Friday, August 03, 2007

Music

Most of us are aware of Eph. 5.19 "speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord."

Is this a mandate dictating the music we should have in church or listen to personally?

As a Christian we must decide how we feel about about music. Should we only listen to Christian and if so what constitutes "Christian." Is it Southern gospel, hymns, praise, choruses, contemporary, and etc?

On the other hand are we free to listen to secular music? What about classical or jazz? Love songs are fine aren't they? We've heard it all but the question is still there.

From a personal standpoint I feel that I cannot listen to secular music. I do listen to jazz occasionally and classical regularly. Other than that I listen to contemporary Christian and hymns with some praise.
I say that I cannot listen to secular because:
1. I was a slave to rock music before I was saved. I had a very difficult time giving that stronghold to the Lord. I realized what a hold music had on me.
2. The verse listed above.
I suppose some would say that the jazz that I occasionally listen to does not lift up the Lord and they are right. Believe it or not though, the classical that I listen to often does make me think on things above.
Before you write me and tell me that these are my personal convictions and you can listen to what you want just think about it for a moment. Most of the country and rock music of today is self focused and definitely not honoring to God. How can I repeat most of these words when they are about me, sex, vengeance, or sinful habits? What does the music that you listen to in private or in church make you think about? Is it the beat or is it the Savior?
I know that this one subject can put a charge into the most relaxed of individuals. But think about it and let me know your thoughts.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think that some 'secular' music is okay to listen to. Most secular songs are songs focused on 'self' and therefore contrary to God. However, some songs, like some love songs for example, can encourage a husband or wife to spend more time with the other, or to do something kind and loving for the other. I think that this is a "Christian" attribute, even though it's found in a 'secular' song. Does that make sense?

Zack said...

I think that music, being a gift from God could/should be enjoyed by Christians. Their musical talent comes from the Lord, for he blesses the righteous and the unrighteous. While the lyrics in secular music can be self-centered or against the truth, I think that a Christian can still enjoy the musical talents of the artists; listen to the fabulous guitar playing of John Mayer, or basque in the amazing vocal talent of Jason Mraz. However, if the lyrics cause you to stumble in your faith because you can not either ignore them, or let what they're saying roll right of your shoulder then you should definitely not listen to it, but I think the the Christian has the liberty to enjoy music written and performed by secular artists.

Steve said...

I like what Zack said and agree with his thinking. Below is a copy of my "profile" about "musical interests". It states what I believe in a nut-shell.

"All types. The Lord has given me to ability to see His work thru various artists both Christian and Non. Since God created all people, musical artists have the ability to express intrinsic values that display the Lords beauty in their lyrics and music. From Rock to Rap, classical to hymns, I find pleasure in it all!"

I would also mention that there's no such thing as "christian music."
Lyrics may be overtly Christian, which is to say about Christ, but music is music.

I think a lot of what the CCM movement has put out is second rate to what they're trying to imitate, their secular counter-parts. The groups who do bring Christ to the lost and unregenerate music world would never want to be labeled as part of the CCM. POD, Creed, Cross Movement, Arrested Development, etc., are just a few.

Good topic!

Armen said...

I believe there are two powers in this world; one is Light, the other is darkness. To think that God is behind music which focuses on self, sex, and every other sin under Heaven, is a blasphemy.
To say that we can appreciate the abilities of the musicians, and try not to concentrate on the words, is a lot of nonsense too. It's pollution to the believer, and our striving in this world isn't helped by such frivilous clap-trap. Whatsoever things are pure...think on these things.

...rant over!

Diane said...

I also had to get out of rock. But many people are surprised when they hear that I also had to get out of much of classical music. Some of the composers were in the occultic (Berlioz) or rebellious or in the death cult (Mahler)and so forth. Their music reflects this feeling. On the other hand people like Bach and Mendelssohn, both Christians, are soothing to the spirit.

Steve said...

"To think that God is behind music which focuses on self, sex, and every other sin under Heaven, is a blasphemy."

Armen,

Music cannot make you think of the things you mention. Certain lyrics can and should be cast off.

The inability to distinguish between which secular artists are OK and which aren't, is like not knowing which bodily fluid from a cow is OK to drink and which isn't.

To appreciate God given abilities in non-Christians isn't nonsense, it's simply an indication that one has arrived at a level at which this can occur. Takes time, hang in there!

Dead Theologians said...

Steve,

What do we do with the verse that I mentioned earlier?
Eph. 5.19 "speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord."

What area of our life does this apply?

DT

Steve said...

DT,

Good question. I'm sure you know that to take this verse in a wooden literal sense would mean that we can only quote psalms to one another, and sing melody's to one another. So that's out.

I believe a good place to begin applying this verse as with most, is in the house of the Lord and with other believers in general. Paul was writing to a church when he wrote this and was giving instruction on how church-life should play itself out amongst believers since this was all new to them.

But don't hear what I'm NOT saying. I'm not endorsing secular groups that profane the name of the Lord or seek to glorify sin as a way of life. But we should be able to discern the difference between James Taylor and Marilyn Manson.

Linda said...

