even intellectual commentary. Now Farrell has a new group with an even more outrageous name - Porno for Pyros. The group's debut album would offend most Christians, but Farrell often touches on some relevant truths. Rap artists like Queen Latifah and Ice Cube are offensive to be sure, but then again, the world they grew up in was pretty offensive. Others, like...[list of bands] seem most talented at devising profound-sounding phrases that upon further examination prove banal: 'I'm still alive, yeah, I'm still alive.' For some adolescents, however these phrases are thought-provoking...For Christians to flatly dismiss musicians because they use four-letter words or sexual references, diminishes the likelihood that people will ever hear our message. We have to understand the world's view before we can effectively communicate our view."124 This article is not even worthy of comment!
Having read this entire paper, many might now feel that they are vindicated because they do not use rock and roll, they use "Praise and Worship" music. Ask yourself a few questions. Are you using a worship team? Are you taking their advice on the music used in church? What are their qualifications for that position? Are they truly trained musicians or merely guitar players, drummers or keyboardists? Playing a single or even several instruments does not make one a trained musician with the knowledge and discernment needed to choose proper music. Is the music loud? Do they have a dozen amplifiers and speakers? Do they use acoustic or electric/electronic instruments? Does the drummer pound a driving rhythm throughout the songs? Is the worship team on display and performing on a dais for an audience, or are they inconspicuously off in a corner? Suppose you don't have the worship team. Suppose it is just that you use Praise and Worship songs on the overhead projector. What was stated about the quality of these types of pieces? Is this the best you have to offer God? Is the congregation so immature both spiritually and intellectually that this is all they are capable of and all they appreciate? I suggest that there is a real problem that needs to be addressed if the answers to the majority of these questions is yes. Catering to the lowest common denominator to please the masses is not the goal of the worship service. Remember who it is that we are trying to please. He prefers the best.
It has been shown how music construction and performance must conform to Scripture, but as one last comment, there is a scripture in Amos 5:23 in which God makes a direct comment about the music of today. It is a prophetic scripture about the end times or Day of the Lord and the music that is being offered to him in worship and sacrifice in that day. This is what God himself says about the music we are now playing in the churches. "Take away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thine viols." He considers it noise, He will not, not cannot, hear it. We should remember Psalm 119:128 whenever there is any issue before us, whether it be music or any other subject. God has given rules for every area of life if we just take the time to search the Scriptures. Our response should be the same as the Psalmist when he wrote, "Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right, and I hate every false way." If we truly love the Lord, we must accept the truth of Scripture and the facts, no matter how much our bodies disagree, and take a stand on this issue.
Most Christians believe we are in the last days. What does the Bible say about the church in the last days? If one studies the subject, you will find that it is referred to as apostate - completely apostate. So, what has happened to make it that way? Well, obviously the doctrines have been compromised for the sake of tolerance. People heap unto themselves teachings to satisfy their itching ears. "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."125 But the apostasy is not limited to doctrine only. In case it hasn't been noticed, the churches are all being unified through several things. One is doctrine. As Christianity waters itself down, it finds itself able to join itself to all the other religions out there. Is there another unifying factor? One that appeals to the lusts of the flesh across the board? Oh, yes! Music! If one walks into a Catholic mass, an Assembly of God meeting, a conservative Baptist church, a Methodist, Episcopalian, Lutheran, service, what will you find? Actually very little difference. The worship services are all starting to look like one another. What is the cause of this? The music. They are all starting to incorporate worship teams and Praise and Worship/rock and roll music, if not immediately in the morning services, at least in the lesser services during the week. It is a unifying factor that crosses all boundaries even when doctrine won't. It is moving the apostasy along at a marvelous pace. Those who will not cave in and accept this new style are being reviled and ostracized for not being good Christians. They are considered unloving, selfish, uncompromising (praise God for that), intolerant, out of touch and a multitude of other epithets. Every church is concerned with making sure the rebellious hearts get what they want, and nobody even listens to, much less cares, what the mature, God-fearing, discerning, Bible literate saints in the church have to say about the matter. What they like, want, or think is right, seems to be of no importance at all. Yet no one thinks the rebellious hearts are unloving, selfish, or intolerant. I guess it has to do with itching ears.
