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Friday, January 06, 2006

Biblical Principles for Church Music (3)

SUMMARY

*Jesus put His stamp of approval on audible group singing by the church in gathered worship. The gathered church should sing songs that praise God. Singing outside of the gathered church is acceptable to God as well as that in the congregation.
*The contented Christian finds reasons to praise God in all situations. Singing is appropriate on occasions that may seem inappropriate by worldly standards. Praying and singing are a powerful combination.
*Singing with a musical instrument does not inhere in the Greek word "psalmos".
*Songs should have meaningful content. Songs that are unintelligible should be avoided. Songs should engage both mind and spirit. Keep in mind the edification of the WHOLE congregation.
*The heart, more than the voice, should be "in tune". God must be the focus of the song service. The church music should aid and not impede us in worshipping God in spirit and in truth.

PRINCIPLES VERSUS LAW

Principle = a basic standard that is accepted as true and that can be used as a basis for reasoning or conduct

Law = a legal document or body of rules of conduct binding upon human society and governing activity

Many people would rather have a law than a principle because it is easier (requires less thought and less work), and, like the Pharisees, when it is performed they can feel like they have done all that God requires. What in the world do I mean? Let me give an example that may illustrate. The Baptists that originally came to East Texas did not believe that tithing was a New Testament command, but rather that it was part of the Law of Moses. Instead of teaching tithing they taught the principle of giving as God prospered and giving out of love. The law said 10%, but the principle did not tell the individual exactly how much to give; he had to work it out himself. Some (misers) did not want anything at all to be taught concerning giving. Along came preachers (first, the SBC'ers, then the BMA's & Independents) and taught that the tithe was a command for the New Testament church. At first, many fought it, but it was gradually accepted. Where once people did not apply the principle and give as they should, now many ONLY give 10% and believe they have done all God has required them to do!

I think this mentality applies in the question of church music. Some want a law that explicitly says what music may or may not be used. They are comfortable with that. Others do not want anyone to mention anything about music being good or bad. Let everyone decide for themselves and do what they want. A Biblical principle requires study and thought about how it should be applied. It places great responsibility on us. With music, if we honestly and inwardly consider principles such as the ones we have discussed here, we will at times find songs that we love and enjoy do not really fit God's principles for music. We may fight it, because there is no law that says we can't listen to it. But remember, we know these principles (at least some of them), and we will give an account to God.

Why didn't God just lay down laws for all these things? Wouldn't that have been much easier? If He had, He would have given a law for every single situation in which we might find ourselves, and we would have to know every law for every situation. Principles may be applied broadly as we run into the different situations and problems of life. This also allows us room to grow in grace, and individual soul liberty. But let's not use that liberty for license.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Brother Robert,
I would be greatly interested in your take on Contemporary Christian Music as well as modern "praise choruses."
Your musical and biblical knowledge would be appreciated in that it would help guide those who may not be as educated in this area as you seem to be.
J. L. Skipper

R. L. Vaughn said...

Brother Skipper,

I personally don't care for most of what is considered "Contemporary Christian Music", or most modern "praise choruses". I have not given a lot of thought toward debating these forms from a scriptural perspective.