Church Music Statement Part 2

Posted by Site Admin On 6:00 PM

Read Part 1 Here  |  Part 3  |  Part 4

The Purposes of Congregational Singing in the New Testament

The Education and Admonishment of Believers
   Christian music is a vehicle for teaching believers God’s truth. In other words, it is to impart information that is conforming to and saturated with the word of Christ. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another…..”(Colossians 3:16) The lyrical content should be accurate in its biblical content, rather than merely descriptive of the performer’s feelings or sentiments. It is also to admonish believers.-….”teaching and admonishing one another…..”(Colossians 3:16) The idea latent in admonishment is to correct deficient areas in our Christian lives and encourage believers to live holy and godly lives for the Savior.
   Perhaps it is fitting to point out here that nowhere in the Bible is music the means of evangelizing unbelievers.  That comes by simple verbal proclamation – the simple declaration of God’s Word. (I Corinthians 1:21; Romans 10:14-17) God ordained that simple proclamation be the means of reaching the lost so that the power of the gospel could be demonstrated through a simple unremarkable way. He ordained it to be spoken so simply and frankly that the resulting decision would not be in influenced or corrupted by secondary or purely human influences. (I Corinthians 1:17-23; 2:1-5; Romans 10:14-17)
   This understanding is important in considering the role that music will have in our attempts to lead the lost to the Savior.  Music can very well be a decision-corrupting influence.
   Music is often used as an attractive part of proclamation events. Crusades, evangelistic rallies, and revivals often feature a soloist or music group who will appeal to the musical tastes of the audience. At the same time, music can also be manipulative.  The power of music can create an atmosphere in which people respond solely out of emotion without cognitive understanding.
   Worship music should encourage every-member ministry. While we appreciate purposeful and appropriate special music, we believe that God is uniquely glorified by congregational singing. Worship does not belong only to those who are specially trained or gifted, but to every believer in Jesus Christ. Further, singing praise is the responsibility of the entire body, not a select few (Ephesians 5:18; Colossians 3:16).
   Great care and discretion must be used in musical choices not only in relation to our efforts to evangelize but also in relation to its use in our assembly for worship.  Music was never meant to be a means of winning the lost.  It was, though, a means through which believers could be taught and reminded of their commitment to live consecrated, holy lives. 

The Praise and Glory of the Lord
   The other and most important objective in Christian music is to glorify the Lord. “…singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;” (Ephesians 5:19); “….  singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16) Nothing in the music ought to detract from the Lord.  If special music is performed, nothing in the performance ought to rob the Lord of glory and give it to the performer. The Lord is primary; the talents and abilities of the performer are secondary at best.
   This is not to say that there is not a case to be made for excellence in music for the Lord’s sake.  However, worship music should not be performed or chosen in order to showcase the musical talent of the performer.  Too often among the current Christian culture, musical artists “are visited with unabashed adulation, idolization, and celebrity worship.”  Christian music “should always function as a musical offering to God and not a musical entertainment for the people.”
   We must always remember that it is the Lord who is our primary audience in music. While one of the purposes of Christian music is ministry to the saints, its primary objective is to honor the Lord. This is not only in what is said in the lyrics but how the music is performed.  The manner of how it is performed is important so that the attention and glory for the ministry of music is not stolen from the Lord. Glory can be stolen from the Lord in three ways:

1. When the music is geared to gratifying the audience either in lyrical content or in musical style, God is robbed of glory.
   The character of the songs we sing is given to us as “…psalms and hymns and spiritual songs…,”(Col 3:16; Eph 5:19) The songs we are to sing are of a distinctive kind – psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. They are not simply random religious thoughts or someone articulating what they feel God is like. The content of the music is regulated, not by our thoughts, feelings, and perceptions, but by the word of Christ.
   The character of the music we are to sing can be determined by analyzing Biblical psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.  What we are saying is that these words- psalms and hymns and spiritual songs are not defined by an individual musician’s perceptions and opinions.

2. God is robbed of glory when the performer’s performance or expertise is showcased so that the congregations’ attention and admiration is to the performer.

3. When the performance is provocative and worldly God is dishonored
   There are sincere folks who believe that one should reach the world on the level of the world. In conjunction with that belief, some Christian musicians dress like, act like, and perform like the secular world’s counterpart. The dress may be immodest, their stage actions and vocalizations may imitate the sensual with breathy vocals and close mouth contact with the microphone. All one has to do to see the world’s influence on performance is watch many teenage singers.  One can readily see and hear the vestiges of some pop diva or pop idol they are trying to imitate. It is inappropriate and wrong to imitate the carnal techniques of the secular world.

Read More:  Church Music Statement Part 3