Many perceive a strong stand such as this, as being legalistic. They enjoy window-shopping in the stores on Sin Boulevard using their license of freedom in Christ as a passport. The problem with this is many times we see something in the window we just can't resist, and find ourselves going in. How much better to stay away from the boulevard, and bolt and lock your doors against Satan who, when you won't cruise the streets, comes knocking at your door. Satan only needs a toe in the door. From that point on he wedges himself in until he is completely within the doors. If you keep them locked and bolted to begin with, and don't answer the knock, you have a far greater chance of avoiding the sin. If this is legalistic, so be it. Today it seems to be the only method for having any chance of living a holy life.
123King James Bible, Ephesians 5:8-11, 1 Peter 2:5
124Riordan, James. "Seeking Truth in Popular Music". Moody July/Aug. 1994, Pg. 54-55.
125King James Bible, 2 Timothy 4:3-4
Examples of the Decline of the Church
and Its People
Over the years I have collected many articles dealing with music in the Christian world. They are disturbing as they show the decline of the church through this medium. Comments by this author will follow in italics.
GEORGETOWN, KY (AP) - "All-Youth Churches Turning Lives Around", The Times Herald- Record - July 25, 1997
There is no dress code...Generation X-oriented churches across the country say that freedom to worship in their own way has turned their lives around. "In your traditional church service, they sit a long time, they sing a couple of hymns and they don't get real loud. Here, we don't hold back," said Tina McDonald, 17, barely audible above the wail of an electric guitar on a recent Sunday at Trinity (church). In the gymnasium-turned-youth-worship-hall, 70 teen-agers sing, hugging one another and swaying to the rhythm. Their words have been in hymnals for centuries, but the music is closer to Smashing Pumpkins than Handel. This is nothing like their parents' worship service in the church a few yards down the hill, and many of the teens say they wouldn't be here if it was. White (youth pastor) put religion's morality lessons in teen language and control in their hands, and the teen-agers took it from there...(the) youth services became...so loud earlier this year that a neighbor complained. "When kids hear there's a church without adults, where they can pretty much do what they want, they want to see it," McDonald said...His congregation is more comfortable with a storytelling approach to ministry and to the music, which "has more of a Counting Crows, Dave Matthews kind of sound," he said.
Turning teenagers loose to do what they want without any adult supervision is hardly training them up in the way they should go. Where does the leadership examples, teaching, maturing, respect for God and their elders not to mention neighbors, come in? They are not there to worship God, they are there to have a good time with their friends. They have come to despise their parents and God as they say they wouldn't be at church at all if they had to worship in the good old-fashioned way. Is this what we want to teach our children?
