The Bible says in Ephesians 5:19 “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;” Colossians 3:16 says “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.” Music is one of the most powerful tools that we have in the Church. Music has a threefold purpose in the Church. First, Music Speaks to the Mind. In I Samuel 16 when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, David would take his harp and play. As a result, the Bible says that Saul was refreshed and the evil spirit departed from him. Music, the right kind of music, can and does effect our heart, our emotions, in a positive manner.
Secondly, Music Sets the Mood. Music in church should be conducive to worship. The style of the music has much to do with the mood of the service. If the thought or theme of the service is Heaven then songs like Heaven’s Jubilee and When We All Get To Heaven will greatly enhance the worship and encourage the saints to think of Heaven and what awaits. At the end of the service, depending upon the message, an invitational hymn would be used to encourage the saints to move to action or entice the sinner to come to Christ.
Thirdly, Music is Sanctioned by the Maker. In our King James Bible there are 153 references to preaching. Preaching is God’s chosen method to deliver the Gospel message to lost humanity. However, there are 393 references to singing. I find no references to preaching when we get to heaven, but I do find the saints singing in heaven. When God brought David up out of the horrible pit, he put a new song in his mouth. When God delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt one of the first things that happened is that Miram took a timbrel (equivalent to our Tambourine) and began to lead all the women in a song.
The purpose of music in the worship service is to spread the story of Christ through song, to strengthen the saints of God and to allow the servants of God to share and exercise their gift that God has given them. Music is one of God’s gifts that both man and angels have been blessed with (Genesis 4:21; Job 38:7). In the book of Psalms, the Hebrew Hymnbook, we are encouraged and exhorted to “sing praises with understanding” and to “play skillfully with a loud noise” and to “Sing to the Lord” (Psalm 47:7; 95:1)
It should be kept in mind that music is to be played and sang with understanding, in other words, the music should not overpower or drown out the voices. The Bible says in I Corinthians 14:40 “Let all things be done decently and in order.” Since all things should be done decently and in order, music should not be chaotic or frenzied. Since it is to be sung with understanding, neither the voices nor the guitars should be screaming.
Some carnal saved folks (carnal Christian is a contradictory term, Christian means Christ-like, there was and is nothing carnal about Christ) try to justify there carnal, worldly music and lyric use (even in Church) with I Corinthians 9:22 where Paul said that he became“…all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” but this does not mean that Paul was disobedient to God’s Word and God’s Way, this simply meant that he adapted to the cultural customs or styles that were acceptable to those he ministered to without compromising the Word of God.
The Church of today seems to be changing their style of Worship to the modern day “Praise and Worship” and it is an undeniable fact the Church Worship means and methods have changed over the last several hundred years. The “Old Time” worship of today would have been considered contemporary two hundred years ago, so what is the answer? My answer to that is simple, the methods of worship that I use today and was brought up in still works for me. The phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” fully applies. I don’t need to change my methods of worship, they work, and they work well.
As you study music history especially as it relates to Baptist in particular, you will discover that the music of Baptist especially over the last several centuries, has always had a secular flavor to it. This has not necessarily been problematic considering the music of the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras but things there was a drastic change in secular music in the 1950′s. This noted change adapted a new name and a new style in 1954. There was a late night Disc Jockey in Cleveland Ohio named Allen Freed. He had begun to play rhythm & blues music on his late night show. There was at this time well known ghetto phrase “rock-n-roll” which was slang for sex. One particular night Freed said, “I’m going to get down and play you some ‘rock-n-roll’ music” meaning music for sex. His audience, made up mainly of unmarried teenagers knew exactly what he meant. The newly coined phrase stuck and a new era of music had been born.
The problem that this creates with Gospel music or Church music, is the attempted union of two totally opposite ideas. You can’t have Gospel Rock any more than you can have Gospel fornication or Gospel adultery or Gospel drug addiction. Music in Church should be readily identifiable as such, as Church music. If you have to wait to hear the lyrics of a song to identify the style or genre of the song then it should not be used in a worship service.
The evolution of music from its early days of monophonic styles to the Gregorian chants of the Catholics and other Protestant religions moved the Baptist down through the centuries to embrace polyphonic music and to utilize the secular genres of music. With the continual progression and varied styles of Rock music evolving into the heavy metal and even into rap music the Church must make a point of separation from the secular music of this last century.
Music can Educate as seen from our opening reference Colossians 3:16. How did you learn your ABC’s? You learned them by singing. Many of the old hymns are filled with doctrine teaching subjects such as justification, sanctification, redemption and other important doctrines.
Music can Encourage and Exalt. Music should Encourage the Saint, Entice the Sinner, Exalt the Savior and Exclude Satan. There are many reasons why I reject the music of today and its incorporation into the worship service, but there are three main reasons.
The first reason, is the Origin of its Wickedness. As already mentioned, the term refers to illicit sex between unmarried individuals, something that God forbids. The Bible declares in I Corinthians 7:1 “… It is good for a man not to touch a woman”. Verse 2 admonishes that to avoid fornication for every man to “… have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband”. Fornication is forbidden and we are commanded to flee it, to run from it. Sex was and is intended to be between a husband and his wife. Kept within the boundaries of where it was intended, it is a beautiful act, but when it crosses those boundaries it becomes a perverted thing. There is no justification for the use of a music genre that had such wicked beginnings.
Second, I reject the use of this modern music because of the Object of its Worship. Even though on the surface it may appear as if it is worshiping God, it is self gratifying, not Sovereign glorifying. Note the use and almost over use of “I”. The subject matter is not God, it is “I”.
Lastly, the Outcome of its Waywardness. Without fail, the use of this music leads down the path of embracing modern Bible translations and rejecting the King James Bible. I challenge you to show me one contemporary gospel group that promotes the King James Bible. I say “No Thanks” I’ll just stick with the Old Stuff. Just give me a King James Bible and the old “Red Back Church Hymnal” and the “Old songs of Zion” and we can have a great worship service. If you put the “Praise and Worship” crowd in an old fashioned worship service they would not know what to do. Put an old time Christian in a modern contemporary service and they are grieved. You can’t have Old Time Worship and New Time Music.
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