|written by Pastor David Wood|
Music, because it is a gift from God, can be a source of great joy for a believer and a means of returning glory to God. While many styles of music exist, the believer must realize that his choice of music reflects directly on his perception of the holiness and majesty of God.
For centuries, believers have put lyrics to music and thus expressed faith in a manner directly glorifying God. Music glorifies God by expressing that which is true about God. Believers need to guard music from the corruption that occurs God's message is combined with sinful practices and worldly philosophies.
Music plays a significant part in the believer's life and ministry. The Bible refers to over 500 times to God-honoring music. Ephesians 5:18-19 summarizes the important role of music "....be filled with the Spirit...speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord."
The Christian should be aware of those elements which enrich and enhance music, as well as those elements which corrupt and degrade music. Because our philosophy of life is so strongly proclaimed through our music, we need to follow the guideline of Biblical principles.
All the elements of music have connotative effect--whether it is the music itself, the musician, or the words.
In the light of our desire to develop Christ-like character in ourselves and others, our music, lyrics and presentation, should fit a connotation consistent with Christ's character. In order to cultivate a positive and spiritual atmosphere in our gatherings we will voluntarily and joyfully limit our music to that which edifies and encourages all, rather than music which merely pleases or entertains. What pleases some may in fact discourage or disrupt spiritual growth in others.
To identify the connotations of various music selections we should compare that music to principles from the Bible, both positive and negative.
Positive Bible music principles:
*The ministry of music should
be presented in the attitude of
*The lyrics should honor God by stimulating thoughts that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of a good report (Philippians 4:8).
*Music may encourage righteousness by cleansing our thought life, protecting us from Satan's deception, and by encouraging meditation (Example - David and Saul).
*Music is a provision of God whereby we are able to praise Him and become spiritually refreshed (Psalm 23:3).
*Our music itself reflects our attitude toward God and may be used to express our respect for His majesty and holiness (Psalm 145:17).
*Music itself consisted of
melody, harmony, and rhythm. When presented in proper balance these
elements enhance a scriptural message to the edifying of the saints
*Our music is a means of teaching just like Sunday School or preaching is a means of teachings (Colossians 3:16).
Negative music principles in the Bible:
*Our music and its lyrics
ought to "Flee these things
*Our music should not contradict
*Our music should not compromise the principles of others in our midst (Romans 14:13).
*Our music should not exercise our spiritual liberty to the point of causing the falling away of a weaker brother (I Corinthians 8:9).
*Our music should not link "Christian words" with sounds that connote to the world rebellion or sensuousness. Expecting that pragmatic strategy to result in the blessing of God will result rather in a Corinthian (carnal) style church (I Corinthians 5:6; II Corinthians 6:14-16).
*Satan is the great counterfeiter.
He can easily counterfeit good music if we are not discerning of good
and evil (Hebrews 5:14;
*Music has definite moral connotations by the very sound of it. That sound can be and often is used for Satan's work (Exodus 32:17-19; Mark 6:21).
Practice of the Biblical principles for the believe:
In an effort to be consistent with these biblical principles listed above, the following applications should be made:
All musical selections should be made in keeping with a "conservative" direction and mode.
All night-club-like or "showy" presentations drawing attention to the performer will be avoided in the church. Our attention needs to be drawn to worship God in His glory.
All instrumental accompaniments or taped backgrounds will be of a character so as to avoid overpowering the vocal presentations with the beat or volume. The taped backgrounds should be approved by the music committee ahead of time (2 or more members).
All those presenting musical numbers or providing accompaniment will be expected to be conservatively dressed in "Sunday Best" attire when on the platform. Ladies dresses should cover the knees.
All those presenting musical numbers will be expected to be present throughout the entirety of the service in which they make their contribution, so that they are receivers as well as givers.
All musical presentations should be treated as ministries to God in the same fashion as are prayer, testimony and preaching. Therefore, applause is not an appropriate response.
Rock, Christian rock, country, jazz, disco, or hybrid C.C.M. styles which offend the spiritual sensitivities of godly brethren should be studiously avoided.
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