"Nontraditional Churches Reach Out to a New Generation of Believers" by Arlene Kho, Hampton Roads Christian, September 1997
Keeping in step with the times, some churches across America are utilizing their creativity to draw non-churchgoers through their doors. Untied to any particular traditional format, these churches are redefining the Sunday morning church service. Drama, coffee breaks and contemporary music have replaced many of the traditional elements of church services. These churches are those that strive to be enjoyed...Instead of meeting in a church building, they meet at the ...Center for the Arts...The beautiful auditorium seems to be more theater than church, complete with professional stage lighting. As one might expect, the band (composed of guitars, drums, keyboards and horns) is very modern, playing contemporary music. The band is also given opportunity to use their talents in more than just playing worship music..they are used in performances which follow the time of worship. On one occasion, the band played a soulful tune...complete with a vocalist perched on a barstool. Resembling a house of blues more than a house of worship, this performance fit in perfectly for the church. We want those who come to identify with the church and say "Your not much different than I am." Visitors..are told..that the service is a gift for them. We are part of a movement of God taking place around the world. Rewriting popular songs from artists like Bonnie Raitt and ZZ Top with Christian lyrics is a stand-out feature of this new ....church. "Teenagers come in and hear the music. They know the beat and start singing," says 12-year-old...Channel surfing on the radio for popular songs is a regular practice for Pastor Ron Learn. "It's not very spiritual, but we're trying to reach people with this music,'...(he says). "Spirituality takes different forms in this church.." says Jon Mumma, who spends five to ten hours figuring out lyrics and music for each song he rewrites. Whether this unusual church is doing commercials (they re-write popular commercials to advertise goods of a spiritual nature) or playing the "Mission Impossible" theme song after a message about missions, it's easy to see that they have holy intentions. This sentiment rings true across town at [name of church]...where coffee and music are key elements in the Sunday morning service. Once a month, they have picnics after church. Shirkey says that wearing picnic clothes to church, "lets people know that we really are serious about coming as you are." The church is also starting a new service on Friday evenings called "Joel's Place." Turning the church warehouse into a coffeehouse is the first step. To complete this new venture, they plan to add dynamic Christian music,...and a place to hang out.
Why wouldn't people come to a church like this. Free theatre, free blues and jazz concerts, familiar tunes to sings (maybe a few new lyrics),a few obligatory commercials (but hey, we're used to that on TV), and free coffee in a nightclub atmosphere. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday morning for the unchurched. Imagine how much visitation, Bible study and prayer could go on, if the many hours spent on channel surfing and re-creating the world's music was spent on them instead. It seems to me that their intentions are anything but holy. They even admit that it isn't spiritual, so it could hardly be holy. The traditional elements have been eliminated. I suppose by this they mean Bible readings, prayer, sermons, communion etc.? It is no wonder people say that they are no different from the world. They aren't. And I can't understand how wearing picnic clothes to church makes a person serious about coming to the worship service. It seems to me it makes them serious about coming to the picnic.
"Dancing to the Drums of Praise"- by Piper Lowell, Christianity Today - May 15, 1995
Impact International uses African tribal heritage to spawn new forms of worship.
The thump of goat-skin drums pulses through the Jefferson Junior High School cafeteria as eight dancers dressed in multi-colored batik robes and headdresses and brandishing short swords jump, sway and sashay to an African beat.
"Drums are part of the African tradition to send messages. They are like to bells in the church to call people to pray." says Alex Mukulu, 39-year-old director of the Ugandan dance troupe Impact International. "They are drums of praise," he tells students, "drums of worship."
Impact International's 11-city tour of the U.S. last year aimed at reaching both churched and unchurched people with their message of praise, cultural change, and redemption, using African musical forms laced with Western influences.
Mukulu plays much of the music on a guitar, but the musical center of attention is the drums.
In Uganda, different rhythms have different purposes... The performance is a vibrant example of African praise. Much of the music and dance attempts to show and to affirm the values of African customs and traditions, says Mukulu.... "Our role is to emphasize and point to those values in every form of culture.."
Mukulu explains he reluctantly added short swords to the performance to symbolize how women have been learning to defend themselves...
"There are two ways to pull the Christian community together: one is through suffering, the other is through the arts," says Jerry Eisley, director of the Washington Arts Group, a network of Christian artists in the DC area... Youngsters - white and black, poor and middle class - confirmed Eisley's view as they danced along with Mukulu's group, sang praise songs together, and played with the drums. The group's appearances in public schools are done in a "farmer spirit" with the aim of putting "seeds in the ground."
The only seeds I see being put in this ground are the seeds of pagan worship. Notice the statement that ecumenicalism is achieved in two ways: persecution and the arts (or in this case dance and music). Since ecumenicalism is the goal of Satan, and we know he is the author of persecution, doesn't it follow that he is the author of the other means - music?
