Church Music Statement Part 1

Posted by Site Admin On 5:45 PM

Introduction
   The purpose of this music statement is to provide principles to guide our Church in its musical decisions.
   Every Christian organization must understand music at its deepest levels if they are going to have an effective music witness in this post-modern world.  It is one thing for an individual to not bother to think music’s nature and value through philosophically, but it is entirely another to try to guide others in the area of music’s nature and value without a thorough understanding of musical truth.  One of the reasons that many Christian organizations fail to develop a music philosophy is that they do not believe that there is any objective truth or Bible basis concerning music’s nature and value.
   Without a written congruent philosophy of music, an organization could go in a musical direction without much “understanding” or “knowing.”  Such an organization either tries to cater to everyone’s likes and dislikes or the exact opposite—they cater to whatever direction the music leader prefers at any given moment.  The organization goes this way for a while then undergoes a “leader shift” and suddenly chooses a new notion in an attempt to be current or trendy.

This music statement is based on/adopted with permission from:
Calvary Baptist Church of Quincy, Michigan Music Statement by Pastor Frank Snyder
Read Original Article Here.

Other references include: 
Music Philosophy in Christian Perspective by Garen L. Wolfe 
Church Works Media
Jubilate Deo Blog
Music Philosophy and Practice by Pastor Drew Conley 

Edited by Rev. Samuel D. Geroy
Grace Baptist Church Mandaue

Part 2  |  Part 3  |  Part 4


Music Statement
   At Grace Baptist Church Mandaue, we maintain a Christ-centered music philosophy and aim to have a hymn-centered music ministry. This means that in corporate worship, we primarily emphasize doctrinally rich and theologically sound songs of praise to God.
   Music is an important part of our worship and service to God that we present in a conservative rather than in the contemporary style. We do not mean music that is new as opposed to the old or one that is recently written and published.  But rather it is a style of music that carries with it an attitude that appeals to the flesh, is entertainment-oriented, and is associated with the world.  We do not hold to our practice simply for the sake of adhering to a certain tradition.  Rather, we believe that such music most accurately reflects our understanding of God and His character.
   Many Churches have two, three or more services catering to the tastes, especially the musical tastes of the various generations.  Churches that have not gone to separate services have tried to have “blended” services that incorporate something for everyone musically. However, even in this blended worship atmosphere there is some sanctified “teeth grinding” going on.
   Some have come to believe that the music used is key to real worship taking place. The seeker sensitive church philosophy is very dependent upon the music used to get those worship feelings up and running on Sunday morning.  Many worship “experts” freely admit this.  They will advise up and coming worship leaders to use certain upbeat numbers to kick start the service and get the energy up.
   Music has polarized, divided and sometimes destroyed the congregations in these modern times.
   We have determined that it will not happen here at Grace Baptist Church Mandaue for two reasons: 

#1 We Will Maintain a Balanced Biblical Perspective in Relation to Music 
   While acknowledging that the Scripture has much to say about music and that it is a prominent part of the worship of our great God, we will not be driven by or subservient to the current cultural infatuation with musical expression.  Though music is prominent in worship, it should not be dominant.  It is evident that the emphasis that many believers put upon it does not have a comparable emphasis in the Bible.  Music, even good music, can become an idol. Instead of a means of worship, it can become an object of worship.
   As noted, the Bible says a lot about music. Music is mentioned over 600 times in the Bible. There are numerous references to praising God in song.  However, in comparison to the bulk of Scripture, especially what the Scripture says about proclamation and holy living, it is minimal. While not downplaying music’s significant role in worship, it is evident that there is today, an inordinate emphasis on music that does not reflect the emphasis that the Scripture places upon it.
   What used to be thought of as supplemental to worship is now central in the minds of people.
   Moving music is now considered essential to “warm up the crowd” or “prepare the hearts of the worshipers to receive the Word.”  The idea that the music “prepares the hearts of the people to receive the Word” has no biblical foundation at all.  Yet it is accepted as a fact among many musicians in ministry!  The Bible is clear that faith comes by hearing the preached Word. It says nothing about music eliciting, promoting or encouraging faith or tenderizing the heart. Today, Christian musicians/“artists” are held in far higher esteem than Bible teachers and theologians. Their ideas and opinions often hold more weight and often find uncritical acceptance by their followers.
   Scripture just does not attach the importance to music that is being attached to it by multitudes of believers who claim they need their style of music to feel like they are worshiping.  The sad fact is that one believer’s music is often so offensive to another, that they cannot worship God in the same church auditorium. Many will become emotional if their music or favorite gospel performer is criticized. All of these factors prove that music has too prominent a role among believers today compared with the biblical emphasis. While agreeing that music is an important part of ministry and worship, we, at Grace Baptist Church Mandaue will try to maintain a balanced biblical perspective in regard to it. 

#2 We Will Maintain a Biblical Philosophy of Music
   While maintaining that music’s importance is overemphasized in our day, that does not mean that music is not important. Music, from the beginning has been prominent in biblical worship.
   The Bible gives us principles that can be applied to the musical aspect of worship. These are principles that we believe apply to both musical content, musical style and musical performance.  While these philosophical principles can be applied differently by sincere believers to the variety of musical styles, it is our contention that these principles are unknown or being outright ignored in our day. The only question today as to music used in worship seems to be what pleases and appeals to individual or generational tastes. The fundamental issue, however, is whether a style of music and its performance is pleasing to God.
   We believe that there are Scriptural principles for ascertaining what is acceptable to Him.

Biblical Distinctions in Christian Music in the Church 

Old Testament-Distinctions Between National and Worship Music 
   Though there are similarities between Old Testament worship and New Testament worship, there are distinctive differences as well.  In the Old Testament, music that was practiced in a national feast or celebration was much different than what was practiced in the temple during worship. Singing, dancing, playing timbrels (hand drum or tambourine) and other instruments were a regular part of national life and celebrations in the theocracy that was Israel.  Everyone could be involved as the nation celebrated its feasts or God’s deliverance through military victory.
   However, the worship of God in the temple was another matter altogether. The music performed in temple worship, both instrumental and vocal, was limited to the Levites  (I Chronicles 15:16-24). The different kinds of instruments used in temple worship was limited to just a few kinds of instruments as opposed to many that were allowed to be used in national and civic celebrations. 
  
New Testament – The Primacy of Congregational Singing 
   The Scripture emphasizes, in the New Testament dispensation, congregational vocal music. The New Testament admonitions in the Scripture about singing have to do specifically with a local assembly of believers singing together rather than what is commonly thought of as “special” music or vocal or instrumental musical performances.  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  ‘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.’ 
   The practice of the New Testament churches was that they sang collectively as assembled believers when they gathered together for worship. This is not to say that it is wrong to have what is usually thought of as special music:  ie: solos, duets, quartets, ensembles, choirs, instrumental pieces etc.  We want to be clear that the Bible does not forbid special music. However, the primary emphasis in the New Testament is on collective singing.
    The practice of gathering to hear a gospel concert or Christian performing artist is a modern phenomenon that has come to be preferred in many circles over congregational singing. It has taken center stage.  However, from a biblical standpoint of New Testament practice, it shouldn’t matter to believers if a church has gospel concerts, singing groups or choirs. What should matter is whether there is Christ honoring congregational singing when the believers assemble for worship! That is the Bible’s emphasis.  A church with weak congregational singing is a spiritually sick congregation.

Read More:  Church Music Statement Part 2