I have thought much about this subject over the years. IIn my opinion, music--and I'm talking about the notes in the staff only--is neutral. I think God created music for our enjoyment but it, like everything else, has been perverted by evil-minded people. I have heard New Age music on occasion and found it soothing. It didn't make me turn away from God or take up yoga. I love bluegrass, much of which is instrumental and a showcase for some amazing talent on the banjo, mandolin, violin, and guitar. It doesn't necessarily glorify God, but neither does it dishonor Him. It is simply some musicians sharing their talent with others.

I've often wondered if there were folk songs in Jesus day, songs outside of the religious experience but were just simply to entertain. I've not done research on this but would lean to believing this may be so because such music has been part of most every culture.

There are performers I refuse to listen to because their sinful lifestyle offends me, and I will not lend my support to them by buying their music or listening to them. I don't listen to contemporary Christian rock because, to me, it's shallow. You have to look way too hard for any kind of message, and often that's at the discretion of the performer. One example is "Draw Me Close to You." It's a catchy song, but a band could sing that some Saturday night in a bar and no one would ever know it's a "Christian" song. It could easily be about a girlfriend--it does not point others to God.

Personally, I agree with Zack. If the lyrics cause you to stumble in your faith, you shouldn't be listening.

Zack said...

I agree with what Linda said about the contemporary "Christian" bands; they are just too shallow. In fact, I believe they are more harm to the young Christian still on milk than say, a secular band/artist because they come under the guise of "Christian" and sing songs with lyrics that contain just plain bad theology, some of it heresy. So, these poor milk-drinking Christian think it's truth because it's labeled "Christian" and latch on to it and be lead away into theological la-la land where the focus is on Man, and ME. Also, very often the songs are written to God the Teddy Bear that always is there for ME when I'm feeling down.

Some examples of poor theology in some modern songs are:

In Michael W. Smith's "Above All" The chorus states that Jesus "took the fall and thought of ME above all." Huh? Was not Jesus thinking of the happiness set before Him? Wasn't He thinking of God the Father and His plan of Redemption? IDK, it sounds iffy to me.

Also, in Audio Adrenaline's "Big House" Heaven is presented as a "Big, big house with lots and lots of room" with a "big, big table with lots and lots of food" and with a "big, big yard where we can play football". Not only is there no Biblical support for these notions, but they all have a common streak of ME and man-centeredness (spelling? :-P). One may say that those are merely playful illustrations that aren't meant to be truthful statements and are just in fun (and some would say that I should just "lighten up a bit"). However, I would respond by saying that a young Christian with but a few drops of Biblical knowledge may not catch that "playful illustration" (and either way, its just retarded neways :-P jkjk).

So, IDK, I believe We should be discerning and critiquing, or judging if you will (see 1 Cor. 5:12-13), that which claims to be Christian.

Neway, thats my two-cents on Christian bands.

dsstanfield said...

May I take this a step further? How about the "praise songs" that so many churches are fond of singing in worship today... You know the ones of which I am speaking. The repetitive, mindless choruses that one sings over and over and over. The sappy songs that you could be singing to your spouse instead of to the King of the Universe.

How many times have you heard someone ask about your church, "What kind of music do you all sing in church?" Usually, this means that they prefer the mindless "diddies" that so many contemporary churches choose to sing. Many evangelicals are only willing to attend churches that sing contemporary music (and have lots of programs for the children), regardless of what kind of teaching/preaching the church may have.

To be honest, most Christians today are unable to even understand the deep truths and doctrines found in many of our psalms and hymns. Their mentality is: "You mean I need to actually THINK while I am singing these songs in worship???" Uh, yes. Our minds should be engaged in worship as well as our hearts.

D. Stanfield

Dead Theologians said...

Everyone,

It is good to see this dialogue. It bothers me when someone says they listen to "Christian" AND secular. When this is the case I have found that 100% of the time the "Christian" music (however godly or sappy it may be) always loses out and they wind up listening to secular 99.9% of the time.

In my life I found secular music to be like a drug. Eliminating it from my daily diet was the most difficult thing I have ever done. I can still go into a store and hear an 80's song that I have not heard since the 80's and sing it like it was yesterday. But, I will have the hardest time memorizing scripture on a regular basis.
Interesting how that stuff just sticks in your head.

I agree with DSS about ridiculous "praise" music. I posted about this some time back. It is mostly filled personal pronouns that sing in repetition like mantras.

Steve,
Never fear...I have a post coming soon on drinking. :)

DT

Jay said...

DT,
I'm having a hard time following your logic of "secular" vs "christian" music. How can you be so against "secular" music, yet embrace jazz and classical (neither of which are "christian")?

A great deal of "christian" music is so dreadfully lacking in proper theology that I cannot listen to it. So much of it you can't be thinking while you sing it, cause you have to find yourself saying, "what?".

Dead Theologians said...

Jay,

Please pay closer attention to the posts.

I said in my original post "I suppose some would say that the jazz that I occasionally listen to does not lift up the Lord and they are right. Believe it or not though, the classical that I listen to often does make me think on things above."

You said "yet embrace jazz and classical (neither of which are "christian")?"

What is it that makes jazz or classical unchristian?

Almost all classical and some jazz does not have words.

According to your logic it is ok to listen to music that might be about self because the theology in the Christian music is so lacking.

DT

Eric said...

Christian singing non-Christian Lyrics--See Jeremy Enigk

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