"Gospel Has 'Em Stomping in Europe" - Times Herald-Record, February 18, 1997
Gospel's ability to whip an uptight crowd into a thigh-slapping, foot-tapping frenzy is a big factor in its growing popularity in Europe. And it's not just at concerts. Gospel groups are being hired to perform at weddings, birthday parties, radio programs, workshops and festivals. A Paris restaurant, Chesterfield's, offers a Sunday gospel brunch. Gospel singing's appeal is not limited to Europeans in Europe. Every Sunday, bus loads of European tourists are taken to churches across Harlem in New York City to watch the boisterous services. ...Europeans tend to experience gospel singing primarily as a musical event...when gospel concerts in Europe are stages in churches, it is likely without the religious context...Jesus is rarely invoked, except in song. Attending their third Brussels concert recently, [a man and wife] were surprised to learn that in America, gospel singing is most often performed in churches and is part of a religious event.
Now the church with its music has become nothing more than a sideshow for the world. Europeans are shocked to find that we even associate this music with church.
Appearance on the 700 Club - date unknown, Statement by Carman (CCM performer) -
"There's a spirit associated with music. Music has a certain type of behavior pattern that's associated with it depending on the music... There's certain music that's conducive to go getting drunk, to go getting high, to being immoral, but then there's a music that brings the spirit of God into the event. It's not necessarily the style, it's the spirit of it."
It is too bad that while recognizing music has a spirit associated with it, he can't see that the style is the spirit. He recognizes that the rock music leads to immorality, but then thinks by changing the lyrics, which doesn't change the style at all, makes it acceptable.
"Making It Big In Music" by James Lloyd , Love Express Hudson Valley Edition, June 1994
In the late seventies,...I toured as an artist, and other artists and companies were attracted to my ministry. I formed a Christian record label and a booking agency to handle our clients. During this period I began to realize that many Christians (particularly those in the media) were not really behaving in the way I expected Christians to behave. I noticed certain Christian record labels and talent agencies used some of the same dirty tricks I was taught in the secular talent industry. I saw firsthand examples of artists and industry types whose lives and careers had tremendous moral, ethical, and spiritual inconsistencies with the Gospel - but they covered it up and pretended everything was fine in their walk with Christ.
These contemporary songs that are sung to recorded accompaniment in church come from these recording artists and companies. Considering how we should be concerned with the not just the music, but the composers and performers of this music, should we not leave this music to the entertainment world and not bring it into the church?
"RapRockin' Unto the Lord"- by Jim Farber, New York Daily News, April 17, 2000
God works in mysterious ways. Consider the case of P.O.D. (Payable on Death). While the guys in this San Diego foursome sport fearsome tattoos and play what some might call the Devil's music (rap-metal), they say they're hard-core Christians. "Some kids say, 'Wow, how can you be Christian and play such head-banging, chaotic music?'" group leader Sonny Sandoval says. "They get defensive. They want rock 'n' roll to be anti-this and anti-that."...P.O.D. was first compared to Ice-T's proto-rap-rock band Body Count, then to Korn and Limp Bizkit. In fact, its music contains influences ranging from reggae to rock en Espanol. ...And because of P.O.D.'s original association with a Christian music distributor, the guys still can find their albums slotted into the wrong category in stores. "All the Sam Goody stores put our album in the gospel section," Sandoval says with a laugh. The band also finds itself held to a higher standard by the public. "People are waiting for you to mess up, so they can call you a hypocrite if you so much as take a drink," Sandoval says. "But we're human." And the guys don't want their faith to define them.
The music needs no discussion. That has already been covered. What is interesting is that they don't want their faith to define them. Isn't that what being a Christian is all about? Our faith is the one thing that should define us. We are a follower of Christ. It should be the one thing that stands out about us. If they don't want that, I question their understanding of being a Christian.
