Church Music Statement Part 4

Posted by Site Admin On 6:30 PM


The Principle of Biblical Integrity
   Integrity is soundness of character. If something disintegrates, it comes apart. Biblical integrity in reference to Christian music is how the lyrical content mirrors the biblical content.  This principle simply places the Scripture in its prominent place in biblical music.
   Are the lyrics of the text faithful to the Scriptures? Since the stated biblical purpose of Christian music is to be a vehicle for teaching believers God’s truth. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in songs…..”(Col 3:16) the lyrical content should certainly be biblically accurate. It should not be merely descriptive of the performer’s feelings or sentiments.
   Biblical faithfulness also comes into play when the lyrics of a song are not teaching sound doctrine. If music is for teaching believers, then what it is teaching is important. Songs that teach or imply, for example, that one earns one’s salvation by good works or human efforts should not be sung by any believer. One “Christian” song heard over the radio described a man who had lost a loved one in death and who went (presumably) to heaven. The vocalist sang that he was hanging on to Jesus with all his might so that he could see his departed loved one again! That may be heart wrenching, but it is not biblical.
   Biblical faithfulness would apply to lyrics that are muddled, mumbled, muffled, or mangled. If instrumentation or percussion smothers the vocals so that the message is not communicated, that musical style should be avoided. The best and most biblical lyrics are useless if they cannot be understood.
   Worship music, like the rest of the worship service, should be filled with biblical quotations, imagery and allusions (Col 3:16). In some cases (as with the metrical Psalms) that means that the hymn lyrics should essentially be thought-for-thought paraphrases of the biblical text. Even in cases when hymns pursue a biblical theme or doctrine, however, the biblical content behind the lyrics should be clear. We should be singing the Scriptures! Further, worship music is able to both express and advance the singer’s theological understanding. Thus, what we value in hymn texts is not merely creativity or artistry, but biblical and theological accuracy. The songs we sing in worship should be doctrinally rich and meaty. We want people to meditate on spiritual truths as they sing, both in public worship and in private, so we are endeavoring to provide fuel for such meditation through theologically astute texts, especially regarding the doctrines of God, Christ, and Salvation. 

The Principle of Congruity 
   The principle of congruity, simply put, is that everything in a particular song agrees with itself, considering all the factors of Christian music. Does the music agree with the message?  Does it reflect biblical integrity and is it musically clear? Does it fit together?
   The principle of congruity simply asks the question of whether the “musical text and the musical setting agree in tone, quality and character – ultimately, then,  in meaning.”
   A second aspect of the issue of congruity is whether music that is identified as Christian is congruent with something that is identified with God. This question is not purely subjective. For example, God is a God of order. He is not the…. the author of confusion, but of peace, (1Co 14:33) The phrase “the author” is not in the original text as the italics show. Literally, the verse says God is not “of confusion.” The word confusion is the Greek word that means commotion and tumult. It is a word that speaks of instability, unpredictability and disorder.
   God is a God of order, not chaos. On the basis of this characteristic of God, all the things we do as assembled believers including our worship is to be done “…decently and in order.” (1Co 14:40) The music we use is not exempt from this principle.
   From a biblical standpoint, music is not whatever we say it is. The sound of a train wreck is not music. Screaming, yelling, raucousness or barking out words to a beat is not singing. Music that is melodic and orderly mirrors the character of God. Certainly music that is directed to God’s people and done to worship God ought not to contradict its message with its character. Music that’s design and effect is to cause emotional frenzy and disorder clearly violates this attribute of God. It is not congruent with God Himself! 

Summary 
   Music’s biblical ministry is not for entertainment. It is for reinforcing in believers the teaching about God and His Word and expressing our worship to God. There are biblical principles that ought to regulate local churches in musical decisions: 
    • The Principle of Distinctiveness
    • The Principle of Melodic Clarity
    • The Principle of Proximity
    • The Principle of Biblical Integrity
    • The Principle of Congruity 
   The music ministry of Grace Baptist Church Mandaue is regulated by the above principles. We will attempt to apply them consistently but we lay no claim to perfection in any arena of ministry.  We acknowledge that there is a degree of subjectivity in the application of these principles that brethren from other churches could see differently.  But we believe that the principles are present in Scripture and we determine by God’s grace to be faithful to what we believe He has expressed about this vital area.
   On Rock Music: We view "Christian Rock Music" as a contradiction in terms and reject it as being Christian.  We do not incorporate rock music into our ministry.  Rock music come in multitude of forms from a soft pop ballad to a loud metal.  Grace Baptist Church Mandaue does not use Christian rock or Popular Music in its worship.
   We are a conservative congregation, and we seek to do our music in a style that reflects that fact.  While we know we cannot match the musical preferences of every person, we do our best to do music in a way that will edify everyone and will allow them to participate in it without violating their consciences.  We encourage them to develop a biblical music philosophy.
   Today, ‘modern hymns’ from different producers/song-writers are introduced in churches.  While these ‘modern hymns’ may have doctrinally-sound lyrics, there may be other factors to consider whether to introduce them or not.
   The musical principles above are not limited to congregational singing, special music and instrumental music.  We also encourage the careful selection of music in video and other presentations.
   We believe in singing old and new songs, not just old songs, and not just new. The balance between the two will vary from service to service depending mainly on the theme of the sermon and the music texts we think best match the Biblical passage. We are committed to providing doctrinally rich, singable songs that are ancient and modern that will edify the church.
   It is our prayer that music at Grace Baptist Church Mandaue continues to please and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.  Church music that submits to the Lordship of Christ.   Music used in the services is the primary responsibility of the pastor and the choir director who approves all music.

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