.(title partly lost)..."In a Former Nightclub" by Richard A. D'Errico, Times Herald-Record,
April 23, 2000
People used to pray when they passed by The Club. It billed itself as the largest gay nightclub in upstate New York...But three years ago, it was converted into a church. The building doesn't much look like one. It has Mexican architecture, the stucco walls are pink..some traces of the building's old life remain. Like the 30-foot cherry wood bar and the parquet dance floor... The dance floor is still right in the middle of the sanctuary... In the back, where there was once a black dance room lined with waist-high mirrors, a three-member "metalcore" Christian band practices. This room probably won't change much. ..it will be a good place for kids to check out church and hear good music. Non-alcoholic juice concoctions are served (at the bar along with coffee and doughnuts). "I love it," said Mike (the pastor's son), noting that the room looks like other clubs. "We wanted to change the stereotype people have of the way you have to change the way you look to become a Christian." It's not unusual for people with spiked hair and body piercings to attend the monthly concerts.... Hanely (the pastor) describes the music. "It's hard,' he said. "A lot of screams. It's not my kind of music, but I tell you, the kids come in." And that's the point. Just as some people feel more comfortable attending church in a former nightclub, some kids who like going to a nightclub don't mind getting a little church... "It's the same kind of music as in other clubs but a different kind of spirit."
(There is a God House Party Room for the youth group)
I'm not necessarily against church in a building other than a church, sometimes it's unavoidable, but to deliberately choose a gay nightclub and retain the flavor - pink building, bar, dance floor, heavy metal music concerts - to make it more "accessible" is ......words fail me. As to a different spirit, I don't think so. It's still the same old spirit from the gay bar feeling right at home.
"Christians Try to Market God" - by Richard C. DuJardin, Times Herald-Record, March 9, 1997
(George) Barna thinks the churches that succeed in reaching the young will be those that have a finger on the pulse on the culture.
"The thing that worked for the churches 10 years ago doesn't necessarily work today, because the culture is reinventing itself every three to five years," he says. "The stuff we used a decade ago is two change-cycles away, and therefore outdated and irrelevant. We have to keep the timeless truths of the faith in place, or course, but the way we present it has to change."
Research and marketing, he thinks, are necessary parts to the strategy.
"We're in a competitive environment now, and if you want to compete with people's time and loyalty, there are certain things you are going to have to do, because you're up against all kinds of secular corporations that are spending several billion dollars a year just to understand the consumer. We have to do the same if we are to be more sensitive to the needs of people, if not more relevant."
These timeless truths are timeless and therefore do not need to have window dressing. Paul didn't feel the need to do a song and dance to present the gospel and neither should we. The power of God's Word is in the Holy Spirit's conviction when people hear it, it is never irrelevant and it does not return void. Our object is to simply preach it. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. God does not have to compete with man's products. He has a whole lot more to offer and it will never wear out.
"Today's Rock Music: Intoxicating Teens With Violence"- 700 Club Fact Sheet, June 29, 1994
(Youth Pastor Dave) Hart understands the music with today's young people: "Music has become the main key to their identity...Their music communicates to them stronger than just about anything."
(Al) Menconi adds that the influence of such radical rock music extends into the Christian community. "We're finding that Christian kids in Christian homes raised by Christian parents going to Christian schools never listen to Christian music. Christian kids listen to secular music."
Menconi and Hart advise parents to review lyrics with their children and talk in-depth about objections to ungodly material. They suggest parents allow some wild-sounding music as long as it promotes godly values.
As discussed in this paper, none of this music promotes godly values. The reason the kids listen to secular music is because there is no difference in the music and they understand that. They see no reason not to listen to secular. To try to give them a reason by virtue of discussing lyrics is ludicrous and they know it. Allowing wild-sounding music simply tells these children that their parents have no standards, and since they have none, the children see no reason to have any either. If it is true that this music is their identity, we have some real problems on our hand as it is music of rebellion against God. They should be identifying themselves with Christ.
"Russian Christians Resist Rock Music" - taken from The Cross + Word Ministries Web site by Tricia Tillian
In an "Urgent Message from Peter Peters and Vasilij Ryzhuk of the Unregistered Church in Russia" reported in Prophetic Alert November 1992, Russian believers plead that the import of American "Christian" rock music would stop.
They admit that the music attracts people to churches, but NOT TO GODLY LIVING. They say "we were in prison for fifteen years, and eleven years respectively, for Christ's sake. We were not allowed Christian music, but rock music was used as a weapon against us day and night to destroy our soul. We could only resist with much prayer and fasting. Now we have a time of more openness, and we are no longer taken to prison. However, now it is Christians from America who damage our souls. We do not allow this music in our church, but they rent big stadiums and infect teenagers and adults with their rock music."
The Importance of Music in the Apostate Church
"The Lord has appointed me as a lookout and shown me some things I want to show you. The Lord spoke to me and said, 'What you saw in the Beatles - the gifting and sound they had - was from me (God). It was my (God's) purpose to bring forth through music a worldwide revival that would usher in the move of my spirit in bringing men and women to Christ.'" Thus spoke Promise Keeper Board member James Ryle at a Vineyard Harvest Conference in Denver in November, 1990, via special revelation from God.
Just for clarification's sake, let us quote the Beatles as to what their belief on this was.
"We probably seem too anti-religious...none of us believes in God." - Paul McCartney.
"There is much more validity to Hinduism than anything in Christianity." - George Harrison.
"We're not anti-Christ...just anti-Christian. Jesus is dead." - Ringo Starr
"Christianity will go, it will vanish and shrink...I'm right and will be proved right...We're more popular than Jesus now." - John Lennon.
And as to the source behind their music?
"When the real music comes to me - the music of the spheres, the music that surpasseth understanding - that has nothing to do with me, 'cause I'm just the channel. The only joy for me is for it to be given to me, and to transcribe it like a medium...those moments are what I live for.- John Lennon.
The Beatles were anti-Christian, drug using followers of occult leader, Aleister Crowley. To say that God has revealed that they were His chosen vessels is obviously a lie....from the father of all liars. Where is a statement by such a well known leader in the Vineyard movement leading? Obviously to the use of any and all kinds of music that Satan can dream up. That this new "sound" in music has its roots in the Toronto movement is not a surprise. The movement itself is dependent upon people going into altered states of consciousness for the outrageous behavior that manifests itself at their meetings. Music is the tool by which this is achieved. It is part of the package deal. To indoctrinate people into new concepts and beliefs, you have to lower resistance and ability to think. Music is the means to this end. This is evidenced by their own words as given in the following excerpts.
Quote by Rick Joyner, "Battlefields of the Nineties", The Morning Star, Sept. 1, 1992 - quote courtesy of Tricia Tillian of the Cross +Word at www.banner.org.uk.
" The Lord is going to anoint some of His minstrels with a new sound that will capture men's attention and sow the Seeds of the gospel in their hearts, without ever mentioning the Lord or sounding like religious music. Many of the Lord's minstrels will have experiences of being caught up into the heavens to hear the music of heaven. Others will be given music and spiritual songs in dreams and visions. The power of their heavenly music will radically impact and enlighten Christian's everyday lives...Music will be one of the main spiritual battlegrounds of the nineties and has the potential for providing one of the greatest spiritual breakthroughs in the war against darkness."
First, it is apparent that they are looking for music that has some sort of power. They expect it not to come from within themselves and a heart seeking to worship God, but from without via special revelations. They are channeling their music just as the rock musicians do. And what is the purpose of rock music according to the New Age?
"Rock [works] as an interim form to provide a continuity between the breaking down of the old patterns and the emergence of the new (the age of Aquarius or aquarian vibrations). It will lead humanity into the new age like the pied piper. The sound of the aquarian teachings will be of such potency as to be irresistible." - "The Aquarian Use of Media" by Doug Friedenberg, The Beacon (a New Age magazine) Mar/Apr. 1974 - quote courtesy of Tricia Tillian.
Does this compare to the "new sound" of the church? Well according to them it has the same effect.
"Simply singing the truth in the name of Jesus Christ 'we say unto you be saved' will release the power of His Spirit in such an awesome display and men and women will collapse in their seats converted to Christ ."(ed. note - supposedly against their will) - The Sons of Thunder - A Prophetic Dream by James Ryle, The Morning Star - courtesy of Tricia Tillian.
James Ryle also stated that "a new sound 'new in quality' would be produced that would alter man's mind and heart, give instant revelation and cause him to worship God almost automatically."126
The new music of the church is to convert people against their will simply when they hear it. This effect is more aptly described as a brainwashing technique that is well-known and used by the occult and even at rock concerts to propagate their own agendas. Is this how these churches really use their music? Yes it is. All of the ministers of this gospel have mood music continually played behind them while "preaching" or whatever it is they are doing. "Most, if not all, revival meetings begin and are sustained by long periods of music, singing, rhythmic jumping and swaying, clapping, and other rhythmic devices that set the tone for the entire meeting and soften up the listeners for what is going to be taught. The revivalists now claim that they are 'building a Throne for God in the Church' by their long periods of singing, and when they manage to manifest a glory-cloud of some kind (a spiritual apparition) as a result, they claim that they have caused God to come down and 'dwell' or 'inhabit' their praises"127 According to Rick Joyner in his book The Harvest Vol. II, "anointed music will be one of the church's biggest guns in the battle of the last days." Unfortunately for the listeners, it is a gun that belongs to the opposition. They understand exactly what they are doing when they use it this way. In "1994" Rick Joyner says "music is a spiritual force. Like 'the force' in the Star Wars movies..." He also truthfully gives a warning to the listeners, who do not recognize the warning, when he also says, "If we do not learn to utilize music properly, the enemy will fill the vacuum and use it against us." This is exactly what they are doing to us, as we fail to utilize the proper worship music that God has provided for us in the way of Psalms and hymns and resort to this new contemporary music that is taking over the churches.
To actually see the great deception at work, herein is a testimony of what is happening at not just one or two meetings, but is continuing to happen at more and more meetings around not only the country, but the world.
Rick Joyner's notes on the 1996 'Heart of David' Conference - courtesy of Tricia Tillian
"Old Beatles Song brings the Glory Cloud!
On April 18, 1996 we began our Spring Conference on the theme of 'The Heart of David: Worship and Warfare.' Weeks before it began we started to sense that this was going to be a major encounter with the Lord. We were not disappointed.
I has seemed that each one of our conferences over the last four years has begun at the level that the previous one left off, and then gone higher. This one certainly continued the trend. When 'the smoke had cleared' it had exceeded all of our hopes and expectations.
In the first meeting there was a holy electricity that charged the air. The worship immediately hit a level that was as strong as we have ever experienced, and immediately started pushing back the limits. It continued for over two and a half hours. There was no time left for a message or ministry, but it was right. We did not just want to talk about worship and warfare, we came to do it! Experience is a much better teacher than words.
The intensity continued to grow in each meeting through Friday afternoon. It was during that meeting that the gulf between heaven and earth had somehow been bridged in a powerful way. After the musicians had stopped, the people continued, with the volume rising dramatically. Then it was if 'the sound of many waters' filled the Grand Assembly Hall. It was deafening. We seemed to be vibrating as if a tidal wave was sweeping over us. It continued for several minutes until I did not think we could take much more. When it stopped a great sense of awe filled the room.
Ray Hughes, one of our speakers and a man who has studied and led worship for many years, later told me that it was impossible for human voices to make the sound that we heard in that meeting. He said that it seemed to cover the entire sound spectrum at one time, and that he had only heard such a thing in dreams and visions that he had had about ten years before.
I do not understand the technicalities of what we heard, but I have been in many concerts and rock festivals with hundreds of thousands of people, and I have never heard anything like it. Members of our worship band who have played in such huge concerts said they have never seen or heard anything like it either. We only had three thousand at the entire conference, and one thousand of them were in an overflow room. There had to have been heavenly help.
The meetings that night and the next morning were intense, but it seemed as if things had leveled off a bit. That afternoon the momentum was gathering again. I gave my brief message before the worship because I knew that once it got started there would be no stopping it. When Don Potter led the first song, basically the only song we sang for over three hours, we began to feel as if maybe something had started that would not end.
Singing one song may sound like one of the most boring things you have ever done, but it kept going because no one wanted it to stop, and it kept climbing, crescendo after crescendo. When I thought it was impossible for it to rise to a new level, or become any more intense, it would. In my early years as a Christian I had thought that heaven would be a very boring place if all we did was sing and worship. In meetings like this you come to understand that worship will truly be one of the best parts of heaven.
When that one song finally ended, some of the musicians were lying on the floor. To my astonishment, the people were not ready to quit. I asked for one more song. Don led, We Shall Overcome, a song he has written that imparts a powerful spiritual militancy. Then, on a 'Holy Ghost whim,' I asked Leonard Jones to lead an old Beatles' song, I Want To Hold Your Hand, in which he had changed some of the words to make it like a message from the Lord. As soon as he started, it seemed like the roof would come off of the building. When he finished, 'the sound of many waters' again filled the hall, but it was even louder than before. A holy fear began to fill the place.
There was a presence of the Lord like I had never felt in a meeting before. I looked at Christine Potter and Susy Wills, who were dancing near the center of the stage, and I have never seen such a look of terror on the faces of anyone. An intense burning, like a nuclear fire that burns from the inside out, seemed to be on the stage. Christine started pulling at her clothes as if she were on fire, and Susy dove behind the drums. Then a cloud appeared in the center of the stage, visible to everyone, and a sweet smell like flowers filled the area."
To any true child of God this should be an alarming scenario, not a wondrous experience. The extent of the hypnotism is shown by the hours spent singing one song. Little or no message of the Word of God is given. An experience was the goal. People were collapsing from sheer exhaustion, a prerequisite to brainwashing. Songs that were militant (rebellious) and secular (written by well-known Satan worshippers) were sung which brought on demonic manifestations which wrought terror into the heart of many. The scent of flowers follows demonic apparitions everywhere as can be documented by the many manifestations of "Mary" around the world. And yet this is supposedly attributed to the Holy Spirit. I read nowhere in Scripture anything like this, except possibly, for the worship of the pagan gods. The lack of discernment, due to Scriptural ignorance, of the masses that follow these teachings is alarming. Church after church runs after these false signs and wonders. One of the first steps toward this agenda, when people are sent to seminars to learn how to bring this home, is to bring in the music and worship teams. People go to seminars to learn "how to worship". Real worship springs from the heart, not a list of behaviors and actions, and should be guided by the rules laid out in Scripture. Unfortunately since no one is reading their Scriptures these days, (and in fact are told not to read them by these ministers who fear exposure), everyone blindly follows the false shepherds who tell them what they should be doing. Music happens to be the indoctrinizational tool that these svengalis use and it is very effective.
To believe that any church is safe from this apostasy is foolishness. Satan is after all Christians and uses the doors that are open to him. Music has become that door. The only way to keep him on the outside of that particular door is to shut it. This can only be done when strong, mature Christians take a stand and disciple the immature to follow God's ways. We have abdicated our roles of teacher/parents to younger Christians when we don't teach them how to eat meat instead of drinking milk, and sour milk at that. It also requires that our shepherds not compromise, but stand behind these mature Christians who seek to stay on the narrow path. The leaders of our churches have to be more interested in quality than quantity. They need to not fear the reprisals of those in their congregations who, in ignorance, lust after these deceptions of Satan. After all, as Matthew 10:28 says, "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Better a small congregation of dedicated Christian saints than a large crowd of ones who "Jesus never knew".
126Tillian, Tricia. "Doctrine of Demons" and "Sound of Music," The Cross + Word, @www.banner.org.uk
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